As I step inside Tinchy Stryder’s plush living room space, the platinum-selling MC leads me to a shelf of awards, grinning as he picked up a giant metal snake. “This one means a lot to me,” he says, of his Best Newcomer gong from 2003Sidewinder Awards. From the age of thirteen, Stryder would juggle school whilst doing pirate radio sets and getting reloads in raves; his classic line, “Yeah, let me see the gun-fingers!” would echo around venues like Stratford Rex and cause complete chaos in the dance, while Tings In Boots”—his debut performance on wax—remains a sonic treasure within the grime scene.

After releasing a catalogue of now-undeniable classics with his crew of friends in Ruff Sqwad, Tinchy Stryder’s persistence led him into a second phase that saw him focused on breaking the glass ceilinggetting signed, gaining mainstream money, success, and fame. With collabs with Taio Cruz, Pixie Lott and Dappy, tours with Rihanna and Usher, and a load of No. 1 and Top 10 singles under his belt, Kwasi Danquah has completed the mission he set out to do: open doors for everyone around him, while securing his future. Now in his third phaseindependent and focusedTinchy’​s opening up with his new project, Private Life In Public, where he reveals (with the support of producers like Sir Spyro) the troubles of everybody knowing your face. Complex spent the day at Stryder’s Essex abode to talk golden era pirate radio, the pressures of getting a No. 1 single, and how he uses music as therapy.