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PAUSE Meets: Bonkaz

By February 11, 2020Featured, Music Interviews
PAUSE MEETS:

BONKAZ

Discussing music, fame & favourite must have clothing pieces.

Interview: Lynn Moyo // @mongamelii
Styling: Charmaine Denty // @ps.charzy
Assistant Stylist: Trevor Onaiwu // @weluvtrv
Photographer:  Zekky Snaps // @zek.snaps
Featuring: Bonkaz // @officialbonkaz

Special Thanks To Fugivate.

“It’s just how I imagined it would be, and it’s beautiful to see!”

One of the grime artists who is pushing the sound and genre, Bonkaz is the emcee from South London with a knack for making good music and pushing the boundaries for the new generations of grime emcees. Fearless and unmoved about controversy, Bonkaz’s resilience is inspiring, and following the release of his Fame and Forgiveness album at the top of 2019, we caught up the rapper to talk about music, fame, and fashion. Read what happened below:

Top: NIKE ACG via MR PORTER , Hoodie: Billionaire Boys Club, Bottoms: Nike ACG via MR PORTER, Trainers: Puma

You’ve been in the music scene for a while now – how would you say it differs from when you came out in 2015?

I see 2015 as the beginning of what’s happening now. The scene is flourishing, it’s just a magnified version of 2015 really, which is exactly how it should be. When I dropped We Run The Block that was the hardest & most controversial song to hit the playlist on mainstream radio, since then so many more hard songs with similar lyrics have reached the playlist too. It’s just how I imagined it would be, and it’s beautiful to see!

You’ve always said your influences are varied, anywhere between Kano and Dizzee Rascal to James Morrison and The Kooks . What is it about these eclectic artists that inspires you?

We could be inspired by anything, all we have to do is like it enough to pay attention to it. So if it’s as simple as me liking their music. That’s why I listen to & it’s me listening to it that allows it to inspire me. I think more people would have an eclectic taste in music if they were trying so hard to fit in somewhere, it’s kinda sad. Music is art; there’s no such thing as cool art & uncool art. The only thing that matters is how it makes you feel.

After hitting its peak, mainstream wise, in the past couple of years – how would you describe the current rap and grime landscape in London?

It’s sick but still very new in a-way. I feel like one style at a time takes the forefront, like grime has a moment, then Afro-basement has a moment, then drill etc.. I hope each style stands the test of time and we end up with a varied scene with loads of different types of rap all flourishing at the same time. 

What current artists in the UK do you draw inspiration from?

A2, Dotty, Temz, Renz. These are all my brothers, but I’m genuinely inspired by their music. The fact that it is such an accurate representation of who they actually are is something that always stands out to me.

Stormzy too, we always have these moments where we play unreleased tunes to each other then end up having the deepest/nerdiest artist to artist convo, like pointing out the smallest of details to each other like a faint harmony in the background, things that only artists really notice. I always feel super inspired to make new music after those ones.

Also Sam Wise, he’s so pure.

What would you like to see in the future, for UK rap and grime genres?

One time I was talking to Kojey Radical at my show, and he said we can all be “different, together”. That really resonated with me. He’s another artist that inspires me actually.

Pants: Fear of God via MR PORTER, Top: The Hundreds, Trainers: Nike, Hat: Brixton

Describe your music in three words?

Once I’ve shared it with the world I don’t consider it mine anymore. It is whatever they say it is. 

Your album, Fame & Forgiveness came out in November 2018. After months of hard work, what’s it like finally putting out a body of work? Can you describe the feeling?

I’m just so happy that it’s out and that it actually sounds to everyone else how it sounded to me when making it. That was the scary part, I kept thinking ‘what if I think this music and it actually isn’t, what if they don’t hear what I’m hearing’. It was silly, really but the longer I take to make something, the more I’ll start overthinking. Everyone seems to love it, though.

How has the album been received? Especially since it’s quite personal to you.

People are calling it a masterpiece & that word isn’t used lightly. That’s so sick to me! The responses have been crazy, and people keep talking to me as if they were in my head when I made it like they know exactly what I was thinking. It’s like they’ll tell me how certain songs make them feel & a lot of the time it’s exactly what I was aiming for. It’s beautiful. 

Fame & Forgiveness. What inspired the title of the album?

I made an EP in 2015 called Forgive Me When I’m Famous. It was about not having much time for anything because I was working on the music & just hoping that everyone I couldn’t make time for would forgive me once they see the results. Naturally, Fame & Forgiveness is just the next part of that journey.

Coat: Xumu, Pants: Nike ACG via MR PORTER

Fame & Forgiveness. What inspired the title of the album?

I made an EP in 2015 called Forgive Me When I’m Famous. It was about not having much time for anything because I was working on the music & just hoping that everyone I couldn’t make time for would forgive me once they see the results. Naturally, Fame & Forgiveness is just the next part of that journey.

 And what’s a personal favourite track on the album?

My personal favourite has to be ‘When You’re Here’ featuring J Warner. We made it over four years ago about my son, who was born shortly after we recorded it. Four years later, J Warner’s son was born days before the song came out. 

Describe your style?

I’d say it’s mainly inspired by British Youth Culture. From rock bands to the roads, older cousins, football hooligans/firms, Teds, Mods, skinheads, whatever. 

It changes all the time. It’s not something I’m strict with at all. If I watch Football Factory or Green Street, I’ll probably end up wearing Lacoste polos for a month haha, it can change at any time.

Do you prefer luxury brands, are you more of a casual wear person?

More of a casual wear person. I like putting my outfits together.

What would you say is your favourite brand, if you had to pick one?

Nike, Made By Mensa & Supreme

And what is your favourite trainer of all time?

The White Air Force One is so beautiful. I just wished they lasted longer before getting creased. 

Do you have a piece of clothing you could never get rid off?

I always seem to have a classic blue denim jacket. That’s an essential.

Do you have a piece of clothing you could never get rid off?

I always seem to have a classic blue denim jacket. That’s an essential.

Will you be touring the album? How does it feel to see people vibing and enjoying your music when you’re out?

I will definitely be touring the album. I’m supporting Example on tour early 2020, and I’ll be announcing my own tour shortly after!

Follow Bonkaz on Instagram