The undisputed king of UK hip hop announces new album – the metaphor man strikes again
Interview : Dan Prince
Hey Jermaine welcome to DMCWORLD. An incredibly busy time for you with the new album, tours and festival season ahead. What does Wretch 32 do on a day off?!?!
“Day off Dan? I don’t seem to see much of those anymore lol. Due to my career I don’t get to spend enough time as I would like with my children so when I get a day off I try to spend a little quality time with them.”
You are putting the final touches to the new album, your third. People always say that the vibe of someone’s album reflects where they are with their life when they wrote it. After ‘Wretchrospective’s fairly rap heavy tones, ‘Black and White’ was more chilled. I’m guessing due to all of this incredible success you are having right now, numero 3 is a more uplifting, happy long player?
“Yes and no. It does have some happy uplifting feel good tracks but saying that it also has those times when things weren’t all peaches and cream. The harsh personal sensitive close to the heart tracks. That I experienced during the making of this album.”
The first single ‘Blackout’ is a collaboration with the singer Shakka, you are renowned for working with rather unknown artists – what was his reaction when you called him up and told him you wanted to work with him?
“Shakka was cool he came across pretty normal just keen to get in the studio and work.”
Some of the other names featured on the album include Jacob Banks and George The Poet. In DMC’s George is an absolute superstar, how long have you been on his radar?
“I’ve been a fan of George for some time now. I knew I wanted him on board from watching him on Youtube consistently produce good material, poem after poem that connects. With George he’s able to dissect a situation and put it across so vividly for you to understand and feel emotionally.”
George will be supporting you on you forthcoming UK tour that kicks off in Manchester in October. What can we expect from the show?
“With George it’s going to be a more chilled out stimulating vibe experience and for me this time around I’m taking it to a whole other level, turning it up a notch from last time. A fresh new show, performing new tracks off my upcoming album as well as the fans favourites from my previous one like Don’t Go and Traktor.”
You are one of the headliners at one of the most exciting festivals of the summer – the Isle of Man Festival in July. What has been the best ever festival experience for you?
“Yeah it is a privilege to be headlining at the Isle of Man festival on 6th July…it’s their debut so it’s going to be pretty special and I’ve never visited Isle Of Man before so really looking forward to this one. I’ve had so many great festival experiences but my best ever experience has to be performing Don’t Go alongside Josh Kumra at V Festival 2011 the same day it went number one in the chart. The crowd was something else that day singing every line of Don’t Go at the top of their lungs from the front to the back made it a surreal experience.”
Going back to ‘Blackout’, the first verse of the song is you saying you want to get away from the spotlight and the second verse sees you are out of the spotlight and are now in a club. What was the last great club you went to?
“Probably Club Rose Nightclub, Marylebone. But I always think a good night out is what you make of it yourself. I’ve been to some clubs with low turnout that I could count on both hands the number of people inside and poor DJs but I’ve made a good night out of It with mates.”
Where were the early clubs and DJs that you were checking out back in the day?
“Way back in the day I use to rave in Palace Pavilion, Temple and Eros. All this clubs are now shut down. It was mostly UK Garage and Grime back then so the DJs where Master Steps, EZ…. it was more DJ crews like Heartless, More Fire Crew, Roll Deep and Pay As You Go Crew.”
Your father was a reggae DJ, I suppose because music was always in the house it wasn’t really an influence on you, more of just part of your daily life?
“I would say yeah it was part of my daily life and by it being so it’s influenced the way I write, rap flow over the beat and even down to the choice of instrumental I select.”
You appeared on the Graham Norton show a couple of weeks ago performing ‘Blackout’. In the early days, how comfortable were you doing television shows that were being watched by millions?
“Yeah I used to get the jitters due to the fact I didn’t know what to expect or how I’ll come across on TV but that doesn’t happen anymore.”
One of the songs on your new album was influenced with a conversation you had with a stripper. How conscious a decision was it for you to stay away from writing about some of the more terrible things you have witnessed and experienced in your life?
“Very conscious to be honest. I write about every mad situation I’ve witnessed and experienced first-hand. I may keep out certain details or tell the story in a different way or through different characters from the truth but I try keep the sincerity of it so people can relate.”
And finally young man, what are these rumours about you now singing?
“Yeah there’s a little rumour that there’s a few tracks with me singing on the next album but I’ll just say it’s just a rumour. Won’t exactly call it singing that would be an insult to all the real singers out there. it’s more like gliding on a beat than singing.”
WRETCH 32 will be headlining Alcatel One Touch presents The Isle Of Man Festival in association with MTV on Saturday 6th July.