WHY I RATE: Blanco

Selected by: Dwayne Wilks
Photography: Zek Snaps

Name: Blanco

Where He’s From: Kennington, South London

When He Started: “2015. At first, I took the music thing as a joke—I didn’t know something serious was gonna come out of it.”

Genre: UK rap

File Next To: Loski, M1llionz, Squeeks, Jevon

Sounds Like: “I couldn’t tell you… Let’s just say it’s unique!”

First Music That Inspired Him: “There wasn’t a particular song that inspired me; there were just certain artists. Some were UK artists, but the main ones were 50 Cent, Chief Keef, Nelly and Biggie Smalls, just to name a few.”

South London native Blanco is one of the founding fathers of UK drill, alongside fellow Harlem Spartans members Loski, MizOrMac, and the late Bis. Starting out in the genre’s purest beginnings, Blanco’s raspy and slightly nasal delivery made him stand out from the jump. As time went on, he began to experiment with different sounds and his exploration culminated in his debut project, 2021’s City Of God, which saw him seamlessly merge road rap and drill stylings with the feel-good sonics of Baile-funk, a sound that speaks to his Angolan heritage. And while many drillers reference football in their rhymes, few do it as interestingly as this wordplay master (same goes for anime). He’s also been committed to not swearing in his music for quite a while now.

2022 was a quiet year for the Kennington rapper, as he tells TRENCH he was “dealing with a lot of internal issues.” Having come out the other side victorious, Blanco is now gearing up to follow up the triumph that was City Of God with the aptly-titled Rebourne. “It’s been my most stressful project,” he says, “but I pulled through. I wanted to bring a fresh start, hence the name Rebourne.” When asked how the debut and sophomore projects compare, Blanco is clear that there’s a distinct difference between the two: “I think City Of God had a slower pace to it, most of the way through, whereas Rebourne is faster-paced and, in terms of sound, it’s more heavy.”

Rebourne’s heavier sound is a result of an evolved approach to making music—Blanco is more measured and methodical than ever before. “Normally, I’d make the beat and write the song in the studio,” he explains, “but this time was different: I wrote most of the songs at home, and I was talking with the producers through phone calls and messages for beat creation and ideas.” Expectations are high for Rebourne’s summer release given the impact of Blanco’s debut, but when we ask him whether he’s feeling any pressure about meeting outside expectations, his answer is short and sure: “Not in the slightest.” Blanco 2.0 is now in session.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on June 13, 2023