Ever since he began his music exec journey in the late 2000s, Birmingham-born Despa Robinson has consistently connected his city with the wider music industry, which wasn’t the easiest thing to do when he had next to no connections to the industry’s London base. Some of Despa’s earliest projects included StayFresh, the Midlands grime outfit, and S-X, the man behind one of grime’s most cherished productions, “Wooo Riddim”.

While StayFresh disbanded prematurely some years ago, and with S-X moving on as a singer-songwriter in his own right—under his BE83 management company and now label, Despa has been working with a pool of grime and rap acts from Birmingham, namely Jaykae and Dapz On The Map, with aims to build a new hub in the city for aspiring talent. More recently, Despa was involved in Risky Roadz’s 0121 documentary for Amazon—a piece on the local music scene—where he worked as head music supervisor and pulled in original cuts from the likes of Sox, M1llionz and Mya Remi for the official soundtrack.

Having inked a new distribution deal with Sony imprint The Orchard, Despa continues to make necessary moves for not only himself and his stable, but for 0121 and the Midlands at large. We hopped on a Zoom call with Despa to find out more about the deal, the Brummie music scene, and how a Skepta lyric reunited him with his estranged mother. 

“Everything that I’ve ever done has been self-starting and trying to make a thing happen that I want to see happen, and just following through with stuff.”