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June 8, 2017Feature

Coili Collins caught up with LD, the masked fifth of UK rap crew 67 ahead of their performance at Bulmers Forbidden Fruit to discuss London's ever-changing landscape.

"Even in London a lot of people still don’t understand what we talk about or where we’re coming from, but they like the vibe and the energy we bring."

As the UK rap scene gets bigger and bigger, the pillars of the sound; the Wileys, Dizzees, Kanos and whoever else you’d put on that pedestal, rise further towards music’s highest platform, leaving space for the scene’s up-and-comers.

 

Of late, we’ve had Skepta, Giggs, Dave and Section Boyz all supported by the global institution that is Drake, but it definitely isn’t an empty pool outside of those household names.

67 (that’s six seven, not sixty-seven), have been busting down door after door and are now on the tip of any UK rap fan’s tongue thanks to their in-your-face and refreshingly raw and honest lyrics.

A diverse group of five– Dimzy, Liquez, LD, Monkey and ASAP, they’re arguably a UK hybrid of Chief Keef and Migos, but are still pretty incomparable at that.

With a long list of collaborators including Giggs, New Gen and more, the most important has been their symbiotic relationship with relentless producer Carns Hill, who shaped their sound from their inception through his diverse but trademarked productions.

His recent ‘Family First’ release that featured 67 heavily, as well as big hitters like Youngs Teflon, highlighted just how far not only 67 have come, but their supporting cast, a testament to the strength of both their support and the scene they’re a part of.

Their Irish takeover centred around an early slot at Forbidden Fruit and a jet-fuelled, energetic set in the loft of Grand Social as part of Welcome’s farewell show with Mall Grab on deck downstairs. This was definitely a sprint, not a marathon.

LD, ironically the most recognisable of the crew, despite constantly wearing a mask, managed to spare us a minute just as they touched down at the airport, while his cohorts sporadically peeped ad libs in the background.


What’s it like being from London, and being a proper representation of its culture, but still being recognised and appreciated outside of it?

What’s the feeling like?! That one you can’t describe! We’re still used to living in London, and London to us is small because everywhere you go, you see everyone.

The second you step out, everyone seems strange to you but everywhere we go we see people that know us! It’s a good feeling, but it’s weird at the same time, we’re still getting used to it.

Your music is totally based around London too, so it must be crazy for that style to be so well recognised around the world now.

It’s a bit shocking to have people that aren’t even from London, not even just outside London. Even in London a lot of people still don’t understand what we talk about or where we’re coming from, but they like the vibe and the energy we bring.

Your live show will definitely showcase a different dynamic that international listeners haven’t witnessed before, are you excited to show yourselves to the world?

We love live shows because that’s where you see the reactions. You see what songs are powerful, what song suits what sort of age group and you can see it all right in front of you at a live performance so we love that aspect.

As you’re getting bigger, is it harder to talk about the same stuff you did on your earlier stuff?

That’s what everyone says but we’re not trying to look at that as a problem because we know we’ve got style and flow on any type of rhythm. Put us on a song and we can talk the same and spit the same and make everyone love it.

Being part of such a big group and being able to swap around so much, there mustn’t be that much pressure to be on every track.

That’s the best thing, we make work easier like that!

Travelling must be a lot easier then?

It’s like travelling with your brothers and sisters or your mum and dad! Everyone that’s around us has been there from the beginning so it’s like going on a youth club trip [laughs], but we’re older now. That’s what it’s like, but it’s stricter, we’re keeping it professional because we know we’re working at the same time.

Is it hard to get a good balance between working but also performing, was there ever a point where you’ve really had to treat it as a job rather than a hobby?

It was hard to get that balance but that’s what we have to do now. When we first started we never ever thought that we’d get the response and love that everyone shows us.

To us, it was turning up at shows, not really caring that we’re here to do shows, we were always here to have fun and once the crowds started getting bigger we saw that this is work now, there’s no slippin’!

After speaking with Nathan Miller, the director of LDN, there seems to be a really supportive scene in London for artists coming from that area, it’s easier for artists from that area to get recognised because the scene is so strong at the moment. Being one of the leading young artists coming from there, what’s it like to be able to go back to that scene after a show or tour abroad?

London’s home. I wouldn’t say it’s a relief, sometimes it’s a headache because you’re coming back to the real world. I wouldn’t say it’s competitive, it’s a bit annoying. It’s the real world again. We’re not in that world, we’re travelling, doing festivals, we’re in that next world!

Words: Coili Collins 
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