Ones To Watch #Croydon is a series created to showcase all the up and coming talents throughout the borough!
We interviewed Croydon legend Tubby Boy to talk about his 'Confession Series' and his creative process. If you don’t already know about the big man himself, where have you been?!
SDS: How have you been and how has lockdown been treating you?
Tubby Boy: To be completely honest with the whole COVID situation, I think it's definitely a blessing and a curse. Of course I don't mean to sound selfish in any way, shape or form, it's been horrendous for those that have been affected by it. However, for me, it has given me a chance and an opportunity to really lock in and really find my truth man in being an artist. The amount I've been able to accumulate creatively within the four months, not being in the office has been absolutely incredible and a definite blessing. I've really been able to fine tune my art, and be able to put something together beyond my expectations in such a short period of time.
It also gave me the experience of really feeling like a full time artist, I've always kept it 100 man! The goal is to simply just be able to do this full time and really not work to live but live to work, you know.
SDS: For those that might not know about you, who is Tubby Boy and whereabouts are you from?
Tubby Boy: Born in Croydon, Mayday Hospital. Jamaican heritage, grew up in Norbury, Thornton Heath, then to Purley, West Croydon, East Croydon and South Croydon. I've lived all over Croydon, went to school in Croydon so yeah, born and bred! Tubby boys the name, people get a bit confused sometimes because of the "Boy" but the boy is there because I've always believed that I want to have the imagination and the freedom as a child, you know as we do as we're kids. We have an unapologetic freedom about us. Children don't lie, you get what you're given - so to speak, with children. So I really wanted to hold on to that imaginative side and creative side of things about myself. "Tubby", I was born a fat kid and it's been a nickname growing up my whole life. I love food, I love to eat and I've always been kind of a "tubby, loving, happy" guy fam! Hahaha. So, I just kept the nickname that my family and my friends have always called me since I was a kid man. Me, myself I'm just a free spirited individual, man. Someone that believes in freedom of self, being true to who you are and staying true to what you believe in.
SDS: How long have you been rapping for
Tubby Boy: One Nation '96 was the first time I ever heard anybody spit properly and I was mesmerised. That was a jungle tape with a DJ called Jumpin Jack Frost and an MC, legendary MC Skibadee. I just listened to that tape religiously, my brother bought it back from school, then I would go to school and just spit Skibadee's bars. When I used to get the reaction, I'd just practice and practice and ever since then, I've been rapping man! It wasn't until my 17th birthday that I truly tried to dedicate myself to the craft, I've really started to take it as far as I possibly can and creatively. I'm 30 now, so yeah it's been a long road man but when you're completely and utterly independent and try to, you know, promote righteousness first, it's going to be a lonely road. You got to believe in yourself and believe in music and keep it gwarnin you get me!
SDS: How would you describe the music you create and what's your creative process?
Tubby Boy: Sound wise, I've found this difficult to answer in the past because I grew up in a household with such an eclectic and diverse multitude of music. I think I carry a lot of inspiration and respect for so many different sounds, so I always try to incorporate that somewhat or some way in what I create artistically. I would definitely say my sound is diverse but most importantly, no matter what I talk about it always and has to have an underlined positive message or a message that will leave you thinking and pondering about situations in your life, or that will fire an inspiration or Spark into inspiration somewhat somehow. The idea is to almost create a sound where you don't have to listen too hard, but you develop, understand the message and hopefully inspires you a little bit more. It's trying to trigger inspiration, trying to trigger an idea, trying to move people towards a dream and it doesn't necessarily mean just music, it means if you feel a way, hopefully I can do something to help you connect.
Don't get me wrong! It sounds super deep what I'm saying, but I love me a gyal tune, you know, I'm always putting those out there because you know, girls, females, women and that lifestyle there is part of my life as well - you know I'm saying! hahah. My songs are not all deep. There are party songs and I always talk about having fun, even with the songs about women you know that have sexual innuendos and stuff, its always very respectful and very fun. At the same time, I'm never going to be a person to come across or say anything that could be seen as degrading. You got to uplift everybody; men, children and of course women, by all means.
