An 18-year-old melodic rap artist has released his debut single through Cliftonville label Tonetic.
Saphyr, who has been working with Arts Education Exchange, released “Lipton Ice” on Friday (November 17) and will be dropping another single and his first album next month.
Saphyr’s journey with music started at a young age in an unorthodox place. While attending an anger management class at six years old, music was recommended as a way to centre himself.
Since then music has been an integral part of Saphyr’s identity. Early on he began listening to whatever he could get his hands on, like his grandad’s Rock n’ Roll CDs, and then in his teens with the growth of online music streaming he grew into listening to rap artists.
One of these artists was Juice Wrld, who had at the time recently released ‘Death Race for Love’, just a month before his tragic passing. This incident pushed Saphyr to start creating his own music, His journey so far has led him to meet his online friend, Midwxst, sign with the youth-led charity label Tonetic Records, and he will be playing his first live show at Where Else? in Margate in December with details of the gig to be released soon.
With more than 200 tracks under his belt from previous projects, some of them attracting tens of thousands of listeners, the Herne Bay youngster is still improving his craft and growing into himself as an artist.
He will release second single Distant Zero on December 1 and the debut album – part one- of the same name on December 8.
He currently has a huge project in the pipeline with Distant Zero comprising of a trilogy album which he plans to release in instalments.
Sampling hip-hop beats sourced from across the internet, Saphyr explores themes including love, connection and isolation through fictional worlds and characters and shares his personal struggles with mental health as an ally to all those who are struggling.
He said: “With my music I want to diversify the UK rap scene. I’m influenced by a lot of American artists like The Kid, Laroi, I feel like my music bridges the gap. It seems like the UK rap promotion scene isn’t as big as it is in the US, and it feels like it leans really heavily into Drill etc. I want to bring something different and hopefully help kick start a new wave.”
Talking about the debut single, Saphyr added: “‘Lipton Ice is based around a dream I had, I remembered it when I saw some yellow cables in the studio. I remember seeing cable on the floor in the dream, outside a nightclub I saw a fight happen. Then it flashed back to my recent gig and I remembered how much energy was in the room and how it felt comforting.
“That’s where the randomness of the song comes from, just different random memories and some personal stuff.”
Tonetic records is a recently formed youth lead record label based in Cliftonville and is a subsidiary of Arts Education Exchange, which has been making a positive creative impact in the community for several years, Tonetic Records aims to provide a platform for the talented young voices of Thanet and Kent.
Arts Education Exchange works with children and young people in Thanet to cultivate an alternative space for community education through the arts.