Selected by: James Keith

Name: Bru-C

Where He’s From: Nottingham

Genre: UK Hip-Hop/D&B

File Next To: Coco, Skepsis, Kanine, Darkzy

When He Started: “The first track I made was called ‘Mistakes’ and that was in 2004.”

Sounds Like: “I would say it’s as UK as it gets. I feel like I represent for the ravers and not only the ravers, but the working-class ravers. My sound definitely ain’t pretentious; it’s to the point. It is what it is! If you like it, you like it. If you get it, you get it. If you don’t, fuck off.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “It’s got to be ‘Oi!’ by More Fire Crew. Hearing all the different styles of rap and the fast tempo riddim, as well as seeing that UK stress in the video—which was something man hadn’t really seen before—it was sick. Before that, it was all MTV Base and American shit, but I saw this and thought, ‘This is me! This is me.’”

Although Nottingham sheller Bru-C’s route into music started both outside the M25 (Nottingham) and outside of the traditional UK hip-hop network (D&B and bassline), the earliest sounds catching his ears were hip-hop and R&B, and surprisingly American for an MC whose sound sticks so firmly to home turf. “Playing in my home growing up was Lauren Hill, The Fugees, Al Green, George Michael, Aretha. And then from there, just the stuff me and my sister were listening to; a bit of Tupac, Biggie and everything up to Destiny’s Child and that.”

Bru-C’s journey as a musician, however, started way back in 2004 with a track called “Mistakes”(since buried in the mists of the internet), but by his own admission spent much of the next decade as more of a student of the scene, watching how heroes like Crazy D would command crowds, what ravers reacted to, what they didn’t. Then, in 2017, he joined up with Lazcru and the rest of the CruCast family. Surrounded by a huge family of producers, DJs and MCs (including, but not limited to, Darkzy, Kanine, MC_AD, Skepsis, TS7, WindowKid and Zero), he flourished creatively and his first two albums—Original Sounds and Smile—arrived within a year of each other. He’s enjoyed huge success in D&B and bassline since then and a huge draw at raves, but in recent years his sound’s undergone a bit of an evolution. The breakbeats and dancefloor elements are still there, but recent tracks like “Paradise” with Wilkinson and “No Excuses” have dialled the energy back a bit and the inward-facing songwriting he’s been teasing for a little while on tracks like Smile extract “Sometimes” are coming further to the fore.

That growth, presumably, is what caught the attention of the Boateng brothers when they signed Bru-C to 0207 Def Jam earlier this year. It’s also, we suspect, why he’s able to sell out huge venues like Nottingham’s Rock City (the first rapper to do so, by the way) and the Roxy in London. Still, as proud as he is of this, the connections to his hometown mean just as much. His proudest achievement, he tells TRENCH, “has to be between selling out the Roxy and shooting a music video at the Nottingham Forest ground. These are two places I’ve spent a lot of time in. I’ve been going to Forest with my dad from when I like was 5 years old, and Roxy from going to Detonate when man was 18. Those were two very special moments for me.” Expect Bru-C’s as-yet-untitled debut project later this year.

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on June 29, 2022