TE dness

Selected by: James Keith

Name: TE dness

Where He’s From: West London

When He Started: 2005

Genre: UK rap/trap

File Next To: E.Mak, S Loud, Little Torment, C.Biz

Sounds Like: “Introspective trap music would be the definition for my core sound, but I’m able to transition with that core into other sounds. For example, if I do drill, I make sure there’s a trap element to it. If I make R&B, I make sure there’s a trap element to it.”

First Music That Inspired Him: “I used to listen to grime sets on pirate radio. The culture of grime sets is what made me want to start making music.”

Back in 2014, TE dness released the first instalment in the April Showers series, an nine-track collection of soul-sampling rap and trap that tipped its hat to 2000s Stateside hip-hop while putting an unmistakably UK twist on it. April Showers 2 followed a year later, but we’ve had to wait five long years for the third edition (which dropped this April, appropriately enough) and the progression is worth noting.

The music world has changed a lot since volume two. Grime is no longer the dominant force it was back then, UK rap reigns supreme alongside its little brother UK drill, and Stormzy (who guested on April Showers 2) is a mainstream powerhouse. Equally, so has TE dness, whose trap-oriented blueprint has since expanded immeasurably to incorporate UK drill, particularly in his beat selection. This, of course, is all a microcosm of the evolution of TE’s career. Well-informed fans will no doubt be aware that outside of the April Showers saga, the West London rhymer has been consistently pushing out albums and mixtapes at a rate of at least one a year (two in 2016). And that doesn’t even take into account his life pre-TE dness. “My first music name was something stupid like Sparky D,” he confesses. “Then I changed it to Onyx for like a week in school. And after that, I became Tempr which later became TE. I added to ‘dness’ so my name would become easily searchable, and it’s a play on my surname.”

Still, despite a back catalogue that stretches back almost a decade, he has said it wasn’t until 2017 that he really took things seriously. Things had started to seriously heat up the year before when he was invited to open for Future at his Brixton show. Already, several projects deep into his career, he was suddenly hit by the scale of his success when he started the year sharing the stage with Post Malone on his headline London show and then again when he sold out his own headline show, as he puts it, “with no promoter, no ad spends, just word of mouth and promotion from my own platforms.”

Looking to the future—which is looking brighter than ever for TE—his focus is on expanding the brand as much as possible. “My next big goal,” he says, “is to form a partnership that allows for my music to be pushed across more platforms and to more people.” While he’s remaining tight-lipped on what that means for now, it should come as no surprise that he should want to capitalise on the successes of the last few years and build something that will potentially benefit the whole scene and, crucially, outlive us all.

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Posted on July 01, 2020