Considering he’s only released a handful of songs over the past 12 months, 22-year-old rapper and producer Knucks has garnered incredible buzz. His soulful brand of hip-hop is capturing the imagination of early adopters and fellow musicians alike, who share their knowledge of the burgeoning talent in the way they’d rock a rare sneaker. Crafted over a ten-year period, Knucks intends for his authentic sound to take him from the streets of South Kilburn to stages worldwide.
Right now Knucks is trying to find a quiet room to talk to us in. He’s at University where he currently studies Animation & Computer Arts - after having the ambition of creating the UK’s answer to the Boondocks - and ducks into an unoccupied space to discuss his promising music career after a full day of study. “I have to make up for all the shows I’ve been doing,” he admits. “I should have really graduated this year. We planned to really start going hard with music once I graduated, but I made ’21 Candles’ and it took on a life of its own.”
Released at the end of last year on Soundcloud, ’21 Candles’ really put his name on the map when the video dropped in March this year. The self-produced track incorporates the bleakness of London’s Winter months but adds colourful jazz saxophones and rattling snare drums as Knucks delivers an autobiographical tale, celebrating his coming of age as he toasts his 21st birthday. In the video he walks the streets of North London, dressed in jeans and sneakers - OK, he is rocking a fur coat at one point - and drinking with his friends on the block. It’s relatable but aspirational at the same time; Knucks portrays a successful lifestyle that doesn’t require a lottery win to buy into.