His debut EP, Chew Your Food, released last year when he was only 20 years old, but this was far from the beginning. He spent his teens touring and doing radio sets with youthful grime crew The Square, Deema performed in front of thousands at Eskimo Dance inside Wembley Area. Pretty mad that.
These days he’s experimenting with his sound more and more, we caught up with him amongst the second-hand CDs and cast iron pans at Deptford Market, where he gave us insight on his new tape, Rainbow.
Can you introduce yourself to those who may not know you?
I’m Deema, wasssup. I’m a rapper from South-East London. Easy.
South-East is an influential area, specifically for Grime. How has that influenced your journey into music?
A lot, man. A lot, a lot, a lot.
Even the area I was raised in, the school I went to. I make music now with someone I went to school with, a few years above, that’s Dom Valentino. I got into it because people from my school was doing it. It’s all very area specific. Wherever you’re from, it’s going to seep into your music, if it’s positive or negative.
I love South-East London, but people get all postcodey. That’s dumb. You’re bugging fam. You live like two streets away from me. People move differently in different bits of London. I take inspiration from it all, though, for sure.
Chew Your Food explores loads of different sounds and narratives. What was the inspiration behind it?
We took a lot of inspiration from Brockhampton, the Saturation stuff. Content-wise, Chew Your Food is an ode to the internet age. Everyone is being overfed, over information, everything’s fast, fast food. Chew it. Pay attention to what’s going on. It’s just trying to slow that down. I didn’t want to preach, but I tried to get a little bit concepty. The title does that perfectly, I reckon. Rat Race, SE4 and All I See are tunes for that. Sound-wise, me and Dom (producer) got into a groove with it.
Tell us about your next project, the evolution has been exciting to watch…
It’s called Rainbow, it’s only four tracks, but it’s sick. It’s got Can I? on it. Rainbow, the title track is mad old, but the others are a bit newer. It’s pretty rappy, sunny, smiley. It’s a smiley head bop, it’s not Chew Your Food. It’s the complete opposite. The songs are quite calm, with no crazy basslines. Chill sunny day stuff.
You’re a versatile MC, what do you feel most comfortable with?
I like doing the more alternative hip hop shit. I’ve started singing a bit too, hopefully, I’ll get better at that. But I just love rapping, to be honest.
Interview by Brickcellphone, photos by Asher Penney and Greg Stanley.