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Photographed by Steve Basanti 21
Photograph Steve Basanti

SamRecks is the hardest working artist in UK hip hop

The south London rapper opens up about his superhuman work ethic, and shares the creative process behind his hypnotic new EP Easier said than done

SamRecks is as switched on and motivated as they come. While his playful and easy-going music may suggest a similar persona, he may be one of UK hip hop’s hardest-working artists – before we meet, the south London rapper has not long since finished a night shift working in a warehouse. “It was stressful because I was juggling work and music at the same time,” he recalls of 2022. “I was doing six days a week, every week for the whole year, and on my days off, I was trying to make content for TikTok and going to the studio.” 

Peep the credits of the SamRecks’ multiple music videos on YouTube and one name crops up in virtually every aspect of the production. Rekki – an alias of the rapper – has a hand in directing, styling, editing and colour grading, sometimes within the same video. His new EP, Easier said than done, sees the rapper sharpening his storytelling skills. The rapper and his manager tell me his intention with all his work is to thread a narrative through everything he does, “I realised over time that the storytelling is the most important thing, because that’s what people relate to the most,” he explains. 

SamRecks’ music is easy and transportive – as perfect for soundtracking long summer days spent drinking and kicking ball, as it is riding an empty tube in the dead of winter. The jazzy, hypnotic progressions play out smooth-as-silk, the lo-fi take on a drill beat keeps things bouncy, and the rapper’s effortless flow and knack for storytelling prove that he’ll probably be around for a while.

Why is it important to you to have involvement in all aspects of your releases?

SamRecks: As an artist, if I’m not involved in every aspect of it, is it really me? Everything I do, I’ve got the ideas, I know what I want. When I make a song, I already know how I want the video to look, I already know what kind of TikTok I’m going to make for it. I’m thinking of all of these things as I’m making the music. 

How do you think your sound has evolved since you first started making music?

SamRecks: It‘s matured. The music I used to make was a bit more childish, I was just trying to spit bars. Making songs and writing the hardest bars are two completely different things. I feel like if you have a talent you can write bars, but not everyone can write a song, that’s why there are some artists that are freestylers and some that write songs, but it goes both ways. I’m trying to do both, because I came in trying to write the hardest bars but now I’m trying to make the best songs. 

What do you specifically look for when you’re working with producers?

SamRecks: I don’t care how many hits you’ve made or if you’ve done a song with a big artist – it’s about your creativity. There are other producers that have made nothing, but they’re mad creative and they’re thinking about adding new things to the beats, those are the people I bounce off. It inspires me to make something that’s different, I don’t want to sound like everyone else.

As an artist, if I’m not involved in every aspect of it, is it really me?” – SamRecks

What’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given? 

SamRecks: University is the only way you can be successful.

What’s on your For You Page right now? 

SamRecks: Just a lot of drama, TikTok has become very toxic recently. Everyone’s beefing.

If you could only listen to one musician for the rest of your life who would it be? 

SamRecks: Brent Faiyaz, he’s got some solid albums.

What adjective would you least like to be described as? 

SamRecks: Lazy. I’m not lazy, far from it.

Your favourite cornershop snack? 

SamRecks: Rowntrees Randoms. 

What do you put on your rider? 

SamRecks: There’s one thing that I’m always having, and that’s Magnum [Tonic Wine]. It chills you out but you can still get lit and start jumping around on stage.

What fictional character do you most relate to and why? 

SamRecks: When I was younger probably Bart Simpson, because I was always getting in trouble. Now, probably Numbuh 5 from Kids Next Door. Always plotting.

What is your earliest music memory? 

SamRecks: My mum played music every single weekend on a Sunday when she was cooking. It was normally Fuji or old-school Afrobeat music. 

You encounter a hostile alien race and sound is their only mechanism for communication. What song would you play to them to inspire them to spare you and the rest of the human race?

SamRecks: J. Cole, featuring Drake, “In The Morning”. That would change their whole lives. That’s one of the greatest songs ever, both verses are amazing. The vibe is amazing. Everything is amazing. That’s one of my favourite songs.

Easier said than done is out now

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