Tommy B talks lyrical inspiration, Lord of The Mics and his recent Devlin collaboration | MN2S

Tommy B is at the forefront of a new generation of MCs revolutionising the UK grime scene.

Spitting since nine years old, this astonishingly ambitious young artist appeared seemingly out of nowhere in 2015, swiftly gaining the attention of veteran MCs with appearances on Rinse FM and BBC 1Xtra. Since then, he’s established a reputation as a hard-hitting lyricist, deftly delivering flows over menacing productions that highlight his phenomenal talents: check out his 2018 EP Racing for an example of a young MC way ahead of his time. Tommy’s latest release, ‘Come Out My Way’, is a remarkable leap forward, seeing him collaborate with scene veteran and personal hero Devlin. We caught up with the young MC to hear more about his latest single, dive into his lyrical inspirations and get the lowdown on his appearance at Lord of The Mics.

Hi Tommy. What have you been up to so far in 2019 – working on anything we should know about?

Other than preparing for LOTM 8 and doing all of the promo stuff for that, I have been working on my new project. It’s called The New Dimension, and I’m really happy with it. I have some very strong features on there and I am extremely proud of the project. The release date will be announced soon, so keep your eyes out for it!

You’re from Maldon, in Essex, not a town typically associated with grime. How did you get into the scene in the first place?

I would definitely agree with that. I have always loved Grime since I discovered it around the age of nine, and I have been writing and spitting since then. It was when I turned 15 that I began taking it seriously though. I began making waves in the scene when I started hitting radio. This kicked off when I was invited to go to radio in Basildon, when Kirby T had a show on a station called Gateway FM. He shouted me to come up and shell a set with some other Essex MCs after seeing some of my Facebook freestyles floating around at the time. That was back in late 2015, and I have just gone from strength to strength since then.

“My life has changed a lot since I started music… I am surrounded by idols regularly, which still blows my mind.”

You’ve enjoyed a meteoric rise since you started spitting. How has your life changed since you got into the music game?

Thank you for the kind words, I wouldn’t describe it as meteoric just yet, but I appreciate it nonetheless! My life has changed a lot since I started music. The main thing I would say is that I am surrounded by idols regularly, which still blows my mind. It’s just surreal. I think my progression in music has also allowed me to stick to a positive path in life which is a real contrast in comparison to where I was when I started out.

Who do you consider as your primary influences – not just in the grime scene, but across music in general?

I believe my primary influences come from my three favourite MCs – Wiley, Devlin and Ghetts. Outside of Grime I take a lot of influence from artists from a range of genres. Mike Skinner, Eminem, Audio Bullies, The Verve, Ed Sheeran and Plan B have all had a massive influence on me. That is amongst loads of different artists I can’t think of right now!

Where does your lyrical inspiration come from? Do you feel like your bars centre on a specific theme, or do you just rhyme about whatever comes naturally?

I believe my lyrical inspiration comes from all angles of my personality, and it just depends how I am feeling at that specific time. I think a lot of my lyrics stem from frustration and anger which probably isn’t hard to figure out. At the same time I find it really hard to explain my process when writing, it just seems to happen. It’s really strange actually, as it goes.

Tell us about your collaboration with Devlin – how did that come about?

Devlin is an artist I have looked up to since I was around 10 years old, so naturally I have always wanted to work with him. I think I had been on his radar for a little while because he began following me on the socials, so I just decided that when I recorded the right tune I was just going to shoot my chance to collaborate. When the right tune was made, that’s exactly what I did. I hit him up with the song, he liked it and we went from there! His verse is incredible as expected, and the whole song is something I am very proud of. The video has been wrapped up and the single was released 21st March on all good digital platforms.

“All I can say is that I feel I was put on this earth to become a legendary MC, and nobody is going to get in the way of my plan.”

We hear you’re on the line-up for Lord of The Mics 8th edition later this year, facing off against Jay 0117. What can listeners expect from the clash – are you prepared?

All I can say is that I feel I was put on this earth to become a legendary MC, and nobody is going to get in the way of my plan. I was born prepared for this. Expect me to teach some lessons in this clash.

What’s your long-term game plan as an artist – where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years time I see myself as a highly respected and established artist in the game. I see myself having a very strong core fanbase, almost cult-like. I see myself touring the country and the globe with my music.

We love to get an insight into what our artists are listening to. Can you give us two tunes: one absolute classic, and something fresh we may not have heard of?

Classic tune would be Weak Become Heroes by The Streets. This one is just incredible, from the production to the lyrics. It captures the rave scene perfectly. I would describe this as musical perfection in my eyes.

The new tune is Window Kid – Ryan Air. I have somehow only just discovered Window Kid. He’s an MC from Nottingham and this tune is an absolute belter. Production is class, and the bars and flows are so clever and witty. Keep an eye out for him!

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