The Brummie MC is living his best life spitting bars in a swanky penthouse in the city while filming BBC3’s The Rap Game
No doubt you’ve seen the seven-foot mural sprayed by Digbeth’s own Panda, aka David Brown, in the Zellig car park which signalled the launch of the second series of BBC Three show The Rap Game UK. Filmed in Birmingham, the show sees six unsigned MCs take part in a much cooler, less showbiz version of The X Factor – not sure the contestants will like that comparison, but it’s accurate.
Six artists are competing for a record deal in a series of challenges while being judged/mentored by big names in the industry – it’s not a startling leap. You get the gist.
What is different to the Syco juggernaut is how exposed the contestants are in terms of performance. There’s no fancy-pants staging or a gaggle of dancers to hide behind, it’s just one person and their voice (and okay, the odd orchestra) and it’s seriously impressive when it goes well and utterly toe curling when it doesn’t. There really is nowhere to hide.
Each week, the artists are set two challenges in which they are asked to step up and show that they have got the hardest bars, the song writing props and the stage presence to cut it in the music industry. Hosted by 1Xtra’s DJ Target along with rap legends Krept and Konan whose record label will sign the winner, there are guest judges along the way including Wretch 32 who have wowed the contestants.
One of this year’s hopefuls is Ddroid – a young MC from Brum who is relishing the opportunity and buzzing that the series is filmed in his home town. He was previously part of successful duo, Wavy Gang, but is going it alone and loving the Rap Game process. He describes his style as ‘melodic rap’. On the decision to apply for series two, he says: “Series 1 was cool. And it was set in Brum! It’s the rapper’s dream – living in a penthouse, spitting your bars, get feedback, come out the backend doing great. Who doesn’t want that?” He’s committed to learning through the process. He explains: “I want to learn the technical stuff – the cons, the pros of the industry. The competition goes in depth into the different aspects of the music industry as a whole. It’s gonna be a learning curve. It’s all about what I can take from it – it could mean a lot for me.”
In one episode, tasked with revealing something personal about himself through his lyrics, Ddroid blew away the judges, including guest Rapman, with a narrative about being sectioned with depression. While some contestants seem uptight, Ddroid is just embracing the opportunity. He says: “I’m just here for the experience. It’s been great so far. I ain’t got no complaints.”
He might be enjoying the experience, but he’s ambitious too and says: “In five years’ time selling out the Ally Pally! Maybe a number one album. Maybe even a Grammy. A solid home-grown name. I wanna be known as Ddroid who came off The Rap Game UK.”
At the time of writing, filming had to be paused briefly due to Covid-19, but is back minus Shogan who is in quarantine. Fingers crossed for the rest of the series. Check it out on BBC Three and BBC iPlayer.