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The Luxottica Class of 2016
Class of 2016Photography Fumi Nagasaka

Rejjie Snow on rising to the top of the class

Proving that nice guys don’t finish last, the rapper and star of Dazed and Luxottica’s ‘Class of 2016’ campaign talks new track Pink Beetle and why it’s all about the black sheep

They say nice guys finish last, but you try telling that to rap world ingenue Rejjie Snow. The Dublin-born musician with razor-sharp flow and a way with the written word first crash-landed into the public consciousness with a louder bang than most: when his debut mixtape Rejovich knocked Kanye West’s mammoth Yeezus off the top of the iTunes hip hop chart. Flipping music world expectations without missing a beat, Snow subsequently took a hiatus to perfect his rap game. Now, his impressionistic, intelligent take on the genre is primed to take over. “Why do you need someone to tell you how to market yourself?”, he says of resisting labels. “Kids these days are much more intelligent, they know what they’re doing. It comes down to being out there and experiencing life.”

Having dropped the surrealist visuals for his latest track “Pink Beetle” today, Snow talks having total control over his craft and his spontaneous creative process.

ON “PINK BEETLE”...

Rejjie Snow: ‘Pink Beetle’ is all about the black sheep. The one who roams the streets with odd socks and (an) odd name. I often perpetuated my dignity for the simple-minded but my true calling always came calling whether it was from high above or six feet beneath. Having control over the visuals as well as the music is important to me because I represent the name and the images attached to the name, Rejjie Snow, and that's all people see. It's all about footage these days so of course it’s gotta be to a certain standard. The music is the machine.

ON BEING A PERFECTIONIST...

Rejjie Snow: I would definitely describe myself as a perfectionist. But sometimes it gets a bit too much cause it has to be so perfect, to the point where it could be perfect and I’ll just keep on going with it. I could keep on going with it until it’s nothing. It tends to happen, especially with my music – I’ll do a song and everyone around me will say ‘It’s finished’ and I’ll just say ‘Nah!’ But it happens all the time that it was the best the first time around. That’s why I’ve been trying to put out a record for like, three years! Now is the time.

“When you’re making music it’s all about feeling, to me, and people have to relate to it, so it’s good to keep it honest sometimes. But I also love fantasy stuff”– Rejjie Snow

ON HIS WORKING PROCESS...

Rejjie Snow: I’ll just start off with experience. With my music and especially with the lyrics it’s more about the feeling. Whether I’m in a bad mood or a good mood I’ll definitely have a pen near me, or I’ll use my iPhone, go to my notes, scribble down words – kind of like poems. Sometimes it’s hard to relate your stuff to a beat, so my process is that I’ll hear an instrumental first, and then I’ll go back to what I did, and just take bits and try pieces together. My lyrics? I try to speak on some real stuff but it’s hard because sometimes letting people know what happens in your personal life is a bit weird. When you’re making music it’s all about feeling, to me, and people have to relate to it, so it’s good to keep it honest sometimes. But I also love fantasy stuff, and just making up stories... kind of treating my music like I’m an actor, you know? I do a lot of writing and I love words, so inspiration comes to me not always at the best times – but whenever it comes I’m always ready to do something cool.

ON HIS (SURPRISING) EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES...

Rejjie Snow: I love to paint, and to play football, that’s a big passion. I wanted to be a professional but it didn’t work out. I went to America for a bit. And I love to tap dance! Sometimes I take classes. It’s sick to express yourself that way. The rhythm is cool.

ON WHAT’S NEXT...

Rejjie Snow: Next year I’m excited to see what’s popular on the internet because everything is getting played out... oh, and I’m trying to see who’s in the White House.

Check out Luxottica's full Class of 2016 here