UK’s finest Remi aka Young Souljuh is a genre-bender that transforms the grime template into something far darker and more terrifying. Working primarily with super producer Bloodline Genesis, he’s been making incredible underground rap over the last few months and he’s arguably the best uniting his scene with that of the US into something truly unique.
1. You’re the first English rapper I’ve ever interviewed, so is there anything you want to say about the UK scene to kick off? I’m not very tapped into it myself so your insight would be valuable.
Apart from this grime shit I’m doing at the moment, none of my other music quite fits in with whatever’s getting major acclaim in this country. I find it boring though. Rap in the UK doesn’t seem very progressive or fun to me, I’ve been writing and recording grime tracks since October and I’ve received more support for it and there seems to be more of a community here to cater to that. There’s solid history and culture attached to grime, I feel very lucky to even be representing right now. Being born and raised in Tottenham and now spitting at this level is cool. It’s not something I actually saw myself doing (it’s still fairly early in my career) but I’m glad I’m able to do it. I don’t feel like the UK are as knowledgable about rap as they are in the US. Those that fuck with me over there know about the greats, they know what my style is, they can interpret it for themselves and they’re really into all the different styles of production I choose to use. Clued up is what I’d say the UK scene isn’t. I had one bredda who tried to stick it on me because I said pac was from New York. He’s fairly knowledgeable when it comes to Hip hop music in the past 5 years but that should give you a clue on how they’re seriously lacking over here. Maybe someone like Westwood would have the expertise but you can’t trust most people i’ve found, they just don’t know what they talk about. We’ve got drill, grime, Afro swing but this rap ting over here can be so gimmicky, i’m not on it.
2. Would you consider your music grime, or just heavily influenced by it? If you have any favourite British MC’s I’m sure anyone reading would learn a lot from your choices.
I’ve made a few grime tracks yeah, since early 2017 my style of writing verses has been influenced by grime. I get to throw in a lot more words and switch up my rhyme scheme continuously, something I find exciting and progressive, that’s fun to me. I made a list of my top 10 grime mc’s last year. In no particular order, wiley, lethal bizzle, Skepta, Frisco, ghetts, chip, big h, dot rotten, dizzee rascal and jammer. It’s crazy because I grew up on most of these man from primary school, lethal b and Skepta primarily.
3. Do you have any other notable influences? I know RetcH is someone you feel is underrated.
RetcH is crazy underrated, crazy, if only niggas knew how sick he is.
I’ve got way too many to name to be honest with you, but imma try. I’ll start with some obvious ones, Project Pat, Juicy j, Lord infamous, wiley, Tupac, 50 cent, UnoTheActivist, Thouxanbanfauni, SpaceGhostPurrp, Max B, D Savage and Chris Travis.
4. You’ve got pretty experimental in the past, on ‘CAN YOU SAY MY NAME’ for example. Do you have work in that vein lined up?
Experimental una, yeah for sure ! “Afterlife” is the sequel to the album “In paradise…”
5. ‘Akira’ is probably my favourite song of yours overall, the visual is amazing.
Thank you, I had fun with that one. I picked the locations to match the music on the album. Akira is a good part of the soundtrack. It’s nice when long term plans come to fruition.
6. Going back through your Soundcloud, you’ve released a lot of singles and a couple of projects, but your latest effort KING OF THE UNDERGROUND 2.0 WINTER SOULJUH feels like the most complete. Can you tell me anything about how that project came together?
That is funny as hell because i just went with the flow of things as usual. Maybe cus I’m a bit older now it seems that way to the outside world but it didn’t come together like yeah I’m gonna do a project now. I just wanted to get shit off my chest. When I felt like I’d said enough for this particular period in my life I was like fuck it, I think I know what to do with these songs, let’s go. I had fun though man, seriously, I’ve lived. Shoutouts to fifth element pka bloodline genesis and contact lens. Without them this wouldn’t have been possible. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future but what I can see is there’s more to work be done, we’re moving. If you’re in tune with my soundcloud, you might find more complete stuff on my bandcamp as well spotify and Apple Music.
7. From what I can gather, you self-produced most of your earlier music. Why has this changed recently?
Nah, I only produced two songs I’ve spat on at the moment. Christmas in shibuya and loco both on Remi’s revenge, vol 2. Sans is heavily responsible for production of my music in general. I did co produce some of my real early stuff, shit on my other bandcamp site but with another producer. Production takes commitment I’m not freely able to give at this moment in time. I always wish I could have the time but I’ve written so many songs, I have sooooo much unreleased material it’s probably best I continue mc’ing heavily to put that content out. The Kanye 5 summers ting is a shout, I’ve only done it for 1 summer so far.
8. Can you name some artists and producers that you’d most want to work with on a song? From either the UK or US.
Sans as an artist, Juicy J as a producer, UnoTheActivist (think he just started producing recently), vybz kartel and wiley. Macabre unit come to mind as well as novelist.
9. What’s the deal with you and Kish!? You guys got real beef or is it just you sending for him?
Some people just need chiefing.
10. Anything else you want to add? Glad we did this, I appreciate that you reached out to me when you did, I’m really fucking with everything you drop.
Safe my g, I appreciate what you do. If you ain’t heard it yet, go and listen to “on the desolate” that’s some real hardcore shit, I ain’t in a boy band my g. I’m here to live life and turn up as much as possible. Thanks to everyone showing love and support, even if you ain’t all energy is accounted for. Bless up