With a solid, loyal underground buzz behind him and the highly-successful releases of the ‘Ain’t Nobody Like You’ and ‘Deju Vu’ in his pocket, rapper Sincere is gearing up for a momentous 2013. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner went down to the Red Bull studios in London to chat to the rapper and entrepreneur about his clothing line, career progression and crossing over genres for his upcoming album…
The Wrap Up: Hi Sincere! So, how would you apply the definition of Sincere to your personality and your music?
Sincere: I can apply it to my personality because I would say I’m a loyal friend and a good person. I tend to tell the truth 99% of the time. I mostly say things that I mean. In terms of my music, I don’t think I’ve ever lied in a song – ever, ever ever! I’m a sincere person.
TWU: When you were younger you were called Little D, right?
Sincere: Yeah, but then I wasn’t little anymore, so it was like, ‘how can you be called Little D when you’re taller than everyone in the room?!’ I changed my name when I watched the film ‘Belly’; I think Nas was in the film, he had the same white Avirex jacket as me and everyone was like ‘ahh you look like Nas in ‘Belly’ - he was called Sincere in the film.
TWU: You came into the scene at a very young age, featuring on a track with Skinnyman. How do you think you have matured as an artist?
Sincere: I was still in school at that time; I had one verse on the song and I wrote the chorus. The music was totally different; this was before Channel U and 1Xtra - before it was what it was. I’ve definitely progressed and the sound has moved forward; I’ve become a better artist now. I understand music a lot better; I’m more involved from the beginning stages of a record, from before the production is even made.
TWU: How do you think the music industry has changed since then and what is the most important thing you have learnt?
Sincere: Consistency. Anytime anyone asks me what advice I would give to an up-and-coming artist, I would say just stay consistent. It has changed because we’ve got things like Twitter – it’s one of the most amazing things. The other day I saw that a kid’s display picture was a picture of me and they had a caption saying ‘Sincere is the best…’ I mean, wow, you couldn’t see that before! Now it’s so instant and you’re so much more direct with the fans. There is so much more power in the artist’s hands, whereas before you could only get the spotlight on radio or TV.
TWU: Your last track ‘Ain’t Nobody like You’ was very well received. Can you talk us through the new one, ‘Déjà Vu’?
Sincere: I would describe ‘Déjà vu’ as the big sister of ‘Ain’t Nobody Like You’. Not an older brother, because an older brother would come in shouting. The older sister is bigger and more authoritative. It’s a bit classier and a bit more polished; but you can still hear that the tracks are related. That’s what me and Kidbass aimed to do; we didn’t want to lose anybody who like ‘Aint Nobody Like You’, but we opened up the sound to a wider audience.
TWU: Kidbass is a longtime collaborator of yours. Do you think it is crucial working with someone who knows you well?
Sincere: Yes. I think I’ve been lucky. If I didn’t have Kidbass it would probably be different. Look at Drake and how he works with [his producer] 40; you know that it is a Drake record. You can’t get that sound unless you go to 40 and he doesn’t really give out that sound. That’s what working with your own producer has allowed me to do; it is dope, because no one can have my sound.
TWU: What do you think ultimately sets apart British hip-hop from US hip-hop?
Sincere: Hip-hop was made in America by a Jamaican person. British hip-hop is probably grime in its purest form, if you look at it. That is Britain’s version of hip-hop. The accent, the production… we have a much more diverse music scene here, whether it be D&B, house, garage, grime, hip-hop – in one day, a British person can listen to so many different genres and styles of music.
TWU: You have collaborated with many artists from the UK. Who do you really rate and who do you predict is next to blow?
Sincere: I rate a lot of artists - I love UK music. Probably one of my favourite rappers on 140bpm would be Scorcher or Ghetts… G FrSh, Wretch, Chip… and I like Sneakbo; he’s sick, he’s got his own style. Next to blow? There are a lot of young cats coming up like Krept & Konan, Yungen, Cashtastic – they’re all dope. I can’t predict whose next to blow though, I’m not Nostradamus, I’m just Sincere. [laughs]
TWU: You also run your own clothing line, ‘XYE’. How did this come about and how involved are you?
Sincere: I am really involved - down to picking the materials. I met these guys, the House of Billiam - they run a clothing company based in Shoreditch. I sat down with them and spoke about the idea of making a clothing company. My record company is called Young Entrepreneurs; that where the ‘YE’ comes from. The ‘X’ comes from maths - it can mean anything, it’s ever changing. I want to be about a lifestyle, because I came up watching people like P.Diddy and Jay-Z - for them, it was always more about a lifestyle as opposed to just one song.
TWU: Can you tell us something about yourself that no one else knows?
Sincere: I have a stutter, but you wouldn’t know that from hearing my music. I have a stutter when I speak, I’ve had it since I was a little kid and not many people know.
TWU: Is there an album in the pipeline anytime soon?
Sincere: My album is called ‘Yours Sincerely’ - that will be out in the middle of 2013. I’ve been recording with a few great artists such as Wretch 32 and Popcan; we’ve got a big song coming out soon. It’s sounding very futuristic and we’re crossing genres - dangerously sometimes! Put on ‘Déjà Vu’ and then play Wacka Flocka ‘Hard In The Paint’ - you can dance the same way. You don’t realize, but you can. We are crossing genres like that and hoping it will be successful.
Words: Shireen Fenner (@Shireenxoxo)
Online Edit: Maz Khan (@Mazhalima)