In Conversation With:
Talking to Essex-based rapper, Jordy, it’s strikingly obvious that his familial bonds have been influential in shaping who he is today. Despite his cousins having been in the music game for a decade before him, Jordy had to wait until he was “called up” to earn his place with them. He describes the creative process of working with family not as a strategic one, but rather as a "happy accident" — an unstructured, organic process that naturally evolves from their shared passion for music. 

Recently, he’s made waves with his latest single, ‘Wonderkid’, a collaboration with grime legend, JME, showing his ability to bridge generations through his music. But Jordy brings more to the music scene than just introspective bars and versatile beats, he’s an example of what it means to be unapologetically yourself in your craft. Guided by intuition and a commitment to authenticity, he’s firmly unbothered by public opinions or judgements. Weaving together the good and the bad, Jordy isn’t afraid to bring you into his inner world. 

Releasing his latest EP, ‘SNM’, we caught up with Jordy to discuss honouring his family roots, his recent collaboration with JME, and why the music industry needs to get back into the physical world.

Tayler: How did your journey of working with your family in music begin? Who was the first family member you collaborated with, and how has this dynamic evolved over time?

Jordy: Well, my older cousins were producers before I ever got into music. I was actually there for the first beats they ever made, back when they had downloaded FruityLoops and were getting a handle of it. Making beats came naturally to them. I tried, but I was rubbish so I left it alone. They have like eight years of experience on me so they’ve put in the work to network and meet with these MCs. By 2010, they were producing for the likes of Wretch, Ghetts, Scorcher, Stormzy. You name it, they’ve done it. Even though I was there from the start, they weren’t giving me a sniff, and I was wondering, “Why they not giving me a sniff? I don’t understand,” ‘cause I was rapping and I was good. But eventually, I came to realise that they didn’t want me to have it that easy. They didn’t want to spoon feed me. But in the end, I got what I say a “call up”. They asked me to work and we worked. And yeah, the rest is history. We haven't stopped working since.

Tayler: When was that first call up and what was it?

Jordy: The very first call up was when someone in school dissed me and I had to reply.  Before then, I'd never recorded anything in a studio, I was just a playground cipher rapper and spitting person to person. But then someone dissed me and I needed to fire back. So they were like “Alright, come in.” So, I went in and that was the first time I ever recorded a song. I loved the feeling I got after releasing it and everyone saying “This is sick.” From there we just kept recording stuff and nurturing it. I was just practising and I didn't put anything out for a while until I did, and here we are.

Tayler: What does the creative process look like with family now? Is it beats first, lyrics first, or  emotions first?

Jordy: Honestly, because it's such a family thing, there is no structured process. The studio is just the place we convene and whatever happens there is all a happy accident. Sometimes we don't even work, we put on the big screen or watch a game, or the fire, or we just go there to chill or chat, you get me? It's our home away from home. So, sometimes we intend not to work, but it can accidentally turn into work. It could even turn into a rap debate or football debate. Or one of my cousin's will play a loop he’s been working on and before I know it, I'm recording something and it's evolved into something. So, we haven't got no structure, we haven't got no “Is it the words before the beat or is it a beat before the words.” I wish I could show you lot how it goes, but it's so organic. There’s no time for a camera to be ready to record our process. But, that's our story.

Tayler: What was the process when building your latest project? Is there a certain narrative that’s reflected in all the songs, or is there a sonic theme and the songs are curated to fit that?

Jordy: I go through different seasons, innit. My last project was ‘THE LOVE TING’, and that was all R&B themed. The project I dropped before that was ‘prophets in their own town’, and that was no drums, tight lo-fi loop beats. The project before that was ‘IF I COULDN’T RAP, I WOULDN’T RAP’, which is just rap heavy. Even just saying that now, there are themes to my projects, but this next one, ‘SNM’, I just wanted to get back into a rapper's bag. Especially coming off ‘THE LOVE TING’, I had been speaking a language of love for a minute. A lot of pivotal things have happened since then as well, I did a show, I ended up in the hospital for no good reason, to be honest. But those are the experiences and feelings I'm getting off my chest, how we got from here to there, what’s next, and just a bit of light venting.

Tayler: How would you describe your new project in terms of its sound?

Jordy: From a sonic perspective, I would say there's a bit of everything. I share my story of how I got from here to there. I talk about my trials and tribulations that I've been having in the last year. There's still the vulnerability you're looking for. And then I'll throw you in a Wonderkid as well with it.

Tayler: Where did the title ‘Say No More’ come from?

Jordy: I chose ‘Say No More’ because I think words fail me. Which is funny, because I'm a musician and a rapper, but I think words fail me and actions get me. So, ‘Say No More’ is saying forget the talk, forget saying this is on the way, forget a snippet. Like here, let me just show you this rapping. For this album, less is more. Actions speak louder than words. It’s ‘Say No More’ because I'm about to go and make the album.

