Interviews News Videos 12 September 2018
Author: Nic Coaker

GRM EXCLUSIVE: Birmingham City Spotlight

Author Nic Coaker
12 September 2018

Although there is no doubt that many of the pioneers hail from London city, it is the sounds of the surrounding cities that have really been pushing the boundaries over the last few years. During grime’s doldrums when many MCs from the capital were abandoning ship, it was MCs from the many regions that flank the Big Smoke that were determined to keep the culture afloat. Now this time in the wilderness is paying back dividends, as some of the biggest stars of the scene have arisen from the likes of Brum, Manny and Leicester.

In each part of the City Spotlight feature, we’re going to focus on one city and their best upcoming talent. Whether this be Manchester, Glasgow or Blackpool; we’re going to take time to recognise those outside of the UK’s biggest creative hub, London. Delving deep into the struggles, perks and uniqueness of residing in previously unrecognised towns; we’ll begin to understand what it feels like to be an artist from the rest of the UK.

The first city which we will be focusing on in this series is Birmingham, Brum Town, 0121. A city which can sometimes be frowned upon due to the strong accent, but a city which is rich in diversity, culture and passion for their own.

Although social media seems to portray such a strong disliking of the accent, it seems to be that a lot of people have warmed to its uniqueness due to the likes of Mist, Jaykae and RK. All rappers who have made big names for themselves in the scene.

We spoke to RK, a proud Birmingham native who feels that his roots have done nothing but give him an advantage in the music game.

Birmingham is a city which is known for the accent. Did you ever feel that you didn’t fit in to the rap game due to your accent? 

Never. While a lot of the U.K. scene is from London and it is a lot easier to be accepted into the scene if you are from there, I feel that when you are different – but equally talented – a lot more people pay attention.

What would you say are the best three things about being from Birmingham?

Having other artists from here who have done big things to aspire to.

We have the best bud.

Everywhere is easily accessible unlike London where it takes an hour to do 4 miles.


Birmingham rappers weren’t necessarily big until the likes of MIST killed the game. Before this were people reluctant to listen to your music?

Not really. I believe the two biggest factors of what makes someone listen to someone’s music Is either inspiration (so the listener is inspired by what the artist is talking about or showing in his visuals) or relation (so the listener relates to the words the artist is saying and it resonates with them and their personal experiences) I believe my fans and listeners are of the latter, a lot of people relate to me.

What’s the best thing about having a uniqueness to your voice?

It stands out. The music scene is saturated with similar sounding artists. If it isn’t the afrobeat auto tune vibe then it’s the same accent, same flows, drill vibe. I do neither, so I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air to those who are looking for music with content rather than music that sounds good but makes no sense.

At what point would you say that you started to take music seriously?

When I signed my deal.



With Birmingham not having many artists making a living from music, do you think that people see music more as a hobby than something which can change your life?

I think they did. Until they saw what Mist has done, what Jaykae has done, what Lotto Boyzz are doing. These are all people who come from 5-10 minutes down the road from me – who are now all over the country and even doing international bookings for big money. So I feel like people think more along the lines of ‘if they can do it why can’t I?. 


Has it been more difficult to get noticed by major platforms or on social media? 

Yes, but it goes back to what I was saying about genre and types of music in the U.K. There are 2 or 3 that do very well: afrobeat/autotuned, drill and grime.

I don’t do either of these genres. I deliver hard hitting raps about how my life has been growing up and the struggles I have faced. These tunes are not the vibe that you will listen to in the club so automatically its harder to get the recognition that other artists do.


 Would you say that Birmingham has become its own creative hub? 

I think it’s on its way to becoming one. I still don’t feel like the scene is strong enough. Too many people wanna get their couple million views and bounce to London to play with the big boys, no one wants to strengthen the Birmingham scene as a whole. Until we stop looking up to these London artists and trying to get acceptance from them we will never be on the same level as them.

Have you found it easy enough to meet producers, artists and people in the industry?

Not really. It’s hard to find a producer or artist that you actually get along with and can vibes around. A lot of them are professional relationships man just wanna get the tune made and that’s that.

Can you walk around Birmingham without being recognised?

Not really. It’s cool though I like meeting the fans and people who support what I’m doing cos I like to show them I’m just like them, a kid from Brum who’s doing what he has to do to get by. I’m not a celebrity and I’m not anyone special.



From this it seems as though artists from Birmingham are grateful of every resource they have. Whilst being an artist, producer or just any creative may not have been viewed as something which can be your job; it is definitely getting there. Through hope, support and passion, the people of Birmingham are pushing relatable talent to the forefront of UK music. Whether it’s Jaykae appearing on US series Power or Mist’s debut album smashing the charts, every achievement is a milestone on its own.


Below is a roundup of five artists reppin the 0121. All Brum town babies, they’re each making history in what will soon be a city of many talented creatives.






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