Exclusives 23 March 2022

GRM Exclusive: How ArrDee Beat The Odds To Rise To The Top

23 March 2022

ArrDee, the cheeky Chappy who had millions of people rapping ‘Adeola wanna roll with a geezer’ last summer has exploded in popularity over the past year at just nineteen years old. It’s astounding how quickly Arrdee has made a name for himself, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t obstacles he had to overcome on his way.

The 19-year-old rapper has four Top 10 songs under his belt, including a verse on the first-ever UK drill No 1. His name started to get around after publishing his 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. He appears to be enjoying his life as he’s always seen grinning from ear to ear, but he didn’t always have a spring in his step, especially when he was trying to burst onto the scene.

When it comes to rap, the UK is shining, and Aitch is one artist that may come to mind when you think of a British rapper. The 22-year-old has been on an upward trajectory since coming into the spotlight in 2018 with his viral hit “Straight Rhymez.”

The rappers bear a striking similarity to one another, sporting similar hairstyles, recording music with the same musicians, and sharing a similar rise to fame through the release of viral freestyles online. The internet was quick to talk about the comparisons, ‘I’ve just realised Aitch and ArrDee aren’t the same person’ one comment read, but the rappers never spoke publicly about the comparisons. After a tweet from an account claiming to be owned by ArrDee insinuated that the two were collaborating on a track, their much-anticipated collaboration “War” was released a few months later. Some would say this was a great PR manoeuvre. 

ArrDee grew up in Woodingdean, Brighton, and his music videos frequently showcase sights from the city. His track “6AM In Brighton” has over 8 million views to date, and the video, which was shot in his hometown, showcased a patriotic side of the rapper. From there, ArrDee’s influence grew beyond his hometown, yet he never forgets his roots. 

‘Representing Brighton is very important to me, and all of my music is just so Brighton. I might as well make it cool and shed a light on what it’s like around here then other talented people can come through afterwards.’

Although Brighton’s local underground rap industry has seen substantial growth in recent years, no rapper from Brighton has been able to completely dominate the scene like ArrDee. With nobody from the area to look up to, the rapper had to turn to people outside of the scene. 

“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.”

Every few years, a new app revolutionises how we interact with social media. TikTok, a video-sharing social media platform, surpassed Instagram as the most popular app in the world in 2021. Lip-syncing to songs and composing dances became immensely popular among Gen Z, and many artists took notice. Take ArrDee. Since his verse on “Body” became viral on TikTok last summer, the Brighton rapper has exploded in popularity. 

“Body” was the hottest hit of 2021, 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 loved 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?”.

Thanks to ArrDee hopping on the viral TikTok trends with his lyrics, his Spotify streams have increased by over 3 million percent in the last year, and he’s performed at Wireless Festival, Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball, won YouTube’s Artist on the Rise award and even collaborated with JD for a Christmas advert all thanks to the power of social media. 

ArrDee’s turn on “Body” reached all corners of the world, even former adult actress Mia Khalifa became a pretty big fan herself, ”This song gives me superpowers,” she captioned a TikTok of herself miming along to ArrDee’s ‘Have you seen the state of her body?’ verse, writing on the actual video, “This verse lives in my head rent-free.” 

From a catchy verse taking off on TikTok, ArrDee was opened up to a variety of opportunities that have made his career climb. 

The rapper dropped his highly-anticipated mixtape Pier Pressure last week, which mostly aims to document the coming-of-age narrative, and show just how far ArrDee himself has come. One year ago ArrDee was working in a warehouse, fast-forward to now, he’s featured on a UK number one, amassed millions of Spotify listeners, collaborating with the likes of Aitch, Digga D, and companies like JD, ArrDee has truly defined the odds.