SDS: Talk us through your track 'CS3'
Tubby Boy: CS3 is part of a compilation or a part of a series me and a friend of mine called Carlos Slim have put together. It literally stands for the Confession Sessions. The CS series is truly just getting things off my chest as truthfully as I can. In essence, telling my story quite unapologetically, so people can kind of understand who I am, what I feel, how I mean and what my aim is so to speak. Also as well, trying to flex some lyrical muscles at the same time for people just to understand that I really do rap, you know. Some people can have the misconception that I'm super fun all the time but I always wanted to solidify the fact that I really do like to spend time writing music and I really do care about it. That's what confession sessions are about.
CS3 is really just telling a story of myself, growing up in a household of 12 family members in a three bed house and what we had to do to really survive, stay focused and deal with the stereotypes that we are put on the umbrella of in this day and age - through it all, I've still got a smile and we've still got new forward.
There is more to come in this series and then the whole compilation will be out as a somewhat project or a playlist in the very near future; we've a couple more to go. Then of course we roll out some of the music videos from the last project 'Elevation' and then we'll start releasing the new stuff off the next EP that's about to come out as well, so trying to work as much and as hard as possible!
SDS: If you can have a secret identity, what would it be and why?
Tubby Boy: I would like to be Professor X from the X-Men because of the power of mind! To be able to telepathically see the mindset of the masses, to understand the way people think, why they think and hopefully, be able to manipulate it in the right way. Also, just to experience things and not actually need to experience it. For example, I would have loved to have seen Biggie record the 'Ready to Die' album or Dr Dre' 'The Chronic' album. I would love to be able to witness that without anybody knowing like just for my personal information and experience that I'd be able to gain for myself - haha sounds mad selfish but, to be able to see something like that would be monumental. To relive time, to understand what's coming. To be able to freeze time and do as I please.. that sounds mental! Also have the best cuss' ever when your bredrins cuss you init cos you already know what he's going to say!
SDS: What advice would you give your younger self about pursuing a career in music?
Tubby Boy: First of all, I'd tell myself 100%, no matter, circumstances don't ever feel like you've got to be somebody that you're not. Stay true to being you, only focus on yourself. Unapologetically dedicate your time to something that you believe in and take heed man, just go for it. I would also tell myself that it's going to be a lonely road, you will have to sacrifice a lot but you must be dedicated and invest in yourself. Don't waste your money on material things and be very harsh on yourself about the people you want surrounding you consistently. Make sure they have the same mindset, same work ethic and only want the best for you, they're going to be the first to encourage not discourage. We live in an era where, you know, you tell an idea to a friend and the first thing they say is all the problems that could potentially happen, not all the positives that could potentially happen. Those are the people that you don't want around you man, you want to be consistently uplifted you've got to make sure that they are honest but you want to be consistently pushed to be your absolute and utter best. I think throughout all of it, if you're a believer man, God first bruv. But if you don't believe in that, believe in yourself.
SDS: What's next for you, and what should we be expecting to see from you?
Tubby Boy: I think what's next is just more music, more content, more collaborations, plenty of music videos and loads of projects as well that I've been working on. Expectations for myself and what's next just personally, is just to do music full time bruv - do what I love full time. That's the goal! It's never really been stifled within the last few years since I found myself and what I really want. I just want to make music and just live to be happy man. I think happiness is so underwhelming to the world right now and what people don't understand is that happiness is what makes the world move forward. You know, I'm super happy just being able to create music, create videos and just to really be creative and being able to provide for my family at the same time. Oh my days, that is the dream! So the goal is to be able to make that one Instagram post one day and say 'Yeah man, this is what we do full time. Done it!'
SDS: Can you sum up Croydon in three words?
Tubby Boy: Culture, diverse and misunderstood.