He’s throwing devil horns with his fingers. I’m guessing: he rawwwks?
Nope. AJ Tracey is a 23-year-old MC from Ladbroke Grove who’s been making serious waves within the world of grime since 2015.
But he doesn’t have an MC name!
Actually, he does. He was born Ché Wolton Grant, but he decided to call himself ‘AJ’ because of his love of Armani. The ‘Tracey’ bit came from a really intimidating guy he knew who was called Stacey, because according to him: ‘I thought: If a man has a girl’s name and he’s still scaring people, then maybe I should try doing it so I can be that guy.’
He looks kind of familiar…
Hmm, well you may recognise him from Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter account. During the election, he filmed a personal video message urging people to vote Labour. Also, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy – which happened right on his doorstep – he was very vocal in condemning the government’s response, with the likes of Naomi Klein tweeting a video interview that he and his brother did with The Guardian.
Naomi Klein, eh? So he’s got celebrity connections?
Sort of. After he made probably the best grime track of 2016, ‘Thiago Silva’ (co-created with fellow rising star Dave), Drake shouted him out on his Beats1 show. He’s worked with garage legend MJ Cole and appeared on a remix alongside hip hop megastar A$AP Rocky. While he grew up on the estates of west London, his dad was a rapper who once had a video that went to the top of MTV’s video chart. Sadly, AJ refuses to reveal his old man’s identity to anyone.
Dammit, I just threw out all my hours of MTV Base recorded on VHS.
Nuts. Not to worry. Tracey’s latest EP, ‘Secure the Bag’ – featuring guest appearances from Craig David and JME – is packed full of rugged flows, clever wordplay and impeccably produced, sub-heavy beats. It’s a banger.
Maybe I should check it out.
No ‘maybe’ about it. You’re going to be hearing a lot more about AJ Tracey from now on.