The Lowdown: Row D – ‘More Than Shouting’ [Premiere]
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“It’s ROOOWWWW DEEEEE.”

Last year there was a point where you’d hear Row D’s reload bar on every single radio set going. Shouted loud and proud, it came to define Row D as an MC, but there’s always been much more to him than just being loud. His last release, Riddim-dim-dim was packed full of well-crafted songs featuring some which were self-produced, and Row D has looked to grow again with his latest mixtape.

Right down to the title, More Than Shouting is a mixtape which is designed to showcase versatility and growth from an artist who has been quiet of late. We caught up with Row D to ask about what he’s been doing with himself in the year since his last release, his thoughts on Lord of the Mics one year on, his new mixtape and what he really thinks about AJ Tracey…

Oh, and be sure to check out the mixtape while you’re reading, streamed exclusively on The Lowdown…

So we’re premiering your new mixtape; tell us about it…

“More than shouting! This is me showing as much versatility as I’ve ever shown with a project, all within grime. There’s one rap track but the rest is grime. I’ve been experimenting with my vocals, my content, my style and delivery and I feel that this has captured a lot of the energy of where I’m planning on going with music.

It’s not a change in direction, I’m just broadening my horizons. I’ve grown as an artist and a person while I’ve been making it.”

It’s been about a year since you premiered your last project with us…

“It’s been exactly 11 months, the last one came out on 15th July!”

Well remembered

“God bless Facebook memories!”

And have you been working on the mixtape for the full 11 months?

“Nah, it wasn’t always going to be a mixtape like it is now. Some of the tracks were made around that time but to be honest I was just constantly making tracks. I was working on music but not necessarily a mixtape, I originally wanted to do an EP to follow up Riddim-dim-dim but it didn’t work like that. There are a few tracks that would have been on that, but then there are plenty of fresh tracks on there too.

The freshest track is the intro, a track called Rowds produced by Dexplicit. The rap track with Grim Sickers is old and 40 Bars, they were both briefly on my SoundCloud.”

You’ve been quite quiet recently, was there a reason for that?

“There are two main reasons. After the excitement at Christmas – because I don’t wat to dwell on it too much – some doors that were previously open to me closed and some people who I thought were in my corner showed me that they were not. The main reason though is that I had bad health and I’ve been recovering and learning to deal with that. I also kind of got a little bit bored of doing the same thing over and over again. I felt like I needed to spend a little bit of time working on myself and my craft.”

So are you ready to get back out there now?

“I’m better but not 100%, but I’ve been battering radio again for the last month or so and I want to get out to more shows again because that’s where I feel I’m in my element. I’m really fired up and in a good place mentally, really focussed and feeling very positive about everything. Everything that happened feels like a blessing because the people around me now are genuine people and genuine supporters. It feels good to be free of politics.”

What have you got planned for after this mixtape?

“I feel like the mixtape has been holding me back because I want the world to hear it before I move on as an artist. Now that it’s dropped I finally feel like I can start battering studio again and start putting more tunes out, that’s what to expect from me now, a flood of tunes. I’ve been holding back but now there’s no holding back. I want to do more live shows and lick down radio, so any DJ who wants me on their show tell me and I’m there.”

Speaking of radio, which is your favourite station?

“I’ve got to say Mode is home really. It’s nice doing the high profile ones on BBC and Rinse, it feels good to be there. It’s no secret that I love to smoke weed and you can blaze it there, plus the sound in Mode is sick, I love that you can hear the beat when everyone gets gassed. I love radio full stop, I love every station, but Mode is home.

The energy in that whole building is creative and it filters upstairs.”

Last time we spoke you’d just done Lord of the Mics but you couldn’t speak about it because it was still under wraps. Looking back a year later, how do you feel about Lord of the Mics and the clash with XP?

“It was a massive, massive thing for me. I felt truly, truly blessed to be involved. It means so much to me because I didn’t do it because of the hype or career progression, I did it because I’m a fan of Lord of the Mics. I love the platform, I love the energy in the clashes, I love that it’s brought MCs to the forefront that I didn’t really know about to my attention and that it’s brought my favourite MCs to everyone else’s attention. For me it was massive and I can’t thank Jammer and Ratty enough.

At the time I thought I’d wiped him, but looking back it was closer than I thought. I still think I won though. It was a sick clash. XP is sick and I’m so happy to see him doing his thing. Remember I picked him and I picked him for a reason, because I thought we’d have a sick clash. I wanted him to show the levels in the clash and I hope people look back at it and love it as much as I do.”

Finally, what do you think about the strength of the scene at the minute?

“It’s powerful, and it’s sick to see all of the MCs doing well. What AJ Tracey is doing at the moment is so good to see, it’s amazing how well he’s doing. I imagine some people will think I’m lying or bitter or whatever, but I was a fan of AJ and always wanted him to do well. Seeing how well Jammz is doing is sick, seeing how well YGG are doing is sick. That lot are killing it, and every time I look on a grime channel that lot are all over it. People are still checking for grime, it’s not just about hype anymore, and now we’re seeing who’s been seriously on it for a while.

When I see people doing well, I think that I need to step my game up and worked harder. I don’t sit there thinking, “Why aren’t I doing that?” I just get better. Look at the Red Bull line-up, two years ago you would never have put some of the names on that line-up on there. I’m so happy for everyone. I want to see myself rise, and I want to see everyone else around me rise.

Obviously as an artist I want to be seen as the best around, but I want all of the competition around me to be as sharp as possible. I want there to be an argument about who was the best, but I want my name to be in the argument haha. Steel sharpens steel, you get me?

Look out, because I’m back and I’m going bigger than ever before. I love this far too much to ever stop and I’m going to keep killing it. No matter what anyone says about me, I know I’m nang.”

Find Row D on Twitter – @ItsRowD