BBC Radio 1Xtra StageSaturdayTBA
One day in 2020, a fairly small Toronto-based account named ‘RnB Radar’ posted a clip from a music video of a young up and coming artist with his friends in his local neighbourhood – something that wouldn’t be out of place in a normal rap video. What struck viewers however, was the soft, melodic tones of the singer – rarely seen in UK R&B, which is often presented in contrast to rap culture of the UK. Thus, this artist, Jordan __, more commonly known as Nippa – had birthed a new sound, difficult to categorise commonly referred to as ‘hood R&B’. R&B in sound and more rap-adjacent in content matter, Nippa’s sound uniquely blends his influences and environment in a way that to him, reflects him being “ a guy from ends who makes music about what he knows”, but to others is impossible to box in.
Looking back at his upbringing, it was inevitable that Nippa would incorporate melody into his sound, and it was this use of melody that would differentiate him from his peers. Growing up with his mother and grandmother in Tottenham, North London, there was a healthy blend of contemporary R&B from the likes of Mary J Blige and Jaheim, Motown heavyweights like Diana Ross, The Temptation, and Reggae stalwarts Sizzla and Buju Banton. Outside the home, he had local grime legends to listen and look up to, “I grew up listening to grime and rap with my friends, and being from Tottenham we saw how Skepta and BBK went from literally chilling by the cafe in Meridian to being global superstars – all by being themselves”.