Blanco has been a mainstay in our playlists all year, and after having a great string of releases he’s finally going to drop his highly anticipated EP this month. Also known for being part of the rap collective Harlem Spartans this year after his return the rapper branched out on his own to solidify his spot in the scene.
His first effort this earlier in the year Ringtone with Dr Vades completely flipped the perception of what Drill music was supposed to sound like, at the same time his peers such as Loski, Unknown T, K Trap, Digdat and others were also pushing the boundaries of the Drill soundscape. Ringtone appeared to mark a shift in approach for Blanco and we sat down with him to speak about his upcoming EP, his creative process, what lyricism means to him amongst other things.
This interview has been shortened for reading purposes.
PRDN: Where did you love for making music come from?
Blanco: You know what, I just loved listening to lots of different music and after a while I thought let me just try it. We were doing it for fun and experimenting with lots of different styles. I was listening to a lot of UK music, Squeeks and then Chicago Drill when it first started happening Chief Keef, Lil Mista, Lil Jojo and all of that. So we’d do songs to loads of beats and put it up on Soundcloud them times.
So do you remember when you got serious feedback that made you think you should take music seriously?
Yeah it was people in school, people from snapchat. Especially one girl I remember she loved it too much. She’d be calling man out saying ‘this is poor quality’ when she knew I could do better. So yeah those were the people man that were letting me know that I was sick and could do this. Then we had one song and we thought it was a hit, and a year later we did our first video. It got like 20k that was good.
That’s good numbers for your first video.
Yeah but obviously when other videos started dropping we started getting more views.
What is it with Harlem Spartans, there’s so much talent there.
I don’t know, there’s something in the water in Kennington. It started with me and Bis and then others were like let me try and yeah that’s it. Then we made it like a group thing.
Let’s move on a bit and talk about this year because this year’s been big for you as an individual.
Yeah I think people thought I’d be doing the Harlem Spartan thing but what they don’t get is the people that I was rapping with aren’t really around no more. So I wanted to know a whole different sound, whole different thing.
You can hear that in the music as well, that you’re expanding on the Drill sound that you originally started out with.
Yeah people say that the beats changed, but what I’m actually saying hasn’t changed. The only thing I’ll say is I felt like doing something different, like Ringtone like shout out to SB on the Beat.
How did you feel about the Ringtone instrumental when you heard it? Were you for it or were you a little bit on the fence about jumping on it?
Well SB said he had an idea, and I was there when he was making it. This sounds a bit like Grime then he added stuff to it. So I started writing to it cos I loved it, and it took me about 3 hours to write my parts. I was being rushed, I didn’t know song was going to turn into being what it was.
So you’ve been working on your EP, what’s that process been like?
It’s been stressful, loads of studio time. Choosing what songs go on it and which ones don’t. I think now I’ve got the songs that are going to be on it but other than that.
Have you had a favourite moment within that process, that you’d say you enjoyed the most?
Favourite part was probably… finishing all the writing and the songs. Cos it takes me a little while to write so when that was done, yeah I felt good about it.
So a quick one, have you seen all the Top 5 Lyricist talks happening? Don’t worry I’m not going to ask you to name your top 5, I just want to know what’s a lyricist to you?
A lyricist to me. You’ve obviously got people who know how to make hits and stuff but a lyricists are hard to come across like Dave is a good lyricist.
And is there anyone you feel the ‘UK let down?’
Section Boyz aka Smoke Boyz. They didn’t fail them but they should be getting more homage than what they get. The UK compared to America is mad cos America are more loyal to the pioneers whereas here people don’t give a toss. If you stop making music or went to prison forget about it cos people are just gonna move on.
Also Kilo Keemzo, he was the pioneer of this autotune thing like bare man just took his sound and ran with it. There’s quite a few now that I think about it but yeah that’s just a couple.
What should fans expect from your debut EP?
There’s 6 songs they are all completely different, two were written when I was away and then there’s a couple songs where it’s more me storytelling. Where I think people who are behind bars are going to be able to relate, and then I have records that are show how I’ve transitioned from that place to now. This EP shows my growth.
Blanco’s debut EP will be out mid November so be sure to check it out. In the meantime stream his latest below.