Social media has convinced over a million artists that they all deserve to blow or breakthrough within the music industry. Although it’s inspiring seeing and hearing this, however many of those artists are somewhat delusional. Gradual growth always beats overnight success or “clout”. Growth isn’t about the amount of followers you have, the amount of streams or views you have, it’s about how you develop as an artist, the impact of your songs and building an emotional connection with your fans on and off the stage.
South London rapper and producer MTRNICA has continuously improved as an artist since he released his debut single “On Revenge” back in January 2018. Fast forward 18 months later, he’s become one of the most sought after emerging artists in the UK. His anthem “Live or Die” is arguably the best underground song of the year, and he’s on the verge of topping that with this brand new single “Can’t Relate”.
[Read our interview with the rising rapper below]:
Hey MTRNICA, how’s it going?
Everthing’s calm just getting prepared for the next phase of MTRNICA, essentially recharging and rebuilding.
Nice nice. It’s been a great year for you, what were your thoughts going into 2019?
I had a list of goals going into 2019, my aim was to achieve those goals. do everything bigger than what I did in 2018. One was to play Reading and Leeds, and to get 100k streams on a song, most of which has been achieved so I matched my expectations and bettered them in a sense.
That’s amazing man, congratulations! You debuted “Live or Die” at our show back in January, what was the inspiration behind the song?
I live in Croydon. It’s notorious for a fuck ton of things and to be completely blunt about it, right now all you hear on the news is about my generation killing each other especially where i’m from. The idea of the song was to let people know you have the option, you can live to be yourself or you can die by being something you’re not. I chose to live, so most of the lyrical content is showing the listener this is what it’s like and how it feels to be yourself, in the video you see a tall black kid with blonde hair, dressed in a different way to the norm. I’m just being me and a lot of people don’t seem to get it’s fucking cool to be you. I’m not road and wasn’t given the option to be road so I can’t give that perspective, I just wanted to give mine and show people there’s options.
I respect that. Talk us through the creative process.
I work off of feeling, when I feel something I’ll want to talk about it and make something out of it so that’s when I’ll start making the beat then writing. I never force anything, that’s the worst fucking thing you could do in my opinion so I just work based off of how i feel.
Are you surprised at the songs success?
Not at all, I think LOD did exactly what I thought it’d do. The original blew my other tracks out the water with streams in the first month and that’s what I wanted. 2.0 is what surprised me more than anything mainly due to the response. With two worlds colliding like that you can never really tell what the feedback will be but people really fucked with it and obviously it did well but the response was fucking crazy.
How did the remix with S1 come about?
It’s all down to TK & SK at Finesse Foreva, we connected and they made it happen. S1 liked the track and hopped on it and the rest is history. I’ll forever be grateful for TK, SK & S1 for making it happen as it’s helped change a lot in my career. Shout out to them! Family.
Can we expect more remixes in the future?
100%, features too. It all has to make sense though.
For real. Despite being independent, you’ve managed to perform at huge gigs such as the No Jumper event, Reading and Leeds Festival. How do you manage to get these opportunities?
It’s mainly down to my live show, a lot of people watch what I do and see whenever i perform i shut shit down. everyone knows what I bring to the table so a lot of people reach out for it. I can’t explain it really, I’m just fucking good at what I do. *laughs*
You’ve just released your new single “Can’t Relate” — I was lucky enough to be at the video shoot a few months ago. Why have you made us wait so long for this?
I wanted to drop it way before then!!! it was originally meant to come out after LOD then 2.0 came around so i kinda shelved the track. it’s mainly been down to timing & feeling. now feels like the perfect time.
Oh damn. The social media campaign has generated a crazy buzz for “CR”, was this all part of your plan?
Not at all, my way of promotion is unorganised chaos, so it’s hard to predict these things. I dropped the clip in August and dipped away from it because of Reading and Leeds. Now it’s back and I think a lot of people are silently waiting since it’s been so fucking long. I think this has been my most chaotic release ever but fuck it we’re here now. *laughs*
What message are you trying to convey on “Can’t Relate”?
It’s more about the sound, the sound is a message in itself. It sounds intimidating to any artist when they hear it at a venue, it’s instant riot music. Nobody can make shit like that, they can’t relate to how I do things. You can’t even go to the producer for a similar beat because i made it!!!! The theme, the vibe is all me and I think out of everyone doing their thing right now I’m the most original artist there is and the game can’t relate.
I’ve seen videos and have watched you perform the single live, do you think it’ll have the same impact as “Live or Die”?
They’re 2 different moments! I think LOD was the end of Season 1, this is the start of season 2. CR is something for the people that fuck with me to digest, to have fun with and get a an introduction to where i’m taking things next. You can’t compare a season finale to the first episode!
You’re an Arsenal supporter, what the hell were you doing at The Etihad?
If I speak I’m in big trouble, big trouble and I don’t want to be in big trouble!
*laughs* — Out of all the current Arsenal players now, name me five players you think would listen to both “Live or Die” and “Can’t Relate” on repeat?
Lacazette, Pepe and Auba. I think Bellerin could fuck with it and for some odd reason Mustafi.
Mustafi ha! What’s next for MTRNICA?
The next chapter, I have a lot on the way and I’m smiling thinking about one thing in particular that’ll really make me a household name in 2020. We’ll have to wait and see!
Watch the music video for “Can’t Relate” below:
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