J Rick Dazed 100
“I would love to make an album with videos from different places around the world showing different people’s perspectives

J Rick

Age - 24
 London, United Kingdom
@jrickessie
J Rick
“I would love to make an album with videos from different places around the world showing different people’s perspectives

Together with south London’s rap weirdo and Dazed 100 alum Octavian, producer J Rick has released some of the city’s strangest, lithest rap tracks in recent years. Listen to his debut mixtape, last year’s No Retreat No Surrender, and you’ll hear a shape-shifting approach to genre that encompasses jazz, house, garage, soul, and hip hop, without ever settling for one definition.

Rick first started producing music as a way to kill time when he got kicked out of class. Hanging around the music block, he sketched out beats inspired by Kanye West, Jamie xx, Jai Paul, Future, and more. He ended up attending the BRIT School, where he met Octavian, and the two bonded over the similarity in their backgrounds. Octavian ended up dropping out; Rick graduated, went to university to study music, but also dropped out after three weeks. Perhaps they both realised they didn’t need institutions behind them – and they were right, because their debut track together, “Party Here”, became an underground London anthem co-signed by Drake in 2018.

As well as his work with Octavian and Essie Gang, Rick’s No Retreat No Surrender mixtape was inspired by the life and death of his beloved uncle Errol Christie, a European boxing champion. The release runs the gamut from “Surprise”, a spine-tingling collab with Dazed 100 alum Obongjayar, to a summer-ready remix of Cassie’s “Me & U”. It’s proof that J Rick is as inventive on his own as he is when teaming up with his collective. “I enjoy creating stuff that hasn’t been done before, so my work comes out unique because of that,” he says. “I get bored otherwise.”

What issues or causes are you passionate about and why?

J Rick: I’m very passionate about equality in society, and always have been because of my family. I was brought up around super strong black men and women who had faced adversity growing up in the Midlands from the 60s, as well as super-strong men and women on my Irish side who also faced prejudice. I think that there are a lot of ongoing and unspoken issues with xenophobia and institutional racism that people are happy to upkeep but unwilling to talk about.

Where do you eventually want to get to in your career?

J Rick: I want to get to a place where I can have the freedom and confidence to make, create, and do whatever I feel like doing. When you grow up in the ends, it’s bare easy to get stuck in a mindset of ‘You can’t do this’ and ‘You can’t afford that’. For me to reach a point mentally and physically where I can act on my ideas without doubt or hesitation would be total freedom.

“I think that there are a lot of ongoing and unspoken issues with xenophobia and institutional racism that people are happy to upkeep but unwilling to talk about” – J Rick

How has the Coronavirus outbreak affected you, your work, and/or your community?

J Rick: The biggest effect is that my first headline show was postponed. We sold out and now it has been pushed back until things calm down, but I know it’s for the best. With day to day things I haven’t really been feeling the blues yet. I spend a lot of time in the studio anyway so I am used to the social distance. 

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

J Rick:
I would love to be able to do an album with videos from different places around the world showing different people’s perspectives. Like one person from each country with mad contrasting lives, showing how they find happiness or showing what challenges they face and their environment. In London a lot of people end up living their whole life in the ends and never really see that there is such a whole world out there. Even though you can see a lot online, I think it makes people even more hesitant to see for themselves... I filmed my video for “Gone” in Egypt and at that time there were political problems and danger involved in even just trying to get camera equipment over there, so we had to risk a lot filming how we did but it was definitely worth it to show people the real Egypt and not just what people see online.

Aimee Cliff

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