Collistar, the West London emcee began his journey in 2015, shelling down various sets across the capital and gathering the momentum to drop his debut project Valentine, which brought him national attention with radio plays on the likes of 1Xtra. But it was the release of Welcome to Britain in 2017 that brought about thousands of new fans and established Collistar as an icon on the underground.
The whimsical lyricism, irresistibly British imagery and varied, funky beats, courtesy of producer JK, made the six track EP an instant cult classic. The project brought a unique hybridised sound which gave fans the energetic flow of grime with the dance-floor filling bounce of UK garage. It seemed people resonated with the undeniable relatability of Collistar’s references to everything from cups of tea (‘I like mine strong, very strong tiny bit of milk’) to his social commentary on the nation’s rich-poor divide.
It looked as if the world was at the feet of the young emcee: recently graduated from University, smashing 1Xtra sets with Sir Spyro and performing live to adoring fans in venues around the country. However, in January of 2020, fans were left confused when Collistar’s songs disappeared from Youtube and other streaming services. His Spotify discography disappeared and greyed out, unclickable boxes replaced songs on his follower’s playlists. The r/Grime subreddit was quickly set upon by those seeking answers and the same bizarre conclusion was found by several supporters: Collistar had found God. Many reported receiving similar information after direct messaging him; the rising star had allegedly drawn a close to his music, deeming it to be sinful and had consequently shunned his previous way of life.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, just last week, there was a post on Collistar’s Instagram which pricked the ears of those who had thought that we may not hear from him again. The short video referred to his years out of the music scene and included comments showing the utter bewilderment that followed the rapper’s abrupt disappearance.
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Most notably, however, was the announcement of a long-awaited new single titled “1952” which sent fans into a frenzy with the post receiving thousands of likes and hundreds of comments. After Collistar’s shelved tunes were re-uploaded to Youtube, some which have subsequently blown up on social media as the soundtrack to thousands of TikToks, creating a whole new batch of fans hungry for new music. With notable influencers including tracks in vlogs and previous co-signers such as Keeya Keys garnering more mainstream attention, is the time right for a successful return? The appetite appears to be there for Collistar’s unmistakeable talent but can the rapper, now twenty-three, strike while the iron is hot?