Photo: Never Seek Permission
Natty Wylah continues to defy conformity on his thoughtful and razor sharp latest single.
Thought-provoking, articulate and with a sound that feels uniquely and thoroughly his own, North London-based rap artist Natty Wylah has never been somebody to shy away from asking important and socially relevant questions of race, identity, and equality. Latest single ‘BRUCE’ feels like one of his most poignant yet, Natty is an artist who seems to exist in one of two mindsets, either laid-back, informative and effortlessly cool, or visceral and scathing, with ‘BRUCE’ seamlessly transitioning between the two with an inspired deftness.
‘BRUCE’ tackles questions of conformity and pressures to label and box yourself head on, with Natty effortlessly floating over a measured beat from Brixton producer Srigala. ‘BRUCE’ is a track to make you think, to challenge you. Whether provoking you to look inward or at society on a wider scale, Natty Wylah is always one to make you question and feel. With the artists upcoming mixtape of the same name coming out this Friday, we gave him the chance to dissect his latest single and flesh out some of the thoughts and feelings behind it, as well as tell us some more about the upcoming release.
What can you tell us about ‘BRUCE’, the track?
BRUCE talks of defiance – it talks of issues that can be left unspoken sometimes. It’s a result of navigating systemic racial prejudice, it’s a result of me latching on to a figure for inspiration where there isn’t really anyone of yellow skin that is heralded within this western-world that we are living through. It’s about unbinding stereo-types. Creating your own atmosphere. The song talks about a lot. Essentially it’s about weeding out bad seeds whether dished out by Monsanto or implanted through fear-mongering propaganda. BRUCE talks of being fluid – moving into space.
What was the process like working with Srigala?
Srig is my broooo! And a madman. His sound is so recognisable, whenever you hear them drums, you know it’s him – and he’s coming from a similar place to me sonically, we compliment each other. I also think being both of half asian heritage there is a level of understanding there, and I appreciate that. He’s someone who is reflective of your energies. If you come in on full beam and bantering then it’ll be bounced back times ten, equally if you’re moving slow and mopey then that’s how it’ll go so sometimes: if the motivation ain’t high on both sides it can be a bit lengthly but that being said it’s 100% worth the wait every-time as you can hear – perfectionist cooking.
You often seem to write about ideas of conformity and this kind of idea of refusing to be labelled or put into a box, what are some of the experiences you’ve had that led to BRUCE and its quiet, simmering anger being formed?
If you haven’t listened to ‘Babble On‘ my one off podcast then take yourself there if you have the time – it’s worth a listen as it opens up a big conversation that answers your question. But yeah, society – systemic prejudice, we are all human and we naturally compartmentalise but when ignorance stands in the way of questioning the way you behave then it causes fuckre. Predisposed ideas based on the way someones looks. It is nice to be proven wrong sometimes, but you have to be open to being wrong, it’s a beautiful thing to be humbly incorrect – that’s how we learn and move forward. I thought my best mate was a fucking waste-man when I first met him, and I still do! Haha.
As an artist who is a big advocate for self-discovery and introspective reflection, what is the overarching message that you are trying to get across to listeners through the track and your work as a whole?
I want people to feel like they’ve traveled. To feel something. That feeling is different from piece to piece, but I guess theres a sadness in there, a blueness, as for me the musics cathartic – so; to feel this pain is to grow. I want people to feel it – and grow through it. To feel the ability to defy. To raise their frequencies.
What should we expect from BRUCE, the upcoming mixtape?
You should expect some stone cold killer riddims from the likes of the man Srigala, Purple Cloud, Ghost, dylantheinfamous and Mac Wetha. A feature from the beautiful Bel Cobain and some thought provoking atmospheric lyrical lamentations from myself. The tape is woven together as a whole piece, with the help of Joseph Efi the whole thing is designed to flow, using voice notes from my uncles and bredrins and manipulating the sounds to create a interconnected, fluid, water-like BRUCE for your listening pleasure.
Natty Wylah’s new mixtape BRUCE is available from March 5th via Gecky Records.