AJ Tracey believes U.K. rappers will gain proper recognition in America once Hip-Hop heads are in tune with the accent.
“l want the rap purists to take me in and listen to the lyrics,” he said during a recent interview with On The Radar Radio. He added that he feels a lot of potential fans are sleeping on U.K. rappers because they are put off by the accent. “I feel like some people sleep, like U.K. rappers are actually saying stuff. Obviously not all of them, but a lot of us are actually rapping. But because of the accent some people are like ‘why would I listen to that?’”
When asked if he thinks that’s a big obstacle for U.K. rappers to overcome, AJ Tracey replied, “I think that’s the only hurdle.”
However, AJ Tracey believes the barriers are finally coming down and noted the similarities between cities on opposite sides of the pond.
“London and New York are very similar. Like the attitudes, you know I’m saying? Like the culture, the way we live our lives, the things that we jack and don’t jack … so I feel like the only hurdle was the accent.”
He also pointed to the success of other English-speaking artists who have become some of the biggest musicians worldwide. Once upon a time, I remember Canadian music, the accent wasn’t really accepted. Now, a lot of the biggest artists in every genre are Canadian, like Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Drake, etc. So, obviously it’s going to come eventually.”
AJ Tracey had a chance meeting with Drake earlier on in his career that helped shape him as an artist. He also had high praise for Pop Smoke whom he met before his passing in February 2020.
AJ Tracey Says Pop Smoke Was “The One”
After discussing the impact U.K. drill producers and rappers have had on the U.S. scene, AJ Tracey responded, “Rest in peace Pop Smoke. It’s a shame bro we miss him, that was a massive talent and I feel like he was really about to permanently bridge the gap.”
He added that Pop Smoke was “the one” and recalled meeting the Brooklyn drill artist before his passing. “He came over to London, he was showing everyone mad love, he was on tour with Skepta. He was linking all the man dem and he was very authentic. When I spoke to bro, he was super authentic. He knew about some of my tracks that aren’t that big, he just done his research before he met me. He was a cool guy, rest in peace.”
He also dropped off a freestyle on the platform – check it out below.