In Conversation With: S1
Emerging from West London, S1 always knew he had a flair for music. From having a troubled childhood and living a life within the system, S1 decided to channel this energy into his music. Making his roots within the drill scene, he has been making waves with his freestyles such as, 'Lightwork' and hit single 'Fake Love' with his tracks being released on Link Up TV and Mixtape Madness gaining lots of views.
This was a step in the right direction as he was being dubbed as one to watch and next to blow. With his raw lyrics and a flow so infectious the rapper's success has taken him to new heights. With a rapidly growing fanbase he has gained over 5 million streams and over 150k followers on Instagram.
We speak to S1 on his musical influences growing up, his debut album 'Split Personality' as we all as how he's developed as an artist.
Growing up you didn't have the easiest life, did that shape who you are today as an artist?
My childhood was crazy. At the same time I'm glad I went through what I did and experienced that as it's made me the man I am today. My intention at first was to be a baller but I always found myself always being able to rap and now it's my career.
So, who were some of your musical influences growing up?
My choice of music growing up was very different to everyone else's. They were probably all listening to Channel U but I was always around my dad. So I grew up listening to Mobb Deep, Dipset, G-Unit, like old school music. I think the first UK rapper I heard was Giggs and then Sneakbo. But growing up I was listening to more of the US scene.
Do you think listening to these artists has had an influence on your own music?
100%. Back then I was used to seeing artists only freestyle so when I was out, I did that and it was easy for me. I don't know how but I picked up on it and I practiced and practiced and it definitely played a big part because all I do today is freestyle.
Tell me more on where the nickname 'S1 Most Hated' came from?
It's a very long story still. There was a time in my teenage years where some people would say I'm not a nice guy. That's where the name 'Mr Most Hated' came from and then I got it tatted because for a minute that's who I felt I was. I ran with it but I'm a good guy.
At times do you feel you've been negatively portrayed as that?
100%! Everyone goes off that and what they've seen on social media. I've met people who've said stuff about me and I've met them and they go away with a completely different opinion of me. Sometimes people listen to my music and get a certain impression of me but when in person they get to understand that I'm a humble guy. At times I have my moments but so does everyone.
Your rise in the music scene has been fast and in a short time you have gained a huge fanbase who are always eager to hear your latest tracks, why do you think that is?
It's actually mad. Going back to the most hated thing, a lot of people feel the same. There are thousands of kids that have gone through similar things or worse and they can relate. Growing up I was an angry kid and that's where my music comes from. There's loads of times I've been up late talking to fans who are telling me about their day and they are relating to my music. I think it's the connection I have with my fans.
It's clear that you are becoming a diverse artist and we know that you don't want to be known just as a drill artist. But you made your roots in that genre, what's your view on the way it's negatively portrayed in the media?
I always think, couldn't they say the same thing about Grime or old school Hip Hop? It's only because of the name of the genre, where it came from and how it has been glorified. There's more to it than violence, we are young black men who are portraying what's going on in the hood and our lives. They just hear some of the violence and automatically cancel us out but there's some drill music out there that ain't all violent but they don't speak on those things.
You've just released your album Split Personality, but it's a different sound to what we are used to. Would you call it a rebrand?
I wouldn't say a rebrand but I would say a new and better S1. I'm not just a drill artist, I can sing, rap and my music will tell you for itself.
What was the process in the studio?
I've been talking about dropping a tape for about three years now. I lived in the studio at one point, real blood, sweat and tears went into this. At first I had so many names for this and one day I came across Split Personality and that just spoke to me. One day I might wake up angry, sometimes I wake up happy and I feel like that fits it.
With this project, how do you feel you've developed as an artist?
I feel like I've matured more than anything. Back in the day I was being goofy and trolling but I don't do that anymore. I'm in my own lane.
We're curious to know what your top 3 tracks from Split Personality are and why?
'How I Feel', I put my heart into that and it's very emotional. I just had to let people know what I felt and make sure that my loved ones know that there's a process and they believe in it. My second would be 'Beat It Up' featuring YvDaghost that's my slime, he went hard on that. That one is a party banger for me. Every time I hear that I want to open a bottle of Henny! Even when I made that in the studio it was a vibe. Lastly 'She Say', I remember the night I made it, I was with my girl and she liked it so that was it for me. But I basically made it because she motivated me. So those are my top three!
How do you stay consistent?
I'm always hungry. Don't get it twisted, there are days when I wanna give up like everyone does. I've got a little daughter, my girl, my dad, my grandma I can't let them down. I'm not the only person who depends on me, as long as the people around me are good, I'm good. So that's what keeps me going and keeps me consistent.
Would you want to break into the US music scene?
I see myself going over there and working with artists but I don't see myself completely moving there, selling out and trying to conquer the US. I've seen many artists do that and end up back at square one. I'm going to build my empire where I am.
What can we expect next from you?
I'm going to change the game again. The next project I bring out will be the craziest drill tape! I like that people don't know what I'm going to do next. Just expect the work rate to be stupid, absolutely crazy.