video exclusive: big narstie shows a softer side on new track 'they don’t know'
The Brixton MC releases a video for his soul-bearing new single.
Grime's unofficial king of comedy Big Narstie is known for his stream-of-consciousness YouTube missives on everything from Eastenders to doling out advice to people who have had problems with post boxes and ex-partners.
There is more than one YouTube video dedicated to his laugh alone. When Narstie rhymes, he tends towards the more rambunctious. See: "Gas Leak" or his recent collaboration with Craig David, 2016's "When the Bassline Drops." Serious and soul-bearing Narstie is not.
But he does have his moments. With a new album due, Narstie is apparently ready to reveal a little more of his inner-workings, starting with new single "They Don't Know." With an accompanying video by Michael Garsin, the Xaviour and Dullah Beatz produced track traces Narstie's upbringing in Brixton, where his mother did her best to feed and clothe a family of four. "I weren't satisfied with scraping by, I weren't satisfied with making do/Everything's dysfunctional, turned me to a raging bull, big man stress I couldn't concentrate in school." When another option proposed itself, Narstie's life took a turn. "Road money put food in the fridge and road money gave me clothes to go to school."
"I chose to go with this song 'cause I think people forget that, yeah, I can do the 'When the Bassline Drops' stuff, but I can give it to them on a deeper vibe when I'm ready, plus I just wanted to get some stuff off my chest," Narstie tells i-D. "People need to realize that I am a reactive artist — depending on what mood I'm in and what beat I hear when I'm in the studio, that decides what type of feng I'm gonna deliver. Expect my album — which will be out in summer — to be the same. When I'm up, I'm up, but sometimes I do sit down and reflect on real stuff that I've been through," he says.
Catch Narstie on tour with Craig David from March to April and his own BDL tour in May. "I'm a busy guy this year. BDL — base defence league man dem beat your chest, gal dem squeeze your titties."
Text Hattie Collins