Hard-hitting lyricism laid over a collision of hip-hop and grime, BasementApproved selects Josif as your next Future Play.
Peterborough-born, London-based rapper/producer Josif has something to say. With a hyper-dexterous lyricism and the ability to take creative control of his own beats the CSM graduate takes creativity to fresh heights.
Having recently dropped the track and visuals for ‘Regular Day,’ the lead track from his forthcoming EP, Free To Be Josif, expected December 10th, Josif comes correct ready to consolidate his place on the UK rap scene.
Selected by The Basement as our inaugural Future Play, we got acquainted with Josif, talking about his DIY roots and why we’re seeing artists with shorter and shorter shelf-lives.
Give us a brief introduction to yourself: where are you from and what do you do?
My name is Josif. I’m originally from Peterborough, living in London for the past four years and I rap and produce.
Tell us about your new project?
‘Regular Day’ is the lead single from my debut EP Free To Be Josif’ which is out in December. I made the EP over the course of about a year whilst I was finishing at CSM and was still figuring out how to produce. The title comes from my interest in the illusive concept of freedom and choice.
How do you feel your background has influenced your music?
I skated a lot when I was younger, from like 12 to 17, that really gave me an avenue to explore creatively. Me and my friends would make videos, clothes, fingerboards and all kinds of shit. Naturally, a lot of that went hand in hand with music.
I’d been writing rap and grime bars since I was about 13, it wasn’t until I was 17 me and my friend decided to start recording over beats we found on soundcloud. Originally we recorded into a camera and mixed the vocals on Premiere Pro, we then bought a gaming mic and started recording in my car. I think this kind of DIY process has stayed with me despite owning proper equipment for some years now. For me, the most exciting part about making music is doing a lot with a little.
Where does your name come from?
It was given to me shortly after my birth.
Who or what are some of your biggest sources of inspiration - not necessarily just from the music space?
Some people I see as having mastered their craft – Ye, Matthew McConaughey, Tibor Kalman, Dave Chappelle and George Orwell.
What are some of the biggest challenges you see on the scene currently?
There are obviously innumerable challenges, the biggest in my opinion is a lack of impactful resources for the majority of artists, especially in the UK. Ultimately, music (specifically at an institutional level) is a business, therefore it’s easy for musicians to be considered as commodity rather than artists. This is nothing new, but with the acceleration of tech we’re beginning to see artists with astoundingly short shelf lives, either because they lack the necessary resources to scale, or because their prominence derives from a specific trend or both. On the other hand, I’ve noticed an alarming amount of platforms / brands / labels that offer artist support and services that on the surface seem to be beneficial, but in reality produce poor to mediocre results and primarily benefit the interests of the company and not the artist. That isn’t to say working with a label or platform is inherently a poor decision, it just depends on who they are and what results they can actually produce. Again, nothing new but only becoming more prevalent.
The scene is good, but could always be better. There’s a bunch of artists pushing us forward creatively, as a whole I wish a larger number of artists would take more risks and stop acting like influencers.
What does the future look like for Josif?
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