With hip-hop celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, presenter Snoochie Shy gives us the lowdown on UK rap’s contribution towards it.
This Friday marks 50 years since the birth of hip-hop, arguably the biggest musical phenomenon of our lifetime. More than a genre, its existence is defined by attitude and lifestyle: a melting pot in which art, dance and music have intermingled to create a cultural force to be reckoned with. It’s difficult to encompass half a century of hip-hop. In fact, it’s impossible to do so. But that it still exists is a testament to the scene’s authenticity and ever-evolving nature.
Thanks to subgenres like grime, drill and road rap, the UK’s formulated its own hip-hop microcosm. Ripping up the rule book and piecing together something new, Britain’s lyrically-led sounds are a product of its own streets. Nevertheless, both countries continue to cross-pollinate and influence one another’s scenes. In recent years, artists like Central Cee and Dave have bridged the gap, rapping with a clarity that resonates with those across the pond. Clear flow patterns and intricate wordplay, which often draw comparisons between the UK and the US, have globalised their sound and broken a market that so many have failed to do so previously.
Someone who knows this better than anyone is Snoochie Shy: the BBC 1XTRA presenter whose show has become a UK rap cornerstone. Spotlighting future stars and supporting those at the fore, she’s gained the scene’s respect thanks to a devout commitment towards it. Honing her craft on YouTube and Reprezent Radio, Snoochie, real name Cheyenne Davide, has since had too many viral moments to name. From Louis Theroux’s infamous freestyle to featuring on Nines’ latest album, ‘Crop Circle 2’, she has quickly become one of the genre’s most recognisable figures. When she speaks, people listen. And as the tastemaker continues to add strings to her bow, we wanted to dig deeper and find out where her love of UK rap began.
With hip-hop celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, she gives us the lowdown on UK rap’s contribution towards it.
How did you get into UK rap music and what are some of your earliest memories engaging with the genre?
I started off by filming a news show on YouTube which was all about UK grime and rap. I did a segment called The Giggs Report where I went out trying to find him, which on reflection seems like a creepy thing to do. After that, I did Reprezent Radio and worked my way up from there. It’s definitely been a journey full of highs and lows but not something I’d ever change. I’ve still got loads more I want to do.
Who was the first UK hip-hop/rap artist that you were obsessed with?
It would have to be Giggs, of course. And also Kano when he dropped “P’s & Q’s”, which is my go-to karaoke song. I know the entire tune off by heart, bar for bar. I’m pretty sure I could rap it backwards.
Who would be in your Mount Rushmore of UK Hip-Hop?
In no particular order, but Nines, Potter Payper, CASisDEAD and J Hus.
What’s one UK hip-hop album or mixtape that everyone should listen to?
CASisDEAD ‘The Number 23’, Nines ‘One Foot Out’ and 67 ‘In Skengs We Trust’.
What’s one UK rap moment that you’ll never forget?
When Giggs came out for the Mobo Awards and performed “Game Over”. Also, this is a bit biased but, when Nines got to number one with ‘Crabs In A Bucket’. I was on the tape, so I’ll never forget that moment. I’m a massive Nines fan, so to be on there was sick. Seeing how far he’s he’s come and his journey to the number one album has been great.
What’s an iconic UK hip-hop video everyone should watch?
Wretch 32 “FITB”, enough said.
What do you look for in a UK rap song when selecting it for your radio program? What gets the Snoochie Shy seal of approval?
It’s got to be something that I like. It depends, my brain listens to the beat first and then after two-three listens I take in the lyrics. It’s got to be something that I’m excited about listening to and enjoy. I would never play a song I wouldn’t listen to on a normal day. It’s got to be a vibe.
What UK hip-hop song do you currently play in your DJ sets that always goes off?
You know what I’m a massive fan of Central Cee. Any time a Central Cee tune is played the crowd will know the entire tune. Another one is M24 x Stickz, “We Don’t Dance”. No matter where you play that song everyone is going off or doing up mosh pits.
Who’s had the best freestyle so far in 2023?
I’m giving this to Slim’s “Daily Duppy”, simply because he was away for so long and I was so gassed for him to come back. I’m properly excited for Slim’s journey now he’s back making music.
Looking towards the future, which artists would you say are next up in the scene?
M’Way, who’s from Nottingham. I’ve been playing him quite a bit; he uses a lot of trap beats and just sounds cold. SYM WORLDD too, I think she is killing it. I really like her.