Visionary and vivacious, BZ is walking into UK rap’s lion’s den without a smidgen of fear in his eyes. Since his emergence at the beginning of the decade, the continuous amelioration of the Croydon rapper is clear to see, and he now finds himself amongst the finest rising artists in the country. With an effortless ability to fuse the raw grit of rap and the vibrant dynamism of Afro-music reminiscent of Backroad Gee and Pa Salieu, BZ’s music acts as a stylistic Venn diagram, elusive to convention and striking to the ear.
BZ achieved his first real breakthrough into a mainstream lens via his momentous ’22 single “2 G’s”, which was featured on the hit Netflix show Top Boy and became the infamous anthem of fan favourite character Jaq. Augmenting the success of the song, the rapper has since gone from strength to strength, cementing his seat at the table with an appearance in Mixtape Madness’ “Next Up” series, and has now returned with his first offering of the year, “Get Paid”.
The new single is a bundle of energy, craft and charisma. Atop the bouncy instrumental, BZ flicks between self-assured musings and honesty humbling, illustrating his depth of character and artistic resonance. The accompanying Delenn Vaughn directed video is a swashbuckling effort; shot in Ghana, the cinematic visual portrays BZ as an African Robin Hood, a vigilante with ambitions of giving back to his community. Further emphasising the perpetual potential of the rapper, it’s a highly impressive, robust and profound effort.
We catch up with BZ to chat about all things “Get Paid”, his influences and inspirations, self belief and finding himself more in the public eye.
Watch BZ’s latest video here!
Read the full interview below
Hey BZ! How is 2023 going?
Pretty smooth so far. I’ve been in the studio and just chilling, can’t complain.
Who and what influences you?
I feel like my biggest influence is my environment, the places I call home. Croydon memories and sounds shape a lot of the content in my music and who I am as a person. Also, growing up in a Ghanaian Pentecostal church has allowed me to stay rooted and in touch with my influences from back home.
Could you tell us how you first started creating music?
When I was about 13, I used to do spoken word/poetry but life just sorta of changed and rap became the easiest form of expression. I remember freestyling in school and people telling me ‘you’re actually hard, take it serious’ and here I am today.
What inspires you to continue to write and release?
I feel like my inspiration to write is because it’s just therapy really – you can make any feeling sound beautiful no matter how painful or ugly it might be. So I will always write whether I’m a rapper or not. My inspiration to release music is for two reasons: I feel like the sounds of my world need to be heard and will be, and of course the money would be nice too haha.
How would you describe your sound and its essence?
Say Afro and Hip Hop had a baby I guess. Some people say it’s alternative music but I don’t know, I just know it represents me. The essence is always to represent me so even if you haven’t walked my walk or been there you can understand it. I always say music is the best translator so the essence is to understand the struggles, joys and pride of where I’m from.
How has your background and upbringing influenced the way you write?
I think it does more than influence it – without it, there’s no music for me. Every track will have a reference to a real experience from growing up whether it’s from school, stupidness I got myself into or church; everything from my background dictates my pen.
We loved your Top Boy featured break out single, 2 G’s! Can you explain the impact that the track had on your career?
Appreciate it! It’s made me grow more than the year before. I think the track has enabled me to have a lot more of an international audience which always feels good.
Since emerging on the scene, how has your sound, style and outlook progressed?
Everything has progressed because when I started I just dropped whatever I liked with no intention, I didn’t really care. But I realised music, branding and outlook is a lot more impactful when it’s intentional so I’ve thought a lot more about it and I feel like people understand more what I’m doing.
Who is your dream collaboration?
Definitely Kendrick! Does more even need to be said – the goat!
We love your new single “Get Paid”! What was the thought process behind the writing of the track?
Love for that ! Well when my producer was making the beat it just gave me a western vibe made we want to rob a bank lol (not literally ) but yeah I just jumped on and created a vibe about everyone getting paid. I’m literally the African Robin Hood – thank me later!
The song, like all your releases, has fantastic energy and charm. How have you worked to achieve this charisma?
I think it’s just believing in myself. I know I’m hard so I’ve got to back that with charisma or I just look stupid really.
If you could sum yourself up through one of your lyrics, what would it be?
‘Play by no rules’. I definitely feel like I’m constantly growing and moving in my own way how I want in my own time and way I never conform. Same with music, I don’t think my sound is specific and reaches the ‘usual’ guidelines but it’s me and it’s different because I don’t go by the rules.
What’s to come in the world of BZ?
There’s a lot to come this year but I’m most excited about my project which will drop at some point. I feel like a lot of people will listen and understand me and my music more.