Over the past few years, the Manchester rap and hip hop scene has exploded with a wealth of new artists gaining popularity. LEVELZ collective member Black Josh is one of the most promising young rappers helping to put the city on the map of the global rap scene.
Starting out at just 15 in Ape Cult, a group he founded himself, he has since released projects like ‘Brexit’ and ‘Ape Tape’ that explore life in Manchester and his experiences growing up in the city. Black Josh borrows from a variety of rap styles to create gripping and gritty tracks that have earned him fans in his hometown and beyond.
We caught up with him to find out more about his musical evolution, relationship with music and Manchester, and recent projects. He performs a headline show in Drop Dead Twice, Francis St on June 16 with support from Lawriii Craic, Lemon Pie Records and Jake Hurley. Click here for more.
How did you fall into hip hop and lyricism?
Metrodome made a hip hop instrumental for me in college and recorded me in the college studio, before that I was trying to be a grime artist.
Lyricism came when I started writing with my first group which I named ‘Ape Cult’ 2011-12 because I had to study the game.
What’s had the biggest impact on the music you make?
Whatever I’m goin’ through or however I’m feelin’.
How has your music evolved since the beginning of your career?
I can rap on beat for most of the time now.
Are there themes and narratives that you try to centre your music around?
What is your approach to creating music? What are your processes?
Have something to talk about and an instrumental to match the vibe.
How has growing up in Manchester influenced your music?
Most things I rap about happened in Manchester.
UK rap is more prevalent than ever. What sets Manchester’s music scene apart from others?
What do you gain from being in a collective like Levelz and what do you think fans and listeners gain?
Being more open minded to other sounds and that’s for both parties.
You’ve worked with some of the most interesting names in UK music. Which artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Already been done, but there’s new faces everyday.
What project of yours are you most proud of and why?
‘YungSwegLawd‘ because it’s the next thing I’m releasing in Blah and the most relevant to my life right now.
Which one do you think is most representative of you as an artist and why?
None of them so far because they were made to help me find myself.
Black Josh plays Drop Dead Twice on June 16.