“ CHOZE is latest contender to the throne … with razor-sharp wit and old-school instinct” – The Line of Best Fit
“There are few acts with such innate talent and ambition as up-and-coming London rapper CHOZE” – DORK
South West London rap innovator CHOZE releases debut album D.I.Y on July 12 via 831 Recordings/ Kartel Music Group
Through D.I.Y, his long-awaited body of work, Italian-Ghanaian rapper CHOZE carves out a territory of his own among the concrete jungle of the UK rap scene. Pummelling a spectrum of sounds into submission with unorthodox samples, infectious beats and carefully crafted verses that are just as capable of sashimi-sharp wordplay as they poetic justice, D.I.Y is nothing if not a forward-thinking record and the next step in the evolution of the game.
But while CHOZE’s eyes are fixed firmly on the horizon, D.I.Y pays homage to the scene that raised him. He says: “It has always been a dream of mine to create a piece of music that represents my life story, my trials, tribulations and triumphs – all laid bare in one album.” Raised on a diet of the trailblazing pirate radio stations Deja Vu and Delight FMwhich were the breeding ground of the UK’s tangle of underground genres from dubstep to garage and grime, CHOZEinstinctively reflects the radicalism of the era with a future-thinking twist.
CHOZE says: “I wanted to create a body of work that would help continue to break down barriers and to keep the legacy of the UK music scene and its history alive. It was one of the reasons why I called the album “D.I.Y”. It was more about the belief that you can do it yourself.” Built from the Clapham estate where he was raised on, where poverty and knife crime were a fact of life, CHOZE’s vision has travelled far, with The Line of Best Fit, Huffington Post, DORK, Thread Radio on board after he was shortlisted for the Record Store Day’s #RSDUnsigned competition.
Authenticity was at the core of CHOZE’s creative decisions when creating D.I.Y, and his collaborations are a reflection of that and help to craft a sonic world that nods to his forebears as well as his peers. He started laying the foundations two years ago after West London producer Karl Gordon (Jessie J, All Saints) played a beat by producer Renzo. He says: “I lost the plot! I was begging him to send me that instrumental!” Within three days, himself, rapper and long-time collaborator Shai Sevin alongside the innovative producer Skolz, laid down firebrand grime track “D.I.Y”.
As well as being part of the producer collective Project X, Skolz has been creating music for over two decades. Having supported the likes of Wiley and Lethal B internationally, as well appearing on radio with Semtex, the creative chemistry between himself and CHOZE is tangible as two long-standing, respected figures who have watched and evolved with the UK rap scene. It felt natural that Skolz would be the record’s key producer.
CHOZE says: “In order for the work to sound ‘ahead of its time’ I knew Shai Sevin was the best man for the job. His creative musical ear and technical skills were perfect for giving the album ‘body’ which people could really feel and gravitate towards. With Skolz’s production and Shai’s mixing, I knew the process was going to be magical.”
“Badderz”, the album’s opening track, features Phil Sayor, famously known for being the voice of the London Underground, whose inclusion creates an unorthodox sound in the vein of Skepta’s Konnichiwa. The track “Wake Up” features an acapella from the legendary Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist Barrington Levy which CHOZEdistorts over a menacing beat, with Levy’s son, Corpz, lending a razor-sharp verse. The chaotic “Built 4 Dis” saw LionArt bring the track to the dancefloor, and the track “Drug Muzik” brought DJ Lynx and Skibadee, the godfather of jungle, to create an authentic sound.
But the most important collaboration of all on D.I.Y for CHOZE is his own mother. He says: “To close the album I knew my mother was going to record that blessing. She is the reason why I’m here today: she sacrificed so much to create better opportunities for me, my brother and my sister. She is my inspiration, so I felt it was only right to end the album with my hero.”