Welcome to Brickcellphone’s Underground Rap Radar, where this week we’ve got an interview with Biyi Alo.
Despite this being our 54th instalment of BURR, we have a first for you, ‘cos we’re fairly sure that Biyi is the only professional rugby player we’ve interviewed. When he’s not playing at prop for Wasps, the Londoner is creating rap music – and good rap music, too.
His debut EP has just dropped, Heartbreak 4 Brekky, so it seems as good a time as any to catch-up with him…
Hi mate, firstly, can you introduce yourself for those who may not know you?
My name is Biyi and I am a new music artist from North West London. I also play rugby professionally but my passion for music has led me to create and release 3 singles and an EP so far… and more to come.
Loved the tape! Can you talk about some of the themes that you go into in the tape?
Heartbreak 4 Brekky (EP) focuses mainly on the different stages, thoughts and conversations you might have after the end of a romantic relationship. I was in an introspective period in my life and I tried to put through everything that I was feeling, from anger, denial, resentment, reminiscing, to acceptance and reflection and the feeling that you can miss something without wanting/ needing it back. I always say I like to try and balance vibes & vulnerability.
You touch a lot on mental health, how important is it for blokes to speak about what’s on their mind?
Mental health is so important for me and I think this year especially, more and more people are realising it and emphasising it, which is pleasing to see. I feel like more needs to be done for everyone though and guys especially, as society doesn’t necessarily make it easy for fellas to be honest and open about any negative or uncomfortable feelings.
Us guys are so hard on ourselves and each other but there’s a huge understanding that being tough means you don’t feel any pain or are unbothered by adversity when its actually the opposite, the toughest people are the ones who are able to feel so much and understand themselves with the help of those closest to them to pull through (deep I know but it’s important ha)
How would you describe your sound?
I always struggle to define my sound. I definitely am up on rap and grime mostly and I think that comes through in my word choices and the imagery that I like to use, but I also like to have fun with some relaxed vocals. I’d say everything starts with a sort of alternative hip hop foundation and builds off from there. I’d say my sound is described better by its content rather than the actual sonics, I always try to be very honest and relatable, and have the conversations which you’d never make public, but put it on a very wavy instrumental.
The production on the tape is sick, who can you thank for that?
The Tape has a lot of people to thank, from the people at BPM Studio in West Acton (Leo, Aidan, Ahmed & Tim) who made all the beats, mixed and let me record there. My friends Kash & Timi who helped me bring my ideas and visions to life with all the visual assets, photos taken and artwork. I was very certain of the vision and I was hesitant to involve friends because I can get a bit intense when I need something how I want/ envision it, but everything worked out juuuust fine.
You play for the Wasps in the English Rugby Premiership, that’s quite mad. Which passion comes first for you?
Yeah I love rugby so much and I’m so passionate about the sport and everything it comes with. There was definitely a period of my life where it was all I could think about every day, but I’ve discovered that it’s not always healthy to be so obsessed with one thing and you need a couple different streams of happiness.
Rugby and Music both give me different things, what I get from music I can’t get from rugby and vice versa. I don’t really think either come first and they’re both complementing each other so well right now, so I can’t really complain.
You live in North West London, what’s the best breakfast spot in your area?
Breakfast is my fave meal, I’m crazy about eggs, there’s this place in West Hampstead called The Mill House Cafe, and their breakfast is too buff, any type of eggs you want, pancakes, granola… I go full English with a smoked salmon bagel and some tea and I’m never disappointed.
Anything else you’d like to add? Shout outs, thank yous, a quote from your favourite book, anything goes!
No real shout outs, shout out to everyone really haha… I know shit can get tough, so anyone waking up every day and cracking on and treating people right deserves a shout out, so if that’s you, hold it, if not, fix up.
Imma go to the offie real quick, can I get you anything?
Can I get a Cherry B and some Chilli Heatwave Doritos, safe.