When you come from one of the most diverse, influential, and culturally infused parts of London, it's really not that hard to be as confident as SNE.
The Hackney-raised rapper has been creating a buzz for a few years now, first blowing up the spot in 2013 with his debut project, I.O.U. He gained even more popularity for his rap/trap/R&B fusion after releasing tracks like "Tiana Major", "Tell Me" and "Goku", and even made our emcees to watch list at the top of the year. SNE, which stands for Sounds Never End, is already building a budding fanbase across the pond, so much so that, earlier this year, he was asked to perform in Canada and Atlanta for a couple of big festivals.
Hackney's Golden Child—as he often refers to himself—seems very self-assured and poised on his debut EP, Essence, with cuts like the hard-hitting "Titanic" and '90s soul-inspired "442" showing some serious crossover appeal. The 14-tracker recently came to life at the rapper's headline show at Birthdays in Dalston (Nov. 13), and it was there Complex sat with him right before tearing the whole place down.
You recently turned 23—happy belated! Looking back on your younger years, was being a successful underground rapper something you ever envisioned?
If I'm being honest with you, I wanted success earlier and that was just because I was young. I wanted to be a big footballer, athlete, or a musician. It nearly came at around 18-ish but everything happens for a reason. So I would say I should be here at this point; sometimes I do feel like I should be further, but then I realise I haven't really done enough.
Who were some of your core influences growing up?
The biggest of the biggest: Michael Jackson, Ja Rule, Ashanti, LL Cool J, 50 Cent, Eminem... Eminem was a big one. Tanto Metro and Devonte—they're Jamaican artists—Beenie Man and Method Man as well.
How did you know that music was what you wanted to do?
It's a mixture of growing up in a nail shop and watching MTV all day, listening to all of the bangers, and Tim Westwood TV. Chipmunk's freestyle actually made me want to spit.
A lot of your fans are hooked onto this sound you've titled as "trillfull." Tell us a bit more about that.
Trillfull is different elements of me: the trap in me, the pain in me, the R&B in me, the MTV growing up in me. As well as my love for dancehall, bashment and reggae. I just feel like I'm the trillest. You could call it a genre but, really, it's just me.
How did it feel when your debut headline show sold out in 48 hours?
I had to slap myself, because I doubted myself. We've been working so hard for two years, and at the end of the two years, we took a break and then started recording music so I was thinking, "I don't have no bars online right now! I don't have what I need to normally sell out straight away." Then I put it out this EP and told everyone, and everyone was like: "I'm there! 100%."