We spoke to one of the most promising spitters from London’s underground about how Ghetts, Joey Bada$$ and emotive freestyles shaped his sound.
West London’s Elevation/Meditation crew have been on a bit of a tear in 2020 despite the world being on fire. We had production maestrop-rallel drop his sophomore EP, Louis Culture release ‘Smile Soundsystem’ and resident spitter Lord Apex share ‘Supply & Demand’. Next up in their relentless release schedule shaking up London’s underground is Finn Foxell.
Having made his mark on the scene with his ‘Good Tea’ EP and collaborations with the rest of his West London collective, he’s developed a reputation as a wordsmith that juxtaposes his lackadaisical style with sharp wordplay. Keeping his early momentum going, he’s dropped his ‘Talk Is Cheap’ EP that reinforces his “say less, do more” attitude. Emerging through a slew of intimate recording sessions and trips to the west coast of America and Barbados last summer the EP is the synthesis of a freewheeling creative approach that has him tipped as one of the hottest commodities coming out of the capital.
Everything Finn does is a family affair and the cover for ‘Talk Is Cheap’ features the rest of Elevation/Meditation and ahead of its release he paid tribute to his brothers saying, “Everyone on that cover has contributed to my journey through action, through love and support, fuck knows where I’d have found myself without their guidance”.
The comradery that helped spawn the piece is complemented by a variety. If you were sleeping on Finn before then his ever-growing repertoire on his new project will be a rude awakening. Following the release of the EP we spoke to Finn about the five songs that have stuck with him through thick and thin and inspired his sound today.
Ghetts – Skinny Sort
Veteran Newham spitter Ghetts has been spinning rhymes since before UK rap and grime was getting any spotlight and now he is finally getting his shine.
Finn highlighted the importance of his debut mixtape and in particular ‘Skinny Sort’ in his formative years.
“The flow on this captivated me when I was like 12, one of the first grime tracks I heard had me captivated how skippy he took it, him and Devlin had a lot of tunes which I looked up to lyrically”.
English Frank SBTV Warmup Session
In the early days of SBTV witty one-liners proved to be a legitimate currency, with MCs showing off their pen game in frantic freestyles. One of the most iconic to grace the Youtube channel was that of English Frank’s Warmup Session. There are elements of the raw approach in the back-alley performance that can be found in Finn’s work today.
“The maddest of tongue twisters, talking so much street prophecy in each bar being a tiny puzzle piece of whole 64 of flames”, says Finn.
Joey Bada$$ – Pennyroyal
A teenage Joey Bada$$ was donned a traditional hip hop revivalist of sorts when he released his ‘1999’ mixtape. Honouring the key tenets of the east coast sound he made sure to cross the Ts and dot the Is of every word and never let a syllable go to waste.
Talking about the influence of the project on his work Finnappreciated the attention to detail on ‘Pennyroyal’ stating “His bars couldn’t be more in the pocket.”
Nas – The Message
A certified classic, Nas’ ‘The Message’ is a blueprint for any young artist wanting to thread careful tapestries representing their story.
It left a lasting impression on Finn who applauds its nuance.
“The storytelling by has always blew me away, the way he painted multiple pictures in this song with just a couple lines to each it’s oh so elegant.”
Benny Banks – #QoQ Freestyle
Benny Banks’ ‘#QoQ Freestyle’ was a walking contradiction in the most perfect way. Transparent about his vulnerabilities the London spitter’s superpower is his honesty and it gives him the added vigour to breathe confidence in his words. Finn says the duality of the track is most impressive, “There is countless one-liners of real talk, the way he drops it he flexes and stays humble same time…”.