Exclusives Interviews 4 June 2021

GRM Exclusive: ArrDee Talks Newfound Fame, Viral “Body” Remix, Aitch Comparisons & More

4 June 2021
Arrdee interview

We’ve all heard the line “Adeola wanna roll with a geezer and who might that geezer be? It’s ArrDee, the patriotic Brighton rapper who, at just 18 years old, has contributed to Tion Wayne and Russ’ number one single “Body”, which has reached the top of the charts in the UK and Australia, but ArrDee isn’t stopping there, and he’s ready to take his cheekiness and new sound to the rest of the world, but he’s making sure to represent his hometown Brighton along the way.

“Body” is the hottest hit of 2021 so far, and with the music video for the remix featuring Arrdee, 3x3E1 & ZT, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, Darkoo, and Buni having over 34 millions views, it’s safe to say people love it, and ArrDee’s catchy, viral lyrics from the single have become one of the most popular sounds to lip-sync over on TikTok: “Ayy, have you seen the state of her body? (Mad)/If I beat it, I ain’t wearin’ a johnny (Hah)/Adeola wanna roll with a geezer (With a geez)/Is it me or the lifestyle, sweetheart?”.

After posting his “Cheeky Bars” freestyle on Mixtape Madness back in January, Arrdee’s name began to gain traction in the wider UK music industry. Since then, he’s published the track “6AM in Brighton,” which received a lot of attention after he paid homage to his hometown. Following his debut on Russ and Tion Wayne’s massive “Body remix”, ArrDee teamed up with Fumez The Engineer for a Plugged In session where he freestyles over a hard-hitting Fumez instrumental, and his session surpassed one million views in less than 24 hours.

At the age of eighteen, ArrDee has already been a part of something momentous, having featured on the first ever drill UK number one. This is a turning point for drill and its community, and ArrDee is now a part of music history, and he’s only just getting started. 

GRM spoke with ArrDee via Zoom to learn more about his rapid rise to fame. The title of one of ArrDee’s freestyles, “Cheeky Bars” is a perfect fit as the 18-year-old is a cheeky chappy full of life. The rapper was all smiles as he joined the interview, as he sat in a pink tracksuit in a room surrounded by his friends, and despite not being on the scene for long, ArrDee is full of self-assurance, and his cheeky smile and hilarious method of story telling will charm you. 

Congratulations on the success of the “Body remix”, how did you end up on it? Who approached you?

“It was Tion, it was actually much more organic than people assume. Basically, Tion’s been supporting since “Cheeky Bars” which was the first drop, and “6AM In Brighton” he was feeling, then we started speaking through voice notes and I had an apartment around the corner from Soho, had some girls there, it was like 1am, so I went out with all of them to get more bottles but the shop was closed. We all went back and were waiting for an Uber outside and these guys pulled up in like a blacked out, tinted jeep. I didn’t realise it was him at first but Tion is bare tall, he was all ballied up and he was just towering over me, and he was trying to get in as he was with his set but they didn’t have the code. I asked if they wanted me to help them get in, and this guy just started giggling, and I was like ‘What’s funny?’ and he took his bally off and it was Tion. So we chilled in his apartment for a bit, he kind of spoke about the Body track then but when the single came out, I told him it was cold or whatever, so I kind of knew they were going to do a remix because that’s what them man do, and I had a feeling they were going to shout me innit! This remix wasn’t just out of nowhere, it was natural.”

Where were you when you wrote the iconic verse on the “Body remix” that has gone viral around the world? What was your thought process before writing it?

“It’s the same thought process for anything that I’m writing. I play off a real life scenario or something that’s happened. It might be something that my bredrins said to me, or it might be something I’ve said to them. Normally, for features or collaborations, I write more than one verse, and for “Body” I wrote about six or seven verses, and some bars were better in certain places. I knew I was going to start my verse with that Jonny line, every verse I wrote I knew I was going to start it was that Jonny line! (If I beat it, I ain’t wearin’ a Jonny) It was literally just that, I was in Brighton walking around and I think I decided when I was going to use that line I was on the beach with one of my pals who makes music, big up Dred because he was the one that was like ‘Yeah yeah, this is the line, this is the line!”. The night before I wrote the verse we were just chilling out and obviously when you’re out looking at girls and seeing what’s going on you’re just like ‘Oh you see her, wow she’s buff buff’ and I just wrote it all down.’”

Did you anticipate how big the “Body” remix was going to be?

“Yeah, I did. I knew the original would be big obviously because when it dropped they got like a million on Tik Tok in a day, it went crazy. I knew they were going to do a remix. Russ and Tion came and checked me when I was in the studio laying down my verse, so before it got sent off we knew what we did after we listened to it, we must’ve listened at least one hundred times. The vibe was good, we didn’t leave the studio till like 2AM.”

We’ve seen some huge people make TikToks to your sound, have you had anyone huge show love to you that you wouldn’t have expected?

