Billy Billions

Selected by: Claudia Cagna

Name: Billy Billions

Where He’s From: Hackney, East London

When He Started: “2015 is when I first started going to the studio.”

Genre: R&Drill

File Next To: Ghostface600, Kilo Jugg, #98s

Sounds Like: “I would define my sound as being R&Drill but also trapsoul.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “The first song I heard that made me want to make music was probably ‘Right Here’ by Lil Durk.”

Rising up from Holly Street in Hackney, Billy Billions has quickly become one of the brightest stars of East London drill collective #98s. While other members of the camp have earned their spot in the limelight—namely Unknown T and V9—Billy’s recently released debut EP, Me vs Me, proved that his time is also coming as he transitions from the street life to living the life of a musician, the 6-tracker just a fraction of what’s to come for the R&Drill singer/rapper.

If you listen back to the first song Billy Billions ever recorded—a melodic trap tune in 2015 called “Trap Phone”—it’s clear that he was on his way to defining his sound from pretty early on. Taking inspiration from Lil Durk’s “Right Here”, the track that provoked him to pick up the mic and start making music, Billy applied smooth melodies to communicate the grittiness of his life experiences while interpolating Young Thug’s “Check” instrumental. But his influences aren’t just limited to rap music: Billy cites ‘90s R&B and dancehall leaving a lasting impression on him as he was finding his artistic feet, hence the melodic pockets he always brings to UK drill.

The ability to convey a story with equal conviction, whether rapping or vocalising the lyrical content, is what separates Billy Billions from his drilly counterparts. Just take a look at the reaction when he took control of the mic during the 2020 Groundworks Cypher: Billy’s captivating verses shifted the energy of the room as he switched between melodies and rapped vocals. Similarly, his vocal versatility is arguably what made the #98s Plugged In session one of the most memorable additions in the series’ history. “I got a plaque for the Fumez freestyle that we did and I gave it to my nan,” Billy tells TRENCH. “That put a smile on her face.” Now, he says, he’s excited to hit the road: “I haven’t really done the tour life thing myself, but I’ve been going along to the mandem’s tours. It’s just been Tally vision, getting lit! I love performing live and I’m looking forward to doing my own tour soon.”

The release of Billy’s debut EP, the cover art an illustration of the split between music and road, is the beginning of a new chapter in his music career. Upon asking him his future goals, he remains clear in his objectives: “Man has to chart! That’s what I wanna do.” If he continues going the way that he has been going, that time may come sooner rather than later.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on April 21, 2022