Yizzy: the MC talks new EP ‘S.O.S.’, pirate radio and the misrepresentation of grime in the media

"I could be bigger than Drake and I’d still go and turn up to a pirate radio set in a t-shirt and Nike sliders"

At only 18 years old MC Yizzy is about the same age as grime itself; but despite this, his music harks back to the early beginnings of the genre and the original sounds that dominated London in the 00s. On his latest EP, ‘S.O.S.’ (standing for Save Our Sound), Yizzy shows off his brazen talent with his blistering bars and old school production by a host of the grime legends.

We caught up with him to talk the new music, pirate radio and the current misrepresentation of grime in the media.

Your new EP ‘S.O.S.’ is out today. You worked with so many legends on it, like Maniac, Swifta Beater and Rapid. What was the writing and recording process like?

Essentially, what I wanted to do is I wanted to come together with seven of the original grime pioneering producers to make a song that emulated the original sound and roots of grime because I feel like there is a lot of misinterpretation in the modern world.

It was a long process because to get hold of legendary producers is one thing and then to get them all together in the same place for a project is another. It happened track-by-track over the course of 6 or 7 months, but it was sick because I pretty much worked with half of them, just over half, like actually sat down and went through the beats to make it what it is now so that was a really personal process, which I thought was really sick; something that I’d never done with them before.

What’s it like being part of genre that’s now gone completely worldwide?

I think it’s exciting being a part of it and coming up for me specifically, coming up from nothing, no lyrics, no bars, not knowing anyone, to where I am now and knowing and collab-ing and working with a lot of people in the scene. For me, it’s amazing because I essentially went from listening to people when I was younger to either seeing or being around them when I’m older, which is crazy, because I never thought that would happen. I feel like grime is a really popular genre at the moment for a number of reasons.

I feel like some of those reasons are good, some of those reasons are bad but everyone’s eating, everyone’s doing well so you can’t really knock anyone’s grind or hustle because everyone’s doing them.

Bad reasons?

The grime that’s heard today in the mainstream isn’t really grime, it’s more pop. Grime itself stems from a pirate radio culture and the angry kid with no voice but nowadays, we’ve got pop songs in the charts rather than the real grime. There’s a lot of misinterpretation with the word grime because it’s popping right now, it just gets thrown out everywhere by artists, producers, media outlets, journalists. It’s just like “this is like a cool word now and it’s popular so let’s throw it out there”. I feel like a lot of media outlets and journalists specifically like to call certain things grime or certain people grime when they couldn’t be further from it, which I don’t understand. Everybody makes mistakes but I don’t understand how it’s allowed to happen continuously with no kind of repercussions because if somebody started turning round and consistently calling Drake a heavy metal artist, there’d be some kind of backlash from it. But yet, in the grime world there is no backlash.

I feel like people just need to do their job properly. It takes you two seconds to Google somebody and to tell you what kind of music they do but we’ve got people who can’t even be bothered to do that in positions of authority and power where they can influence and put us in certain articles when you’re not even doing your job properly. Why are you in your job?

People just using it as buzzword because it might get a few more clicks?

Yeah, I don’t understand that. It’s been a huge foundation in UK music, full-stop, and always will be, yet it’s not given the respect or treated how it should be.

How important is pirate radio to you?

Extremely important, there would be no grime if it wasn’t for pirate radio. In the early days, you got Axe FM, you got Rinse FM, you got Deja and a lot of the biggest names in grime at the moment, that’s where they started out at pirate radio because there was nothing else.

I think over the years and the different generations of people that have come up through grime, pirate radio is maybe getting perceived as less important but if anything I think it’s more important, because you need to understand where the sound you’re doing came from and it’s significance. I feel like it would be quite ignorant to not recognise the influence that pirate radio’s had on grime.

Do you think it will be something you always do?

Oh yeah, I could be the biggest artist in the entire world. I could be bigger than Drake, bigger than Madonna, bigger than Stormzy, and I’d still go and turn up to a pirate radio set in a t-shirt and Nike sliders and just say ‘yeah, what’s gwarnin? it’s me.”

Is there one thing you really want to achieve in your career?

One main thing is I want my mum, my family, and my friends to be financially stable and not have to worry about anything ever again in life. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do from the get-go. Once I achieve that, I’m happy.

Yizzy’s ‘S.O.S.’ EP is out now.