“Making the music is the easy part. What separates us is the vibe,” M Huncho tells Apple Music. “It’s distinctive and you can feel that. If I want to do a project, I create a vibe. I make it about the vibe and I bring that to the project.” Working with Luton’s Nafe Smallz on 2018 single “Broken Homes” confirmed Huncho’s suspicions: This was a like-minded, concept-driven creative artist. “The chemistry just kept building,” says Smallz. “We both had that song on repeat, we were blasting the song before it even came out. It was a banger, it was authentic, and after, it’s all the fans were asking: ‘When are we gonna link up for a project?’” On “DNA”, the two meet the request in style, across a hazy dreamworld of melody-driven confessionals. “Twice” blends a house-of-mirrors game of vocals between the pair, rap alter-egos rise up on “Heroes”, whilst “PMW” expertly riffs on mixtape-era Lil Wayne for a bouncy anthem. “We’re trying to put on our city,” says North Londoner Huncho. “We’re trying to put on the country. And on top of that, we’re trying to put on our communities, which is the most important part of it all.” Here, the pair break down their stunning mixtape.
Da New Age M Huncho: “This was the very first song we made. As soon as we stepped into the studio in Barcelona—we’re chilling, cooling, having a smoke, talking, just a lot of discussions. It could be any topic. One minute you can be talking about injustices and the next minute you’re talking about the best weed you’ve smoked. So we were just vibing, talking, [UK producer] Sean Murdz played the beat, I went in there, dropped a verse, and Nafe was really, really feeling it. We didn’t really finish this until we came back to London and added more of our vibe to it and set the tone for the whole tape. The way me and Nafe come off the back of each other, it’s a science, a sort of chemistry.”
Heroes MH: “Cage Beats produced this one: He’s a really sick, young producer. We’ve got him involved in a lot of the beats on this project; mainly because I believe the younger generation, they deserve a chance and he kind of proved himself prior to that. I can’t f**k with you heavy unless you’ve proved yourself, nothing just comes out of the blue. We had fun making ‘Heroes’. And the way I came in on it, as well, I view myself in this industry, with the whole boss concept and all of this, I view myself as a superhero.” Nafe Smallz: “You are a superhero, fam. Huncho set it off, I remember he was dancing in the booth when we recorded this, and I jumped in and we went back to back off of that.”
5AM MH: “For this video we told [video director] Dalia [Dias] how we want to base it around the DNA concept we came up with at the start of the tape. The first song you can hear Nafe say, ‘We should call it “DNA”. Da New Age. You’re 23 chromosomes, I’m 23 chromosomes.’ And our chemistry is so good that it feels like we’re bonded by DNA. That’s where the name for the project came from. We showed Dalia our cover art, with us in cryogenic tanks and later we developed the concept further. We’re in the year 3000, they’re trying to clone us because our DNA is too wicked. So ‘‘5AM’ shows us going back in time, in our brains, revisiting the present day and age.”
Flooded MH: “I’m sure people have seen the clip on my Instagram where Nafe was just standing on the table. Yeah, that was ‘Flooded’. But let me tell you what happened before. I went downstairs in the studio and there was a pool table. I played pool for like an hour and a half, two hours or something and I came back up. I walked into the room and everyone’s just skanking, recording, having a blast. Nafe had done a hook for ‘Flooded’ and it was crazy. We have this friendly competition where we’ll try and spin each other on the track. Not in a malicious way or anything but in a way where we get a result. If I’m dropping a fire verse, Nafe is then thinking, ‘Yo, my man went HAM. I have to match it or go harder.’”
Changed MH: “This track is important to me because I feel like no matter how successful you are or how well you’re doing in your life, there’s always going to be s**t to deal with. A lot of people don’t talk about this, but mental health is a big thing for all of us. And being mentally stable and being in a good mental space sometimes is very hard because we do live in a very sensitive world. Talking about these subjects on a beat is like therapy for us.”
