South West London rapper, CHOZE, has finally released his long-awaited album, D.I.Y. The trailblazing grime record serves as an authentic and unorthodox homage to the underground UK music scene that the artist was raised on in his Clapham estate, and as an assertion of self-identity, it certainly hits the mark. As a collection of infectious beats and unorthodox samples, the album makes for a unique yet nostalgic sound with unapologetic grit.
The Italian-Ghanaian rapper prides himself on being Avant-Garde, and D.I.Y undoubtedly stands out amongst the stripped-down style of rap that has taken over the music scene in recent years. CHOZE’s love for ‘old skool’ UK rap is clear to see, and the album even features the original king of drum and bass, Skibadee, as well as revered producers, Shai Sevin, Renzo, SKOLZ and DJ Lynx.
CHOZE says that his collaboration with Shai Sevin and SKOLZ was a conscious effort for the album to sound ‘ahead of its time’ and to give it ‘body’, and this is clearly demonstrated in Shai’s distinctive mixing and SKOLZ’s seamless production.
However, there are several other voices of the London Underground scene that feature in D.I.Y that are also worthy of note. ‘Badderz’, ‘Wake Up’, ‘Drug Muzik’ and ‘Built 4 Dis’ feature artists from the grime, Jamaican reggae and dancehall scene, including Phil Sayor, Barrington Levy, Corpz, DJ Lynx and Skibadee. Rather than diluting CHOZE’s unique sound, the features successfully elevate his deeply personal lyrics and his style remains distinctive on every track.
CHOZE’s onstage charisma and dynamic performance style are sure to make his promotion for the album one to remember, but his persona and catchy beats aren’t all that D.I.Y has to offer. The album’s carefully crafted verses combine poetic justice with sharp and inventive wordplay to give the record a unique and forward-thinking voice.
CHOZE said himself, “It has always been a dream of mine to create a piece of music that represents my life story, my trials, tribulations and triumphs – all laid bare in one album,” and this couldn’t be clearer in D.I.Y’s storytelling.
The album’s message is about carving your own path and ‘doing it yourself’ while paying your respects to your roots. In fact, CHOZE’s own mother features on the album with a blessing to leave the listener with. CHOZE credits her as his ‘inspiration’ and the reason why he began making music, so her voice gives the record added intimacy that few grime artists aspire to.
After the release of D.I.Y, CHOZE’s sights are now set on sharing his music on a global scale. After signing with Kartel Music Group, this ambition is finally within reach, and CHOZE’s bold new assertion of his identity is sure to make waves on the London music scene and beyond.
Photo credit: Abeiku Arthur
Stylist: Gurdit Singh