Expressing the sights, sounds and social fabric of his Hackney hometown, UAP AB (pronounced U.A.P AB) runs under the banner of ‘Urban and Proud’ and delivers softly spoken words with target-hitting intent. Moving with the BLK.NiCHE crew alongside coded comrades iBDXDE and Sorom, murmurs from the London underground and beyond have been getting louder, radio plays and must-check streams are stacking up, and a collaboration with the King Apparel brand has already provided an early media-crossing opportunity and upper hand.
AB’s path to telling it how it is has come from teenage years filling notepads with poetry, an ear glued to Choice FM, and absorbing whys and wherefores when visiting family in Texas and Los Angeles. “The one mantra I go by is ‘Urban and Proud’. This keeps me grounded and to never be ashamed of my people and where I come from”. Taking back these cultural souvenirs to East London to make his craft more polished and vivid, and drawing inspiration from artists such as Dave East, Travis Scott, Skepta and Giggs, the seeds of BLK NICHE were soon sown, confidently fine-tuning themselves into a crew of music, fashion and visual creatives. With traditional hip-hop crew control, all three members thrive as separate entities - this year iBDXDE’s #G#NG’, Sorom’s ‘Rubix’ and UAP AB’s ‘Up to No Good’ have all turned the trap screw - before coming together as a superpower marking their possibilities as endless.
Now debuting on Lewis Recordings (home to Edan and Stig of the Dump), AB begins with two different shots of hip-hop that deserve being spoken about in anything but hushed tones. With its echoey bubbleworks riddim, ‘Where You Been’ looks for answers from suitors seduced by road status, and doing trap that’s perfect for both the summer’s great outdoors and the clammiest of capital city boltholes. Skanker’s delight ‘Mary’ puts five on it with a soundsystem scatter and swing, wafts of Madlib holding down a rudeboy jam that maintains that all important accessibility of a love song, and topped with AB letting off a hook that crowds will repeat back to him in unison. Bound to break a few more thermometers these coming months, both provide the muscle that you should flex this summer.
UAP AB's debut single Where You Been is due for release on August 3rd.