Tayler: In comparing this project to your previous work, what progression do you see? Is there a specific area where you feel you've achieved a notable elevation?

Jordy: I've always tried to elevate going into new projects. I probably need to listen to it again. I haven’t listened to it in a while because I don't really listen to my work, I'll be honest. Not a lot anyway. I’ll let the team do that. But off the top of my head, I think there's strong storytelling on this. For example, in my intro, I talk about my journey from when I made a song that DJ Target listened to and wanted to sign me, but we couldn't get across the line. Before that I thought “Oh my God I'm gonna sign and this is it.” So, I talked about that, and I talked about how I did get a deal through my group Vibbar and it was bad, and I realised this is bullshit. I talked about how I made a song called ‘A13’ which is now my biggest song ever and how people wanted to sign that song, but they wanted to make me take fucking six months to drop it. I couldn't wait. I dropped it in my own time. And people called me hard to work with because I followed my gut, but those are the kinds of stories I’m sharing in song form. Basically, I'm talking about how I’m the man of the house, the provider, the primary caregiver, and that’s the truth. It’s the stuff I'm trying to put on wax. I'm probably going to delve into it more on the album, but I'm just touching on it now.

Tayler: You talk about how people branded you hard to work with because you weren't going to prescribe to the way that labels wanted you to distribute your music. Aside from your relationship with musicians and peers, how would you describe your relationship with the bureaucratic side of the music industry?

Jordy: The more I peep behind the curtains…Jesus Christ. A lot of you are just in the way. A lot of you are slowing things down. A lot of you are very rigid in your way of thinking. A lot of you are not in the field like I'm in the field to know what is right. A lot of you don't consume what I'm giving, you just want to put your stamp on it and sell it through your medium. And if I convey that message to you, I'm hard to work with or I'm a nuisance, and I don't think that's fair. So, that’s been my frustration for a long time. But it's just something I've given up on trying to fight because I'm just not interested in being over on that side. I've got my little village of people and we make things happen. Whoever wants to come here and approach things with an open mind, you're more than welcome. The doors open. But that's what I think about the music industry. I think they're not open to new ideas, until there's some sort of flipping algorithm that says ‘This is the idea.’

Tayler: I couldn’t agree more. This industry tends to make artists more of a commodity and manipulate them into a prescribed mould.

Jordy: Yeah. And I do think that these artists are just foot soldiers, innit. There's so many people eating better than the people that are giving you this seed that is making the industry, that seed being the music. And I just don't think it’s right. I don't understand it. I don't understand this whole “Put your stuff on TikTok so it could go big.” But the next day TikTok is having arguments with the label and the music isn’t on TikTok anymore. So, what is it? Is it this or that?

Tayler: Reflecting on your first album, what does an album by Jordy need to have?

Jordy: An album that I make needs to first of all have my family involved. It needs to express vulnerability and it has to convey who I am. And ‘cause it’s my first album too, it would have to tell you who’s with me along the way, how I got there. Giving you the honest answers to questions like, what hurt you on your way there? What helped you on your way there? How do you feel now that you're here? And where do you plan to go next? I think those are the things I want to communicate.

Tayler: What’s an artist's first album you listened to that you thought was done well?

Jordy: Straight off the top of my head, Kendrick.

Tayler: Section.80 or Good Kid m.A.A.d City? Would you say Section 80 is an album?

Jordy: I wouldn't. But they say that, don't they?

Tayler: Personally, I'd say Good Kid m.A.A.d City is his best album to date. The storytelling and the use of skits is absolutely incredible.

Jordy: That's what I'm saying. That's an album. It's not a collection of songs.

Tayler:  No, it's like a short film.

Jordy: Yeah, I think that's an amazing album. Whether it's the first one or not only, I’ll leave to everyone else to debate. There’s probably some other first albums too. I mean ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’, that's always there. You know what's funny, all my favourite albums have skits. Even DMX’s stuff.

Tayler: Did you ever listen to ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’?

Jordy: Yeah.  

Tayler: The skits in that one are fucking incredible. I think they act as cement for the bricks that help build the bigger picture, because otherwise you just have songs back to back. And if you've got excerpts in there, it puts you in the music.  

Jordy: Music like that is harder to consume now. Not for me, but for other people listening on streaming platforms. It's hard to have a skit in a tracklist. It doesn't make sense. But this is what I'm saying, we need to go back to the physical world. We need to go back to CDs and vinyls and we need to refresh our process of how we listen to music in order to progress.

Tayler: Having JME feature on this tape is a pretty impressive feat considering he’s one of the best rappers to ever come out of the UK. How did that relationship start and get to the point where you've got him featuring on the track ‘Wonderkid’?

