Enigmatic rapper and producer A2 makes music that matters. Whether writing over soulful electronica or woozy R&B, the 26 year-old creates considered compositions bound by a sense of mystery, introspection and a streak of vulnerability.
To listen to A2 is to take a surreal journey through sensual soundscapes often unexplored; this is make-out, make-up, break-up music set to a rhythm and tempo of A2’s very own. This is cinematic music that has something to say, and A2 says it beautifully, with a subtlety rarely found within such obviously killer, yet brilliantly understated, pop tunes.
Raised in Croydon, he points out the manor made the man and the musician. “I’m inspired by my estate,” he says, slowly, of his influences. “My area and my environment definitely pays a part in who I am and the music that I make. My music is also based around conversations that I might have with a girl, or my mum, or my friends. I take pieces of a conversation and subliminally drop it into a song.”
A2 and his two sisters were bought up by his mum, and she encouraged her children’s musical inclinations. He learnt piano and would spend a lot of time listening to his mum and older sisters playing R&B, Jazz and Blues, trying to imitate them on the piano or keys. You can catch glimpses of those riffs within his own music, but as a South London boy he was also naturally drawn towards Battersea’s So Solid, Stockwell Grime producer and MC Dot Rotten and seminal grime track, ‘Creeper', over which A2 and his mates began to practice MCing.
Though he’s a British rhymer bought up around Rap and Grime, he gravitated naturally towards calmer compositions. “I just wanted something a bit quieter, more chill,” he points out. “I was done with all the noise, you know? I wanted to create music that was much more about easy listening, dark in its own way, but enjoyable.” Over the years, he’s perfected his craft, working hard to learn the nuances within producing, engineering and songwriting; this is a multi-talented man who is able to move easily between various disciplines.
2016 is shaping up to be the year of A2. He’s clearly a highly determined individual keen to make his mark on music in his own way, and on his own terms. “I want to be known as a master of my craft, and I want to create moments,” says A2. “A lot of people don’t seem to make music for the right reasons, or in the right way. I do this 100% for the love of music and art – that is what separates me for everyone else.” A2’s artistry isn’t about chasing views, likes and retweets, it’s about crafting a career within the creative realm that can last through generations. “This is about authenticity and longevity. Everything I do is about the passion that I put into it.”