‘I want the people who can relate to be able to relate and the people who can’t relate to just listen because there’s still things that they can take from.’ Strandz says on how he wants people to receive his music as we sit in his car discussing all things about his new single ‘Us against the world, the songs campaign and what’s to come. The Croydon based artist and #GUAP30 cover star is a pioneer in the UK’s upcoming rap scene – steering away from the expected world of drill and grime Strandz’ nostalgic, classic flow and sound inspired by the old school NY hip hop he listened to as a growing up – has captured the streets.
‘Us Against the World’ sees the artist take a turn from his usual ‘gritty’ lyrical content and pen a heartfelt anthem for his girlfriend. “Back in the day I was making a lot of love shit so I stayed away from it for a while. Subconsciously I didn’t want to fall back into that pocket of just being a love rapper. I think it’s very easy to get corny with that when it’s not authentic. But then I realised I have shit to talk about that’s actually based on real feelings.’ And with lyrics like ‘I give old school loving like we in the 80’s’ and ‘its us against the world, us against the ghetto, us against the police, us against this hell hole.’ It’s hard not to feel that same warmth and old school love reminiscent of old school movies we all used to watch as kids. `
It’s no wonder the song so effortlessly relates to so many people and Strandz ‘rise on tiktok has strayed far from the stereotypical seemingly forced campaign. If you visit his sound on the app you’ll be met with 1500 videos of couples being cute, girls doing their makeup, shoe customisation – the song hit the streets just as he anticipated. ‘Us against the world – it was a verse I had there and at the time I knew the streets were going to fuck with this. We had something else lined up but I said na and posted it on tiktok.’ Seizing the moment, he’s now also dropped a custom tiktok filter for everyone to join in. Inspired by old school camera’s the filter allows users to rap along to the song through the lens of a vintage camcorder capturing moments with a playfully nostalgic feel. Try it here.
In the past few years the music industry’s relationship with social media has been interesting to say the least – with some artists feeling the need to chase virality over longevity but for Strandz longevity and community are at the forefront of everything he does ‘the people that are actually at your core fanbase they will be with you whether you’re viral or not.’ Finding the middle ground between staying authentic to himself and using social media to his advantage, he started by posting videos of him and his girl to the song and tiktok did what tiktok does as everyone followed suit. This support was not only translated on the app but also into streams with the song reaching 300,000+ streams within the first few days of release – listen here.
On the future, Strandz says ‘it’s not about making it for me, it’s about pushing the music more and more and more and seeing how far I can really take it.’ If the Us against the world is testament for what’s to come – then it’s clear he can take his sound from the UK to the world.