Singer-rapper V.I.C talks revisiting his roots, being truthful and what’s yet to come from his ever-evolving sound.

British-Nigerian rapper V.I.C has captivated a loyal following with his distinctive style and profound storytelling. His latest EP, far from home, is a sonic adventure that transcends conventional boundaries; it’s a fusion of intricate lyricism and avant-garde sounds that redefine the essence of hip-hop. We sat down with V.I.C to learn more about his musical journey so far, and what inspires the rising artist to keep creating as he makes his mark on the UK rap scene. 

Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and when you moved to London 

I grew up in Southampton and I was born in Nigeria. I only moved to London about two and a half years ago when my music career started taking off because there were a lot more opportunities in London. It’s always been my dream to move into the city because I thought it was the only place where there was a lot of opportunity. 

How did your journey into the world of rap begin? Was there a defining moment or person? 

I grew up in church, in the church choir. I used to be the guy rapping whilst everybody else sang. I remember on YouTube, I used to watch gigs because my parents didn’t allow us to go to them or didn’t have money for us to go. I was watching Jake Hall perform Love Yours and 5,000 people all had their phones and flashlights lit up. Seeing that, I thought to myself, That has to be me one day.  

Can you tell us a bit about how you came up withBlessings or Curse’?

It’s the lead single from my EP, which is about my life over the last two years. This is the crowning song and it’s about, even if you get all that you want, it’s not necessarily what you need. Bedroom Chronicles was the story of a boy making it into the industry, and through that project, I made it here. Coming into it, you find out that you’re a small fish in a very big pond and so many people want to take advantage of you. Getting all you want is not necessarily everything that you need. Sometimes it’s better to start from the bottom and slowly graft to make sure the foundation is properly built. That’s what ‘Blessings or Curse’ is about. 

Can you tell me about any upcoming projects you’re working on?  

I just released my second EP, far from home. Before the end of the year, I’m looking to release another project. I’m thinking of calling it Dreamcatchers and Dreamkillers, or something like that. It’s me exploring all different types of hiphop and I’m working with a few producers to build that. One of the producers I’m working with is Evil Genius. It should be coming before the end of the year. 

How do you see your relationship between fashion and rap? 

Ever since I moved to London, I think my fashion has stepped up a level. I think fashion and rap are under the same roof. Sometimes, there are different forms of rap. I feel like my style reflects the music that I make. I’m conscious about the things I wear in the same way that I’m conscious about the words and the stories I tell.

How do you approach storytelling in your lyrics? And what do you think makes a compelling story in rap music? 

I think truth. Truth makes a compelling story because there’s nothing better than the truth. I think you can never fake an emotion. And if you do, people always figure it out. I think the more real a story, the better the song is. And the more the feeling in the story, the better the song will be. 

Does your Nigerian roots give inspiration to any of your lyrics? 

Quite a lot of the new EP I’ve been working on will talk about my Nigerian roots. But it’s only in this recent project that I’ve started understanding and fully coming to terms with my Nigerian background. I was in Nigeria two weeks ago because I wanted to rediscover myself. I was born there, but for quite a few years, I’ve been in the UK.  As an adult, rediscovering Nigeria is different to being a kid there. I feel Nigeria will always be a part of me. Whether it’s lyrics that I’ve written in the past or lyrics that I’m writing now. There’s always a subtext of Nigeria in everything I write, whether it’s the hustle, the pain, the come-up, the dream; it’s always been there.  

Can you share an unexpected source of inspiration for one of your songs? 

I read a lot of books. Napoleon Hill is one that I’ve been reading recently, How to Make Friends and Influence People too; I quote those books quite a lot in my art.  

How do you stay creative and keep your sound fresh amidst the fast-paced music industry? 

By always being aware of what’s going on. I have a circle of people in the industry that I respect and we push each other. I don’t try to stay fresh; I try to be about and take in different sources of information and sources of creativity. I’ve been listening to old school jazz and hip-hop recently. Taking from the past is something that I try to do. I think a lot of art comes in cycles, so things in the past will always come back. Central Cee and Doja Cat are sampling old stuff and bringing it back to the new. It’s blowing up now because the new generation doesn’t know about the past, but you can add part of what you have in this generation to what they had in the past and bring something new. I journal a lot and throughout the process of creating far from home, because the project is me dealing with a lot of insecurity, doubt and being unsure what the next step is. I try to get everything out and not care about what happens because that’s the way art should be. I feel that art is supposed to flow without you trying to shape it. 

What are your musical plans for the future? 

I think my debut album will have a lot to do with my past in Nigeria. But I see myself doing lots of little projects before, because I still want to understand my place in the industry. I feel like music is where I’m supposed to be and there’s no day that I don’t make music or I don’t write. It’s never going to stop.

Listen to far from home now: