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RV – Rico Vondelle
Tottenham, North London.
It’s UK Drill in its most unapologetic form, no coded language or pandering to audiences with mainstream sounds. Just some great wordplay with plenty of quotable lyrics over a variety of Drill beats with a heap of crud-talk. It’s music that leaves your face with a constant screw-face, as if you just heard a filthy drum and bass drop in The Sugarhouse, the difference is that it’s his lyrics that make you feel that way.
Three Words to Describe:
Savage, charismatic, unapologetic.
Make your case:
Anyone paying even remote attention to the UK rap scene will have heard of Headie One. However, it’s his right-hand man from North London collective OFB, RV, that has been drawing attention. RV has recently been released from prison, and the UK Drill scene is holding its breath anticipating new music. It would simply be an insult to think of RV of just one half of a dynamic duo, or another member of a crew, especially when he usually features in everyone’s ‘Top 10 in Drill’ list. RV never fails to stand out on any song featuring the entire collective’s roster – to the point where he is highlight of every OFB song he features on. The fact that RV can be in jail for most of 2018, be responsible for the Urban track of the year (contrary to what the Rated Awards might have said) and have a better work rate than any other UK rapper should immediately impress you; especially with the quality of what he’s releasing.
This isn’t just an appeal to those who are already familiar with this genre of music, I’m looking at those are who aren’t necessarily “urban” inclined. RV offers a high-octane experience, exposing you to culture to a completely different depth than other rappers. The usual presumption is “But I’ve heard rappers rap about violence and drugs before, it’s nothing new or interesting, is it?”, but you’ve not heard RV do it, so hold your tongue and listen.
RV makes it clear who he is an artist, he unremorsefully exposes you to the violence in and around his life through his wordplay, lyricism and aggressive flow. It’s obvious that the street life that he lives has influences his lyrics. RV clearly isn’t just a “Roadman” who’s deciding to put on a balaclava and make some music videos, he puts a lot of thought into in his wordplay: whilst some of them play off obvious popular culture references, such as Premier League football, some relate directly to his experiences or even show his intelligence – despite the harsh manner in which they’re delivered.
What playlist on your iTunes/Spotify Library should they be on?:
RV is perfect work-out playlist material, but is also at home on your pre-drink or house party playlists. Heck, even the Sugarhouse DJs attempting urban music nights need RV on their playlist. High octane, high energy, but still high IQ. If you do actually have a UK Drill playlist and RV isn’t on there – what are you doing?
The best example of the evident personality in his music is the EP ‘I’m a Savage’. It’s quite likely you’ll decide RV is a deplorable, violent person who should be in jail for the rest of his life, and that’s a reasonable conclusion after listening to this EP. But you won’t be able to stop bopping your head. You’ll be quoting his lyrics to anyone who will listen – including yourself – and his punchlines will even make you laugh, impress you, or make you rewind and listen to the whole song again.
‘Hotbox’ is easily my favourite song on the EP; how could it not be with quotables such as: “I was bang to rights but I took that oath and I told them lies” and “I put dark and light together, like Martin Luther’s speech”
Stop what you’re doing and listen to this:
The first place to start is watching his ‘Behind Barz’ freestyle on Youtube. This was essentially his breakout song, encapsulating everything about RV that I’ve spoken about. There is so much to quote in this freestyle: “Cheff on yute in his face, now he’s got a scar like Ribery”. After listening to this I guarantee if you have any interest in the UK Rap and Hip-Hop scene as a whole, you will never sleep on RV again.
This might be greedy, but I’m bringing two songs into this section, as you all need to ask how Jack Sprigg can through an urban set at Sugar without playing RV & Headie’s ‘Know Better’ at least once? After listening to this song at least once you’ll understand why this is such an important question, one you’ll repeat almost as much as the song.