It’s been a big year already for the UK rap album. We’ve already watched Skepta and Kano receive Mercury award nominations for Konnichiwa and Made In The Manor respectively, Giggs just bagged himself a number two spot on the album chart with his uncompromising Landlord LP, and we’ve still got full-lengths from Wiley and Stormzy on the way.
A year like this just wouldn’t feel right without an appearance from Wretch 32. Easily one of the countries top lyricists, it’s crazy to think that the Tottenham rapper hasn’t released a studio album since 2011’s Black and White. In the meantime he’s kept himself busy in the meantime with a pair of mixtapes – Wretchercise and Young Fire Old Flame with Avelino – some mindblowing freestyles, and ‘6 Words’ a top ten single on which he doesn’t even rap!
But during that time, he’s been crafting the album we’ve all been waiting for. His most personal work to date, the record sees Wretch unleashing the full extent of his talents, bridging the gap between those lyrical tirades we’ve watched on Youtube and those chart topping anthems that see him packing out shows and festival tents. At his most revolutionary, raw, lyrical and loving, Wretch 32 presents Growing Over Life.
How are you feeling about finally releasing this album?
I’m excited, man. I think it’s been a long time coming. I feel like it’s my best body of work to date as well. I’m excited for people to just hear it.
It’s been five years since the last one. Do you think that has added pressure to this release at all?
Nah. I think everything’s moving so fast. I don’t think anyone gives a s**t anymore, how long it was. I think they’ve just moved on. They don’t remember what you released six months ago. I don’t think it’s added any pressure. I think who’s with you is with you, and then who’s going to join you for your new journey is going to join you. I’m quite spiritual so I believe that what will be will be.
It actually surprised me when I realised that it’s been 5 years since the last album, because it doesn’t feel like you’ve been away anywhere. I wondered why now was the right time for you to strike with a new LP?
The thing is I had it ready for a while, but it was just complications, changing labels and things like that, that’s what prolonged it. Obviously, in that time there was mixtapes that were out – Wretchersise, Young Fire Old Flame – probably like a hundred feature verses. Do you know what I mean? There was always content that was out there. Freestyles, Fire In The Booth, Daily Duppy, Behind Bars, F64s and stuff like that. There’s always been content and there’s going to be stuff there for people to listen to and gravitate to.
What do you want fans to take away from this album?
I want them to understand where I’m at today. I want them to decide whether they want to continue with me, man. I’m just in a place where I just make what I want to make. From now on, I’m just going to put it out, as in when I want to put it out, because I’m at the point where I’ve just realised, I didn’t decide that I wanted to make music. That decision fell upon me from some source, I don’t know from what, but it was just something that I’m meant to do.
I more happy when I’m writing, I feel more happy when I’m recording, and I feel happy when I’m releasing. I don’t feel happy when I’m not releasing and when I’m not recording. It’s something that I don’t do this because I want to. I do it because I need to.
Yeah, I’m just at that place in my life now. I think it’s important for people to understand that. Especially in terms of just the way I’m going to release from now on. If I make a song on Monday, and I want to put it out Tuesday, it’ll be out on Tuesday. I don’t really want to over think things and overcomplicate it. I’ve got a certain amount of years on this Earth, and then I’ve got an even smaller amount of years that people want to listen to me. So I want to get everything out.