Interviews 9 August 2019
Author: Alice Moodle

GRM Exclusive: ‘The Rap Game UK’s’ Unknown Smooth Talks Inspiration, Dream Collaborations & More

9 August 2019

It’s not long until Krept and Konan’s Play Dirty record label sign their newest music star. With their new television show The Rap Game UK soon due to hit our screens, BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target will join the duo in hosting the show.

Seeking a new artist to sign, the Play Dirty record label founders work together alongside several guest mentors, putting contestants through an intense six-week journey. The young breakout rappers will live together to develop their music skills in order to battle it out for the chance to receive the opportunity of a lifetime, a record deal on the Play Dirty label.

GRM Daily caught up with Unknown Smooth, one of the contestants of the show, to find out a little more about her music background ahead of her time on The Rap Game UK.

Originally from West London, the 20-year-old now Milton Keynes resident Unknown Smooth explained how where she’s from and where she’s been has influenced her music.

“I’ve been traveling my whole life, Africa, Kenya, Dhabi, Egypt, America, Italy, Holland, loads of places. I’ve been everywhere seeing different cultures. My whole family comes from different cultures, they’re originally from Somalia so I’ve always had different influences.”

By drawing influences from all around the world, do you think this has an impact on your sound?

“I’d describe it as the new UK wave I guess. I don’t even know my own sound – it’s so crazy to say I don’t even know my own sound but I just don’t. I definitely don’t fall into a genre, I listen to everything and I can’t even pinpoint the music that I listen to so I don’t think I can say that any of them fit me and my sound.”

Do you think that will change over time or do you think that’s how it’ll always be?

“I’m the type of person that if someone says ‘you fall into this category’ and it actually makes sense why I fall in that category then I’ll be like ‘okay cool’ but if I’ve done a hip-hop track then I want to do a drill track, I’ll do it. I don’t want to be labeled down to one thing.”

“I don’t follow anything, I am my own person, I just know that I love music and love making music. I don’t ever want to fall into a category, I might make my own category. I make my music for anyone that fits it, anyone that wants to listen then listen. I could be out listening to rock and no-one would expect that but I do, I like it so I listen to it. That’s who my music is for, if you want to listen, listen.”

Where do you find inspirations for your content?

“Everything and anything, anything that’s on my mind. I couldn’t even say to you there’s one inspiration, it really is everything and anything but things that I’ve been through in life are always going to find a way into my music. It could be hard times but I can make it sound so fun.

“I’m just on my own path, following my own timing. I’m still trying to find myself constantly so I’m still trying to get inspiration from everyone. There are so many names I could say that inspire me and I aspire to be like but I’d just be sitting here forever.”

What do you want people to take away from your music?

“Do you know what? I’m the type of person that is like ‘Do what you love and don’t care about anyone’. If you love doing music then do it – anyone can do it. This opportunity came to me at the most perfect time, I didn’t expect ever in my life to get this kind of opportunity. I want people to just listen and then go and do what they want to do like I did.”

What is the process like once you get in the studio?

“When I’m in the studio I just love being in my zone, I love being there for hours and hours, just finding my sound and finding what I really love. I could make millions and millions of songs but it’s down to which ones do I really like and which would other people understand.”

“I like to work with whoever is in the studio with me. I can write stuff then have an idea and start rapping. I’ll hit a word and I can’t think of a word that’s gonna match it and if someone is in the room, they’ll say the word then I’m definitely gonna write it down. Everyone works together, you always win if you work together.”

Other than being accepted to appear on the show, has there been a significant moment when you realised you wanted to do music as a career?

“I just love doing anything to do with music and if I love something then I’m gonna do it. I love doing music so much that it made sense for me to follow it for a career.” 

“The Rap Game came at the right time for me too. This time last year I was in prison and as soon as I came out, I knew I wanted to do something positive. I was like ‘okay I wanna do music’ and I did.”

What do you hope that you can get from the experience of being on the show?

“Knowledge in the industry. I don’t know a lot about the music industry yet but I love doing it and that’s why I’m here. I just want to learn, I love learning new stuff and I love music, I’ve always wanted to be involved in music so getting to learn new stuff through the show is actually mad.”

After the show is over, what is your next move? What do you have planned for the future?

“Global, I wanna be global. There’s no question there. I wanna be reaching places that I never even knew existed. You know those islands that you don’t even know about yet? That’s where I wanna go. I wanna go to places that I’ve never heard of until I get my booking there, that’s where I wanna take this too.”

“In twelve months, I’ll be the in the charts. Trust me, I’ll be in the charts within the next 12 months. I don’t care what kinda song but it’s going in the charts. Even if it’s a collaboration or a feature, it’s charting.”

Speaking of collaborations, who would your dream collaboration be with, and why?

“Collaboration wise? Chris Brown, it has to be, he’s a legend. My dream would be to work with Chris Brown, Chris Brown is the one.”

BBC Three’s The Rap Game UK is coming to iPlayer on Friday 23rd August.