The word polyglot – meaning someone who speaks three or more languages – is an accurate description of Backroad Gee (he speaks four) as well as an onomatopoeia for the way he raps. His bars and rowdy choruses bunch rounded pops and guttural rumbles around sharp ticks and clacks. He switches deftly from burly street boasts into tongue rattling sound effects, and back to a throaty croon that wouldn’t sound out of place in a pulpit.
‘Party Popper’, Backroad’s breakout hit that arrived on the very first day of 2020, is as good an example of this striking approach as you’ll find. After a surging couple of years, UK rap fans had begun to fear a stale period of recycled flows and identikit beats. In a shade over three minutes, Backroad put those fears to rest. The way the track’s official video bounced around social media in the weeks after its release was a testament to its startling appeal.
But the nature of a viral hit is that everyone will be paying a lot more attention to what you do next. They’ll have high expectations. And there’ll be plenty of people willing you to fail too. Backroad is not just prepared to defy these expectations, but absolutely intent on surpassing them.