Inside London’s music geography – the intersectional hip hop of Denzel Himself
Text by: Beatrice Finauro
London’s current geography includes a Trap, Road Rap and Drill producer in every bedroom from Tottenham to Brixton – a couple of them live just below me at Seven Sister, for instance… Computer softwares replaced guitars and YouTube channels closed the era of record labels, both indie and majors. Internet is now the only ecosystem that counts if you want to spread your production etc, we all know the current situation in the music world. Beyond Grime and Trap (also beyond London and directly on the web, which makes more sense as a topic of conversation) we are finally getting to know a great range of black alternative musicians on the contemporary music scene which I can hardly remember within the last 20-30 years. It is in Southern London that one of the most interesting UK artists is currently located: Denzel Himself. He is 23 and has been producing music, rhymes and videos since he was 17. He has a label, Set Count Worldwide, and he does everything by himself – now you see why he’s called Denzel Himself. He launched his first EP in 2017 and everyone started talking about him and keeping an eye on him.
Denzel Himself has very clear ideas about his art, how he shares it and how he works on it from every point of view, so as not to lose its original sense. He even stated that he started studying film directing in order to have a direct and complete control of the visual images he has in his mind, just as he wanted them to be. His new EP, Baphomet James, was released about 10 days ago. Since it is really good, expectations from this artist are quickly growing: in 2018 his full length album should also be released.
The first single from the album – Melty – includes a feature with his friend and label co-worker Keyah/ Blu. Exceptionally and only this time the video was created by the guys from COLORS, following their format.
His music is basically intersectional hip hop, if you can call it like that, located at an intersection between styles, and not all of them are necessarily part of the black culture. When you listen to this music, your mind dwells on J Dilla, Tyler and Odd Future, in some interviews he mentions hardcore punk influences, whereas the DYI attitude has definitely had an impact on him. He also mentions the Trash Talk and says that Trish Keenan from the Broadcast is one of his favourite artists! With his desire to represent as many “possible worlds” as he can and the use of drag and queer elements, he reminds me of some artists from Mykki Blanco’s Doogfood, like VIOLENCE for instance. Long story short, we definitely should expect something from this artist.