Final month, Drake posted an Instagram story with a mighty declare: “None of us can be trying this sound if it wasn’t for @ramriddlz.”
“This sound” he is referring to? Presumably, it is the free and straightforward, dancehall- and Afrobeat-tinged vibe that is permeated pop music for the final 5 years (see: Drake and Rihanna, “Work”; Justin Bieber, “Sorry”; Ed Sheeran, “Form of You”). It is a sound Drizzy now famously received impressed to dabble in again in 2015 after listening to Ramriddlz’ debut music “Sweeterman”—a foolish, summery jam boasting dancehall grooves, a mishmash of multicultural Toronto slang, and teenage horndog lyrics (“She will be able to’t deal with me, she’s a screamer/She will be able to’t deal with my wiener”). Seems the observe made fairly the impression on The Boy—a lot so he recorded his personal (much less skeezy) model of it, in impact launching a suprise music profession for Ramriddlz, a graphic design pupil on the time. It was additionally amongst Drake’s first flirtations with dancehall; a sound he’d additional discover on 2016’s Views and 2017’s Extra Life, arguably inflicting a ripple impact that may see the day’s largest pop artists trying “this sound” as effectively.
Born Ramy Abdel-Rahman to Egyptian mother and father within the Toronto suburb of Mississauga, Ramriddlz hasn’t fairly turn into a family title since his seismic Drake co-sign. It is not for lack of expertise; the 25-year-old’s bouillabaisse of worldwide sounds and post-regional slang has solely turn into extra flavourful, even displaying shades of inventive development on his trap-dabbling 2019 LP Ramreaper. His phrases, nevertheless, have remained resolutely perverted. He admits his NSFW lyrical content material might be the largest impediment stopping him from transcending his meme-rapper standing and changing into a mainstream success. Actually, he says he plans on reining within the smut on his subsequent full-length for a “subtler” method.
However earlier than all that, Ramriddlz has another serving of the freaky shit for us. He is reamed his new five-song EP Ain’t Shit Sweeter stuffed with crotch-raw, effortlessly lecherous punchlines (“Rosy raspberry lips, cherry cheesecake jiggle/She too scorching, she want banana popsicle”). It’s no coincidence that the tape’s acronym is ASS. Over sun-drenched, neon-hued, dancehall-meets-electro pop sonics (because of longtime collaborator Jaegen, who handles most manufacturing duties right here), Ram lets his fuck flag fly. Contemplate it a sexorcism—his try to purge himself of all that pent-up, giggity-giggity power.
“This tape is like one final hurrah,” says Ramriddlz. “Nicely, I would not say one final hurrah, nevertheless it’s like dipping my toes into the dirtbag stuff another time, ? After which with the brand new album, I am making an attempt to take one step into the extra mature path. Not taking too many steps ahead, however I am transferring ahead.”
Forward of his intimate, COVID-friendly present at Toronto’s El Mocambo tonight, we caught up with Ramriddlz to speak about Drake’s form phrases, his affect on trendy pop, and rising up.
What’s the story behind Ain’t Shit Sweeter?
I used to be truly going to launch an album, which is the sequel to my earlier album. So it was going to be Sweeter Desires 2. However I felt like I form of wanted one thing extra for the followers. Just about what I am doing with this EP is making an attempt to return to my unique sound that I created again in 2015. So I attempted to regress just a little bit and and simply take into consideration the place I used to be in that time of my life. I simply went off of these vibes, the place I wasn’t considering an excessive amount of about what I used to be creating, ? I used to be simply having enjoyable with it.
That is cool. What made you determine to return and revisit these vibes?
You all the time learn feedback and shit and so they’re all the time like, “Aw, I need 2016 Ram. I need previous Ram.” And I did not even know what the hell that was, ? I am not that man anymore. However then I simply thought of what I used to be doing these days and the way my artistic course of was, and I simply tapped into that just a little bit, the place I simply did not fear an excessive amount of about what I used to be doing. When after I first began making music, I did not know what I used to be doing. There was no technique. I simply did it.
Fascinating. In your final album Ramreaper, your sound appeared to be heading in a darker, trappier path.
Yeah, precisely. That was simply me making an attempt to fucking experiment with issues—with totally different sounds and stuff. However within the artistic course of this time round, there was no excited about something. It was nearly having enjoyable, like simply fucking laughing within the studio.
So you are going again to the candy stuff. What’s up together with your sweetness obsession, by the way in which? It’s a reasonably large recurring theme in your work.
Nicely, all of it stemmed from “Sweeterman,” ? That was the time period that was created and from there I form of simply ran with that. I ended up going into sweeter sounds, after which every thing at that time was identical to “candy, candy, candy.” It is not that deep, ? [Laughs] There isn’t any science behind it. The entire time period ‘sweeterman’ was identical to, you eat pineapples, then you definitely’re sweeter, ? It was only a joke in the beginning.
You are speaking in regards to the semen factor, proper?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Precisely.
