Northwest London’s Skrapz has had many identities across his lengthy career. The MC, known as Skrapsta in his grime days with SLK Crew, also goes by Big Boy Skrapz or The One and Only—also evidence of his high ranking within Harlesden collective Ice City Boyz. Fourth album Reflection, his first since his prison sentence, offers up a sharply altered view of the rapper (born Christopher Kyei)—as well as his presumed status. “I see a changed man,” Skrapz tells Apple Music on viewing his reflection today. “I’ve always been Big Boy Skrapz, but I still had to grow into a more mature version that you hear today.” Helmed by engineer/producer and long-time collaborator Chucks, Reflection fields Skrapz’s slow-cooked thoughts on freedom (“Rocking Chair”), family (“Need a Break”), and the power of perseverance (“Motivational Speech”). Fans of UK rap’s premier freestyle series will delight at a new installment (“Line of Fire Pt. 8”) and the album’s weighty producer list (Honeywoodsix, Quincy, Jony Beats, Rxwntree, Slic Vic). But Reflection’s golden moments land around solo Skrapz, finally opening up on the legal issues that have stalked his close-knit crew—formed during their school days—for years (“Rocking Chair”). A downcast feeling that suggests the end of an era for ICB pervades the 15 tracks, but a healthy, positive outlook remains the end goal. “Watching your kids grow without you around is so scary,” Skrapz says. “And it hurts as well because you realize you missed a big chunk of their life. But these things are out of my hands. Once it’s happened, it’s happened. You just have to get through it, reflect, and make sure it doesn’t happen again.” Here, Skrapz guides you across Reflection, track by track. “Intro” “At first, this beat [produced by Chucks] didn’t really do it for me. That’s just how I am, it didn’t connect with me, basically, so I parked it up. I returned to it a week or two later with a different mindset for it. I think I had just ripped something else. I asked my engineer, ‘What other beats are there?’ He played this one and then, yeah, this happened.” “Cuban Links” (with Nines & D-Block Europe) “This track started with just me laying down a 16. On the space after it, I could hear [DBE’s] Adz and LB on it. I knew this would be one of the biggest tracks on the album. And, usually, for the track that I feel will do the most damage, I’ll hit up Nines just for maximum impact.” “Slippery Slope” (with Tiggs Da Author & M Huncho) “I’m a big fan of all kinds of rap. In fact, I was going to call this ‘Huncho Flow’ because I felt like I was kind of flowing in [his] wave. This is me stepping out to cater for that kind of crowd. I needed at least one track on this album [where] you could do a little mosh pit to it. As I could hear M Huncho’s flow on this I just hit him up, and it flowed naturally from there.” “Slim Chance” “I wrote this to a completely different beat, also produced by Chucks. And I wrapped it up in a night, both verses and the hook. As soon as I finished writing, I messaged Chucks and told him to lock [the beat] away: ‘I’ve dealt with it.’ I’ve gone to sleep and woke up to a text from him with heartbreak emojis: he also sent the beat to [South London rapper] Slim. He’s ended up writing to it, recording it, and his project was ready. So I titled the track ‘Slim Chance,’ because I didn’t know whether I would get the beat or not. I didn’t end up getting the beat, but Chucks cooked up a completely new one here.” “Normal (Uncut)” “Quite a lot of these tracks had to be censored whilst I had my trial coming up. [My lawyers] didn’t want me saying too much crazy stuff, right? Now, I’m a free man and I can finally drop these uncut versions!” “Longevity” (with Skrapz, Potter Payper & Sekou) “I got to a certain point during this album process where I was just on fire. I was really enjoying the process of writing and I was just begging for beats. The hook was a problem for a little while as I didn’t know who should do it. Colin [Batsa, president of EGA, distributors of Skrapz’s music] ended up reaching out to [British singer-songwriter] Sekou, and it worked. He’s perfect for it.” “Need a Break” (with Bellah) “I used to hear Bellah’s song [‘Evil Eye’] on the radio. I’ve been a fan of hers since then. I reached out to her just to put things in motion, and we didn’t get to work until the next year. I prefer to work that way, really, reaching out direct, sometimes the labels might not let you in on some honest feedback!” “Marathon” “Usually, I’m very hands-on with the beatmaking process, and I feel like I’ve always possessed a good ear for the details. I’m a perfectionist and I usually have a full vision for the song. I won’t have anything sounding funny or out of place. For this one here, though, I’ve definitely got to give [producer Show N Prove] all the credit. I love when I don’t need to get too involved. Sometimes it clicks.” “I’m Yours” “This song’s about a special lady, who will probably know it’s about her when she hears it. There’s not many people that know I like peppermint teas in the morning—and other little things!” “Motivational Speech” (with George the Poet & Terrell the Artist) “This track is a presentation of my mindset: I’m not a quitter. There’s nothing that can make me give up on something that I’m trying to pursue. And I know that things don’t happen overnight, it takes hard work. Some people are lucky to get that overnight success, but I’ve never been that person, and I’m cool with that.” “Line of Fire Pt. 8” (with Trapstar Toxic, Streetz, Fatz, Cash Money & Storm Millian) “Of all [eight] versions to this track, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. They were all for that particular moment in time, so I have to say I like them all. I like that it doesn’t have to be the same lineup every time. As long as the ICB foundation is here, sometimes you do have to press the button without someone—like this one had to go ahead without [ICB member] J Styles on it.” “Rocking Chair” “Though I released this one in February [2024] with a video, I’ve always had it as an incomplete track that I would either finish myself, or, yeah, get someone on it. And I called up Nines. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear him here, because it’s such a personal song, there isn’t anybody else I could draw for except for Nines. We’ve known each other since our school days. I think we probably met on the bus. Even though we went to different schools, they were only about five minutes apart, so at the beginning of the day, or at the end of the day, we would all be on the bus, just catching a vibe. There definitely wasn’t a [formal] introduction, you don’t do that at that age! But I already knew of him, he came from a serious background.” “Check (Uncut)” “This one came to me kinda similar to ‘Normal (Uncut).’ I had to find a way to explain everything that I’m currently going through, and I tried to get it all down in those two tracks. It was like my pen just took control.” “Reflection” (with Tiggs Da Author) “I recorded this song with Tiggs in 2015, ages ago, on the exact same beat! The hook back then remixed 50 Cent’s [2003 single] ‘Many Men (Wish Death),’ but [sample] clearance issues were much more difficult for me to get past back then. I’ve had to update my verses, obviously, and the hook has switched up a bit, but I’m happy that we dug this one up out of the archives.” “Outro” “A really nice way to wrap up here. I wrote it as the outro, and it’s a great way to close. This might be my favorite album, I listen back from start to finish, all the time!”

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