There has never been a greater canvas for storytelling in the UK music scene than right now. Particularly, when it comes to a number of the UK’s rising stars: artists that are charmingly authentic, somewhat enigmatic, and unable to be anything but themselves. The type of artists who are intent on doing things their own way and intent on blazing a trail for inclusivity across the scene.
Nobody embodies this focus better than M Huncho. The elusive, masked vocalist who deals in insanely addictive melodic punchlines – often laid over futuristic trap beats – that touch on the realities of everyday life. M Huncho’s latest mixtape – Utopia – depicts his journey and his foundations of a ‘perfect world’ that picks up on all the harsh realities of life in the 21st century along the way. It’s not entirely about him, though. Throughout our chat, M Huncho describes how he wants his music to inspire the next generation and for it to give him the opportunity to ‘do things behind the scenes and bring through young talented artists and producers.’ It’s a selfless sentiment that shows that if you believe in yourself, ignore the distractions and perfect your craft than you can create your own lane in this world – and maybe even your own Utopia.
Let’s talk about your new mixtape – Utopia. How long did it take you to complete the project from start to finish? I heard you travelled through America to produce and record a few songs…
Utopia is a mixture of songs that I’ve made throughout my career which I have chosen to put together as a compilation because of the message and the vibe. I travelled through America for a few of them but not all of them…some of the big songs we made out there didn’t even make the cut.
Each song on the tape is enriched in its own story – stories that everyone can pick out something from and relate too – but what does Utopia mean to you? Do you believe there is such a thing as a perfect world?
There is such thing as a perfect world in my eyes. Changing the environment around you to make it suit your needs is a form of Utopia. I described my imperfect world in a perfect way. Which made it my perfect world.
The album artwork is one of the most original and finest covers I’ve seen in a long-time, what was the thought behind it?
I got an idea from an image that was sent to me by a friend of mine. The image was a very old school image, but I just thought let me bring it to life and add a bit more colour to it…more substance.
Your tracks have more depth than most. You talk about owning things that matter including emotions and journeys and not just cars or creps, which gives your music a special depth to it. Was that something you were conscious of throughout, especially in terms of the ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ tracks on the album too?
I have been conscious about these topics from before so its surprising that people catch onto it so late…even with the check in and check out, I thought of it as people checking into utopia and then checking out.
There’s no doubt that you’re popping hard right now but as a fan the most exciting thing surrounding M Huncho is it feels like this is just the start, that there’s so much more that we’re waiting to hear from you. What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ve got way more music than expected…I’m just going to keep working, when I come back from my first break since I started making music, I’m going to become a monster…and that’s when I’m going to go HAM.
Talk to us about the Bane track – someone who featured in Issue 1 and a friend of the magazine – how did that collab come about?
The collab came through my engineer Sean D who is close with Bane. He said Bane wanted to work with me and I just linked him in the studio and made it effortlessly. It’s one of my favourites on the Mixtape.
The rock bottom focus of the track is a pertinent one too. When did you personally hit rock bottom? How do you overcome those trials and tribulations?
I’ve hit rock bottom on many occasions, if not financially, then mentally, emotionally etc, and the way I got through that is just staying focused and knowing that in times of hardship all you are ever going to have is yourself, your family and god. That made me stronger.
How do you curate the people that your work on in the tape – when it comes to producers, artists etc – is it simple as both being on the same wave?
It’s more of the get together and vibe aspect of things…when creatives get into the studio it’s all about ideas and how we can better ourselves and most important of all, better each other. I make people fit in with the vibe.
In today’s world – social media driven, young people feeling the pressures of life, the political and social climate in the UK right now etc. – is it hard to stay focused? You’ve spoke before about how it’s just hard work and creating vibes, have you always had the power of mind not to be distracted by other overriding sounds or the temptations of life around you?
100%. I do not care about anything apart from my family, my friends and having residual income. Owning things that really matter.
On that same note, though, do you agree that it’s a special time in UK music? The length, breadth and success in the scene has been growing from strength to strength…
I feel like it’s a good time for the UK to step up and get into 5th gear, drill music is hitting the charts and not only that but the urban scene is getting more recognition, only a fool wouldn’t utilise that opportunity. Other artists need to realise that the harder all of us go the more light there is on all of us. Not just you as an individual.
You’ve only been rapping proper since 2017, which is an incredibly short timescale when you take a step back and think about it. What inspired you to take those first steps into the studio?
My friend took me to the studio and I just got to it. I found my sound, found my vibe, found my energy, and found the better version of myself. Musically I listen to quite a lot of American artists for e.g. Jigga, Ye (the old Yeezy), Nas, J Cole, Kendrick, Future and the ATL scene as a whole. Their work rate inspires me to keep it going.
Do you remember the first few bars that you were laying down then?
I do indeed…and I’ve come a long way from that point.
You’re also unique in the way that you’re singing but touching on topics closer to hip-hop, was the melodic vibe always the way for you?
Yeah I like melodies, I like creative a vibe…the energy I give off is different especially when it comes through melodies. It can appeal to everyone of any age.
What’s the goal for you? Is it all personal growth? Creating music with a real legacy?
Personal growth, maintaining with my family, leaving a legacy, doing things behind the scenes in the industry and bringing through young talented artists and producers.
I’ve heard you speak about the goal of making timeless music before, but what constitutes timeless music for you? Like, what records do you find yourself returning to time after time?
Records that relate to life directly. Any aspect of life, the ups or the downs and etc. I listen to Kanye West Ft. Rick Ross – Devil in A New Dress till this day…think about how old that song is…but it’s timeless. And I relate to it.
We understand the sentiment of the mask – the fact that you want to keep your life private and you don’t need to gain the extra from being a face of the music – but where do you get them made? They all bespoke to you? How often are you going to switch up the look of them?
The mask gives me a private life. It’s very bespoke…it’s made only for my face so I can’t tell you where it’s made as it’s a private person, but you might see a change up you’ll never know…
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