giggs…. still talking the hardest
His early life may have been no walk in the park, but Giggs carved a path for a new generation of British road rap.
When Nathaniel Thompson dropped Walk In Da Park in the summer of 2008, its impact was immediately felt. With his menacing monotone delivering stark stories of life in South London, Giggs was completely unlike anything we've heard before - or since. It's perhaps the Hollowman that we can partly blame for the mass exodus, at that time, from Grime to Road Rap, with many an MC attempting to emulate both his style and success. Since signing to XL in 2010, the Peckham rhymer has worked with everyone from Mike Skinner and Ed Sheeran to B.o.B and JME and released a subsequent three albums, all of which have been essential listening. Now releasing music via his own label, SN1 Records, we take a peek inside the mind of a Man [who really] Don't Care…
What were you doing 10 years ago?
Just a bit of running around, but still flirting with music.
British MC's are currently enjoying a lot of attention - why do you think that is?
I think it's probably cos we're owning it more now. Instead of trying to fit in with this country, or that country, we're actually respecting ourselves a bit more. We're sick, we're as hard as anyone and we make bangers, and people are more embracing where man's coming from.
Where did the scene go wrong?
I don't think it went wrong at all. Obviously you had a couple of man making some bullshit pop, but everything's written. So them man there, doing that, if they never done that, we probably wouldn't be where we are now, in some sense, cos that's how it worked. They took it where they took it, and that probably made people check us out more. Man never really had direction, everyone's learning, and now they're building. Cos this is all shit that hasn't been done before. What we're doing in this country hasn't been done before, so what way was there to do it? You've got to try different things.
What makes British music so great?
There's nothing special about the UK. I don't look at things like that. Good music is good music.
Who's your favourite MC?
It's kinda changed over time, but I'd have to say Drake. I'd be lying if I said anyone else.
What was the first bar you wrote?
When I was little, I used to do this little rapping thing. Then I grew up, started doing whatever, I went through that stage. Then I was a DJ, I used to DJ ragga, then I went back to music. My mum actually wrote my first lyric. I swear I was about 12. I was like, nah I need to write my own lyrics. It was a wack rap bar: "I like rapping on the mic when I'm riding my bike" or something like that.
Where do you live and what's it like?
Now I live in the countryside. It's the simple life. That's the life for me. I've seen enough excitement, you get me.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I never used to think about that, really. I just knew I wanted to be heavy.
What were you like at school? I was a fucker. I got kicked out of primary and secondary school. I wasn't bad like that, I just didn't know how to keep my mouth shut. I was always laughing and joking, showing off.
What was your first job?
I went through a little phase of robbing. I'd go up the West End and just rob people and shops. I wasn't very good at it. I kept getting nicked all the time and my mum was upset. So I went through a phase of trying to be good all the time; I got a job in McDonalds. I remember they told me to mop the floor and I was like, fuck that. I was there about a week. Actually, to be honest, I used to work with my dad as a yout'. He had his own removal van. He used to proper bump man (laughs). I'd be working for hours, all day, lifting furniture, and he'd slap man a tenner.
What was the hardest part about growing up?
You don't want to know, man.
What advice would you give to kids growing up?
You gotta follow your dreams. Don't let no one tell you you can't make something happen cos people are making history every day.
What's on your bucketlist?
I wanted to skydive, but I done that. There's loads of things out there to do that you don't even know you can do.
Who do you look up to?
No one, to be honest, never really have.
Do you have any regrets?
Yeah, we've all got regrets. Maybe without them I wouldn't be the man I am today. Actually, not getting on the ball earlier on in life. Wasting so much fucking time gangbanging and all that. Maybe there wouldn't be no story to tell without that though, so it all goes back to that. You only live once.
Age is… a number innit.
Text Hattie Collins
Photography Olivia Rose
Styling Jack Borkett
Photography assistance Rowan Hall, Menelik Simpson
Fashion assistance Caio Reis