South-West London rapper KAM-BU is an artist with eclectic inspirations. With his upbringing juxtaposed by the areas he grew up in, moving away from the diverse cultural hub of Brixton to the more leafy London suburb of Richmond as a teenager, his breadth of life experience shows itself in his music as he draws upon influences from sound system Caribbean culture to the raves of his youth. 

Lyrically astute and with his finger on the pulse of both the social and political climate, KAM is an artist who is at the forefront of a new wave of alternative UK Rap. From Lord Apex to Little Simz and Knucks, an emergence of Rap music that’s not made for the mainstream is starting to break new ground within this country, with KAM pushing his way forward. From the warped anti-establishment track ‘ETON MESS’ to the more mellow stylings of ‘Touch’, the rapper doesn’t waste a bar and is not afraid to speak his truth. It is no surprise then that ‘BU’ stands for ‘Be Urself ’, a quality that shines through in KAM’s discography. 

How did you get into music? 

Just growing up man, everyone had bars, it was just how it was. Whether we were in the playground or smoking area, it kind of just progressed from there. My dad was a percussionist in a band when I was growing up so we used to go to Southbank Centre, they used to play drums and hand drums and stuff, so that was cool. Music has always been a big part of my life growing up, it’s just natural. 

You grew up in Brixton and then moved to Richmond. How did those two places shape you artistically? Brixton is kind of that loud hustle and bustle, they’re just a lot more flamboyant and there’s a lot more stuff that I can relate to as a Caribbean person. Richmond is very toned down, nice and green though – But it seems that everyone from Richmond lives in Brixton now, so it’s kind of feeling the same now; I think they both have their own influences. Obviously there’s a lot of Caribbean people and Portuguese people in Brixton, you’re exposed to so many different cultures. The friends that I made in Richmond put me on to whatever stuff they were listening to, that could be Smashing Pumpkins and more Indie stuff. They definitely influenced different sides and showed me different things. A lot of Londoners when it came to Rap back in the day were heavily focused on Americans. North London and my little pocket of south west London was big into Grime but everywhere else was trying to do American rap. 

Would you say Grime is one of your biggest influences? 

It’s hard to say because every couple years it’s different but I definitely know specifically it was the Ice Kid and Chipmunk freestyle. That one was a big one, I literally rinsed that for like four years straight. 

This is an extract from the SS23 issue of Viper Magazine. Buy physical and digital copies here.




Clothing: ALEX BRUCE 

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