Aitch’s sound is distinct, playful and inherently unique. The MC from Manchester has steadily been showing the rest of the UK how diverse one voice can truly be. Moving with fluidity between a huge variety of genres and beats, Aitch maintains a wave of music that goes beyond just good flow and witty language. Maybe it’s his spirited personality, or the fact that pure joy seems to radiate from both his music and self. Whatever it is, Aitch is crossing sonic and geographical boundaries at an alarming rate.
So, first of all, we need to talk about your rhythm. You seem to be able to hop on any beat with such an individual understanding and approach to it. How have you developed that?
I don’t know you know, it just seems natural, I feel like that’s how you should rap. There is no other way, if I do it any other way, it’s wrong. Well, its not wrong, but it’s not good enough. That’s just my way of doing it, I don’t know why. It just comes naturally.
Your Kenny Allstar freestyle was wild, Kenny’s face was just going crazy in the background watching you spit, on two very different beats. When you need to get in the zone for something, how do you get your mind right to be so fluid?
Do you know what it is, I’m not gonna lie and say I’m some mad musical person, it’s not really that. I keep it so simple for myself. Even though those songs (on the Kenny Allstar freestyle) are completely different genres, I just tell myself I’ll spit this fast on this one, and this fast on that one. Keep it simple, then it works out for me that I can end up doing my thing on both different beats.
You’ve spoken previously about how you don’t want to be stuck to one genre, is there anything you’ve played around with – in that sense – that you’ve felt just didn’t work, where you weren’t able to communicate that Aitch energy?
So far so good you know, I haven’t gone too far out the box just yet. I’m not trying to force anything. But, it will come. I’m going to cover every bit of music I can. I’ve got my guy YJ and he’s my go to producer, he can make anything. I might come in wanting to hear a Garage tune, a Rap tune, we’ve been messing about with acoustic guitars. It just depends on the vibe.
Every time I go in the studio I’m trying to do something completely different to the time I went in before. Just trying to switch it up every time and see what happens. It’s an early stage in my career, so I’m putting things out, seeing what the response is, and go off the response. If it doesn’t work, I won’t do it again. I’m not gonna go too wild, I’m not gonna be singing my heart out on anything anytime soon.
Bringing it back to rhythm though, it’s not just recognition of a beat that forms your style, it goes beyond that. It definitely has something to do with your enunciation of words and the way that flows together. Do you focus on what you’re saying, or do you focus on the melody and then how your words could chase that through?
I’d say recently, its what I’m saying. You could have the maddest flow in the world, but if you’re not saying anything that means something, then people aren’t really interested in it. Recently, I’ve been trying to make more developed music, work on what I’m trying to say rather than mad flows. I’ll think about what I’m trying to say, write it down, and then take out a coupla’ words to make sure that flow is there.
UK rap has often been used to talk about some pretty heavy things. Could you see yourself veering towards that?
I’ve definitely got a couple things in my head, that I want to get out there. But right now, it’s just fun. I want to put my whole range of things out to see what the reaction is. That dictates what I’m gonna do. I’ve got things to say. I’m not gonna start spitting about Brexit or anything like that, but aside from joking about girls, I’ve got some seriousness. It’s just not ready to come out just yet. It’s not that time. In my EP that’s coming out later this year there are some thoughtful ones on there.
You’ve spoken in other interviews about how this journey has been quite a natural but rapid progression. Do you think the flow you’ve experienced has alleviated some of the pressure that comes with being in this industry?
I never, ever, in my life wanted a job – I started working because I had to – I worked for 6 months and just thought to myself; “nah. I’m going. I want to be a rapper.” I knew [ a career in music ] was gonna happen, I just didn’t realise It was gonna happen that quick. I thought I was gonna be on my arse for a bit.
So when you were working, what was the mental space in your head like, what were you thinking in that time?
Just, “Nah, can’t do this”. I’ve never wanted to do it. I knew music was gonna happen, just gut feeling. But it was just… when. I was just thinking – when I was working- I’m not doing this for the rest of my life. So, the next tune that dropped when I was working, it blew, then I was like, “Yo, I’m gone. Safe. I quit”.
There’s no where else for me to be, I can’t see myself doing anything else, I’ve come too far. Even before I was doing this, when I had a job, I would just think “this is not me”. I think everyone’s life is planned out, that’s just how I feel innit, and my life is this. No questions, if’s or but’s. I won’t let that make me lazy or cruise, I’ve still got to work hard. But I’m not meant to be nowhere else, I’m not meant to be on no building site or nothing like that. I’m supposed to be here, chatting to you, on this right now. This is where I’m supposed to be.
Is there anyone you could see rhythmically balancing you out or someone that you could work with – when it comes to your style – in the states?
It’s weird, cos people could see me as a lyricist or rapper, in the way I put words together, but then I’ll listen to Migos or Lil Pump. I don’t listen to Kendrick Lamar, whose got the best bars, or J Cole. I’d wanna do a tune with Migos or Lil Pump, but maybe that wouldn’t connect as I’m more on bars and individual rhythm.
Okay, so wish list, you get to the states… who are the first people you’re reaching out too?
21 Savage, Drake…definitely.
Okay but Drake’s not allowed to dance in your videos…
Nahhhhh, I’ll tell him. I’ll cover the dance moves!
You can peep Aitch’s track ‘Wait’ down below, whilst holding tight for his up and coming Ep set to drop later on this year.