Under The Radar: Jay Prince

Hip-hop-loving Londoner striving for “something that hasn’t been done before”

“Were any munchkins harmed during the making of my music?” Jay Prince laughs. “I hope not. If they were, I’m sorry.” Munchkin Rights activists back down and fans of acid-fried sunshine rap rejoice; east London’s Jay Prince is here to slaver the boundary-pushing experimental sounds and attitudes of Kanye and Kendrick over the classic heat-haze vibes of OutKast and De La Soul, and provide the summer cocktail soundtrack to global warming.

“As an artist you should always push yourself to do something that hasn’t been done before,” Prince says of his unique new strain of 21st Century hip-hop. Emerging last year with two EPs – ‘BeFor Our Time’ and ‘Beautiful Mercy’ – the 21-year-old rapper racked up over four million streams and bagged support slots with Major Lazer, Ghostface Killah and Jess Glynne. His new mixtape, provisionally entitled ‘Smile Good’, promises to add a fresh level of musicianship to an oeuvre that already involves freakoid acid jazz (‘Freedom’) and a stirring sample of Yoko Ono (‘Yoko’). “I was watching an interview with Yoko Ono and she was talking about music being more than the people, it’s a whole other life form,” Prince explains. “Her perception was interesting. You have to understand that music is so much bigger than us – it’s its own entity. If there was a planet called Music, there’d be so much to discover on that planet.”

Jay Prince will headline NME Presents: Future Sounds of London at Boxpark Croydon on October 30. Sign up at 
nme.com/tickets for a chance to secure a free pair of tickets