Watch: Laura Mvula - Critics' Choice Nominee
Watch: Laura Mvula Critics' Choice Nominee
In the last couple of years, hip hop has seen a resurgence. Artists from across the globe have struck it big with deep basslines and catchy melodies. But one young duo from Brighton has stood out from the rest. With their bright smiles and up-beat tracks, the boys from Rizzle Kicks are a radiant burst of bright, brilliant colour and attitude and have an irresistible charm that has won over both teenagers and their parents alike. Their beats satisfy the hip hop faithful who remember the genre’s golden age, while their songs pivot on the sort of melodies and hooks that charm pop kids and rap heads alike and bring the charts alive.
But who are the two teenage boys from Brighton we have come to know and love? Jordan Stephens, 20 and Harley Alexander-Sule, 21 grew up as childhood friends in North London, though lost touch until their mid-teens and met up again during a football match in Brighton, where their respective families had moved. They grew closer while attending rap, performance and drama workshops with the Brighton-based charity Audioactive, and at the Brit School in Croydon.
Having honed their sound, they gained a presence online, posting videos to their YouTube channel. A video was made for a demo of “Down With Trumpets” in summer 2010. During that time, they finished college and Harley went on to work as an assistant drama teacher, while Jordan flipped burgers at the Corals Greyhound Stadium in Hove. They were offered proper studio time and they began making tracks inspired by the classic, golden age hip hop of 1988–92: old school outfits such as De La Soul, The Pharcyde, Dream Warriors and PM Dawn.
But certainly, the boys couldn’t have expected what happened next. In November 2010 they signed to Island Records and collaborated with the likes of Fatboy Slim. By summer 2011, actor/comedian Stephen Fry was Tweeting about them and they were releasing singles accompanied by videos featuring cameos by everyone from Ed Sheeran to James Corden. Their brilliant year was topped off with a 2012 BRITs alongside Olly Murs for their hit “Heart Skips a Beat”.
Most recently, the boys released Stereo Typical, one of the funkiest debut albums of recent times, and have had a whirlwind 2012. From selling 300,000 albums and a million singles in under a year, not to mention countless sold out gigs and a 2013 BRITs nomination for their hit single, “Mama Do The Hump”.
The two make a great team and it's no wonder why people are coming back for more to see their live show. With a snappy live band behind them, mixed with their constant energy, a Rizzle Kicks gig is nothing short of amazing. Enjoy a couple of our favourite RK videos below.