I recently sat down with grime newcomer Reece West to talk about his new single Guilty, and much more. With three years of hard graft under his belt, the MC is ready to take his career to the next level.
Fans of Lord Of The Mics may recognise Reece West as he performed and hosted at the Lord of the Mics 3 tour. Also under his increasing resume is his past a resident MC for High Frequency. It’s hard to not take notice of West as the buzz around him continues to grow.
The 20-year-old Londoner emerges at a time when grime seems to be a dwindling genre. His rising popularity is therefore refreshing to certain fans as he not only makes good old grime music, but also infuses dub-step which he reckons gives him a little bit more edge.
It’s grime… but it’s quite urban. It’s like digestible. It’s got a nice crossover to the mainstream as well.
The initially apprehensive MC explained how he only started taking his talent seriously very recently and has managed to gain some recognition…
Since the new year I’ve come as a new artist, representing myself. Obviously it was a hobby to me before. Just hosting raves and [a] nice night out. Going out with my lads and doing music as well at the same time – there was a win-win scenario.
He also did not shy away from discussing his experience studying music GCSE.
The exam was actually difficult…
Even though some people wouldn’t admit to forming a band with friends in their secondary school days, he candidly spoke about his past as a band member – with a hint of embarrassment:
It was called Odd Socks… It was an indie band. Sometimes I used to do a bit of rapping but really and truly I used to play bass guitar!
West’s musical influences draw heavily from the national grime scene. He particularly has a love for the Birmingham scene and believes that the epicenter of grime has moved to the Midlands.
I would say Birmingham is where grime is at at the moment! I listen to mostly Birmingham grime now. Obviously, I thought Grime used to be London based but now I think grime’s like a UK sort of thing so, I listen to loads of artists.
I listen to Hypes from Manchester, down to JK from Birmingham, obviously I still like Merky Ace and Skepta.
As an audience we are bombarded with frequent images of rappers boasting about fame, fortune and women. This can be a bit of a bore at times and as a result, there is a typical stereotype attached to rappers about their motives behind why they make music in the first place. When asked about fame, West did not hesitate and confidently responded:
It’s not about the fame to me, it’s about the music. Obviously, putting in the hard graft and that comes with it and obviously I want the world to hear my music.
However, when it comes down to it, if I’m making music that I like to hear and other people like to hear and I’m making dance them dance in the club then I’m happy.
We all know that love and Hip-Hop do not mix. Stories about affairs, groupies, break-ups and make-ups have been well documented when it comes to rappers and relationships.
It can be especially difficult for rapper to have a successful relationship when dating someone in the same industry – just ask Harvey and Alesha Dixon. Therefore when I asked Reece if he would consider dating any one in the music industry, for example Alesha Dixon he said:
Alesha Dixon? I wouldn’t turn her down no way! It could work. Never say never.
We even played a game of snog, marry, avoid. Mr West chose Alesha Dixon, Cheryl Cole and Tulisa accordingly. Oh dear!
In essence, it seems as though West wants to be recognised for his lyrical content as well as making radio friendly hits. From our brief conversation, I inferred how the ambitious Londoner had a firm grip on his career and more importantly has a clear vision of his ultimate goals.
The slightly nervous new kid on the block also seemed to be more relaxed towards the end of the interview and was able to open up more about his music:
I’m just talking about my life, I’m talking about what I’m doing and how I feel and like, if I’m upset then I’ll vent that into music and use that as a kind of, somewhere to just vent.
About a year and a half ago, for example, I was with my ex-girlfriend for a really long time and we went through a really bad break up. I sat down and I wrote loads of bars. I still got that song to release soon.
Guilty is available for download on 14 July via iTunes. The rapper additionally revealed that he will be releasing a mixtape at the end of the year.