Okay. I simply wished to make certain. So is that why the pineapple is your image? Due to the semen factor?
Yeah. However then like, , it’s developed over time. Now it is [about] wholesome habits and, , constructive life decisions. Wholesome dwelling. It simply form of all ties into consuming dietary meals and staying energetic.
Wow. You’re rising up.
Yeah, precisely. I’m evolving. You already know, simply conserving it gluten-free over right here.
“It is not like dancehall music is one thing new. However I form of introduced it again into—not that it went wherever—however I might say extra into the mainstream, particularly with Drake doing his tackle it.”
Proper on, man. That is good. Select life. Would you say your songwriting has matured since these days, too?
Matured? Nicely, let’s simply say I am making an attempt to mature. I might say sure. However with this new tape, I might say no. I might say the alternative of mature. I do not even know what the alternative of mature is. Like, you are not gonna hear this and be like, “Ah, bars. He’s stepping into.” It is not a kind of. It is only a vibe.
You had been telling me earlier that you simply need to transfer away from the dirtbag stuff. Why? It is gotten you so many followers already. Folks appear to love it.
There was a cut-off date the place I simply did not take heed to anyone. And now I am beginning to take heed to what folks should say. Like, “Oh, your voice is sweet, however your subject material is form of crude” or “I am unable to actually play it round sure folks. It is form of like a responsible pleasure.” So I am making an attempt to see how I can say sure issues with out…. I’m simply making an attempt to shine what I am doing, ? Not be so in-your-face. Slightly extra delicate. There’s all the time going to be a splash of dirtbag, right here and there. It’s going to by no means completely [go away]. It’s what it’s. I am unable to absolutely change who I’m. However it’s undoubtedly a step in the suitable path.
How did ridiculous horned-up traces turn into your signature, anyway?
Rattling. The factor is, at first, I wasn’t actually making an attempt to be humorous. I used to be simply form of being myself. And I suppose folks thought it was humorous, however I used to be being critical, ? I wasn’t trolling or nothing. I used to be in studio being critical, writing these bars down. “She will be able to’t deal with my wiener.” I used to be being critical! I wasn’t making an attempt to be a comic or something. For actual. It simply occurred like that, I suppose.
And at first I used to be like, “Oh, they’re laughing at me” however then I used to be like, “Oh, if I simply snicker too, we may simply snicker collectively.” It wasn’t a joke at first by any means. I did not know find out how to make songs. I did not know what I used to be doing. I wasn’t making an attempt to do something. I simply did it.
Everyone knows now that Drake picked up on “Sweeterman” and even recorded his personal model of it. What was it like having him shine a highlight on you on the time?
Oh, that was epic. I’m undoubtedly very grateful for that. That was an enormous blessing, and it got here out of nowhere. Clearly I might by no means have anticipated that. It was cool. It was like rattling, to have someone like Drake, doing large issues and being the largest artist out of Canada and generally, noticing it. He himself had impressed me lots main as much as after I made “Sweeterman.” So it was actually cool to see him take a liking to my music.
I don’t know in the event you noticed, however he posted an IG story not too long ago, saying, “None of us can be trying this sound if it wasn’t for Ramriddlz.” Did you see that?
Yeah, I noticed that. I appreciated it. That was actually cool that he gave me some recognition. That was very nice. Again in these days, I used to be simply doing what I wished to do when it comes to music creation. And I suppose me simply experimenting impressed somebody. That was actually cool, simply because, like I mentioned, he impressed me earlier than. After which it got here full circle, ?
It is loopy how that works.
Yeah, it is actually cool. You already know, the entire thing with the dancehall music, on the time, I did not know what I used to be doing. I used to be only a large fan personally of Vybz Kartel and dancehall music generally. So I used to be like, “I would like to do that.” And it was cool that, like, by me doing that, I ended up inspiring an entire… You already know, as a result of it isn’t like dancehall music is one thing new. However I form of introduced it again into—not that it went wherever—however I might say extra into the mainstream, particularly with Drake doing his tackle it. And that was simply by way of me experimenting with issues. That was cool.
So because you got here out with that music, you have observed that there is been extra of this melodic, dancehall-meets-R&B vibe in mainstream music?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It is loopy as a result of it is like, at first, lots of people had been telling me, ”You began this.” And I am like, “Nah, come on. It is only a coincidence.” I used to be form of simply probably not taking credit score for something, however after a while, I assumed, “You already know, fuck, perhaps I did.” However I will by no means know. I am simply glad that I received to encourage folks, the identical approach folks have impressed me.
What’s your expertise with dancehall? Did you develop up listening to it?