“Yeah, Russ, as in the American Russ reached out and he was like ‘Yo, you’re sick keep smashing it, you’re a real star.’ Loads of people have spoken to me, I’ve been getting a lot of love, off the top of my head Russ is one of the biggest because that’s America, I’ve seen Jason Derulo do a TikTok to my verse with some kids or something in the kitchen, it’s mad.”

Is it weird to hear your voice everywhere?

“It’s crazy, you know what it is yeah, my bruddas are like ‘It’s annoying now’ just a repeat of “Have you seen the state of her body” every couple of videos they look at, but it’s sick I can’t complain because it’s my voice and my face everywhere so!”

Has your life changed since hopping on the “Body” remix?

“Obviously I’m going out and partying and I’m a bit more comfortable, the places treat me a bit nicer, places that used to kick me out are now trying their hardest to get me in there, you feel me! That being said, I used to party all the time anyways so. Before it all happened, I mean I wouldn’t say I’m big or I’m a star, whatever you want to call me, I used to think that once I was big I’m going to feel like the guy, I’m going to feel this and that and things will change but I keep a good team around me, the same ones that have been there since day one. Over here we all keep it real so that keeps me humble. Nothing much has really changed, I’m just still making music but more people are listening now so it’s sick.”

How does it feel to be constantly compared to fellow artist Aitch?

“I think because people assume I’m going to be short-lived, I’m not I’m going to be around forever so get used to the face, but because right now I haven’t been around that long, I think it’s good that people are comparing me with top artists, especially someone like Aitch. Aitch has been in the game forever and he’s smashed it, he’s lyrically talented, he’s been up and down the charts, it’s not a bad comparison! You’re not comparing me to somebody shit so? I don’t think Aitch and I sound that similar, why are we similar, just because we’ve both got a skin fade?”

How have the people close in your life reacted to your newfound fame, are they supportive? 

“My mum is crazy gassed, I got one bredrin in particular that has to remind me constantly that I’m actually a bit of an image now, sometimes I can’t do certain things that I did before because I got a lot of people watching, I don’t think it’s that much of a drama but yeah! Without trying to sound too big headed, I’m a big believer of manifestation, so I always knew it would happen at some point, if I’m being honest I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, and the age I’m at now, it happened so quick.

“I’ve been reacting well to it, my friends are crazy gassed, but I have family members who didn’t used to chat to me too much who are now chatting to me, I’m not complaining! Everyone’s showing love and everyone’s excited, and it is exciting. Obviously I’m from Brighton, and in terms of UK Drill, I mean I don’t even want to call myself a drill artist because there’s a lot more sounds that I’ve got. Brighton wise, apart from Ocean Wisdom and Rizzle Kicks, nobody’s really done it, and they weren’t really part of the scene I’m in, which is now popping, that UK sound.”

I read that you started writing songs at eight years old? How did you get into music as a child?

“Yeah I started writing when I was eight years old. I used to buy albums with pocket money, so we could either get sweets or albums, so I had to wait every two weeks because one week of pocket money wasn’t enough to get me an album. Get Rich Or Die Trying by 50 Cent was one of them, it wasn’t just rap though. My mum liked rock music, so Guns And Roses and Bon Jovi. My mum sings as well, not professionally but she can sing. My mum’s always been a big part of me getting into music, my family all love music, we all sing together, we have a nice party and everyone gets drunk and we gather together and sing Sweet Caroline!

“When I was eight years old I went down to Saunders Park, and a group called Radio Active had a music charity around Brighton and they would run the youth centre. They had a big DJ desk and a mic you could record on and put it on a CD, and I’ve been trying to find my CD but I can’t! I was eight or nine years old, and I used to play the guitar so they asked what I liked doing, and I said that it was playing guitar and I then made a record about playing the guitar, and it went something like “I can play the guitar, in a bath…” and slowly as I got a bit older I started going through some things. I didn’t like talking to people, so writing would be my way of getting it out, and then my friends starting listening and my friends said that I had something, so I put something out and it was terrible. Everyone cussed it, but like I said I’ve always believed in my myself anyway so I kept pushing. I was twelve years old when I put out my first song.”

Who would you say are your biggest musical inspirations?

“Definitely Eminem, he’s the first one that comes to mind, I used to like a lot of Dappy when I was younger, he was sick obviously, back in his N-Dubz days and when he transitioned into his own artist as well. I like the whole concept of Rock And Roll, I think there’s a difference between you being a star and a rockstar, like crazy hard, owning the stage, fans going mad and passing out, like a Michael Jackson concert. Even someone like Jack Black, I think I mix all of my inspirations, Eminem with the lyrical ability and the flows, and even the comedy in the bars, but it’s not comedy rap. I am comfortable in myself but I take a lot of inspiration from different people, and they’re not all rap artists.”

Is there anyone you are keen to collaborate with maybe in the U.K or abroad?

