Exclusive Interview: Cadet – “It’s Only When You Feel Something, That The Music Lasts Forever Man”

As the dust settles on his huge 'Slut' freestyle, we got hold of Cadet to find out more about the new story-teller of Grime...

Ben Fawcett

3 years ago

By Ben Fawcett

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Speaking on the culturally taboo subject of male promiscuity, as soon as South London’s Cadet dropped his huge ‘Slut‘ freestyle last month, the internets paid attention and took in the brash, honest and at times painfully real freestyle and embraced it, helping the online video to reach over 100,000 views in just a huber of weeks. Now aware of the 25-year-old, former Gip-set member who strives to represent honesty and realness in all that he writes, performs and represents, what can fans, admirers and even skeptics of the 25-year-old rapper expect following the impact and success of his debut proper?

Immediately after hearing the freestyle, we called Cadet in for a talk, now that he has well and truly announced himself as a real talent and one to watch in the UK. Speaking on the current South London influence on UK music, his musical inspirations and plans for the end of 2015, Cadet exudes confidence and is fairly adamant that this is just the beginning. We tend to agree.

(ICYMI) The original ‘Slut’ Freestyle that grabbed attention

So we’ll start with the ‘Slut’ freestyle. The impact of this verse has launched you to the forefront of a lot of people’s attention but, what were you doing before ‘Slut’?

I was doing a lot of grime freestyles because grime is where I started, just kinda killin’ the Grime instrumentals, putting the work in and trying to put my talent out there. My wordplay and my punch lines. I was putting songs out there but to be honest with you, I never really had a structure. I just knew that if I keep on hammering and putting my sound out there, someone will eventually see.

Just watching the original video of you dropping the ‘Slut’ Freestyle which is what I assume is the first tme you dropped the verse live?

Yeah

There seems to be a confidence exhuming from you, as if to say you know what you’re saying is gonna hit.

Yeah, do you know what it is? Overtime I’ve realized that I think I’m proper sick. I proper think that I am the man and I thought people needed something they could feel and get behind you know? So there was the confidence behind it and it was true confidence. Nobody can’t say anything to you if you’re talking the truth, especially if it’s your truth. So of course I am very confident in the things that I say, firstly because everything I’m saying is true and mostly because I believe what I’m saying as well. Plus I’m a rapper, it’s what I do, put me in jail, take away all my body parts, it’s still what I’m gonna do.

The subject matter of ‘Slut’ Is something that isn’t spoken about much and in-fact it’s currently kind of the opposite of the cultural acceptance where men can get away with pretty much anything, whereas females are put under a lot more scrutiny. Was that a conscious message you were trying to send?

Yeah, obviously it’s unnoticed but in society it seems to be alight that guys can just be sluts and we, men, kind of run with that. But none of us really address the feelings that come with that. Obviously it’s having fun, sex, whatever, but man actually feels a way afterwards. Everyman I’ve spoken to, they have sex ok but they still feel a way, whether it’s wanting the girl to get out your bed after or even feelin’ dirty, it’s not happy thoughts, so I thought ‘let me address that’ because everyman feels it. It’s not all happy. Just sex, sex, sex.

Just based off of Social activity, it seems you have a pretty big female following post-‘Slut’, is that the audience you are somewhat consciously trying to target and embrace?

I want my fanbase to just be people who like truth. Those things that everybody goes through but not much rappers can verbalise, that’s what I want my fans to expect from me. There’s rappers who want that, say, Chris Brown level of fandom but me, I prefer to have… what’s the analogy? ‘An inch wide and a mile deep rather than a mile wide and an inch deep’ I don’t want to find 100million fans to pay a pound, I would rather find 1000 fans who are happy to pay a good amount for my work, you know what I mean? It’s quality rather than quantity. Obviously females became aware after the ‘Slut’ freestyle, because they can relate, honestly I though I would have lost a lot of female fans after that but it’s just about being true. If they’re female or they’re male, I’m not bothered, as long as they feel what I’m saying and it triggers some sort of reaction, that’s all I really care about.

(Cadet drops his newest freestyle for us in his car)  

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You yourself are a South Londoner, from Clapham originally, and something that I’ve become acutely aware of is the power in the South at the moment. After over a decade of an East and to an extent North dominance, the South now has you, Stormzy, Krept & Konan, Section Boyz, Bonkaz, Yungen and a host more. Can you attribute this rise to anything specific?

Nah, just time and place. They’ve given us the air now. We have to really be thankful to people like Krept and people like Stormzy who managed to break through whilst there was nobody in South reppin’ and now people are paying more attention to South, people are paying more attention to ‘Gipset’ and that because of Krept & Konan. Back in the day there was only space for one person from South at a time so East would take over the scene and have 10 people rapping whereas in South only one person could come through at a time. It was PDC at one stage or Roadside G’s at one stage or So Solid at one stage, there was never a group of us at the one time. Now thanks to the way Krept & Konan have done it and the way Stormzy has done it, they’ve made people pay attention so people like Section and Bonkaz and people like myself can come through, so we have to pay homage to them.

