Rejjie Snow‘s often compared to the likes of Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt, but the 19-year-old affirms his originality with blazing songs touching on everything from albinism to the Cartoon Network – plus, it’s not every day you get an Irish emcee signing to Elton John’s Rocket Management label.
You’re from Ireland – a pretty difficult place to attract attention as a hip-hop artist. What you think you did differently?
I treated the fact that I was Irish and whatever else to my own advantage. I don’t think the same as everyone else; I’m just in my own little world. I’d say my lyrical content is different; when I was growing up I was exposed to a lot of poetry – things not everyone was exposed to. That definitely had an influence on what I do. I write poetry all the time; I carry a journal with me and I just write down words and shit I see. I love words.
So is lyrical content something that’s very important to you?
Yeah, but not important in the sense of portraying a message… It’s more the emotional side and how you feel when you listen to it. It’s not supposed to guide people on how to live or tell people what to do, it’s just like ‘listen to this shit and feel something from it’, you know?
Your lyrics tend to be pretty hard-hitting, where do you draw inspiration for your tracks?
I don’t talk about my personal life because no one would really care. What’s the point of that? It’s more about fantasies and giving yourself the persona of something else… Just creating a world; making everything imaginary. I used to be quite shy but rapping gives me confidence, it makes me appreciate myself more.
Your track ‘Lost In Empathy’ deals with the brutal killings of albinos in Africa, something nobody’s probably ever touched on musically. What made you want to write about that?
I went to Lagos, Nigeria, like four, five years ago, and I saw black albinos for the first time. I didn’t even know that existed, really. A couple of years later I was watching a documentary on it and was so intrigued by the whole thing. I thought no ones ever spoken about this so let me at least do a video, do it for the albinos! Ultimately I just want to be an original artist and do things different. What’s the point in being the same?
You’ve mentioned before that a lot of your lyrics are written when you’re drunk. What do you think it is about being in that state of mind that helps you?
It’s because you’re free; you’re not self-conscious. I’ll do that and then the next morning I’ll analyse it and see what I came up with, and most of the time I’ll have some dope shit there. It’s really cool to see how you are when you’re intoxicated.
You try hard to be different, so it must really annoy you when people compare you to the likes of Tyler the Creator and the other Odd Future guys.
It sucks but, when my album drops, they’ll know, real talk. They’ll just be swallowing their words. I’m going to drop a video with the release date in the next two weeks.
What’s your favourite part of the musical process?
The day you’re actually releasing a song. The whole build up… you’re like so worried and shit and then when you actually release it, it’s fucking cool.
REJJIE SNOW’S TOP FIVE UP-AND-COMERS:
Listen to the YouTube playlist here.
Joey Bada$$ – Waves
King Krule – Rock Bottom
Capital Steez – Free the Robots
Gun Play – Rollin feat. Rick Ross
Jesse James & Crave – Trashy
Words: Alya Mooro