The term ‘underground’ can no longer encapsulate all the innovative, genre-busting sounds currently flourishing outside the mainstream. Artists pioneering these new genres shine too brightly to be clustered under an umbrella term. A self-proclaimed ‘Bad bitch from the East’, Baski, is one of these artists. When researching the thriving and severely underrated Pluggnb scene in London, Baski’s name was unavoidable. The genre, which originates from the USA, combines the hazy, intoxicating sound of ‘Plugg’ with RnB’s comparably sensual atmosphere. The scene in London houses a gold mine of talent and experimental sounds, created by artists such as Baski, Mally. A and Flexo Kobain. Baski’s latest single, ‘Hype’ and the visuals that come with it, perfectly showcase the genre.
Baski has self-coined his sound ‘Glam’, which when you listen to his music, definitely makes sense. Glam appears to be unique to Baski as it is carried by his dulcet tone, indulgent ad libs and seductively toxic lyrics; meaning that given any type of beat, if Baski is on it, it will fit the category of Glam. Baski’s sound isn’t limited to this, with a few drum and bass tracks on the way for the summer. The genre is, however, best embodied with Pluggnb beats from Finch Fetti and GYPTXVN who bring Baski’s vision for Glam to fruition.
There is no one better to take you on a history lesson through Glam than the man himself, Baski. Talking about his sound, his inspirations and the people around him, we wanted to give readers a chance to tap into the vision before Baski inevitability takes off. It’s also a chance to get to know his personality, which is as effervescent as his music. Have a read below.
I’m going to go straight into it because there’s a lot I want to ask you! Who is Baski? Would you consider him to be an alter-ego or is he true to yourself?
It’s a name, fam. Alter-ego … I wouldn’t say, no. I dunno, it's more like an extension of me. All the confidence I have is Baski. Anytime I feel exuberant, it’s Baski.
How would you describe your sound? What’s Baski’s sound?
I sound like a bad bitch who’s tryna figure things out. Whilst she’s figuring it out, she’s also tryna make sure everyone’s having a good time. But whilst she’s making sure everyone's having a good time, people are tryna bring her down. So she doesn't know what to do … but she’s trying her hardest. That's what it sounds like.
Your most recent single is Hype…
No it's not, still.
Yeah it is?
Yeah it is, your most recent single is Hype?
It isn’t, still.
What, you dropped another single?
What is it?
It’s called suck your muuu … nah, I'm joking. I'm joking, yeah it is, still.
And you have visuals for it…
No I don’t, still … I'm joking, I'm joking.
What’s the idea behind the song and the visuals?
There’s no idea behind the song. Bro, I made a banger, innit. N***a’s asking me what it’s about like, fam I don't know, it's about a good song, innit. Nah but that tune is just about … I dunno. I dunno how to describe it. You know when you just find someone that's leng and you’re tryna tell them like, ‘cool, you fuck me, I fuck with you. Just stop listening to outside interferences’. That's what that song is about.
You work closely with Finch Fetti and GYPTXVN …
Yeah, we work kinda close it's like, we’ll be in the same room together but we’re not like itching up on each other. I wanna say a good two-metre distance. Social distancing.
Ok, and what is it about these two producers that you enjoy?
That they black. They’re black. They’re black and they give me good insight.
And how did your relationships with them come about?
Me and GYPTXVN met through mutual friends, and me and Finch … I genuinely don't remember how we met. But I think with Finch I remember he shouted me and said he’d send some beats. I think he shouted me first 'cos I don't shout people 'cos I'm scared to talk to people. So then I was like, yeah let's go crazy. Imma be so real, I'm used to people saying let me send you beats and they’re just mid. And like especially at that time, I was still making trap music-ish but I was definitely coming away from that and moving towards Plugg more. I wanna say the first Plugg beat I hopped on was either from GYPTXVN or Finch so then it was like … oh, my eyes were opened.
So would you say you are a Plugg artist?
Ish. At times, yeah. But at the same time it's like I can't lie, I kinda just do what I feel on the day type shit. I can't really say like ‘oh yeah I specifically make this one sound’ but yeah, I would say Plugg. If I'm going to Finch he’ll know what type of beats I want. In my mind, I like to call it Glam, innit. 'Cos the beats are chill, but I’m talking about some luxurious, glamorous heartbreak. Like heartbreak in Selfridges hurts different to heartbreak at JDs. That's what I’m tryna let n***a’s know.
You don't write your music down — you freestyle. Free-styling is a talent in itself, how does it come to you?
'Cos of Relli. Before we started going studio, we used to just freestyle bares. And I used to play this game called the freestyle game where literally someone just picks out bare random items and you just make it rhyme. We’d just practice bares. We’d link up after I came back from college and chill and bun a couple of spliffs and just start barring off. That's also why my work rate is good 'cos we used to go studio like three man up — me, Relli and KSG. We’d only have like an hour, so we’d bang out as many tunes in an hour. We’d literally make like 4/5 tunes. Them man was like ‘you man work crazily’ 'cos we’re making songs quickly, they were good songs and we were doing bares of them.
Who are Relli and Forty?
