Unknown T is an enigma. He’s currently bringing an energy to UK drill that has never been seen before, establishing his own simple but effective blend of patois slang and quotable raps.
Just before the East London rapper released his huge debut single, ‘Homerton B’, he appeared on a since removed episode of Tim Westwood Crib Session and began teasing the track with its infectious refrain: “Baby bend your back and then dig it, dig it / Bend your back and then dig it, back and then dig it.” The inclusion of dance instructions stood out against the harsh nihilism that UK drill is known for, and the hype around the single began to snowball.
“No one’s done it before,” says T. “I just thought let me do something that’s my own drip.” Rather than leaving that moment for just that he capitalised on the colossal hype that was forming around the freestyle, dropping a video just before Notting Hill Carnival. “I released it with perfect timing. It was strategic; ‘Let’s drop it just before Carni’,” he explains. The video is now a racing comet, locking in at over nine million views. Some might worry about the pressure of following up such a successful debut, but Unknown T remains confident. “Man’s got a couple bangers in the pipeline,” he teases. “You lot are in for a surprise.”
It seems like the stars are aligning for Unknown T; only last month he managed to bag a spot on the infamous freestyle platform, Fire In The Booth, just before Charlie Sloth parted ways with the BBC. “That one was special to me,” he admits. “Charlie made the decision to end Fire In The Booth there and chose mine.”
A highlight of the 13-minute video sees him delivering a melodic verse about his younger days, recalling nostalgic memories from his childhood, such as playing knock down ginger and kicking ball with his boys during his younger days. The segment demonstrates his versatility, contrasting the hard-hitting lyrics of ‘Homerton B’, and ensuring he isn’t pigeon-holed.
“Really and truly, I’m just trying to grow as an artist,” he explains. “So I’m not trying to rush that. If you’ve clocked, I’ve done all the UK rap freestyle platforms - now it’s straight videos and then, when the time is right, I’ll release an EP, mixtape and then album.”
Where: Homerton, East London
What: UK drill
Get 3 Songs: ‘Homerton B’, ‘9er Ting’, ‘Bop With Smoke’
Fact: His dream date would be with Queen Elizabeth.
- - -
- - -
Words: Denzil Bell
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Zarina Shukri
Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.