Exclusives 26 May 2022
Author: Vince

GRM Exclusive: How Nafe Smallz spearheaded the UK Trap Wave scene

26 May 2022

As an early adopter of  UK Trap Wave, Nafe Smallz has led the way for a whole heap of new rappers in the ever expanding scene. His melodic approach combined with all the classical elements of UK rap, which spans across the various sub- genres, added to the obscurity of his beat selection, which set up him up for success with fans from all across the musical landscape.

Nafe burst onto the scene in 2013 when he dropped his first tape with Young Delz
New Years Eve Special. His work rate has always been impressive, and following the release of his first tape was a series of online drops which put him on the industry radar. During this period Nafe really pushed the envelope when it came to infusing the trap wave sound into his music,  which at the time was still heavily associated with America.

The rappers Fire in the Booth was a standout moment in his journey cementing himself as trailblazer. His bold, unapologetically authentic performance on the Charlie Sloth freestyle, was a welcome change to the usual programming, and really blew up with the fans . His originality and willingness to push the sound boundaries, continued to play in his favour, landing him an opening slot at Skepta’s historical Alexandra Palace show.

Nafe continued to prove that his style and sound was fitting for the UK scene, with each new release. Standout tracks #Livewhatyourdreamingand “Smoke” which both went viral and catapulted him into the musical stratosphere as well as solidifying his identity as an artist and establishing his undeniable wave.

His third project, was a real pivotal moment that saw him transition into the artist we are familiar with today. The growth in this project is evident to hear, the sound developed and matured, not only in terms of lyrical and melodic content, but also in the beat selection and overall production.

This entire journey which leads to Legacy can be heard throughout the 16 track tape, as each serves as a touchpoint for the different waves that make up Nafe Smallz the artist. You get a real sense of a what a seasoned, established musician Nafe has become. 

Even with this pioneer status, he continues to demonstrate growth and creative experimentation which keeps his sound fresh. The project contains an array of vibes and is a true demonstration of an artist who has created and developed a lane entirely of his own.