The Big Mac has turned 50 years old. Brixton rapper Big Narstie is 32 and is on the cusp of mainstream stardom. Narstie was all over your telly box last year, is making his own much-anticipated TV show and, now, has appeared in a freestyle video with Birgmingham MC Lady Leshurr, celebrating the birthday of his favourite burger. Let the rapper… see the burger sauce…
Hi Narstie! Are you a fan of the Big Mac in general?
“McDonald’s is the old-school gangster company, boy. The Big Mac’s been around for 50 years. It’s the Monarch of the burger world. I’m a recent Big Mac abuser, but mine has to be edited – extra cheese and extra sauce.”
You worked with Lady Leshurr on this rap battle project. What do you rate about her as a musician?
“She’s just a lovely person. She has character and she’s animated with her music – we’ve done a track for my new album, BDL Bipolar.”
You seem like a pretty easy-going, friendly guy. Does battle rapping come naturally to you?
“That’s where my music origin came from, stood outside the youth club or the local sweet shop. It was a way of expressing ourselves. Before grime, I came from reggae, ragga, bashment culture. Ninjaman, Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killer – they was all battling. It’s a confidence builder. You’re standing in from of loads of people and telling ‘em why you’re better than another person.”
We heard you’re working on a TV show with Channel 4. What can we expect?
“The Big Narstie Show, that’s coming soon. I’m not gonna drop too much about that now – but it’s gonna be gassed, my G! It’s gonna be mega gassed. Put it this way, yeah, it’s gonna be the most blackest and realest ting. I haven’t come here to conform. I’m like the black Winston Churchill: ‘We will fight them on the ground, we will fight them in the McDonalds.'”
We hope you do a weather forecast on the show. Were you surprised that you went viral after doing an excellent job of the weather report on Good Morning Britain the other week?
“Yeah, considering it was just a random thing. I walked past and saw them doing it, so I said to my man, ‘Lemme do that!’ They were like: ‘Are you serious?’ I said: ‘I would love to do the weather.’ I was pumped! I remember being a kid watching them do it on GMTV in the morning. But you know the thing that shows the weather? It’s a plain wall, blud. There’s nothing there!”
You are shitting me
“I swear down, G. It’s a plain flipping wall. You stand in front of the wall and there’s nothing behind you. You look to the right and there’s a screen there. You move your hand and you see it on the screen. It’s some freaky shit, bruv. I was like, ‘Rah! I’m in The Matrix! You’re lying to the people!‘”
Did you enjoy being on Good Morning Britain?
“Yeah – but I only went on to announce my album. But then I got really gassed with Piers [Morgan]. He is a rassclart G. 110% respect and rate them man there. I was so pumped when he said he had to take a picture with me for his kids. That had my mind in a whirl. Piers keeps it trill, fam. He keeps it 100% trill. [Begins rapping] Even in my will, keep it trill / To the day I peel / Even in my will / It’s the skill, baby.”
From The Big Fat Quiz of the Year to Gogglebox, you were on TV a lot last year. What do you enjoy about making telly, compared to making music?
“I’m like a fat sex icon. You know how many people are living their wildest fantasies because of me? The confidence that I’m giving the guys who are XXL – it’s immense, bruv. Think about it. 15 years ago, someone like me wouldn’t be on the billboard. I haven’t got the washboard abs. I haven’t got the dreamy blue eyes. Even though my eyebrows are immaculate, though. But the guys like me with a bit of a pot belly used to be scared to take their tops off. I’m the most naked in Ibiza, bro! Society has changed. It’s not about appearance; it’s about what type of person you are. It’s time, bro. My man boobs are winning!”
The TV appearances have arguably introduced you to a more mainstream audience. Do you feel more famous now?
“Nah, I feel the same. And that stuff’s more for my Mum and my Grandma. I said to my Grandma, ‘I’ve gone Gold with my song with Craig David [2016’s ‘When The Bassline Drops’].’ She sat me down and said, ‘Grandson, you’re 30 now. You have a child. You need to get a real job. You need to be something like a builder or a carpenter – something with your hands – so you can provide food and a roof for you family.’ I had to hug her. Like, ‘Do you understand what I’m trying to say!? You’re scaring me, bro.’ That’s the real stuff that I have to put up with.”
What can we expect from BDL Bipolar?
“You’ll get to see my musical side. I have a gift and a curse: because I’m naturally funny, my personality is like a Siamese twin with my music. They’re connected. For a long time, I tried to separate them, but I can’t change that I’m a funny person; I can’t change where I’m from and who I am. Sometimes that means that my music gets overlooked. I have two fanbases: one of them can’t stand the TV stuff because they just wanna hear the music. And then I have whole general audience that doesn’t like my music but they like seeing me on TV being myself.”
Do you find that frustrating?
“I did at the beginning, because I was trying to separate them. But you are what you are. Have you got a mate who looks proper pretty, like a Calvin Klein model, but he hates people saying that to him? He wants to be an army man.”
You did an excellent freestyle about Brexit on This Week. Will you delve into more political songwriting on the record?
“Oh, definitely – it’s bipolar. I’m gonna show you a crazy array of emotions. BDL Bipolar will goes from me being really happy to wanting to cry in my boxer shorts and eat baked beans out of the tin.”
Big Narstie’s BDL Bipolar is released in March. Head to bignarstie.com for all your BDL merch needs