Relli’s my brother. Not my blood brother, innit, but he might as well be. My f**king slime, my first friend in Barking and Dagenham. Yeah man, that’s my n***a. Like honestly, I don’t know where I’d be without Relli. Forty is the first producer that I ever had and the first engineer. Forty basically taught me that music is more than showing up, spitting two, two bars and then going away. He showed me the proper behind-the-scenes. Like this is what your song sounds like now … watch how it sounds when it's mixed. I can honestly say that Forty helped me find my sound. I’d hop on some of his beats and I’d be like, cool I wanna rap on this but … I’m lowkey compelled to just sing my heart out. We found a nice balance. And like yeah that’s why I feel like Don Toliver stole my whole sound for real.
How important is it for people to know that you are an artist from East London?
It’s mad important. I’d say more so from Barking. 'Cos anyone can be from East. All people think of when they hear Barking is the Ramz tune or if they are cultured enough, they’ll think of Potter Paper. And I can’t lie that’s not enough for me, still. I think n***a’s need to understand that there’s a lot of people here in Barking that outside of music, outside of a lot of shit, they’re talented but we just don’t get enough spotlight. And people need to stop saying that it’s Essex 'cos we are East London. And I will start punching guys in the chest. But yeah, more so Barking than anything. But if anything it’s more 3side than anything.
What is 3side?
3side is like … I can’t even say a collective ‘cos it’s more just a family ting, bro. It’s like before Pretty Trash or before anything, there was 3side — that’s me, Louis, Relli and KSG. Louis like cloud9 Lou. Them man there — those are my n***a’s from East. Relli is the glue of the 3side, I can’t lie. 'Cos he came up with the name [3side] and he pretty much brought everyone together. We all make music but more time that's the home base type shit.
So back to your music, how much do you think you draw from personal experience?
A good 80%. I wanna say a lot of things are based on true stories and then just exaggerated. I dunno, I'm kinda like 50/50. Certain things I’m just not in a place to ever talk about in my music and some things I just feel like they are so personal. But I’d say a good 70/80%. More time I think it’s just based of things I can remember. You know how some man they go through a break-up and then go studio the same day, I can't do that. I must go on a binge and then after that I’ll consider going studio.
The earliest thing you’ve put out is on Soundcloud and it’s the Lonely Boy EP. That was made in 2018. How do you think you’ve changed as an artist since then? And has your process changed at all?
Only thing that's changed is that I care about music now. I actually think like I'm good at this shit. I’d say the process has gotten a bit more streamlined. I think instead of just going studio and trying to make as many songs as possible, I try to make the best song possible. Now I record differently instead of trying to do everything in one take. 'Cos the asthma has caught up to me, I gotta be punching in. But yeah I wouldn’t say my process has changed too much, it’s just gotten more streamlined.
There doesn’t seem to be any other artist that sounds like you. How do you think you’ve come up with that sound?
Depression. Joking, nah.
What are the inspirations you draw from and how do you think you made this sound?
See I feel like my inspirations are weird. I listened to a lot of RnB music and a lot of rap music obviously. But then before year 7, I didn't listen to rap music. I listened to anything that was on Kerrang radio, Scuzz or MTV2. Sometimes I've done ad libs where I know for a fact I stole that from some next emo tune from like 2010 or some shit. Not 2010 maybe like 08/09. 2010 I started to realise I'm black innit, let me be a n****, that's a bit long. Yeah 08/09 - I didn't know no better.
What’s next for you? I’ve heard something about a possible E.P.
No, the next step is becoming a full-time wrestler, innit. I'm quitting rap, still. I'm not on this ting no more, I had a good run. This is my announcement of my retirement, still. This ain't even about no music ting. I'm joking. Honestly, it depends on whatever Finch has in store for me. At this point my career is in the hands of that man, so whatever he says, that’s what happens, innit.
So there are no solid plans for the rest of this year?
Nah, so basically all jokes aside, We have a few. For the summer, we have one more single in store which is like a drum n bassy ting. Then we have a 3 track E.P with production from GYPTXVN and Finch. That one I still don't really have a name for. I might call it ‘For The Summer’ but we have a song called ‘For The Summer’ and I don't want to cause confusion. But then again, I think it might be good with the streams 'cos everyone likes 'For The Summer’. If they search ‘Baski — For The Summer’ then my whole E.P just pulls up … errrrrr tactical genius, anyway… I was gonna put three songs in there. ‘Temperature’, ‘Innit’, and one other ting called ‘High As I Am’ which is bare slow. Then towards the end of the year, I wanna drop a big tape but I don't want to commit to it fully.
Out of your music, what are your favourite tracks? What does Baski listen to when he listens to Baski?
That's a deep one, still. I think Soundcloud is where I go for all the tunes I wanna listen to when I'm sad. Soundcloud has my sad bangers. I wanna say ‘Grand Slam’ is lowkey my go-to but ‘Hype’ as well at the same time. ‘Hype’ is one of those tings where it’s low-key kinda sad but it makes you just feel like ‘I’m him’, innit. I hate to be that guy but it’s literally between ‘Hype’ and ‘Grand Slam’. Then this new ting I got coming out soon called ‘BMH +’. That shit slaps.
Is there anything you want me to ask you? Is there anything you want to tell people?
I wanna tell them fuck bitches. Don't let the white man fool you. Baski for PM. I'm high as shit. That's it and I love my mum. You should love your mum too. When my beard connects it’s over for you n***as. That's it.