“I keep saying Travis Scott, have you seen the way he owns the stage and has a crowd moving? That’s exactly what I’m trying to do, I was drawn in from when I watched Travis’ Netflix documentary, and he got bagged for inciting a riot because his show was that lit! That is crazy, that’s something I’m trying to do. Sometimes I think when the sounds aren’t too similar you can link up and make something and it sounds the best, because sometimes when you’re collaborating with another artist that you sound too similar with, it can kind of defeat the purpose of two artists linking up.”

Have you ever done a live show? Have you got any planned?

“Well because of the Coronavirus I haven’t been able to perform, but there’s been a few bookings that haven’t happened yet but they’re coming. When I was a bit younger there was a show in my local pub, but that was when I was making Hip-Hop music. When I was first rapping, until “Cheeky Bars”, I didn’t jump on no drill beats. I feel like there wasn’t space for me to do it because UK drill was in a space where people were talking about drillings or badness, whatever you want to call it, and obviously I’m Brighton seaside fish and chips gang, so we’re not part of none of that. “

How does it feel that a drill track is number one? You’re part of history now!

“It’s sick, I also think that it is drill but it’s not like bad for the kids. If you listen to it yeah, it’s talking about girls and that, but that’s in all rap music, Rock And Roll, everything around the world so I think it’s sick. I did see The Daily Mail calling the single things like ‘Gang Violence and revenge’ like what are they talking about bruv? That had nothing to do with it, but yeah I think it’s quality, I think it’s sick. Ahhhh I like that you said I’m part of history! It’s the first number one that’s a Drill track!”

You released “6am In Brighton,” and several of your music videos were shot in and around Brighton, you love the city. How important is it for you to show love to Brighton?

“It’s so important, the reason I am trying so hard to represent it is because Brighton is a very welcoming town, it’s inviting and you can be who you want to be, and I’m comfortable in my own skin because you can be like that around here! You’ll find some crazy characters round here, but it’s fun. Also, because this is bigger than me, this is more than rap, because I’m putting on for the town, I might as well make it cool and shed a light on what it’s like round here then other talented people can come through afterwards.

“Representing Brighton is very important to me, and all of my music is just so Brighton. That “6AM In Brighton” video, if you’re from Brighton you’ll know the location in the video is where everyone gets lit, and all along the promenade, people get lit! I had a hotel the night before, and there were meant to be way more people on the drop where I go “I don’t give a monkey’s” but because we had a hotel the night before, and we were going wild and partying, we didn’t go to sleep till half five in the morning and the shoot was at six. Me and the ones were awake went to the shoot, we were trying to wake the others up!”

It seems like a regular thing for you to not have any sleep!

“I was thinking that the other day you know! I’ve been running off little amounts of sleep and copious amounts of partyness.”

Any recommendations on where to go in Brighton?

“There’s a few stops, one that’s opening up that’s about to be lit is club Zahara, you wanna get down there and check them because they play real good music. Sometimes you can catch me down Shooshh, if it’s sunny you got the lawns, the big Brighton promenade, there’s always BBQ’s, football, and speakers there, and obviously the beach, there’s a lot going on!”

You recently collaborated on a plugged in session with Fumez the Engineer, and the video received over a million views in a single day, as well as your “Cheeky Bars” reaching over 1.4 million views on Youtube. Is there a track of yours in particular you would consider to be a favourite?

“That’s a tough question! I think it changes depending on what mood I’m in, with the drill sound, I don’t want to keep on calling it drill, drill is a certain genre where you’re from a certain place and you’re doing certain things, but they are drill beats. There’s so much more to me as an artist than that, if I’m live and getting lit then I think it might be “6AM In Brighton,” that’s a good one and that definitely got turned up the other day. If I’m driving in the car I have slower ones so at the moment I would definitely say it’s my next single that’s my favourite but that’s probably because I’ve heard it so much.”

What genres would you describe yourself if you dislike using the term ‘Drill?

“I’d say I make music. Anyone from Brighton will know as well, these lot have heard me sing, heard me rap slow, bars, double time, grime, drill, I’ve jumped on afrobeats, I’ve jumped on everything! So, I just make music! That’s why I find it hard to email producers as they want to send beats so they ask what beats I like but I don’t know! If I hear a beat and I like it, that’s it. It might be 160bpm, I like guitars a lot as well! Ive got drill coming out of my earholes, but sometimes you’ve got to go to a different place and a different mindset and write about something different. I’ve got deeper drill songs as well though.”

You have done some amazing things so far, what else can we expect to see from you for the rest of 2021?

“A lot! Obviously the new single is coming, we got singles to flood you all the way till about September, obviously in September I’m turning nineteen. I’ll say the tapes more than ready, I like to live and be deep in the studio but yeah, a straight takeover! If you think you’ve seen my face a lot now on social media, you lot ain’t got a clue bruv! Everywhere, trust me. Takeover season!”

Check out the new video for “Oliver Twist” right here, exclusively on GRM Daily.