Looking at those artists, like yourself and Stormz and Krept & Konan, I feel like South London right now is the home of the ‘story tellers’, especially in regard to Krept & Konan. Is that a case that it’s just that the story of South London has kind of gone unmentioned over the past decade or so? Because it seems to come very naturally to yourself as well as those mentioned.

I just think that everybody wants to know mans story, maybe it’s because we have particular characteristics In the South. Everyone knows that growing up it was the South that people were like ‘nah, I don’t go down there’ because of the gangs and that but nobody really knew why it was like that. Not everybody was gangster because they wanna be gangster, a lot of people used it as a defence, to say like ‘don’t mess with me’ init? So it feels like now we’re coming out and telling our reasons behind the stories because South London isn’t a scary place and we’re giving people the idea of why we’re like that. We’re not bullies but we feel no way about defending ourselves. Obviously there are those that enjoy being the bully but nobody really took the time to understand why, as South Londoners, we are so…jumpy. In South we do have a story to tell, South is very active. There’s not really any way you lived in South and weren’t a robber or getting robbed or you knew somebody who was in a gang, you would have had a big cousin or someone who was in a gang. You couldn’t turn around and not be a part of the roads, whether you was a victim or a bully.

Who did you listen to when you were growing up in South? Who inspired you?

R.A from Roadsige G’s was my favourite grime artists, he was the best. I liked Escobar but to be honest I weren’t really listening to Grime. 50 Cent ‘Get Rich Or Die Trying’ shut it down for me, that was the craziest. I would love to pay homage to main grime artists but they never had that much of an influence on me. What influenced me to be honest was Slow Jams and R&B music. You see with R&B music? Everything is story telling, so as I see it, as a rapper, I’m at a disadvantage. I could have just a sentence and that sentence isn’t as meaningful as it would be from a singer. A singer can just say the word ‘love’ and get so much emotion from that word but as a rapper I woud have to pen a paragraph to try and have that same emotional impact. So what I’ve learnt from the singing and R&B is, I’m a very emotional person but I’ve learned to channel those emotions into my bars and my lines, but the difference is, the emotion you get from an R&B or Slow Jams song isn’t necessarily in the lyrics, it’s the song that makes you feel. I don’t want people to just bang their heads until the next song comes on, I want them to feel something. It’s only when you feel something, that the music lasts forever man. A lot of rap and grime is just hooks that carry you but for me it has to be that story. The likes of D’angelo, Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, Tina Marie Presley, all of these people had influence on me.

That must make your writing process quite interesting surely?

To be honest with you, I have such a faith in what it is that I do, that, I’m gonna be huge. And when you’re that huge, there’s gonna be people who are gonna wanna know things about you and I’m just gonna tell you. I don’t wanna rap lyrics, what I wanna do is put things that I would have in a conversation with you into songs. Take the ‘Slut‘ Freestyle, that would have been an actual conversation that I’ve had. My main thing now is putting conversations into songs. If I don’t feel it I don’t put it in the bars. It’s harder but it does make what I say more meaningful.

So now that ‘Slut’ is out there and making huge noise, we have what… 4 months until the end of 2015, what are you hoping to have done by the end of the year?

E.P. A quality E.P. Not just songs for people to listen to, I want my name to be solidified in grime or even just U.K music as somebody who tells the truth with songs that can last forever. I wanna be known and solidified as a good lyricist, when you’re a good lyricist you last forever.

Of all the artists active across genres and countries and whatever, who would you most like to work with?

Krept & Konan just for old times sake… umm… Oh, Ed Sheeran, 100% Ed Sheeran. Who else…? Jeremih… bro, he doesn’t do a dead song.

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So Cadet has left his mark on the music scene, he’s had his run, reached his fame and now he’s gone. They want to erect a statue of Cadet to immortalize him. Where is the statue and what is it doing?

Ok Boom…. I am…. In my ends in Clapham because I was birthed in Clapham. Where is it? It’s in the middle of the estate, the middle, I’m saying you have to pass this thing. I’m rapping with my eyes closed, a mic in my hand and veins popping out my neck. People ae going to see that and they are going to see passion, and it’s on the ends to show people the ambition that this guy came from here. The same way you had no food in your fridge, this guy had no food in his fridge. The veins show the passion, closed eyes to show the focus and it’s on the ends to motivate.

(Watch Cadet’s Official Video Drop For ‘Slut’)

Follow @Callmecadet now as he prepares to drop freestyles that i’ve personally heard that are going to make real noise. 

Cadet dropped his insane Link Up TV ‘Behind The Barz’ this week and it’s something to get familiar with.