Life can move pretty fast. It wasn't long ago that Aitch was just a teenager in Manchester, England, in 2015, sending written verses back and forth to his friend on Snapchat, inspired by the 1999 comedy film Scary Movie. His confidence rose from there, and he started rhyming on beats in 2016. That early work is what turned him into one of the biggest names in the U.K.'s surging rap scene two years later, spurred by "Straight Rhymez 1," his 2018 stream-of-consciousness song on which he delivers bar after bar and switches between flows like a vet rather than the 18-year-old up-and-coming rapper he was at the time.
Aitch's voice paired with his affinity for punchlines and wittiness sent him off and running; he went on a tear in 2019, dropping "Taste (Make It Shake)" and featuring on Bugsey and Young T's "Strike A Pose," both of which combined have more than 140 million Spotify streams. He also dropped his second EP, AitcH20, that year (his first, On Your Marks, arrived in 2017), and in 2020, delivered Polaris (otherwise known as the North Star), an eight track offering that features "Rain," his wildly popular collab with U.K. rap star AJ Tracey and producer Tay Keith.
Everything is going right for Aitch, so he talked with XXL by phone about his journey so far for this week's edition of The Break.
Hometown: Manchester, England
I grew up listening to: "As far as rap goes, I grew up listening to a lot of 50 Cent and just bare American rap. I also love listening to other American artists like Wiz Khalifa and artists from the Detroit scene, like Sada Baby and Drego & Beno. As I got older, I started to really switch to U.K. rap."
My style’s been compared to: "I don’t really think my style has been compared to anyone, at least, not that I have heard as of yet. I like that I’m my own person in the end, and my sound’s original. Big up everyone though!"
I’m going to blow up because: "I don’t just do the same old, and my music’s fun. I want people to have fun listening to it. The growth in my career already has been crazy. It’s scary because it feels new still, but I just trust this is only the beginning for me."
What’s your most slept-on song, and why?: "My most slept-on song is 'Wait.' I dropped it last year as a single, and I really don’t know the reason why it never became a massive hit. I’m still pissed, haha!"
My standout records to date have been: "I would say my biggest records are 'Taste (Make It Shake)' and 'Rain' with AJ [Tracey] and Tay Keith."
My standout moments to date have been: "The biggest moment of my career so far, I think, has been selling out my tours in the U.K. and Europe. That was huge for me. I’m grateful for everything though."
Most people don’t know: "I once had a boxing match with a fly."
I’m going to be the next: "I’m gonna be the U.K.’s biggest superstar."
Follow Aitch on Instagram and SoundCloud.
"Straight Rhymez 1"
"Taste (Make It Shake)"
Aitch and AJ Tracey's "Rain" Featuring Tay Keith
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