Off of the back of the release of his latest single ‘No Rules’ we caught up with one of Croydon’s most promising up and coming rappers – BZ. The 19-year-old artist talks to us about the origins of his name, how he translates his culture and upbringing into his ‘bouncy’ tracks and more.
So, give us a little introduction into who you are. What’s your name, age, where are you from and what do you do?
I always find this question so awkward but I am BZ a 19-year- old rapper from Croydon, South London and a proud Ghana boy!
The name BZ – where did that come from?
We don’t usually talk on this one but long story short it’s a shortened version of a dumb childhood nickname ‘Blitz’. Shortened it to BZ to runaway from it because it was such a moist name.
If you could describe your musical sound in three words – what words would you choose?
Tough one, but I’d probably say cultured, intriguing and bouncy but I will let the people listen and tell me their three words though.
Tell us a little bit about your early music influences.
Growing up I’ve always been in the church, so a lot of my early music influences stemmed from there. I listened to a lot of gospel – I love Fred Hammond and Kirk Franklin. My dad used to have a Canton Jones CD he’d play every Saturday in the house as well. I Listened to a lot of RnB and soul too but also hip hop artists like Kendrick and J Cole.
Would you say your culture and where you grew up influences your sound? How do you use these influences and translate them into your music?
100%! One of my three words to describe my music was cultured because a lot of my music is deep rooted in that. A lot of the things I rap about are my experiences growing up in South London but my cadence, delivery and production always has elements of Africa in it. It’s all intentional because I want my music to be a true reflection of myself and my experiences. I definitely think things like growing up in an African church being around highlife music and certain west African terms has just become apart of me and I guess my music too.
So when was the point where you realised you actually wanted to try and make your own music?
You know what that’s funny actually because I can’t say I really remember a distinct moment when I decided or realised it just kind of happened. I used to do spoken word growing up so I guess I’ve always been writing. I remember in the changing rooms me and my friends used to make beats with the benches, freestyle songs to them and video it on our phones (shout out my Tenisons gang). From then, my friends said I should take it seriously; one of my boys Bronson booked me a session once and it was all just a go from there.
You’re quite young and early on in your career but you seem to have a very clear direction of where you’re headed both in terms of your music style and creative direction. Who would you say are some people who have had an impact / influence on your music and creative direction?
Thank you man! I would say my music has many different influences from a range of artists for different reasons. For things like delivery and use of voice I try take inspiration from Kendrick. Even though it’s a completely different sound, the way he manipulates his voice to tell certain stories is something I want to convey through my music as well. Other influences would be artists like Skepta, Dave and Hus. Creative direction wise I don’t know if I would say there’s a specific person, I’m just a firm believer in finding creativity in little things. I’m a bit of a neek when it comes to it – I share a lot of shots and inspiration with my team as and when I see it.
Do you see yourself expanding beyond music in future. What other avenues do you think you’d want to explore and why?
Yeah definitely! I love music but I don’t want it to be all I do. I really love fashion so definitely want to do something with that. I started a brand when I was 16 that I’m currently rebranding so probably something to do with that on the creative side.
Let’s talk about your new single ‘No Rules’ that just came out. I feel like we can get a little feeling of the vibe of the song from the title but give us some insight into how this song came about and what we can expect from it?
The vibe is pretty much explained in the title. Literally living life like a boss. There’s no rules in this thing and I guess I just wanted to lay that out in a song. If you haven’t listened already you can just expect a dark, boasy banger!
This year you’ve dropped a few singles that have been amazing – when can we expect a project from you?
Evil eye is real so won’t talk too much on what’s to come but I will say I’m always working and I’ve got some really exciting things coming up in the next months that I think will show a different side to me – maybe even shock a few of my listeners!
PHOTOGRAPHED BY: SATORI CASCOE
STYLED BY: DELENN VAUGHAN