French The Kid

Selected by: Ben Tibbits

Name: French The Kid

Where He’s From: Romford, Essex, via South-West France

When He Started: 2018

Genre: UK rap

File Next To: Potter Payper, Morrisson, Dave

Sounds Like: “Bigger than the UK.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “My mum used to play lots of Jimi Hendrix, the Gorillaz, Pink Floyd and The Who, so I would say they were my first set of influences.”

As an artist, identity can be a difficult thing to procure. Standing out amongst the masses is a necessary and dizzying obstacle for any aspiring creative. This, however, has never been an issue for French The Kid. The 22-year-old’s soaring rise has been swift—or “smooth”, as he puts it—yet his music remains organic and his persona grounded. A master of wave-infused melodies and raw rap flows, French The Kid’s distinctive essence has lit up the UK rap scene, shining through on defining cuts like “Thrill”, “Can’t Feel My Face” and “Remedy”.

“Towards the end of 2018, I started doing freestyles, recording myself spitting to instrumentals, then I put them up on my Instagram,” French tells TRENCH. His passion for exhibitionist rapping has been augmented since, catching the ear of the rap community with appearances on Fumez The Engineer’s Plugged In, GRM’s Daily Duppy (currently on 17m views), and Mixtape Madness’ Mad About Bars—the moment he felt that he showed listeners he “wasn’t messing about.” With a childhood split between the poignancy of South-West France and the grit of inner Romford, French’s personal outlook is as motley as his musical origins. Discussing his influences, he reveals that there is one pinnacle reason for his success: his mother. “She’s played music all throughout my life; instruments, singing,” he explains. “Listening to her and what she’d play caught my ear and has helped me mentally in music.”

Not fazed by the winding road of trends, French is focused on upholding stylistic variety whilst maintaining authenticity and making his loyal supporters proud. “I’m trying to take it bigger than just the UK,” he says. “As much as I do UK music, to me, it’s not really the goal to stay confined to the UK. I’m trying to branch out with my sound and try different things.” This passion for progression is refreshing to see. Despite his experimentation with UK drill, the potent musical identity of French The Kid is stronger than ever: “The more you listen to me, the more you can hear me on different tracks. I could spit on a drill beat and then I could go on a house beat, and it’ll still sound like me.”

French’s overwhelming message blends seamlessly within his sonic identity. “Just be yourself!” he proclaims. “When I started rapping, I was the only person who looked like me doing it. When I was releasing those freestyles on Instagram, there was a lot of hate. I was some kid from Essex with a side parting, and people were like: ‘What the hell is he doing?’ But I just stuck with it. I didn’t put a mask on, I just stuck to being me, and here we are now. There’s room for everyone in this, so you might as well be yourself.”

Having just dropped his 13-track debut mixtape, Never Been Ordinary, French The Kid is ready to climb to the top while cherishing every moment. “I’m just living in a dream world, really,” he says. “I’m gonna keep releasing tracks, see what happens and hopefully it lasts for as long as possible. The goal is to be as big as possible. The UK’s thriving at the moment, and I’ve got a lot of footsteps to follow.”

TRENCH Highlight...

Posted on April 19, 2022