Birmingham is the hub for some of the most exciting UK music right now, and grime emcee Dapz On The Map is no stranger to the playlists and airwaves that have taken him from his early days as a member of grime crew Invasion Alert, to a standalone and standout artist in the British music industry. Dapz OTM is a name synonymous with deep thinking and dexterous lyricism that transcends the 140BPM bars of most grime. When you listen to his work, you get a real feeling for the man behind the mic—he’s an artist in the true sense of the word. Dapz OTM’s music is art and his lyrics are poetry in motion but occasionally, that motion seems to come to a halt. After another short break, however, he’s back with a vengeance on “Off To Work”, his latest single featuring Jme.

Having just announced his signing with Insanity Records—a subsidiary label of the mighty Sony Records and home to legends like Craig David and Shy FX—this Drake, Kano and Skepta-inspired rhymer is on a mission to take grime to the highest of heights in a wholly authentic, true-to-self kind of way. Fresh from a recent surprise performance at Spotify’s Who We Be: Birmingham event, jumping on stage to perform Birmingham grime anthem “Froggy” with his long-time friend and collaborator Jaykae to a rapturous crowd, we can’t help but feel that the time is now for Dapz to be on the map again. Complex sat down with the MC to discuss his highly-anticipated return to music and the big new signing, his love for the scene and the lessons he’s learnt along the way.