Twice MH: “This is a fun song, certainly more of a club vibe. I feel like me and Nafe were on the same page on this. There’s little things that we say in our lyrics that go back to things that are deeper. But like I said, incorporating deep lyrics into music that people can vibe and dance too is an art, still.”
Party MH: “I’ll use different styles on songs I feel like it will suit on. Like here with the way I fade out my vocals on the outro. I didn’t really make music before 2017. So the more I made music, the more knowledge I gained. The more I learned about instruments, the more I learned about plug-ins and all the complexity involved. I feel like that kind of drowsiness or that kind of cadence is associated with me as an artist. I like to incorporate it, whether if I’’m working with Nafe or another artist.”
Louis Vuitton/Lost Hope MH: “We made ‘Louis Vuitton’ separately to ‘Lost Hope’ but I can’t judge this track in two halves. I have to judge it as a whole song because the beat switch is just absolutely crazy. It started with [UK producer] Quincy coming into the studio, plugging in his laptop, playing the beat, and instantly I came on it. I say, ‘Bad vibes in the city, I’m posted, it’s gritty, I’m serving this nitty today’, because the UK is bad vibes. Not all the time, but especially this year, it’s been a lot of bad vibes in the country.”
PMW MH: “When Quincy made this beat, I looked at Nafe, and I was like, ‘Bro, don’t you think this sample sounds like [2007 Lil Wayne track] “Pussy Money Weed”?’ As soon as Nafe comes in and says the ‘pussy, money, weed’ line it gave me a flashback. I feel like Lil Wayne is someone that has influenced a whole new generation of artists, and I felt like it was only right to show some respect.”
Royalty MH: “This is about real situations in life. We’re speaking about subjects that stress us the f**k out. There’s moments where no matter how many people you’re surrounded by and how much love you get, you can still feel like you’re alone. You can have all the girls that you want, all the money and there will be moments where you feel alone. It’s kind of like when you don’t have your parents. You might have a big yard, but it can never be a home.”
Wrong Time MH: “This is one of the songs on here with so much meaning to it. I say, ‘I’m rollin’ with slime, in the streets to survive.’ I’m trying to say that all these things that we’re talking about is us trying to leave our past lives behind, which was more of the negative path rather than what we’re doing now. We’re inspiring the youth. We’’re inspiring people to make music and we’re showing people that you can really do this, man.”
Cold World (feat. Young Adz) MH: “I say, ‘They ask if I’m good and I say I’m alright/But deep in my soul, man, I know I ain’t fine’ because I know what it’s like for men. We find it very hard to speak about deeper issues or whatever we’re going through. You might feel strong enough to just go through it silently but sometimes it’s good to vent it out? I’ve got a mask on and I’m giving good vibes but inside I might be burning. On tracks like this I get those feelings out. Mainly, I vent to God. I feel like the hard times is where you should keep your faith, not the good times.”
Money Make You Change (feat. Yxng Bane) MH: “I feel Yxng Bane is cold, and the same with D-Block [Europe] too. I feel like there’s a level of artistry involved in the music that we make, because all these cadences and these melodies, they don’t just come out of nowhere. You can’t just step into the studio and think, ‘Let me slap on Autotune and just do this thing’, it’s not as easy as that.” NS: “I think I was in the studio that day in London waiting for Huncho, who was late that day, I got there early. I must’ve being going through some s**t. I can’t remember the exact situation but it just put me in that mind state. I had to explain that now man’s getting money, it’s not the same as before. Like I’m not on the block hustling, grinding, running around doing things I had to do before so I’m a different person. I’m developing more as a person. But it doesn’t mean that man’s changed up. Like a lot of people say, ‘Oh he got money and he changed.’ It’s not that kind of change is more of a change of our mindset. I feel like with the financial thing, you can reach a level and it’s like it can make or break you. You can turn into an idiot and start switching up.”


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