A lot of UK rappers take a while to find their own style but Deema, at just 20 years old, is already crafting a unique style and sound.

Coming out of Brockley, Deema cut his musical teeth with The Square, a Lewisham-based grime collective which touts Novelist and Elf Kid amongst its former members. But Deema has branched out on his own and is all the better for it.

 

His debut EP ‘CHEW YOUR FOOD,’ produced by Dom Valentio (another Square alumnus) jumps around with heavy-hitting grime-influenced tracks such as “HASH BROWN” and “SE4” before switching to tracks with beats transported straight from 1990s New York. 

 

Deema’s lyrical style, which mixes witty one-liners with attention-grabbing hooks, means that you’re unlikely to mistake him for another UK rapper – a fact even more impressive when you consider he hasn’t been writing songs for that long.

 

From even a cursory listen, it should become clear that Deema isn’t trying to be like everyone else. His confident delivery, paired with the exciting and unique beats, mean that Deema is an MC worth keeping more than just an eye on – he’ll be taking his bangers from SE4 around the world before you know it.

deema
deema
deema

You started your music career as part of the Lewisham grime collective, The Square. How instrumental was that in terms of shaping your sound and making you the artist you are today?

Very instrumental. I believe if I wasn’t living in the area I was or surrounded by people I was then I would be a completely different artist. I’m very grateful for the members of The Square that I had the pleasure of working alongside and learning from. Not just learning what to do but what not to do – as I was the youngest member I was always given advice and lectured on the best way to do things, whether it be performing, recording or signing a record deal. Or even just avoiding anything not beneficial to my productivity.

Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?

I tend to have different inspirations to my influences. People who inspire me are those who I think are being the best they can be as themselves. A lot of my friends inspire me, my mate Jack Harper, he’s a designer or even Kish! he inspires me to work harder or tackle things more independently. I also think seeing someone like Skepta progress to where he is is really inspiring also – to go from pirate radio to Billboard in over 10 years and to be from where we’re from, yeah it’s deffo inspiring.

‘CHEW YOUR FOOD’ has a real bouncy vibe to it. Did you set out to capture that when creating the project

Yes! One of the main goals for CHEW YOUR FOOD was that we really wanted the project to sound a certain way, not like anything I’ve heard in particular but how ‘thought’ it should sound. I wanted it to be bouncy, I wanted it to be chewy, I wanted it to be quite a difficult listen but I also wanted it to be short just so that it could be easily consumed even though there’s a lot of rough sounds all over the project. That’s why the 7 tracks are only 18 minutes long.
deema
deema

What’s your favourite line from the EP?

“Big business, I ain’t got no money though / Need the money like a fat cat with them tummy rolls.” – “SE4”

In terms of the project’s lyrical content, where did you draw your inspiration from? Is there anything in particular you wanted to get off your chest or let people know about you through the music?

The idea of ‘CHEW YOUR FOOD’ is that you should be aware of whatever it is you’re consuming, and if you are consuming it then chew it, enjoy it. The idea stems from the fact that we’re spoilt for choice – there’s so much information, so many different things we can occupy ourselves with. I wanted to get the idea of over information across, which is why there are lines like “Too much data too, much data, please leave me alone/ I check my phone then lock my phone then go on and check my phone”. Also, “Rat Race” and “SE4” really depict the lyrical themes of the project, but also “All I See”, “Stranger” and “Dungeon”.

Give me a window into your writing process – how do you write and create a song?

As I’m still quite new to song-making, this has changed quite a lot for me! A lot of the time I used to write after or before a recording session ironically. When we made CHEW YOUR FOOD that was quite split and I actually wrote quite a bit in the studio as I improved my ability to work while actually in the session [laughs]. Nowadays, I’ve gotten a lot better at writing there and then. I find it a lot more fun and challenging. It generally produces better songs as I can catch the vibe there as the beat is being made. It’s a lot more organic when I can come up with something there without having to think about it too much.
deema
deema

You’ve previously collaborated with David Armada and Kish! and Indian Queens. Who would you like to work with next?

I have a big list I put together the other day actually and an even bigger one in my head with a lot of out of reach names [laughs]. For now, I’d like to collaborate as much as I can with my peers and friends of friends or people at similar stages in their careers as me. I want to work with people in Kish’s 237 collective but I also would love an Anderson .Paak feature or Little Simz!

For someone who might not have heard your music before – tell us why should people listen to Deema.

Because you haven’t heard it before!!! Duh.

What do you hope to have achieved in five years?

In five years I’ll be 25 so not huge pressure on too much success. I’d like to have one classic album. That’d be good enough for me.
deema
deema

Listen to Deema's 'CHEW YOUR FOOD' project below:

Tags