video premiere: nadia rose, 'skwod'
Reclaim your skwod goals with this scorching summer single from our favorite new spitter.
23-year-old Nadia Rose is the next newcomer from South London to join Giggs, Section Boyz, and Krept & Konan as an out, loud 'n' proud rapper. Having already carved a name for herself with street heaters D.F.W.T, Mufasa, and numerous freestyles and remixes (including i-D favorite Big N Serious from Sheffield's Coco), Rose recently supported (and pretty much stole the stage from) Alicia Keys at her recent Village Underground gig, and can be seen later tomorrow at Wireless Festival. Live, she's a ferocious fireball of energy, and this carries through to her music; premiering today on i-D, check out Rose's latest offering, the Mr. Mini-produced "SKWOD," a rambunctious rap track that revels in the importance of sisterhood, friendship, and family.
"When I first made the decision to pursue, I guess, this 'career', I had great people around me, my skwod, so I guess this track is me letting them know I recognize them and appreciate them," says Nadia. "I've had a crazy few months and part of that is down to the people around me. I'm not doing this alone, I do this with my skwod. This is my crew, which isn't informed so much about what people do, or how they look, it's just my people. Some I've known for years and years, others are new to the fam. I don't base friendships on length of time, it's about people I click with, that I want to work with, roll with, catch joke with. I know everyone thinks their skwod is the greatest, but mine, yeah (laughs), mine is pretty tight." Press play on "SKWOD," below, and read on to discover 10 things about the South London spitter that you absolutely need to know...
1. Nadia is a fan of many musicians, but is more about carving her own path than drawing comparison from others.
"I want to be the person who people want to be like, rather than be like anyone else. I'm versatile, I have no boundaries. I can jump on something slow and sexy, something conscious — I have no boundaries, I just create, that's me."
2, Although Rose just signed to Sony, she's determined to eschew the idea of being a pop puppet by retaining every inch of her own identity.
"I feel like I'm really in my own lane, I really want to promote originality and uniqueness and being you. I want everyone to know me through my music. I feel like some people are becoming clones because they don't feel like their lane can work, they're getting lost. I want people to know that just being you should be good enough. Being yourself is the most powerful thing you have."
3. She's from West Croydon.
"Croydon (laughs). Croydon. What can I say about Croydon? Well, it hasn't changed much, obviously they're trying to gentrify it now and all that, but for me it will always be the ends, the bits. I guess they're trying to fancy it up. But Croydon ain't all that bad. You've got the shopping center — which apparently is turning into a Westfield, so that's definitely them making it fancy. Croydon is the hood, it's the place to be. It's very multicultural; culturally it's very diverse."
4. Nadia creates amazing moments in music like this:
And this, which touches on the death of her Grandma:
5. She once worked in a betting shop in Croydon. There wasn't many upsides to it, tbh.
"Although, I really liked math in school. After art stuff, maths was my favorite subject. I really liked numbers, so that part of the betting shop I didn't hate as much as the rest of it (laughs)."
6. She's related to Stormzy (they're cousins) and knows the south London man dem, but came up very much on her own terms.
"I've known those guys before they became the musical figures they've become, when they were just making music, sending tunes around on mp3 (laughs). But I've always known my thing was different so it wasn't a thing where I would roll with them, really. I've been aware of their talents, they knew what I was doing, but I've always done my thing a bit different."
7. When this brilliant constructor of couplets isn't blazing through instrumentals, she's busy wondering why people kill each other.
"I love documentaries, I'm a documentary freak — especially ones about serial killers. Born To Kill, things like that. I really like it when they get into the psyche of these people — is it nature or nurture? I find it really interesting to know what triggers behavior."
8. The most important person in her world is impossible to pick.
"I wanna say my mom but my dad's gonna be brewing. So let's just say family. They've done so much for me and really supported me making music. They would say I'm late all the time (laughs) and that sometimes I'm hard of hearing but once I've clocked onto it or it hit me, I'm not going back. I love my parents to bits. They'd definitely say I'm very loving, kind thoughtful — I hope they'd say that anyway!"
9. Nadia doesn't need a nightclub to get turnt — she simply needs red, amber, green.
"I did this show, it was an Open Mic or something and after we finished, we had some bottles and other bits and bobs and basically, we just turn up at the traffic lights. Literally. We stood there and turn up. There was a shop opposite, so we were in and out of the shop buying more drink, getting slaughtered. It ended up on a bus, in a park, in a McDonalds. Basically, it was a traffic light turn up."
10. Nadia is as dev'd as us about the UK leaving the EU. In fact, she's pretty politically engaged.
"I've voted from when I was old enough to be able to vote. I voted to remain so I was quite stressed the morning that I was revealed we was leaving. I saw some petitions around the referendum, but I guess if it can't be overturned, then hopefully I'm out of here by the time it all goes through. It was disappointing. I'll just move to 'Dam, I think. A lot of things aren't going to change anytime soon, and I know that's the way the world turns, but certain things I feel like I can make a change, a lot of us can make a change if we get up and try. I'm aiming to make a difference, especially as a black woman, I really want to further us as a people. We have just as much presence and just as much power as the next person. My mom always said to me that the black woman has to work the hardest. That's what I'm aiming to do — make a difference."
Skwod is out now on Relentless Records / Sony.
Text Hattie Collins