When describing the house he’d buy with his fortune on ‘The Bottom’, he raps about his oddly specific dreams, “Gates to the grounds, Fountain with a giraffe”. He explains this a little more to me.
“I had a mad dream of having a giraffe when you walk in my yard, a stuffed giraffe… And you know the Scarface fountain, ‘The World Is Yours’? Since I’ve been in nursery, I’ve always seen the house I’d live in.”
It’s probably safe to assume that he knew being the East Midland’s answer to a Colombian drug kingpin was unrealistic, yet while his fantasies might have been slightly madcap, his hustle was real. These are the two faces of slowthai that crop up throughout our conversation, mixing the absurd and chaotic with the profound and the driven.
It’s this unpredictable energy that he’s channelled into becoming a successful artist.
“Now I’m in a place where I can understand my ability, what I can do. Back then it was, ‘Try this’, and my words were just mumbled. You could hear one word in 16 bars. Now I can have fun and push myself.”
Fast-forward a few years from lakeside in Bush, slowthai is consistently releasing new music that’s getting critical acclaim from publications as diverse as The Guardian and Dazed. He was one of the faces of Skepta’s Nike x SKAir campaign, appeared on Boiler Room and racked up millions of views for his horror-tinged videos.
A fast rise, no doubt, but one hard to argue the legitimacy of. I ask him to pinpoint the moment he knew things were going to change for him.
“I was walking down the street wearing leather shoes, and I walked across a field and it was waterlogged and all the shit went into my shoes, all the mud. Then I wrote ‘T N Biscuits’. That’s how I wrote the bars to it. I don’t think I knew what would happen, I just thought I’d go back to the road. I didn’t really believe it at that point, but everyone was like, ‘This is a banger!’, but I didn’t rate it. I thought they were just throwaway bars. I don’t really know from then, I was just at the end of one journey and I started the next.”
It was a fork in the road, but a route that was easily decided upon.