It was actually round 2015, perhaps 2014—that is after I began to take heed to it just a little bit extra and discover extra artists. It was very unusual. At first, I used to be simply listening to it when different folks would play it, as a result of I had Jamaican associates rising up. However then after I received just a little older, I gravitated extra in the direction of it. And I had a good friend that was a producer and he was Jamaican and he may make a lot of these rhythms. So I used to be with him and we determined like, “Yo, I’ll attempt to do that.” After which we did it—me, him, and Nemesis, made a music known as “Name Me.” That was my first try at dancehall. So we had made that music, after which from there it received fairly common, ? It was immediately getting extra listens. I had enjoyable doing it and I observed like, ‘Shit, individuals are gravitating in the direction of this.’ So from there, that was after I began to dabble just a little extra.
Your songs form of sound like a cultural mashup—there’s dancehall, some Afrobeat, and then you definitely hear some Arabic slang, some Somali slang. Would you say your music is a product of rising up within the GTA? It sounds actually particular to the combo of cultures right here.
Precisely. It is only a product of my atmosphere. You already know, I will be taught a brand new phrase or one thing, and I will be like, “Ah, I am gonna put this right into a music.” I will be with my Somali associates after which one man will say some shit and I will be like, “What the hell? That phrase sounds hilarious.” Subsequent factor , I am [using it] within the studio. Or I will be in Jamaica or some shit… I am undoubtedly impressed by the issues round me, by folks, by issues I see, by issues I hear. So yeah, undoubtedly rising up in Toronto, in Mississauga, had a big effect on my music and my artistic course of.
“I am simply making an attempt to turn into a famous person, so I’m taking my well being significantly. Needed to give up the bogus, needed to give up the baloney.”
Inform me about it developing in Sauga. You don’t see sufficient artists repping it.
It is the sweeter facet. Sweeter facet. Yeah, just about, I grew up in Mississauga and it was cool. It was a whole lot of enjoyable rising up right here. I had some sick summers and shit right here. It is identical to an enormous melting pot. I do not know if in different North American cities there’s a whole lot of cultures occurring or if there’s as a lot shit you are uncovered to.
Any favorite spots in Sauga to sit back at?
I used to smoke weed and shit. So like, any car parking zone. You simply chilled together with your boys and did completely nothing for fucking hours. However as I’ve grown older, I do not actually fucking do an excessive amount of chilling round anymore. You are in all probability not gonna simply see me hanging round in the event you come to Sauga. I would go to a strip membership, you would possibly see me there. These are in all probability Sauga’s greatest gems, the strip golf equipment. There’s lots, however Cafe Atlantis, that is my favorite one.
However yeah, nowadays I would simply go to the park, or randomly go to Lakeshore or some shit. Get a pleasant breeze. I do not even actually smoke weed an excessive amount of anymore. That is normally all it’s in Sauga. “You need to hyperlink up?” And then you definitely simply get excessive and shit. However currently, I’ve simply been staying dwelling, studying books, ? Doing lunges and shit. I am simply making an attempt to turn into a famous person, so I’m taking my well being significantly. Needed to give up the bogus, needed to give up the baloney. Making an attempt to maintain the vocal cords lubricated. You already know, the odd day I would take an eddy and turn into Eduardo. Eduardo’s a scary man! We do not like Eduardo an excessive amount of. He likes to occasion an excessive amount of. He likes the cha-cha la-la time, ?
He is like your alter ego.
That is precisely what it’s. Eduardo’s an irresponsible man.
What have you ever been studying?
Oh , like Physician Seuss. I like studying nursery rhymes, simply to get the blood flowing. My cognitive energy, no matter meaning.
Do you continue to speak to Drake? Does he provide you with recommendation in your subsequent strikes, and your profession?
I would not go that far however he’s made it obvious that he fucks with me and he is excited to listen to new music each time I drop. So that is what’s up.
That is cool, man. Have to be tremendous encouraging. What are your objectives now, going ahead? What do you need to accomplish?
Targets, wow. That is query. I actually simply need to have the ability to attain as many individuals as I can and actually, actually take this so far as I can go. I have been form of coasting a bit; simply using off of the wave a bit. However I am excited to see how far I push myself, and actually see how far I may take it. I imagine I have never even scratched the floor of my very own potential. I simply form of do the naked minimal, ? However I’ve a whole lot of initiatives in retailer for folks, so you possibly can count on much more releases from the upcoming 12 months for certain. Much more visuals. Much more simply interacting with followers and folks. Much more merchandise from Ramriddlz himself. And a whole lot of good content material; shit that’ll make you cheerful.
In earlier interviews, you’ve mentioned that your mother and father weren’t actually cool together with your music profession. Has that modified since then? Have they lastly come round?
They undoubtedly have not. They’re nonetheless like, “Oh cool, you make music? Perhaps make one thing that my associates may take heed to.” They’re like, “All my associates comply with you on Instagram. It’s fucked up. All you do is put up fucked up issues. What the hell?” And I’m identical to, “Rattling, I did not know I used to be doing this in your associates.” However yeah, that’s the final word aim: to have the ability to attraction to extra folks. That’s what I’m trying with the upcoming album. We’ll see if folks gravitate in the direction of that.