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DC Is Holding It Down By Himself

The UK rapper speaks on his featureless debut, touring with J Hus, and trusting his instincts.

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DC’s been on our radar for a minute now, since the release of his 2017 bass-heavy single, ‘Playboy’. In the short span of two years, he’s landed a tour with J Hus, caught the attention of BBC Radio 1 and earned himself a spot on Colors Berlin where he spits over a flip of Fat Joe’s ‘What’s Luv’ and in March of this year, the UK rapper released his debut album Under The Influence,

DC is one of UK rap’s rising stars and with his early accolades being something to flex over, we’d understand if that was his style, but the young rapper is refreshingly level headed and humble. As we straddle the timezones between my home in Melbourne and DC in his native South London, he’s quick to answer and more than happy to stretch our topic of conversation. We slide the scale between Ja Rule’s future business ventures, who’s on his playlist, and what the UK has been offering to the hip-hop zeitgeist.

DC man, congrats on the tape, it’s sick. It’s your debut so I wanted to ask how you felt now it was out in the world?
Thank you! I feel good man, I’ve been waiting to drop it for a while so it’s great to finally have it out in the world and hear about people enjoying it.

It’s a featureless project right?
Yeah none.

Was it important for you to hold it down on your own?
Yeah I’d say it’s important to me to have my first tape with no features because I want people to understand what I’m about. I didn’t want, like, guest features being the talk of the tape. I just wanted people to see what I’m all about before introducing them to someone else on my music, you get me? I didn’t want to rely on other people to get my name out.

What made you want to start rapping and who were you trying to sound like when you first started?
[Laughs] Oh that’s a good question. I’ve always loved music, I used to write and recite my lyrics when I was younger. I also used to do things like record tapes off the radio and make playlists and things like that back in those days because that’s all we kind of had. I genuinely thought I was decent at it so I kept at it. My first tracks I used to try and sound like J. Cole a lot because he’s my favourite artist. If you go back and find my first soundcloud tracks you can hear the J. Cole influence in there for sure.

Other than having a new tape out in the world, what’s changed for you since 2018?
I’ve learned to believe in my gut instinct more. Otherwise, not much other than getting signed. I say that like it’s not a big achievement, but it is. It’s been a major change, it’s a lot different from being independent.

I’m sure if I asked you that question in a years time you’d have a lot to say. You’re still in the early stages right now.
That’s it. Literally.

UK rap is having a huge moment right now, who are some of the artists coming out of the UK that are impressing you lately?
Knucks is sick man. Octavian is hard, A2 is hard too. Those are the three I’m listening to a lot.

And how about American rap? Obviously you’re a J. Cole fan.
Yeah, J. Cole. Nipsey Hussle—rest in peace—and Meek Mill. Those are my favourite American rappers for sure. Also, she’s not American but i’ve been listening to Koffee a lot.

I like your song ‘No Manners’—the beat is a flip of Fat Joe’s ‘What’s Luv’ right? Is that a throwback to stuff you grew up on?
Yeah, it is. I wasn’t a huge fan of Fat Joe but I was a huge fan of that song. I can’t even take credit for the beat selection though. I’d sent some lyrics to my producer and he sent the beat over and I thought it was amazing.

That era of rap got me thinking about Ja Rule and the whole Fyre festival thing, have you seen the documentary?
[Laughs] Yeah bruv, that’s unbelievable honestly. I actually heard he’s trying to do another festival man.

You’re kidding. Maybe he’ll be luckier this time?
Yeah. Maybe.

If you had to put on a festival, who have you got headlining?
J. Cole definitely. I’d still put Meek Mill in there, I went to see him in LA recently it was proper sick. I’d put The Weeknd, I’m a huge fan of him. Gunna. Do you know what, I think I’ve put mainly rappers and not many singers so I’ll put Koffee. Oh and Burna Boy!

We like the same music huh? Gunna, Koffee, and Burna Boy are all on my rotation too!
Oh really? That’s sick, yeah Burna Boy is hard. Them lot are amazing man. It’s cool you guys are into the same stuff that’s popping over here. I just heard that Australian Drill track man.

Oh, OneFour from Sydney? What did you think?
I thought it was good man, I never knew that it travelled that far over. It surprised me. It was cool.

You toured with J Hus back in 2017—he’s just been freed up too. What can you tell us about your time on the road with him?
That was my first tour, it was a very new experience. Before that, the most people I’d performed in front of was about 200. Suddenly, I was thrown into performing in front of thousands. It was definitely a sick experience, J Hus is a very cool guy. I remember the first show was in Cardiff, Wales and he came into our dressing room and was just chatting with us, giving us advice. That tour was a big eye opener, there were so many things I wasn’t aware of like stage presence and how to connect with a crowd. I learnt a lot about those things on that tour. Even just chilling on the tour bus with Hus, freestyling and whatnot, it made me more hungry innit, because I saw how hungry he was even though he was already at that level. It really motivated me.

What’s next for DC now that the record is out?
Literally just more music man, more, more, more. Throughout my whole career I don’t think I’ve been dropping music consistently enough for whatever reason. I feel like I’ve been blessed to even be where I am without having done too much, so right now my focus is just to keep releasing music consistently.

Check out DC’s debut album Under The Influence

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