Jords, AKA Jordan Edwards-Wilks, has been making music ever since buying a £1 microphone from Argos aged 13. He grew up in Croydon, south London, during grime’s first coming, listening to Ghetts, Scorcher, Chipmunk and Wretch 32 on repeat. His dad was a jazz musician and dancer who played with Sade; his mum introduced him to R&B and reggae. Now 25, Jords is the perfect sum of all of these parts.
His latest single, the dancefloor-ready Enemies, featuring Masego and Kadiata, nods to a nostalgic UK funky sound: “No bad energy,” he promises. On his standout debut album, last year’s Almost an Adult, Jords skated through genres with slick confidence and impressive dexterity. Its braggadocious opener, Patterned, is the kind of grime-inflected banger that could be straight out of fellow Croydon rapper Stormzy’s back catalogue. Elsewhere, though, he shows a softer side, musing over race and heartbreak in the same gentle, jazz-tinged space as Dev Hynes.
While his next album isn’t expected until next year, Jords has been keeping busy with his podcast Almost a Conversation, in which guests such as Joy Crookes and George the Poet discuss everything from cancel culture to mental health. In the meantime, he is using music to navigate identity, love and loss; grief is a haunting recurrent theme that he handles with a striking maturity. Almost an adult? Certainly sounds like it.
Jords plays Colours Hoxton, London on 26 October