It had been six days since the release of M Huncho’s project, the third and final instalment of a loosely linked trilogy of works. It began with 48 Hours, 2018‘s mellisonant introduction to who would then go on to become the convener of his own ‘Utopia’, in 2019. Thus, we finally meet 2020’s ‘Huncholini The 1st’. Despite the astonishment of securing a Top 5 project on an extremely competitive release week, the success of this mixtape may have seem pre-ordained. Why? Numbers look after themselves. That’s not the concern. It’s clear to see from afar, the impenetrable fort that we had envisioned two years ago has now come to fruition. It’s his army, his sounds and on his terms.
“A very diverse crowd listen to me…people from all ethnic backgrounds. I just feel like I’m as genuine as I can be…” Huncho begins as we sit across from each other, cameras rolling…mask firmly in place. “The fans, I think they take to me because of the way I represent myself and the way I handle myself. The music as well…it’s very relatable to all different types of people working in all different fields. Working or not, it’s relatable in some type of way.” His strong tone becomes slightly more genial when speaking on his fans. They represent a new wave of listenership in a scene and genre which is now finding its own. It’s transcending languages and borders, with an array of conclusive, harmonic, sparkling sonics descending onto the rainy battlefield that is ‘Huncholini The 1st’. Production credits expand widely with frequent collaborators including ADP, Pyroman and of course, long-time ally, Quincy Tellem. Yet Huncho’s weight on the tape is as forceful as his presence. His style is congruous; some may deem it repetitive. The truth is however; it’s a sound that depicts a prominent gravitating stature. The army is growing strongly and welcomed or not, its marching is being heard.
Having established an understanding as to ‘the what’ behind this force, taking into consideration the consistent growth Huncho has seen over these past 3 years; from musical works with stronger impact; sold-out tours and chart-invading records, we begin to discuss the why. “I just keep going. I haven’t taken it all in. The people around me will take it in. They’ll be happy, proud, etc. For me I don’t really take it in until I feel like yeah…right now I’m still on a mission. I’m not gonna look back at it until the mission is accomplished.” I ask what the mission is.
“The mission is growth in general, musically and personally. That’s the mission bro. Becoming a better artist. Creatively, going in a different direction to what other people are doing. Just being a pioneer in what I do.” His tone shifts as he declares with poignancy… “I just feel like right now, I’m the only person that has pioneered my own sound. I feel like I’ve got my own sound. I feel like I was the first person to do the sound that I do. I feel like my lane is different to other people that do something of the same sort. I have different variations, you know what I’m tryna say?”
It’s like being a King. Before Henry the 8th…he’s the 8th bro, you get it? Before, there was just Henry, the first.
Whilst on a surface-level, his reasoning and agenda may seem self-serving; musically, it can be argued that it’s in actual fact, the righteous role of royalty, of a king, leading his own men through the gates into a utopia of generational well-being. “I feel like breaking down the doors is the best thing to do…because there’s only so far you can take it. You have to make sure there’s someone form the next generation, that can take it further than where you took it. That is the plan bro. You can take it as far as you can, but with the right advice and teaching the next generation how to manoeuvre, you can enable them to take it way further than where you took it.”
The journey could not have been a smooth one up to where Huncho now stands. It’s spoken about schematically but consistently throughout the project, swiftly brushing his pen over challenges and demons faced throughout. His answers face-to-face however, are as fleeting yet insightful as those in his lyrics. “There’s a lot of different types of demons, you know what I’m, tryna say? That’s a conversation I normally keep to myself. To the people that will listen or read this…it’s just about being more headstrong in what you do. If you always think about your life as a mission, demons won’t get to you…and if they do, there’s always gonna’ be a way you break out of it. It’s just a phase.”
Thus we move to the ‘how’. The answer? Telling his stories and being of growth. The musical growth speaks for itself, ‘Utopia’s fourth track ‘Birds’ serves as a prologue to what can then be considered the epilogue the fourth track of ‘Huncholini The 1st’, ‘Eagles’. Huncho clarifies the premise of the project definitively through this as well as introspective switch up entering the second verse of the latter track. It’s seasonal.
“It comes from the fact that I done Birds from Utopia. The introspection, that comes from the other side…” as he begins to elaborate on this artistic intricacy. “When it gets to the second verse of Eagles in general, it’s going into a deeper topic. We’re talking about death, mental health, etc. So I just feel like the inspiration actually came from Birds. We’re talking about growth. The whole tape is about growth in general, that’s the deeper root of it.
“When you talk about growth, you know…we went from bird to an Eagle bro….you know what I’m tryna say? In the wild, in wild life.”
Huncho, never one to engage in exhaustive feature artist lists on his projects continues to maintain his selective process with ‘Huncholini The 1st’ offering just three. We begin to wrap up after talking about the few carefully crafted features on the project; the seemingly unstoppable Nafe Smallz, D-Block Europe and of course, Headie One, his somewhat of an industry counterpart, the two experiencing parallel growth throughout recent years.
“I done that in Paris, around Fashion Week times last year…” he tells me while talking about the kinetic ‘Head Huncho’. “Working with Headie is fun as well man. Its mad relaxed. Headie don’t even smoke, but he just always looks or seems like he’s high…” laughingly. “Naturally he’s a very funny guy. I’ve known Headie for a long time in the music thing. Our come up as been at the same time and we’ve watched each other grow more importantly, so working with him is pretty natural. I was on his first tape, the One, so yeah man.”
“We’re in a good space right now. Even right now, the way we’ve started the year, I’ve dropped my tape, Hus dropped his tape, WSTRN dropped some music. Different Genres. We’ve started off the year strong, collectively, even though we’re all individuals. We’ve started off the year very positively and last year, 2019, ended on a high note. It was good to take off from that high note, instead of setting the bar low. The UK scene is growing in general and I’m just happy to see everyone doing their thing.
We end on somewhat of an imperilling statement from M Huncho, as he continues his campaign for mayorship, rising to the throne of his Trapwave kingdom…”They can expect a lot from me this year. To the people that are still sleeping on me, they can either sleep or never wake up I will not be disappointed. We got bigger and better things to come.”
Until next time. Huncholini.