IYKZ is a promising and talented…
Rap artist who has revealed his mixtape, Kings Crescent on Queens Drive, to the world. IYKZ has Nigerian roots but was born and bred in Hackney. It is a part of the world that rings true and remains in his heart – growing up on the council estate, Kings Crescent. IYKZ started as a Garage M.C. at fourteen - and has since blossomed into one of the capital’s hungriest and most exciting young artists.
I learn more about the mixtape and the influences that go into it; whether estates are becoming gentrified, or it is important they retain their roots; what comes next in terms of plans and any potential performance dates - and a few great albums that have inspired his own music.
Hi, IYKZ. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m good. Thank you for asking! It’s been a rollercoaster, but what’s new? Haha.
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name’s IYKZ. I’m a Rap artist and songwriter from the north-side of Hackney, London (U.K.).
Kings Crescent on Queens Drive is your new mixtape. What sort of sounds, themes and stories inspired its creation?
This project is about my roots, the estate where I grew up; the streets that raised me - so it was only right that went back to the art of Rap music on East Coast production. That is what I grew up listening to; mainly via artists like Nas, Wu-Tang Clan; Jay-Z and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.
The mixtape follows the song, B-NO. What is that song all about? How did it come about?
B-NO’s is the ultimate reminder.
Even though it’s been a busy year for me; I’m still a new artist to most people and they tend to always ask “Why don’t I know about IYKZ?”. L.o.L.
So; I’m just saying that I’ve been here all along in my own little corner grinding away…earning my own stripes….
Are you already working on music for next year? What is in your mind right now?
I am! I’ve already written my next project - which will be my most personal and honest project to date. Can’t say too much right now, but it’ll be out before you know it!
It seems like you take inspiration from modern Rap/Grime artists. Which artists are you inspired by? Did you grow up with a lot of different music?
Yeah. I’m inspired by anyone doing great things, nationally or internationally. I like Skepta and Stormzy to Big Sean and Travis Scott; to James Blake and 6lack.
Growing up, I soaked in a lot of African music; just around the house and at parties but, also, a lot of Michael Jackson, Phil Collins and Tracy Chapman…hence, my wide range in taste.
Tell me about Hackney and your connection to it. How integral is the heartbeat of the street to your personality and music?!
Hackney is home.
I lived there for twenty-one years and still visit often: it’ll always be home to me. That’s where I learnt how to walk, talk - and many other life lessons I just don’t think could’ve got elsewhere. I’m very grateful to have Hackney in my heart - and it shines through in my music.
It gives me that raw edge others may not have.
It seems like the vivid scenes and social poverty of the estates affected your drive and outlook. Living in the ends; being around that much danger; what has the major impression been on you? Does it make you want to tackle the problems in estates – or is it a way of life that should remain?
It definitely did, but it’s not the same around there as it was when I was growing up. The things I was surrounded by, such as daytime prostitution and other crimes, are no longer. Most of my estate-blocks have been knocked down and there’s a big development process going on there. Gentrification has played a huge part - and it can only be a good thing.
I can only be grateful for taking the elements I needed from it when I did.
The likes of Charlie Sloth and DJ Target are among your supporters. How important is their backing?
We live in an influencer world now, with the emergence of social media and streaming platforms. There are so many artists trying to make it more than ever; so, these key figures are of even more importance now - to let people know who they should be listening to.
I just pray they continue to support and, hopefully, I’ll grow more of a platform from there.
What message would you give to your supporters out there?
Thank you for your patience and all your support. I may not have the biggest fanbase or platform right now - but I’m gonna keep working to realise my dreams.
So; stay tuned!
IN THIS PHOTO: PnB Rock
Who are the new artists you recommend we check out?
If you didn’t know already; make sure you’re up on Maleek Berry. He’s the future of the Afropop world. (We got more music coming next year, too!).
IN THIS PHOTO: Maleek Berry
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
Tough question but, if I had to choose, I’d pick Nas – Stillmatic
This was what I was listening to as I was transitioning into Rap (from a Garage M.C.).
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Doesn’t really need an explanation, does it?! Haha.
Lastly; my latest mixtape, Kings Crescent on Queens Drive; as I feel it really defines me as an artist and a man. I really tried to put my personality into the art - so, the listener will know me by the end of the project.
Can we see you perform anywhere soon? What gigs do you have lined-up?
I’ve just had a headline show - which is the last of the year. But, stay tuned to my website and social media channels for updates on where I’ll be next!
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
Stay consistent, content...content and more content. This digital age is so fast that you’re easily forgotten if you aren’t constantly in people’s faces.
So...stay on your job and great things will happen!
Christmas is not too far away. Do you have plans already - or will you be busy working?
I’m gonna be busy working on the new project!
Haha. But, yeah; no real plans at the moment. As long as there’s good food somewhere, I’m turning up! I'm not really one for presents etc. (that’s for the kids) …but food? With mulled wine?
That’s my kinda Xmas. L.o.L.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
No Security by the great Skepta! Dope record; love the beat!