One to watch: Slowthai

The Northampton rapper’s diaristic grime is bold, vital and brilliantly theatrical

At a gig in east London earlier this year, Northampton rapper Slowthai was carried to the stage, through the crowd, in a coffin. This gives a sense of the 23-year-old MC’s style: bold, theatrical and macabre. Since last year’s I Wish I Knew EP, Slowthai – real name Tyron Frampton – has released music that flits between dark, diaristic grime and something more dreamlike.

He’s been compared to Boy in Da Corner-era Dizzee Rascal and he certainly has that same uplifting vitality: all of Slowthai’s recorded vocals are, thrillingly, done in one take.

Watch the video for Ladies by Slowthai.

There’s a sense of humour apparent, too. The video for his latest track, Drug Dealer, which addresses the limitations placed on Britain’s working-class youth, finds him in various guises, wryly referring to himself a “just a drug dealer”.

Behind the theatrics, however, his lyrics are often deeply personal; Ladies, for example, deals with the folly of masculinity. The video for the track finds him curled up naked, vulnerable next to his fully clothed girlfriend – although this penchant for shedding layers often extends to his live shows. In an interview with Pitchfork, he explained: “If I can do this and get up in front of all of you in my boxers... why can’t you go out and just be proud of yourself and know you’re the best person?”

Slowthai’s Runt EP is out 7 September on Method; he will be touring Europe throughout September


Tara Joshi

The GuardianTramp

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