In Talks With Ramz: “They think I’m just the singing yute, but I gotta channel that because they don’t even know me.”
1 Dec 2021
Meet Ramz: The South Londoner whose bespoke rise to the top of the charts has ultimately sent him on a journey back to himself.
The artist – not rapper – is now paving a new lane and has laid low, crafting a vibe that represents him. Following the release of his true-to-self ‘Retro Boy’ EP, Ramz and I locked in for an unfiltered conversation.
If you want to understand the “Barking” star, look no further. We eagerly unpacked the trials he faced early in his career, his take on the UK scene, fatherhood and why ‘Retro Boy’ is merely the beginning of a new chapter for Ramz.
“Retro Boy is here! How you feeling?”
R: Um, since it’s come out, I’ve been good you know. I’ve tried to let it do what it can do itself rather than me putting it in peoples’ face…
“What makes you take that approach?”
R: I’ve released so much music, for five years now. My mind is in a different place with music, it’s kind of like I’ve got new music now. I want to find what’ll connect with people before pushing in faces. That’s not what music is about now.
“I’m shocked to hear this from you. Was there a catalyst to you feeling like this?”
R: That’s a tricky question! A year and a bit ago – before I had my son – it was just a massive change for me. If the music works, the music works. I feel like I’m one of the best but people still don’t know so my mind is just set on: if it works, it works and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“Retro Boy the EP is very concise – what was your thought process going into making it? ”
R: I wanted to throw it back to my old self. A lot of people want the melodies and flows, so I wanted to throw it back old-school. Not just music that I like, but sometimes you have to give the people what they want. That’s one of the main things.
“Facts! What things are for Ramz versus for the people?”
R: From the start, I’ve clocked things ain’t me. I don’t do the jewellery and designer ting, for example, I don’t play that part of the game like other people in the scene. With my image, I’m going off how I feel.
“I love that for you. How has that been received?”
R: It’s good to hear people say “I like what you’re doing now”. What I’m doing now is just being myself. I heard someone say in an interview, they were the head and then they became a leader. It’s new and people are gonna be on what I’m on later. I came in the scene at like 20, so I was young and now I’m in a different stage of my life.
“Sick, this sounds like real growth. Let’s talk more about who Ramz from Mitcham is?”
R: I always wanna explain that side init. I was a normal person – I still think I’m a normal person – but I used to work at Arsenal as a steward. I’ve struggled, lost friends… I’ve lived a normal life. I’m not different from anyone else from ends.
“So, you’ve moved away from Mitcham now-”
R: Nah, I’m still here! I moved and then I came back. Even that, I was forced to feel like I had to move. You might not know where but I’m still in Mitcham. I feel like that was what brought man back to myself, I can’t even lie.
“What were your hopes and dreams?”
R: I wanted to be in the sports world. A coach, a PE teacher and sometimes I still think I can touch that world. I wanted to touch people like that but obviously God had another way for me…
“Sometimes one platform leads you to another! Where did the ‘Mitcham Dreamer’ title come from?”
R: I was in a dark place… me and my friends went Miami! It went off, I’ll be real – there were about 10 of us. That was when the 360 happened. What’s the point of me being an artist and competing in London when I can see man getting private jets to another state. I wanna do that! So, I was like ‘who reminds me of myself?’ and its Meek Mill. He’s on this ‘dreamer’ thing and so am I, so I called myself the ‘Mitcham Dreamer’.
“You need to have a project with that title! What made you resonate with Meek Mill?”
R: I can hear some of his flows in my rap tracks and even when I was low, it was him that had me doing waves, you get me? When my braids get messy, I just leave it just like him. He raps like he’s still broke and that’s how I rap these days? Like this is it.
“This is interesting… You’ve broke all these grounds and seen the top and now you’re at a place where you’re hungry – but you’ve achieved a lot already?”
R: It is interesting! I think that’s what a lot of people wanna ask. If you didn’t know me before…, you wouldn’t know where I’m coming from. If someone’s working for a year and then blows, people know their story and its deserved. No one knew where I came from… that’s enough to question someone. It’s not a one-off because I knew the day would come where I’d have to prove myself.
“What a unique journey… Talk about running your own race within a booming UK rap scene?”
R: I’m happy, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m so confident in what I’m doing now because I’m not afraid to be different. When you’re around people that are so heavily about image and trying to fit in, you’re gonna forget about yourself. For me, as an artist, I’m just trying to stay around.
“There’s a lot of choice and competition but we always champion someone that’s themselves! What are some of your rap influences?”
R: Rap…I’d be lying if I said I still do rap. I do enjoy it but since having my son and going through hard times, I’ve said to myself I need to vulnerable with what I’m making. I’m singing and I’m singing properly.
“I wanna talk about that! You’re experimenting with sounds…”
R: I think it’s how you grow up init. For me, I might’ve heard Anthony Hamilton one day and then I’d listen to Migos. Listen, I’ve got some gospel tracks there but once the album is shaped, this music will work. If it doesn’t, my next plan is to leave to somewhere where it will be taken in.
“What’s the general feedback toward the changes in your sound?”
R: I was never anxious. A lot of people around me were like just stick with the singing – it wasn’t in me. These people don’t understand what I can do. They think I’m just the singing yute, but I gotta channel that because they don’t even know me! The rapping ting I did because I was angry… I let all my steam out.
“Where was your head at when you parted ways with your label?”
R: They were actually very good to me; I can’t say a bad word about them. My A&R has been the best, he had a massive part in my success. The first time I met him he told me we’d have a platinum track and I did the next time I came to the building.
“Do you have friends in the industry?”
R: I do and I don’t. I feel like the industry is like school. When you’re outside of school, people don’t shout you – I’ve got a few I could hail up and be down to earth with. A lot of people have changed on me so I don’t rock with them. I came here with my friends and that’s why more time you see me on tracks by myself…
“Who do you reckon you can make a banger with?”
R: I’d honestly say anyone. Put me in a room with anyone and I can come up with anything. I was in a room with Youngs Tef and his lane is hardcore rap. He said he needed a hook, I said yeah, I got you and now I’m on his tape! I had to keep up with him still, I’m proud though init. It was just natural.
“Mad!! A follower asked: When did you start to make music that truly represented you?”
R: It’s always represented me, but now there are changes due to my life changing.
“Do you feel like the UK was bad vibes?”
R: Yes and no. I’ve been to so many places – India! No one is deeping this but because I was so young… I wish I vlogged these things, because I would’ve had so much footage. I have people there who love me, I’m not just about Europe. I’m going everywhere this time.
“Let’s wrap it up with Retro Boy – this is your first body of work since bettering your mental health and becoming a dad!”
R: I didn’t think about music too much whilst having my son. “Live Life” is one of my favourites, I put it on the end because it’s more mature and I can leave people thinking… what’s next?
“You’ve mentioned it a few times in our chat – how is the fatherhood/family experience treating you?”
R: We’re not together anymore. There’s good communication between us – she gets a lot of time with him, I do too. It was my son’s birthday the other day. We went to the shop and I said to him, pick up whatever you want. He just pointed at things and I got them! He’s just started walking so that’s the part I’m enjoying the most.
In the mood for more exclusive chats with the UK’s leading talents? Find the likes of KO, Teezandos and Cashh here!