Bringing The Sound Of North London To Nottingham, With Dali Boy And El Londo
1 Feb 2023
Young rappers Dali Boy and El Londo moved from their North London boroughs to the East Midlands, bringing their sound with them. The pair met at university, both studying Music Production and have cemented the niche genre in the Midlands city.
Dali Boy is a 23-year-old rapper from North Finchley, producing his own music and writing bars whilst studying full-time at Nottingham Trent University. His hit single ‘Feeling Myself’ established his name within the music industry, showcasing his talent as an artist.
El Londo refers to himself as a ‘chill-rap’ music producer, a sound engineer bringing the underground UK rap scene into the limelight. He predominantly works alongside rapper Ashbeck and uses inspiration from a variety of genres to form his own unique sound.
Sitting down with the pair in their semi-falling apart university house, we discussed them bringing their respective established fan bases from London up to Nottingham, planning events all whilst creating their own, new sounds.
Did you find it difficult at first, to make a name for yourself in Nottingham?
Dali: “Honestly, Nottingham is a student city. And a lot of those students are coming from London, coming up from ends, from the South and they want to hear that same music that they had back home. We have relied on students being in the city, though. We do events and all sorts, that people want to actually come to.”
So, you’d say you have used your established name in London to help you in Nottingham?
Dali: “Well, yeah. I’ve been rapping for years, and people in London know me. I started out in London and that really helped me, I had already established a name for myself in London and that made it easier for me in Nottingham.”
How did you two meet?
Dali: “Doing the course that we do at Nottingham, like, everyone’s involved in the scene. We would have probably met otherwise, but it made it all easier. You make friends like you, who know and produce the same music as you, you’re surrounded by these people.”
Would you say your music has changed since being in Nottingham?
El: “Any good artist knows that if you’re not being influenced by your environment, you’re not doing it right.”
Dali: “Yeah exactly, like you need to take in your environment, your art is tangible and should change. There are so many influences in Nottingham that just were not there in London, and they have definitely helped to change the art.”
Do you think that being from London has helped you to establish yourselves in Nottingham?
Dali: “For sure. Being from London is elite in this industry. If you’re from London, you know nobody is going to take the piss. Like, imagine you’re from Billericay. Who is going to take you seriously as a rapper? If you’re trying to break into the scene, being from London is a big help, if you’re not you’ll feel inferior. If you’re not from an urban area, I hate saying that word, but you know what I mean.
“There’s a culture that surrounds the rap industry, not necessarily London but like Brum, Manchester, and them sides. You’re not going to be from a village rapping about stories from the streets. You have to find your own sound if you’re not from that background. You can’t exactly just jump on a sound that you don’t know about.”
Would you say the rap industry is becoming more gentrified, and less authentic as it’s becoming more popular?
El: “Definitely. Look at all of them chill rappers, there’s nothing wrong with being like that, being from that background, but they have got definitely got influenced by London’s rap scene. You can still rap about like young adult like finding yourself and that.”
Have you found yourself working with people who aren’t from London, and now you’re not always there? What’s that like?
Dali: “I’ve done a tune with George Armstrong, from X. It was more like, professional when we met up if that makes sense. When you’re working with people from a similar background to you, it’s more back and forth, like you find yourself chatting and just bouncing off each other.
“George has his own kind of experience though, a different look at life, he really likes the music that he makes, so it is very different. Something new is always going on in music though, there’s always someone setting a trend which everyone just starts jumping on.”
Words by Lucia Botfield