PREMIERE + Interview: Natty Wylah - 2 2s Ain't Always 4 (SHOUTS 2022 - Rhythm Section)
London-based artist Natty Wylah drops the track '2 2s Ain't Always 4' into the latest Rhythm Section International compilation, the 'SHOUTS 2022' record, to be released fully on 2 December 2022.
With his distinct rapping style coming through a backdrop of glitchy soundscape beats and drum breaks, the flow between passionate verses and laidback lyricism captures the contrasting themes of the track:
"It’s about the simultaneous and confusing nature of good and evil being necessary for each other to exist. Being zen and operating in capitalism. Being unhinged and functional. It’s about stopping and trying to look at your demons - what shape are they? What are their names? It’s looking at love… where is it really at?"
Growing up in North West London, Natty was exposed to a variety of influences from his parents - his mother was into punk, jazz, and Thelonius Monk and his father was a lover of dub, reggae and rocksteady.
Natty's lyrics often tackle social issues like identity and ambition, and he’s frequently drawn to the surreal through the vivid dreams he journals.
The eclecticism of music that surrounded his youth and has been put into his music, reflects the approach Rhythm Section has gone with this compilation.
The third installment of 'SHOUTS', spanning a massive 29 tracks, traverses a range of genres from contemporary R&B, to jazzy hip hop from Berlin, and to club-focused cuts.
The compilation continues to focus on up-and-coming producers & artists alongside more established names to shine a light on the exceptional musical talent stirring in 2022.
Rhythm Section founder Bradley Zero remarks:
“'SHOUTS' was only ever intended to be a one-off project to celebrate 5 years of the label, but the process of hitting up artists we respect and admire to contribute a track to a compilation ended up being a game changer for us as a label. It turns out we have so much to shout about!”
From the emerging soul and jazz scenes of Berlin, there are RS debuts from Yoffee of the Moses Yoofee trio, neo-soul singer Noah Slee and hip hop downtempo jazz producer S.Fidelity.
The compilation also welcomes several artists from across the Atlantic including but not limited to James Bangura, the DC based producer part of the Black Rave Culture Collective whose dynamic percussion driven productions have taken him on tours across the world through Japan and Europe.
The UK offering sees Cosmic Slop resident billy2chips step up to the plate alongside London based DJ and producer Manami who is fresh off her tour supporting the iconic Bicep alongside talented artist Toby Cato whose work and music may be coming through very soon.
Whilst a few tracks on this comp are the product of longer standing relationships ( Yak, Rejoicer, Athlete Whippet, Ian DPM, Sally C) a big proportion of the tracks are the fruits of Rhythm Section's relatively new Label Team - consisting of Emily Hill as Label Manager and Label assistant Ayiesha Smith.
This new blood is reflected in the increasingly diverse mix of selections for this year's 'SHOUTS', including the “Ori” influenced soul of newcomer Akin Soul.
This is a snapshot of where Rhythm Section are collectively at, where they are headed and what they want to shout about.
Ben managed to catch up with Natty Wylah to learn more about his music, the themes he draws upon and what's coming up for him.
How would you describe yourself and your music to someone not listened to it before?
I would say ‘urmmm… I dunno.’ And probably smile and shrug and tell them that there's stuff out, best to listen and see what you think - but the unreleased stuff describes me best :)
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I’m my mama's son and I live this shit - this is pure to me.
How does it feel being involved with Rhythm Section on one of their releases - do their releases reflect the kind of music you create?
Feels nice to have my self-produced work be recognised and put out into the world! It’s a fairly new venture into building my own riddims so big up Mali-I and BZ and all the RS crew for repping it!
When did you start in music and what drew you to it all?
I had music in me from when my mum was an egg in my grandma. I was drawn to it through divinity.
Who did you grow up listening to?
Lee Perry, Keith Jarrett, King Tubby, Thelonious Monk, 50 Cent, Jamiroquai, Ludacris, Outkast, Flirta D, Ruff Skwad, Dizzee, etc.
How did growing up in North West London influence you?
