In the weeks before dropping his second EP, Harrison Armstrong underlined his place in UK rap’s top tier with dazzling features on tracks by Bugzy Malone and Young T & Bugsey, while also standing shoulder to shoulder with Stormzy on the remix of Ed Sheeran’s “Take Me Back to London”. Not that the 19-year-old was fazed by picking up the mic in such company. “I didn’t feel like I had to prove myself,” he tells Apple Music. “The freestyles I do prove the rap skills. I was 15, 16 when I started writing bars on Snapchat, just taking the mick out of my friends and slagging each other off. Then my man was like, ‘You’re actually sick at it, how are you rhyming like that?’ It’s weird: I didn’t have any intentions to be a mad rapper, I just started messing around and happened to be good at it.” On AitcH2O, he contemplates the female form on “Taste (Make It Shake)”, as well as success (“Aeroplane Mode”) and future plans (“What's Next”), with impressive agility and a playfulness that occasionally leaves him wondering if he’s crossed a line. “Sometimes I listen back to myself and think, ‘Oh, should I have said that?’ But it’s just what comes into my head. My mum doesn’t phone me and tell me off. Well, my nana does when she sees me, but it is what it is. People know that I don’t mean anything in a bad way.” Here, he takes us through the EP, track by track.
“Intro” “I was in the studio and planning on doing a freestyle. I wrote a verse and left it at that. I spat the freestyle for MTV one time and it got a good reception so I went back and finished it off. When it was time to do the EP, I knew that was the right one to put first.”
“What’s Next” “This one is definitely for the shows, 100%. It’s going to go off when I perform it. I love live shows; they give me so much energy. I’ve had gigs where people throw bras—people go crazy in the crowds! We were in the studio making a rap thing with a slow vibe and I wanted to switch it up. I said, ‘Nah, fuck that. Make something jumpy, make something you can go mad to.’ I can’t wait to perform it.”
“Already” (feat. Tyreezy) “This tune was produced by Two4Kay, another guy from Manchester. Tyreezy had just shouted me saying, ‘Let’s go to the studio.’ I was whipping my notes out and writing bars on my phone, but Tyreezy doesn’t write, he just does the melody in his head and then jumps on the mic and records, it’s sick. I’d done my first verse, he’d done his hook and verse, then we left it at that. I thought, great, a banger. Then I thought, ‘Nah, this tune’s too sick,’ so I put another verse on it and he rated it. So, big up Tyreezy, man.”
“2 G’s” “It always seemed like bare people around me knew what they wanted to do already—going to college to become this or that, or some people were happy to settle for a normal job. I didn’t want to do that. But the problem was, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I went to college, I tried that out and didn’t like it. I got a job, I tried that out and I didn’t like it. Then I thought, what do I actually want to do? I was spitting bars and I knew I was going to blow up but I didn’t know it would happen this fast. My Instagram has gone mad: the views I’m getting, the streams I’m getting. Everything’s escalating 10 times more than I expected, 10 times faster than I expected.”
“Aeroplane Mode” “‘I’ve not changed, I’ve grown.’ That lyric is about hearing people when you start doing things or you’re not around as much anymore. People say, ‘Oh, you’ve changed, you’re not trying to see me no more.’ It’s not that I’ve changed, I’m just not trying to do the same thing I was last year. If you’re trying to do the same thing as last year, then say no more, you can do it on your own. Every decision I’ve made has been the right one, and as long as I stay true to myself and I stick to my gut then everything will be calm.”
“Buss Down” (feat. ZieZie) “Definitely one of my favourite tunes. I was in the studio with Mojam and they were showing me different beats. Then my manager got hold of ZieZie and he jumped on it straight away. He came in the booth, started messing about, making melodies, and did a hook and a verse before I’d even written my first verse. It came about naturally and ended up being one of the sickest ones on the EP, in my opinion.”
“Weekday” (feat. Mostack & Steel Banglez) “Mostack messaged me on Instagram saying that he rated my stuff. Me, him and Steel Banglez linked up. Banglez made the beat, we got it cracking. I can imagine everyone singing it word for word because it’s not a million words in one verse. It’s a little calm one. Mo’s a funny man. When we were in the studio, he’s mumbling melodies and trying to put words on. Then he goes in the booth, records something, and it comes out sick. The lyric ‘You say men are trash, but I think girls are too’—I’m going to get mad hate for that one. You hear girls saying, ‘Men are trash.’ But then there are times I’ve been in a club and I’ve seen plenty of girlfriends messing around with other people, trying to flirt and whatnot. From what I’m seeing, the other sex is just as bad in certain situations. Everyone’s just a person at the end of the day. It’s not like men are trash or girls are trash. People are just trash.”
“Taste (Make It Shake)” “I put this track out first because I thought it was just going to be like a little warm-up, a little taste. It ended up being something 10 million times more than planned. I’m proud—it's a vibe, and everyone loves a big bum. I wanted everyone to dance and bop their head—if the girls feel like shaking their big bum, then they can do that, too.”


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