Our Interview with Wretch 32

“I hate it when people are trying to make a hit…”, Wretch 32

Last week, North London rapper Wretch 32 (three, two, not thirty-two) dropped into the Spotify office to DJ in our Soundrop room. Over an hour or so he played Drake, Kanye West, Eminem, 50 Cent, Take That and Coldplay all while chuckling at the fan questions he was getting asked and fiddling with any one of his three phones. Who was it that said men couldn’t multi-task? After leaving us Wretch was straight back to the studio to work on an album that’s nearly – nearly – finished. “This is work-time,” he smiles. “But then it’s always work-time.”

How did you plan your playlist?
I didn’t! I was still undecided when I got here. I don’t mind flying blind.

Do you use Spotify?
Yeah, my engineer uses it a lot – he got me into it. You can find almost anything on there. I like to browse, see who’s on there and what they’re up to.

What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m trying to get into this new Kendrick Lamar album, but I’m not quite there yet. I have this new mixtape by Big Sean too. The door has been opened for people like me and Tinie and Chipmunk. Now we’re able to completely be ourselves and that’s when you get the best music. We just want to make sick songs in the way we want to make them. I hate it when people are trying to write a hit.

What have been your favourite albums of the year?
I’m loving the Emeli Sande, Labrinth and Maverick Sabre albums. But I have to say Drake’s Take Care too – that was a big one for me this year.

What five albums made you the person you are?
Jay-Z’s Black Album. Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Nas’ Stillmatic. Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Probably Kanye’s first or second album too. He’s passionate and that shows. He throws tantrums, but he spends so many hours on making his records, he gets angry, because he cares so much.

Does the perfect song exist?
Definitely. Lauryn Hill Ex-Factor is perfect. Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry is perfect. Coldplay’s Yellow is up there too. They all have a certain feeling about them, they’re very honest and real. None of them sound like someone’s trying to make a hit record. They’re from the heart.

How do you write?

It’s changed used to write a lot more in my house, preparing for people to ask me to freestyle. Now it’s all scheduled, so I write for sessions. Might be seven sessions a week. Might be two. But I like to write at least five songs a week. I’ve never had writer’s block, I just know when something isn’t blowing me away. Sometimes you hit a groove and when you’re in that mode you can’t write a wrong word. It’s like Usain Bolt – he might always win, but he doesn’t always break the record. Some days the wind’s with him. He woke up on the right side of bed. He had the right food yesterday, but there’s a little more magic. I’ll always give you a good song, but sometimes I’ll get you with something magical…