Bluetooth was localised - my friend Dorian's older bro had a studio in Queens Crescent and we’d get lil d-low cuts of people like Swarvo tunes, Pace & Vandal, and people like Flirta would pass through the studio sometimes. SLK to North Weezy - we would be gassed, young and gassed!
Outside of music, what influences you?
Language, dreams, understanding love and how to express it. Dance, colours, textures, seemingly insignificant mundane things that hold strange poetic value, and friends, fun, and food.
Why is it important to play with a full live band on stage with you?
I love playing with the band - the energy on stage is beautiful! My band at the moment is made up of robotic electronic members however so everything moves and morphs. SThe full band will come again though at some point.
How have you grown as an artist since your mixtape release in 2021, ‘Bruce’?
I’ve really taken a step back and evolved my shit. I have so many new palettes now that I’ve entered the world of production and self-teaching myself guitar and experimenting. I’m really in the sand pit and thriving.
What’s your creative process like?
Varies. Sometimes cycling doing mundane shit and melodies arise. Land from a flight and write a whole song in my head then manifest in Ableton - albeit slightly different but it's somehow there.
Sometimes start with drums and build from there, then lyrics. Sometimes listening to someone else's music [maybe ambient] and it sets a mood that inspires me to write lyrics.
Sometimes write poetry with no music and add music later. Sometimes working on one thing, chop it - resample and spark a whole new thing.
Do you like drawing on your own personal experiences for writing music or observing things you come across in life to inspire and influence your music?
Both. Catharsis. Language digging away toward the root feeling. Sometimes looking out and seeing things like pigeons circling captures the mood of what I’m writing. Not directly but abstractly. Sometimes the shit out there is the same as the shit in here.
There are some themes in your music related to your identity, particularly how you identify as not from England or China - how do you reflect on what your identity is when writing your music?
How could you not reflect your identity when writing music? The mixed race experience is confusing - however, to draw from Lubna Chowdhary’s notion of hybridity: we are superpowered and amalgamated with both elements. And must try to draw the best of both. Use our loaf to liberate ourselves from the Babylon boxes and internalised nonsense.
How has it been performing with The Silhouettes Project, SAUL, Srigala, Bel Cobain, dylantheinfamous amongst others, and what do you get out of collaborating with fellow artists/musicians?
Collaboration. Sharing space musically. It’s a spiritual thing. When it’s done with pure intention, it’s very intimate.
What’s been the best moment in your career so far?
Realising that I’m on the path and at my own pace. Purely. Purposefully.
What’s coming up in 2023 for you?
Release! Some announcements to come. My guy Bryce’s Brother at Scenic Route - we got a little something next year. I have a huge list of self-produced bits that are gonna see the light of day and some collaborative projects that have been brewing. There may even be a Silhouettes Project Vol. 2 en route - happy daze.
1 Yoofee - Areyousure
2 Sally C - The Way To Do It
3 Fiyahdred - Got 2 (Let It Go)
4 billy2chips - Like Mine
5 Yak - Moon Sugar
6 Daisy Moon - No Xylem
7 DJ Pitch - Genelle
8 Natty Wylah - 2 2s Aint Always 4
9 Cato & Yottie - My Way / Technics
10 JuJu Rogers - Warrior
11 Akin Soul - Daylight
12 Tara Strange - Staffy
13 Noah Slee - Switch Off
14 nowhere To Be - mouse In my room / homerun
15 Athlete Whippet - Jupiter
16 Asa Tate - Looking Glass
17 James Bangura - Conflict Of Interest
18 Boulderhead - Metasound
19 Jurango & Jamaica Mnanda - Junglizer
20 Stephen Howe - Flow State
21 Eoin DJ - Mild Life Crisis
22 Manami - Rain Dance
23 Ma Sha - Here We Hear Orange
24 Monophonik - Naga
25 Martyn Bootyspoon - SH - 101 PUNISHER
26 GNORK - snailshellfractal
27 Ian DPM - Overheard By The Birds
28 Rejoicer - Da Wall Destroy
29 S. Fidelity - Im So Happy
You can pre-order 'SHOUTS 2022' here
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