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Cadet

Talks Michael Jackson, Musiq Soulchild & how R&B music inspires his rap

Photographer: Serge Malange // @sergemalange
Stylist: Tiwa Jenyo // @tiwajenyo
Assistant Stylist: Suril // @suril__
Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @JohnsonGold
Artist: Cadet // @CallMeCadet

Rapping lyrics since school days

Meet Blane Johnson aka Cadet, based in South West London, Croydon. Cadet has been rapping since school days, from wanting to be the best in his ends, 2-3 years ago Cadet only took his career seriously. We at PAUSE caught up him to discuss how R&B inspires his rap, how he maintains his beard and what strives his music.

Top: Blood Brother, Trousers: Cadet’s Own

So where abouts in London are you from?

South, I grew up in Clapham and then moved to South West Croydon side.

When did you start doing music?

I have always been doing music, forever. So, from what I can remember I have always been Cadet the rapper. If you ever knew who I was you knew I rapped, from school age or even before that, from the beginning of Cadet it was early. Then I started taking it serious 2 or 3 years ago and it’s payed off!

How did you come up with the name Cadet?

Honestly, I had a load of road names. When we were young we got into too much trouble so me and my cousin had to come up with names and we saw it on the side of a bus one day, and my cousin said why not Cadet. You know how buses are named, like you can have a bus called ‘Cosmic’ or something. Well it was just called Cadet, there is no deep story behind it!

What inspires your music?

My inspiration are pretty basic really, anything soul, R&B, every type of male vocalist and greezy south-rapping, like The Roadside G’s – they were killing it – people in my team Gipset, and that was it really. I never got too much motivation or inspiration from other people in the U.K. scene. It was mainly The Roadside G’s and singers. I have a thing for singers; I love singers, and slow jams. That was it really.

Wow so R&B inspires your rap music?

Yeah, 100% man even up till now I never listen to a lot of U.K. music, I mainly listen to male vocalist and my squad even.

Tracksuit: Sergio Tacchini

Top: Blood Brother, Bottoms: Billionaire Boys Club, Trainers: PUMA

But you don’t sing right?

No man I can’t sing for shit! I wish I could sing though.

So then how did they inspire you?

A singer can bring goose-bumps easier than a rapper could, because a singer taps into you. A rapper has to say the right words in the right tone and combination and in the right sentence, but a singer can just sing one word, and if they sing it well enough it can bring all the feelings out of you that a rapper would have to work so hard to get. A singer makes you feel their pain. Singing is a real gift, rapping is a skill, singing is a gift, you can enhance on it, but if God chose you he chose you. With rapping I feel like you can teach anyone to rap.

Does that inspire your lyrics as well?

Yeah, because singers sing meaningful stuff.

But rappers can rap meaningful stuff too.

Some rappers do, but every singer has to. There is no such thing as a singer chatting shit, but now the majority of rappers do, and based off music history, singing lasts longer than rapping. I can play you a slow jam from 10 years ago and it will apply to you now but a rap song now, in 10 years’ time, you will get it but you will be like ‘right’? Rapping is more in the moment, singers though last forever. But if I can get that lasting for ever thing like singers have, but in rap music that’s a winning combination.

Which singer would you like to collaborate with right now?

Right now? Musiq Soulchild, but that would just be for me to be fair, because of just how much of a fan I am.

Top: Blood Brother, Bottoms: Billionaire Boys Club, Trainers: PUMA

What about growing up?

Michael Jackson, through and through. Also Ray Charles, Jaheim, Bobby Brown, but yeah mainly Michael Jackson, I’m a Michael Jackson fanatic.

What’s some of the challenges you have faced during the beginning of your music career?

The roads, just taking you away from music and musical concentration. That, and feeling like it won’t get you anywhere.

What do you mean by ‘not getting anywhere with it’?

When we first started doing music there was no career in it we just wanted to be the best in the ends, but now people are making careers out of it so I’m just trying to follow suit, but a lot of the challenges you face are like coming up with a hit, and you think maybe music isn’t for me? There are loads of challenges man, but you have to push through them man, it’s like a hurdle, every time you hit a hurdle you are closer to finishing the race.

How would you describe your music?

Passionate and honest.

What’s your favourite song that you have made?

I don’t know bro, ‘Behind Barz’ or ‘Slut’ I would say, ‘Behind Barz’ just because it was my step into the game kind of and ‘Slut’ because it was the first time being completely honest on a record. But I don’t know there are so many man, like; ‘Little Bro’ which is on my new EP, it’s a letter to my little bro. Probably right now ‘Invest’ on my new EP. That’s about how I can’t be in relationships because I can’t invest that much.

Tracksuit: Blood Brother, Trainers: PUMA

“When we first started doing music there was no career in it we just wanted to be the best in the ends, but now people are making careers out of it so I’m just trying to follow suit…There are loads of challenges man, but you have to push through them man, it’s like a hurdle, every time you hit a hurdle you are closer to finishing the race.”

– CADET

Outfit: Billionaire Boys Club, Trainers: PUMA

Right now, a lot of guys growing their beard, how do you maintain it?

I condition it like once every two days; I don’t want to do it too much, but I want it to grow, I’m so desperate for it to grow! 

How often do you shape up?

Every five days, every fifth day is a shape up, and every tenth day is a haircut.

You have a structured plan?

You have to! You can’t be caught slipping! Especially when you are doing music, with last minute performances! 

How would you describe your style in one word?

No idea you know. I’m still trying to figure it out!

What about your mood, is there one mood you would say describes you?

Clean.

What kind of brands would we find in your wardrobe?

A hell of a lot of Zara which I’m trying to move away from to be fair. A company called Section they are dope, their jeans are nice, Sons of the First Tribe, Marbek, I think that’s it to be fair.

Favourite sneaker brand?

Right now, probably PUMA, PUMA’s are dope, Reebok’s are dope.

HIf you had to pick one?

PUMA, the old school PUMA classics, I loved them, right up to PUMA now, I f*ck with PUMA.

What advice would you give to someone who has done music for a long time but they aren’t pushing themselves out as much anymore?

Well they don’t deserve it if I’m honest. Whatever is stopping them from pushing is why they don’t deserve it!

What makes you do it?

I have to, Music is the only thing I love! Music is an event for me. Some of my deep music I get out things I can’t get out when I go to counselling, so music is a vent for me, I need it, I need music. With music or any passion, it’s only one and ten. If you are in the game and you will give 9 out of 10 it is the same as giving 0, because 90% isn’t good enough. So, if you are kind of in there and kind of out there, you don’t deserve it, put that 100% into something else.

Tracksuit: Sergio Tacchini