Driving in the car today I wasn’t inspired by any of the songs on multiple Radio stations which I had heard countless times last year and was in the need for something more motivating to fit my mood. I slipped in an old CD from the glove compartment and a song I hadn’t heard in years literally pumped from the sound system straight into my veins. I got hooked all over again. It was Wretch 32 and his single, ‘Don’t Go’ featuring Josh Kumra so later in the day I decided to do a little research into this talented British Hip-Hop sensation and here’s what I found:
Wretch 32 emerged onto the UK music scene as a solo artist in 2011, having previously worked with fellow Brit urban artists Tinie Tempah, The Streets, Chipmunk and Bashy. Wretch 32’s debut single was ‘Traktor’ and his third single the same year, the haunting, ‘Don’t Go’ entered the UK singles chart at number one and was heard everywhere. It is considered his most successful single to date. Wretch 32, otherwise known as Jermaine Scott Sinclair, is from Tottenham Tiverton Estate, a rather notorious area and his raw, honest lyrics were inspired by growing up there. His artist name was born from his Jamaican background where wretch meant skinny and that’s what his mother called him. 32 being his lucky number. His father is a reggae DJ and his mother and sisters played a lot of rock and R&B. Later on, he discovered American hip-hop and artists such as P Diddy, 2Pac and Jay-Z so music was always in the background growing up. Wretch 32 became a father himself at the young age of 21, but this only gave him further drive to get out of the rather restricted area he was from and get where he is today. Some other rather real incidents that he experienced when he was young and later inspired lyrics was seeing his grandmother die from cancer and his mother kicking him out of his home when he was 17. As hard and shocking as it was, it gave him the push he needed and he got himself a council flat which would eventually be the main point of contact for the grime collective he was part of called Combination Chain Gang. He got himself a job and decided to try drama and stage management at college. He also dabbled in media studies but soon realised his heart was in music.
Even though Grime music was prominent with his peers at this time, he knew it wasn’t to completely be his sound so he combined just a dash of grime with hip-hop. He created a series of mixtapes in 2006 (including ‘Teacher’s Training Day’ which featured appearances from Ghetts, Bashy and Scorcher) which he produced at his college and sold to students and friends. The tracks on these CDs were filled with animated stories performed over sampled beats and fresh rhythms which were aided by local producers. It was clear a true talent was developing and his name started creating a buzz in Tottenham. Spurred on by the success of other British artists such as So Solid Crew and Dizzee Rascal, Wretch continued making music finally drawing the attention of DJ Cameo at Radio 1Extra and later winning a BBC1Extra Award for Best Hip Hop. Invitations followed to collaborate with Davinche and Bashy, Devlin and Ghetto. A crew called ‘The Movement’ was founded and record companies started showing an interest. Wretch was signed with Ministry Of Sound from 2010 – 2016 and Polydor Records from last year.
Wretch 32 continues to hone his craft with hit songs and albums time and time again. His flows are creative narratives, his beats fresh and his hooks are catchy creating an unforgettable package of tracks you want to keep listening to. In recent years he has worked with talented British artists including Ed Sheeran and Avelino and he continues to surprise us. Continuing to win awards and accolades, this man from Tottenham will surely be on the Billboard Top 100 and that day can’t come soon enough. I’m glad I discovered that old CD and it’s made me listen to more of Wretch’s music I hadn’t heard before. His last video ‘Growing Over Life,’ a visual album sampler, is just sheer poetry; a taste of delicious morsels of music you just want to hear more of. This incredible British artist is seriously talented and I can’t wait to see what he does next.