Skepta and Wiley wanted 19 year old, Belly to sort the hook for their on-repeat track, ‘U Were Always Part 2.’
Affiliated with renowned grime collective, Boy Better Know, and working with group Tracksuit Mafia, Belly is an MC who is working on big things. Moving from Germany to London when he was just two, Belly later became influenced by the flow of artists such as Skepta, Chipmunk and NDubz. However, it’s clear that Belly has found his own flow as he drops a smooth lyrical hook alongside SWV’s sampled vocals.
Currently working on his new EP entitled “250697” for a March-release, we managed to catch up with Belly before he headed out to the studio.
Huge song. ‘U Were Always, Part 2’ featuring Skepta and Wiley - how did the collaboration come about?
Ah, that was a weird one man! I was at a studio session with Skepta and I must’ve been writing and I had my earphones in. You know when the room just looks at you – everyone’s looking at you – you can feel people looking at you and someone’s saying something to you but you can’t hear it?
I took out my earphones and I think Skepta was like, ‘Wiley wants you to write a hook for him.’ I was like ‘what?’ I never heard about it again but a few weeks later I was at another studio session and they gave me the song. I went home and ripped it and I got at Skepta saying, ‘who’s gonna write the hook? Because I wanna write it so that it can relate to whoever’s gonna sing the hook’…and then he goes, ‘You.’ I said ‘cool, say no more.’ From then it was history. I did the hook a good 5 times…he sent it to me…but we did it in the end.
Crazy story! So in the video you’re bring that 90s smooth vibe – is that a big inspiration for you?
Yeah – I grew up on that. So when they told me what kinda vibe they were going for, it was easy to fit into that kinda scene…that kinda character.
So you’re from North London – near White Hart Lane – has that always been home for you?
Always, from young. I’m from an estate called Meridian, just off White Hart Lane. So many artists have come outta Merdian. Meridian Dan…JME…Skepta…a lot of artists, yeah.
On that topic, we were checking out your twitter. You tweeted recently: “New Generation rap in London is looking peak!” What was that referring too?
*laughs* Yeah! New Generation rap is just looking peak because I’m doing music with another guy from North London – he’s a singer/rapper and I was just looking at UK rap in general…not just London, but England…there’s so much talent! There’s so many people I could name right now and…it’s not overlooked because more and more people are plugging into it…but I think…we’re coming man.
So not enough attention being shown then for the amount of talent out there?
Mmm…there is attention being shown but it hasn’t fully buss yet…it hasn’t reached the heights that it can reach. That’s why I’m just letting people know that it’s growing…it’s getting there.
We also saw that someone tweeted about ‘U Were Always’ saying that its ‘Rhythm and Grime’ – what’s your thoughts on yourself being a ‘Rhythm and Grime’ artist?
Someone said R&B not R&G! *laughs* I found that so funny…Yeah I consider myself a Grime artist, yeah.
We’re going hard on this twitter game! There’s been a lot of mentions of your line, ‘Bare more tings in the sea.’ Is there a particular story behind that or are you just riffing off the themes in the song?
Now that is probably the realest line I’ve ever spat in my life. That song came about…it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. I’d just broken up with my ex not too long ago…yeah. Like Skeppy said, it’s easy to write about when it’s true.
That’s really honest. So you’re working with Skepta and Wiley – have they given you any advice about surviving in the industry?
Yeah…just focus on your music. Don’t ever think about the money or what’s gonna come or afterwards. It's all gonna come, as long as you keep making music and keep hitting that upload button it’s all gonna come man. The main focus has to be making music and that’s what Skep told me every day.
Definitely. So the original - Roll Deep’s ‘U Were Always Part 1’ – how much did that figure when you were writing this song? What’re your thoughts on that song personally?
That song’s hard! It’s cold, it’s cold, it’s cold. I just thought, ‘I need to come up with a hook that’s gonna be remembered as much as that song was…or even better.’ I tried my very best to better it. Like, with Tinchy Stryder and Dizzee Rascal…that’s legendary in itself.
So the song’s been picked up by 1Xtra, Kiss and of course us here at Keakie – how has your life changed?
Way more attention. A lot of ‘hey strangers.’ But…I don’t know, I stay close to home so it’s always been the same. I’ve always been…I wouldn’t stay a ‘star’ in my hood, but people recognise that I’m doing music.
So linking to chilling at home – you tweeted, “2017, no whatsapp, no snapchat” with a smiley face – what’s that about?
Yes! It’s just too many new people just trying to get involved in my life now that this video’s dropped so I just thought for 2017 I’m gonna have no social anything…I’m just gonna make music.
That’s big! That takes a lot of focus. Well it’s been great speaking to you Belly & I’m sure we’ll be hearing lots more from you and staying in touch with you in the future.
Thank you – it was a pleasure.
Check out Belly drop his bars and prepare to keep the track on repeat here:
You can keep up with Belly @Belly_TM and follow @keakiemusic on twitter for more exclusive content.