After being pulled on stage at a Pharrell Williams gig and handed the mic, Alex Anyaegunam, aka Rejjie Snow always knew he wanted to rap. “That inspired me big time, it was crazy,” he laughs. The Dublin native – whose accent has softened after attending high school in Florida – began spitting rhymes through his teens and after some cajoling from his friends decided to book a studio to record one track. Rejjie made an accompanying video for the track, put it online under his original stage name Lecs Luther, and hoped for the best. The video received over 100,000 views in a couple of weeks, “mainly through Facebook shares”, he explains. He was bombarded with emails from labels, and soon signed to Elton John’s management company, Rocket Music, home to Sky Ferreira. Fast forward a couple of years and Rejjie has dropped his debut EP Rejovich, a collection of laid back vocals, old school beats with experimental electronic finishes. Having already toured with Kendrick Lamar and MF Doom, and now signed to Kaya Kaya Records, this 90s kid has the potential to make waves far beyond the Emerald Isle.
Dazed Digital: How does it feel to have just turned 20?
Reijje Snow: I don’t know… It’s quite shit. I’m not a teenager anymore.
DD: What was it like growing up in Dublin in the 90s?
Rejjie Snow: All I remember is lots of football and cartoons! I think it was a different kind of time – the time before the iPhone.
DD: How did you discover music when you were younger, before the iPhone and social media?
Reijje Snow: My parents had vinyl, and music was always playing. I had a discman. So I’d have to go and buy music.
DD: Can you remember the first record you bought?
Reijje Snow: That was Nas, ‘God’s Son’.
DD: Do you draw any inspiration from the 90s music scene?
Reijje Snow: Yeah, yeah, I’d say so. Obviously Nas, MF Doom…
DD: What do you think about the 90s revival right now?
Rejjie Snow: I don’t really think it’s coming back. Obviously the aesthetic of it is but I feel musically it’s people feeling like the 90s was the pinnacle of music, especially hip hop, so everyone is trying to relive that. I think it’s the samples that work really, really well. Right now people are trying to mimic that whole Boom Bap kind of sound – music that’s sampled in a good way.
My sound is jazz-inspired, largely inspired by Charles Bukowski. On my iPod there’s just jazz, with a bit of ska and reggae.
DD: You’re leading with the Dublin hip hop scene.
Reijje Snow: Thanks a lot, yeah. When you’re Irish we all kind of know that when you make music it’s gonna be hard for people from England to get it. It’s a sound that can’t really go anywhere besides Dublin.
DD: Why do you say that?
Reijje Snow: I think it’s the accent, and the whole vibe of what we all talk about. But I’m self-conscious in that I want to make music that is for everyone to listen to. I reckon a lot of guys that are from where I’m from, they have only one thing in their head – to keep it real, and not sell out – so they don’t really do music for other people, if you know what I’m saying.
DD: How would you sum up your sound?
Reijje Snow: In my new material you see a more aggressive side of me, but it’s still laid-back vocally. It’s a chill vibe, because that’s how my life is now. My sound is jazz-inspired, largely inspired by Charles Bukowski. On my iPod there’s just jazz, with a bit of ska and reggae.
DD: I don’t know many 20 year olds who primarily listen to jazz – where did that love come from?
Reijje Snow: It evokes different emotions in me. I don’t like to listen to songs because everyone else listens to them. I like to listen to songs to get something else out of them. Chet Baker, “My Funny Valentine”, really inspired me.
DD: Your track “Loveleen” loops the lyrics "Money, Bitches, Hoes, Greed, Pussy, Lord knows". Why?
Reijje Snow: It’s pretty ironic. It’s something that is prominent in hip hop now.
DD: And as your career grows and you become more successful are money and bitches going to be important to you?
Reijje Snow: (Laughs) It’s here now, just low key! You gotta see the next video!
DD: What's next for you?
Reijje Snow: I’ve got more time to be creative musically. I’ll be doing features on tracks. I’m working with 16bit who work with Chase & Status and I’m working on an EP with the Child of Lov right now. Then some live dates in Europe before a London show.