Music Q&A: Craze 24

The London rapper on his invigorating pre-show preparations and a surreal meeting with Notorious B.I.G.

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How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as straightforward and unapologetic, my lyrics are intense, my delivery is passionate and intricate, and my projection is a tone that commands subtle attention.

What informs your music and songwriting?
To be honest my sound is influenced by my journey, my struggle and my life experiences. I was raised around music my whole life, from bashment to gangster rap to revival. My mom played mostly reggae, blues and soul, while my older brother was deep into bashment and gangster rap. I love the art so much that I went back and studied all the legends, I then developed my craft from the lessons learnt, and it made Craze 24.

As for what motivates or influences me to continue rapping, I want to be able to touch people by having listeners relate to my struggle through music. I also love the way the greats are labelled as legends. It’s not just the rhymes – they drew people in with their lifestyle and made people relate to them. That’s hip-hop, that’s art. I believe people should be able to relate to your music. That’s what the legends did. They made music with meaning and that’s something that I do too.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I have advanced musically, taking giant steps in each domain of my music, message and persona. My lyrical prowess, instrumentation and social commentary have all developed. I have learnt how to inject a genuine goodwill into my dedicated following while hyper-accelerating my business marketing machine.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I am currently in the process of creating the most musical hip-hop/grime album ever created – a fusion of hip-hop, grime, trap, R&B and soul and jazz, a masterpiece. I would like to set the stage for UK rappers to take a political stand against the violence and hypocrisy going on in the game. I want to change the narrative as I believe music does influence the younger generations and as intelligent artists we have a sense of responsibility that most are ignoring.

What’s on your rider?
To be honest I haven’t got a pre-show routine when it comes to food. My prep routine is to bang out 100 press-ups. I will probably have a Red Bull or Boost just before the show, which I’m normally sipping during the show. But once the show’s over it’s back to my Highland Spring water.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience.
As a teen I tried to attend a Westwood hip-hop event at Club UN. After being refused entry and having our fake IDs confiscated we passed a side entrance at which a member of staff had been locked out. He was banging on the door to be let back in. We approached the man cautiously. When someone opened the door for him, we slipped right under his upraised arm and into Club UN. He stood there shouting, but didn’t bother pursuing us.

We made it, or at least we thought we did. Within seconds security was on our tails. They tried to grab onto my arm at least twice but each time I managed to slip out and keep running. We pushed open a set of double doors and kept moving until we were in the middle of a large crowd. We dodged and weaved our way in and around the masses. They gave up the chase.

We hit the bar and decided it was time to have a cheeky smoke. I searched myself for my Rizla and cigarettes but for some reason I couldn’t find them. I must have dropped them both during the chase.

I approached the area where everyone was smoking and started asking random people for Rizla and cigarettes.

There was a big guy sitting down with his back to me, I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he had Rizla or cigarettes. He replied: “Yeah, I got that but have you got a spliff for me?”

I looked at my bag, then said: “No bro, sorry. I ain’t got that.”

The big guy responded by saying: “Lil’ man ain’t got no love for Biggie Smalls.” I looked in his face properly and realised it was the Notorious B.I.G. The late great Notorious B.I.G live in the flesh.

I said: “We can puff, puff, pass, big man,” and he agreed, smiling and that’s exactly what we did.

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