22-year-old rising Irish Hip-Hop star Rejjie Snow first released his first EP, Rejovich, in 2012 and ever since has been producing music alongside the likes of Loyle Carner, Kaytranda and Joey Bada$$. With a list of EPs and singles in his catalogue, Snow felt like it was time to go all the way and release a full album. After releasing his highly anticipated album ‘Dear Annie’ this month, Snow agreed to have a chat with Forge’s Ben Kempton, so we could get to know more about the “Rejjie swag”.
How do you think the reaction to the album has been so far?
“It’s been good. I don’t really check too much online, just through family and friends that say it’s been really good. I’m just happy that it’s finally out there and people can just listen to myself more. I try to avoid online reaction, otherwise I’ll just go crazy and just want to beat up some people. I guess that sounds bad but it’s just better for my brain to just stay away from that and just enjoy the moment really.”
How did you come up wit the name of the album?
“The name came to me about four or five years ago. It didn’t really have too much meaning but I guess the process is Annie became a fictional character to Lucifer and she represented lots of different things but she also represented love. That came from when I was a kid and my sister had this Annie doll and that used to just really scare me. I just took the same imagery and put it to the album.”
Is that who we can see in the album artwork?
“Yeah definitely. It’s a nice image but also really weird. I just think it’s the perfect picture to represent everything. “
Your musical sound seems to have really mellowed down with this album. Do you think this reflects where you’re at in life?
“It’s the sound I make and the tone I’ve found. I prefer it to be relaxed because I’m not really an energetic person. I’m just real chilled so I want to take a chilled approach to my music. That’s just the Rejjie swag you know.”
You’ve got a lot of different feelings going on in your lyrics. What in your life inspires those words?
“Everything. Relationships, friendships. Just life in general man. The stuff I do is what makes me get in the studio and talk about it.”
The album delves through different musical genres. Is that your own music taste being displayed?
“Growing up I listened to everything from 50 Cent to whatever was on the radio. Then obviously my Dad being African I heard lots of Nigerian music and then as I got older I discovered all kinds of indie type of Hip Hop. While making this album I was listening to lots of Jazz and City Jazz and Pop music and I feel like you get hints of that throughout the record.”
Would you consider yourself a hip hop artist?
“I came up through Hip Hop so it’s obviously always going to have respect for that but in terms of the music I’m trying to make I wouldn’t just limit myself to Hip Hop. That would be silly. I’m trying to sing more and even play more instruments so I just have to patient until then and get better I guess.”
How was it working with Kaytranda?
“Yeah he’s sick. We’ve never worked in a studio together it’s mostly just been over Email but he’s so sick. We came together through the internet, followed each other back on Twitter or something and I just slid into his DMs. He was cool to work with because he just sent beats through all the time and I would just normally pick one and make some good shit. I loved his album last year so much as well.”
You have a lot of features on your album. Lots of which are relatively unknown. How do you find these guys and what makes you want to work with them?
“I am just always checking out music from everybody and I’m always on the internet so if I like someone’s music I just hit them up. I’m never really trying to work with people because it’s more organic [by yourself]. I kind of struggle working with people because it’s just like battle of the minds. But they were all cool to work with.”
Dublin isn’t exactly well known for its music scene. Where did your music inspiration come from and did it make it more difficult to get recognised as an artist?
“I never really tried to get recognised. I just made stuff in my bedroom and put it on the internet. My music passion has always been inside me since I was young. I did a lot of Stage School stuff as a kid so I was always dancing and singing and shit.”
I saw somewhere that you were nearly a Football player? Is that true?
“Yeah man for real. I had a trial at Arsenal. I just didn’t have the commitment or the discipline to be a professional. But I am an Arsenal fan. It’s hard being an Arsenal fan. It’s frustrating man.”
You’ve got an incredibly unique sense of fashion. How did you get into that?
“Through my Mam. She’s super into fashion so she always put me on to cool people and always dressed me cool – for the most part anyway. She’s my main inspiration. Also living in the city you have to look cool, you know how it is.”
Do you think you’re a part of a new wave of Hip Hop alongside the likes of Loyle Carner and Subculture Sage?
“Nah. Definitely not. Definitely not. Listen, I like all their music but we’re definitely not on the same wave. I just do my own thing. That’s just what I think but I know sometimes it’s hard for people to see otherwise but that’s just me being honest. I totally understand because I’ve got a song with Loyle and I know we like the same type of shit and I get it but I’m in my own kind of space. Big respect for him [Loyle Carner] though, he’s killing it man. Saved Hip Hop. UK Hip Hop anyway.”
What is your take on this new wave of Mumble Hip Hop coming over from the US?
“I think it’s all sick because it’s all super important. There’s a reason why they rap like that. Of course, it’s different and not what people are familiar with but I can still appreciate it for the most part. I think we’ll look back and appreciate it more then you know. It’s just like fast food type music, it’s easily digested. When I’m out in America it’s the stuff I party to and I’m never going to box myself in any kind of place so it’s calm.”
How you feeling for the new tour?
“I’m just going to rock out and give the vibes. It’s going to be way more of an experience than other shows because we’ve got props and stage outfits so it’s going to be good. I enjoy it. Obviously with the last couple of dates you get tired because it’s so repetitive but I just appreciate people coming out to watch me so I’ll always bring my A-game.”
Interview by Ben Kempton.