In honor of his most recent sell-out show in his in his hometown following the release of his debut mixtape Pier Pressure, we are glad to bring you this exclusive interview with ArrDee.
Riley Davies, known professionally as ArrDee, is a British rapper from Brighton, a seaside resort Located on the south coast of England, in the county of East Sussex, it is 47 miles (76 km) south of London. When it comes to ArrDee, the word destiny truly fulfilled its meaning, as music was always the one and only thing he strived to be successful with in life. Writing was always the main part of the process, as it helped him shape his style, sound and flow, but most importantly understanding himself and healing from hard times. Music is therapy and ArrDee fully took advantage of this powerful phenomena. As some of us might know, growing up in a household with a single mother can be very challenging at times. The absence of a paternal figure, brought him closer to his mother and he still never fails to mention his immense gratitude and otherworldly love toward her, as she did the greatest job in filling the shoes for the other absent parent. This mixture of unconditional support, and his innate drive to create music made ArrDee who he is today, one of British most sought after rising talents.
While working at an Amazon warehouse packing boxes he was able to spend some time writing lyrics to one of his breakthrough tracks 'Cheeky Bars' whilst working for the company.
Being able to reach the British audience through Drill rap music, was and still is an enormous blessing for ArrDee. Drill rap originated in Southside Chicago around 2011. The rapper King Louie is considered to be one of the first drill rappers ever, and the founder of drill rap. Some pioneers of drill are also Chief Keef, Lil Reese, Lil Durk, Rondonumba9, LA Capone and more. In the UK, regional subgenre UK drill emerged in London particularly in the district of Brixton beginning in 2012. Names such as British rapper Russ Millions are considered to be some of the most successful of the genre, and he soon collaborated with ArrDee on tracks such as “Body”, one of the most listened, remixed, and club anthem songs of 2021 which is definitely still going hard in 2022 and “Wid It” which was released at the beginning of the year. Another important collaboration is the one with rapper Aitch on the powerful track “War” which debuted at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart on 11 February 2022. Being a white rapper in a black dominated genre and yet gaining the respect of one of the biggest names in the game it’s something to be absolutely proud of, given the historical and controversial issues that often surround this factor. In the ’80s we had the Beastie Boys, who brought punk-like energy to the genre and pumped anthems that are still relevant to this day. The ’90s featured a wider array of white rappers with two of the most infamous MCs in history, (yet with very different legacies ) Vanilla Ice, who became a pariah as quickly as he became a superstar, and Eminem, who would become the best-selling rapper ever while also being heralded for his lyrical dexterity. Now, in the 21st century we have all types of white wordsmith: Paul Wall, El-P, Mac Miller, Post Malone, Lil Dicky, Machine Gun Kelly (who very quickly turned his back to the genre by currently making punk rock music), Yelawolf, Asher Roth, Aitch, Brother Ali, Macklemore, G-Eazy, Millys and many more..
But just because white rappers have been part of the industry for a long time, it doesn’t mean their presence hasn’t occasionally been uncomfortable. As Jack Harlow mentions to Complex Magazine “There is a certain reality that I am white, and I think there will always be something attached to that. No matter how embraced I am, there will never be a day that I’m Black. With that being said, there’s a certain responsibility that comes with being a white man in a Black genre, and there are certain things that have me regarded differently. But there is something exciting about skipping over any barriers that might be there and creating unity.” . The fact that ArrDee was able to overcome these barriers and preconcepts at such a young age by making Drill music is a strenght to be reckoned with and we look forward to witnessing his growth.
March 18th 2022 marked the release of his debut mixtape Pier Pressure on through Island Records. The project features guest appearances from Aitch, Lola Young, Russ Millions, Tion Wayne, Bugzy Malone, Fivio Foreign, E1 (3x3), ZT (3x3), Buni, Darkoo and Digga D.
The first official single from Pier Pressure was "Flowers (Say My Name)", which samples the track of the same name by Sweet Female Attitude and "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child. On 4 March 2022, ArrDee released "Come & Go" as the third single from the mixtape. Enjoy our conversation with ArrDee and make sure to stream his music, available on all platforms. If you were stranded on a desert island with one album, which one would it be? Lil Wayne’s Carter 3 or Carter 4, either of them would be great but I wouldn't be mad if I could both of them (laughs). I’m a big fan of Lil Wayne because he's one of the first proper rappers of my generation, at least for me obviously. Eminem was the first I really listened to at that time as well, but he became so big that it was almost mainstream which is fine cause it got me into the genre, but Lil Wayne.. He just has a different body of work, the way he executes bars it’s a whole different level. He actually released an half an hour long song called “10.000 bars” which was basically the remaining of any written down bar he ever wrote, you could literally hear him tearing up the pages and that was the last time he ever wrote lyrics as he then just went to the studio to work his magic behind the mic off the top of his head. I remember trying to memorize his whole “set “ , that's how we call it in the UK. I appreciate his passion because that's what got him to this legendary level.
Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety? I don't really get anxiety, but actually…that's kind of a lie! When I did the Capital Jingle Bells Ball, I had a little bit of anxiety because for one, everybody was sitting down and two, it was a much younger crowd than what I'm usually used to. I perform at festivals or clubs where I can engage with the crowd and I can swear and stuff, which I often do to gas up people in the club who are drinking and having fun. In terms of having a ritual, not really, I just have a drink and head to the stage, just singing and dancing, the attention is all on me. I'm a massive attention seeker, once that spotlight is on me, my whole body and brain just take over. It's almost like I'm watching myself performing. I'm not really fully there until I'm done. That's the same for shooting music videos. Once the tape starts, I'm not really there, I'm watching it the same way the camera is watching it even if it's me performing.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about you? I'd say I may come across as a little unintelligent because I bounce around and have lines that make people laugh. I definitely have funny bars but obviously there’s a lot of intellect behind it. Besides that, one of the main misconceptions about me it's the fact that I'm not necessarily always happy and lucky as it may seem. As much as I'm always laughing and smiling, there's a lot of hard work, planning , stress, me beefing with my team when things don't go the way they're supposed to, and overall plenty of hardship to deal with. So maybe that's kind of a misconception, thinking that I just got it, and made it to this point just out of nowhere, and that applies to many of us artists to be fair.
Written by Sarah Von H