One Acen

Selected by: James Keith

Name: One Acen

Where He’s From: Tottenham, North London

When He Started: 2006

Genre: Melodic rap

File Next To: WSTRN, D-Block Europe, Hardy Caprio, Kojo Funds

Sounds like: “Different but beautiful. Sweet would also be a word.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “So Solid Crew’s ‘21 Seconds’. It’s crazy because, when I think about it, that was one of the first songs I really knew and loved.”

Chances are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the name One Acen is the massive “Best Life” collab with Hardy Caprio. That was a runaway success that seemed to come completely out of nowhere, but little do the masses know, One Acen has been honing the formula for success for years now.

Unsurprisingly, it was R&B that played the most significant role in defining his musical tastes. The canonised classics of Nelly, B2K and Destiny’s Child—emanating from his sister’s room—set the tone and gave him all the education he needed when it comes to creating a hit. Taking the lessons learned in his formative years and applying them to the Afro-influenced R&B and rap of 2019, One Acen has tapped into a guaranteed recipe for success. Of course, it helps that chart-topping hooks seem to come so naturally to him. His latest single, “Xpensive Habits”, is essentially the signature One Acen tune: slick melodies, vibrant production and an instantly likeable charm.

With a string of hits with frequent collaborator Hardy Caprio (“Rolling”, “EIO”, “Best Life”) under his belt, not to mention team-ups with WSTRN (“Vice Versa”), Tion Wayne (“Sweet Thug”), Yungen (“Miss Diva” and “Pricey”) and Chip (“Your Story”), it’s also a timely reminder that he’s more than capable of knocking it out of the park by himself. On the subject of Hardy Caprio, it was while on tour with the Croydon hitmaker that One Acen first felt the effects of his meteoric rise to the top. Cramped up in a hotel room with three other people, including his DJ and producer, “we had two double beds in a hotel room for the night and the heater was broken and it was freezing; cold as hell, trust me! We actually managed to move rooms, but the heater in the second room was broken as well so we just had to firm it.” Two days later and “Vice Versa” dropped—and he’s never looked back.

In spite of the astonishing success he’s had in the past couple of years, the rapper-singer says he’s managing to remain grounded and acutely aware of how quickly it can all disappear. In fact, he cites “just having a career in general” as his biggest achievement so far and that “anything else that comes after is a bonus.” If he can maintain both his humility and his instinct for a hit, then One Acen will have a long and fruitful career ahead of him.

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Posted on October 04, 2019