BackRoad Gee is the rapper bridging the gap between UK drill and grime
Including details of his debut mixtape, here are 10 things you ought to know about the Londoner collaborating with Pa Salieu, Lethal Bizzle and JME.
Image courtesy of 23 Formation
You’ve probably heard BackRoad Gee before. You must’ve done. He’s the guy who brought the frenetic energy and atypical ad-libs to Pa Salieu’s “My Family”, the one who truly made his mark on the music industry back in spring with “Party Popper” (just shy of 1.5million views and with features from Pa and Ambush), and the artist people go to when only the hardest sound will do. BRG’s determined energy takes it there.
Raised in East London — something he credits for “making him the man he is today” — BRG has early memories of his parents playing songs from their native Congo. But it was in his teens that he began rapping and singing with friends, taking things a step further after one of them urged him to take his talent to the studio.
Today, BRG’s music sits at a relatively unexplored sweet spot between two genres: it’s drill but make it grime. “To me, they both sound similar,” says the 23-year-old, who grew up on the latter. “So why not mix it and create a new sound?” Aiming to make all kinds of music for all kinds of moods, BRG is arguably best known for his cultural pride and collaborations with his friend Pa, the Coventry rapper he shares a special sort of chemistry with, lending verses to one another’s tracks and rising up through the UK rap scene together.
Following his impressive MuktaVSMukta EP this summer (and a feature on D Double E’s “Tell Me A Ting” remix alongside Novelist, P Money and Frisco) BRG called on legends in the game Lethal Bizzle and JME to guest on new single “Enough Is Enough”. Released just last week, the lead single from his forthcoming debut mixtape Summer Ina Da Winter tracks the artist growing tired of his lifestyle and the moment he decided to change it.
As you wait for shows to become a reality once more (because let’s face it, his shows are going to generate the energy we’re lacking in 2020), get to know more about BackRoad Gee, in his own words, via these 10 quite interesting facts…
1. While some people claim picking a favourite lyric is like picking a favourite child, BRG knows exactly which he’s most proud of
“Alhamdulillah I’m free/ my vision is clear I can see.”
2. Proving that it is possible, BRG learnt three languages from YouTube
“My native language Lingala (though my parents mostly spoke to me in my native language growing up), French and a bit of Swahili.”
3. The last time he decided that enough was enough was…
“When I was broke with no job and homeless. I said ‘enough is enough’ and had to get up and change my life.”
4. If he had told his 16-year-old self that one day he’d be collaborating with Lethal Bizzle and JME, he wouldn’t have believed it
“I never thought things like this could ever happen. I grew up watching those guys on TV!”
5. He and Pa share something real
“That's my brother. We got very good chemistry in the studio… always pushing and bringing the best out of each other.”
6. He’s a serial ad-libber. The best thing about them?
“They give people energy.”
7. You can expect all sorts from his Summer Ina Da Winter mixtape
“You’ll hear some stuff you might be used to… high energy, high tempo. And at the same time, some new sounds, which is still all me, but different to what you’ve heard so far.”
8. Life has taught BRG some important lessons so far
“I’ve learnt to never give up, and that you have the power to change any situation you’re in.”
9. He’s more of a musician than you might realise
“I play a few live instruments, which I will be incorporating into my live shows.”
10. Talking of which, he has big plans for when this pandemic blows over
“I can't wait for lockdown and Covid-19 to be over so I can get out and perform. I want to take my music worldwide and touch many people's lives with it.”