Scribz Riley is an artist with unbounded potential. The MC, producer, and singer-songwriter has already packed so much into a fledgling career that looks set to continue to grow to dizzying new heights. Growing up in East London, Scribz started his musical journey in the downstairs room at his mother’s house, forming a makeshift studio after downloading Fruity Loops. Mastering the craft of beat-making one summer, Riley found himself producing on records for some of the biggest artists in the world, thanks in part to the help of his brother – artist and songwriter Talay Riley.
Scribz clearly has a golden touch when it comes to production, working on critically acclaimed records for the likes of Cardi B, Khalid and H.E.R. This facet of his career earned him multiple Grammy nominations, from which he took home two awards. Since then, the East London native has more than come into his own in his solo career. His 2020 project, ‘Wish Me Luck’, provides an exceptional snapshot of what Scribz can bring to a project.
There are intimate, emotional moments on the more R&B coded tracks ‘Mandy’ and ‘I Lied’, while we can also see the artist experiment with a more gritty, harsher tone on the back end of ‘East Side’. ‘Wish Me Luck’ therefore marked the birth of a solo artistic career for Riley, having already achieved so much in his roles behind the scenes. Scribz has taken to centre stage with ease, while his innate talent in all aspects of song creation looks set to keep him in the spotlight for years to come.
Would you say growing up in east London shaped you as an artist?
I started off as an MC back in the Grime days. I went to a school called St. Bons in east [London] where a lot of MCs were spitting. There was Griminal, Brutal, a lot of guys I used to look up to. Coming up through primary school all I wanted to do was Grime and I joined a crew called Wolf Pack in Bow. At the time we had Wiley and Tinchy Stryder from [the area] so I was able to see MCs from my school do it on a bigger scale. I remember Westwood used to do these freestyles with Ice Kid and Chipmunk. For me, being on one of those freestyles would have meant the world; that would have been like winning the highest level award to me. My brother Talay is a successful artist and songwriter, he started writing Country songs and stuff and I didn’t really understand that. I was coming from Grime and just touching Funky House. I didn’t understand why he was listening to these alternative artists and I was laughing at him like, “You listen to some weird shit, bro.” He told me to listen to it and study the writing. From there, I just stopped limiting myself. I already knew how to MC; you’d say a word [and] I had 10 words that rhyme with it, so songwriting was easy for me. I started songwriting, making beats and recording myself. It’s funny, one of the first songs I produced was Wiley’s ‘Reload’, I think it went to number seven [in the charts]. Being from Wolf Pack and being from Bow, it felt like a full circle moment; I was still in my mum’s room!
This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.
Photography: LUKE ROWAN
Words: JOE SIMPSON
Photography Assistant: ANYA ROSE
Styling: ASHLEIGH STUNNA
Creative Direction: EDDIE CHEABA