Jordy: I met JME a long time ago through the collective I’m part of, Vibbar. In our early days, we used to throw parties and eventually JME turned up through Poet who has a good relationship with him. I met him, we spoke, and he’s so easy to speak to. I asked for his email to maybe send him some tracks. This is back in 2017, so I wasn’t asking for a feature, by the way. This was just on a feedback ting. So, I sent him some tracks, and he actually responded quickly. He responds to emails like their texts. He was like “I like this, I like this, I like this lyric, this is gonna be sick, let me know when you’re dropping.” And I don't think that stuff ever came out. He’s not someone I speak to a lot, but I saw him again probably two years ago at Poet's birthday. That’s what I mean, he and Poet are close, probably like a North London, Tottenham ting. So, we spoke again around the same time that I made ‘Wonderkid’. It's quite a fast paced track, grime, rap, or whatever you want to call it. I was thinking of who I should get on this, and it took me long to think of him, but the answer was right there. I think JME is one of them people that’s hidden in plain sight, he’s right there in your face. He's one of the best but it's easy to forget because he’s so humble and he doesn't care to let you know or care to make noise about it. But yeah, I didn't think about him for a long time but when I did, it was a facepalm moment like, “Why didn't you think of this earlier?” I sent the track to his email and he had heard it, but I asked Poet to give him a shout to see if we could get it fast tracked. He sent Poet a voice note saying “I’m gonna get this done. I'm just doing this right now, butI'm going to get this done, I promise.” And a man of his word, he got it done.

Tayler: And then you got him down to Croydon to shoot a music video which is the craziest part of all of it.

Jordy: The South bruv, not just not just Croydon. South South means the bottom. (Laughs)

Tayler: Emphasis on South Croydon (laughs). In the music video you got your little bro in it as well.

Jordy: Yeah.

Tayler: How long before the music video did he know he was going to be in it, front and centre?

Jordy: I didn't even tell him too much man. But that's my little boy and he wants to be around big bro, innit. And so I told him “Yo look, I got you this tracky, I got you these trainers, and you're gonna come with me to here today.” And he was on it. He didn’t know how hard a day’s work he’d have to do. I don't think he's ever had to do that long a day's work before. And he didn’t know JME either, obviously, he’s too young. But they’re from the same area in Tottenham. They were speaking a bit and they went to the same primary school. But this guy didn’t know him for shit. He was embarrassing me, I was gonna punch him.

Tayler: How old is he?

Jordy: Whatever age you are in year 7.  

Tayler: So, like 11? 12?

Jordy: Yeah, let’s go with 12.

Tayler: Alright, fair enough man.

Jordy: I said to him “Yo, his song is on GTA.” And he goes, “What station?” I said “I don't know!” (laughs).

Tayler: What was the reception like to the ‘Wonderkid’ track and the video?

Jordy: Oh god, it was amazing. It was probably my best performing track in such a short time. I kept JME quiet for pretty long about it too. It got a lot of love and rappers hit me saying “Yo this is sick.” I’m happy with it man, can’t complain.

Tayler: You mentioned viewing music as a vessel for ambitions beyond just rapping. Could you elaborate on that?

Jordy: Not to make this sound sad or morbid, but I don't see music going well. Not for me, just  the industry. I don't like the whole algorithmic way things are moving. The AI TikTok shit, I don’t like it. The process has become so formulaic. I love making music but I hate releasing it. That part is probably the most daunting. My goal is, get in and get out. I wanna take care of my people. I have little businesses on the side and I wanna help yutes, that’s what I care about. I also don’t want to be so open to criticism from people that I don’t fucking know. I think it's jarring to keep myself open to other people’s thoughts. I don't care. I make what I can for my people to keep the lights on.

You know what the ultimate goal is? Just freedom. That's why I say JME been hidden in plain sight. Who does what they want more than JME? The guy hasn't released music for years. He made his album physical, not on DSPs. When I met him, I said “When you dropping?” He said “I don't know and I don't really care to be honest.” Being free, that’s what it is for me.

Tayler: Yeah, I guess that’s when you’re able to retain the love and have a healthy relationship with the work, without the work coming first.

Jordy: I want to love music. I don't want to feel this resentment towards certain aspects of it and I admire people that don’t. I think freedom buys you that.

Tayler: In regards to the project, what’s one track you’re really curious to see the reception for?

Jordy: I would probably say ‘Tour Money’, just ‘cause it's my favourite.

Tayler: Why?

Jordy: The way we made it was an accident. I like my cousin's verse on it. My other cousin produced it. And yeah man, I just really like that song, I really do. Might even shoot a video for it.

Tayler: Yeah, you should do it mate.

A Shift Studio Production:

Photographer - Tayler Prince-Fraser 
Gaffer / Digi - Eddie Davies
Stylist - Harry Crum
PR - Stamp @ Emerald East
Words by Manahil Munim