POUNDZ - SMOOTH CRIMINAL INTERVIEW
POUNDZ is a UK artist that’s blowing up on the scene right now. His video 'Opp Thot' has over 8 million views on YouTube and over 13 million streams on Spotify and made the UK Top 40! Now the young rising star is back with his Michael Jackson inspired song ‘Smooth Criminal’, but with a drill twist! NME and Clash Magazine have marked him down as one to watch for 2020, and we will be watching closely no doubt!
The visuals for the latest video dropped last night on GRM Daily and already has smashed over 300k views! Not to mention more than 25 million YouTube views on killer tracks including ‘Who’s Laughing’, ‘Mourinho’ and ‘SkengBop’.
This kid is truly the real deal and a viral sensation for good reason. His flow on the beat is insane and he’s different to any other drill artist out there right now. POUNDZ brings a different flavor to drill, not afraid to experiment with his creative side, bringing comedic elements to his videos with props as well as catchy dances to buss down in the club, and of course a banging sound to vibe to. A newcomer in the game but already doing veteran bits in the scene and it's only the beginning for this young talent.
Homegrown out of Thornton Heath, South London, (big up the endz), POUNDZ is definitely the man of the moment and we caught up with him at the POUNDZ x KING shoot to find a little bit more about the artist.
Smooth Criminal Single Cover
First of all, what kind of music were you exposed to growing up?
"You know what Imma just be real, you see the music playing right now (90s Hip Hop & RnB plays in the background), this and Ja Rule, Jay Z, Aaliyah, Beyonce, Drake....these are the mains ones."
We spoke earlier on the shoot on how your recent success in music has opened more doors for you, i.e. this collab with KING Apparel. Do you have aspirations of moving into other areas such as acting, and if so, what type roles could you see yourself in?
"Yeh, of course. I would love to get involved in all these areas. This is all new to me but I'm trying to take the right opportunities brought my way, and so far I'm enjoying it. The roles I could see myself in....you know those gangster Netflix Movies and shows. 50 cent has been a big inspiration in my life, his story is something I can relate to and aspire to be like, Rapper, Actor and businessman - he patterned up the game, POWER is my show!"
Check out Poundz new smash hit video "Smooth Criminal"
You like to create your own dances and introduce a comedic element to your music videos, it's clear you're style is different than most drill artists out there. How do you come up with your creative concepts for your videos, what's your process?
"It has to be organic, the dances come about because when I write the lyrics and i'm jamming to it, that's just me vibing to it, then i'll find a little weird move and I think you know what, I'm gonna be myself and put it in the video. Then the content and creative ideas for the videos itself comes from a picture I paint in my head as I write my lyrics, I try to create a story from my words and transfer it into real life. What you see in the videos is just me being me, having fun and trying to show who I am, its all natural and doesn't have to be so fictional."
You have done some acting in your music videos already, you like to paint a story and in some scenes, you wear a clown mask, ('Who's Laughing', 'Lions Den', 'The End'), why?
"It's to shoot the theme of what I want the video to be about, the clown is a persona, an alter ego. You know how you have POUNDZ, this is Skengman POUNDZ when the mask comes on. It helps build the character, he's supposed to be intimidating, not a guy to be messed with but at the same time it's bringing comedy and humour to the video. He's a gangster but he's unpredictable, you don't know what to expect."
POUNDZ in his hit music videos 'Lions Den' & 'The End'
On Tik Tok, they're going crazy doing their own dances to your music, so for you when you created Opp Thot, did you think you'd receive this kind of reception or are you shocked at how its all turned out?
"Don't get me wrong, I always believed in the song and always felt it was gonna be a banger but I didn't really anticipate the numbers and how far it was really gonna go, I just knew it would do well. But 8 million views on YouTube, 13 Million streams on Spotify, it's just crazy how its all happened, and honestly it makes me go harder for the next single."
It's obvious you have a unique gift in your lyrical flow. How did you learn that ability, did it take time to master that style or did you pick it up straight away?
"You know what, a lot of great things happen by accident, believe it or not. Even the hook for Opp Thot, was originally the opening for verse 1 on the track, but as I was going down writing line by line, I was thinking nah this is wavey! So I kept that as the hook and then the song just pieced together. The flow came about just from vibing, when you're in your element, you do awkward things and the awkward things are the creative things."
POUNDZ performing at Capital Xtra Homegrown (top left), Performance on stage at Parklike Festival (top right), POUNDZ cover shoot (bottom right), Opp Thot Single Cover (bottom right).
So moving away from music for a second, why did you want to collab with KING?
" I liked their look, I feel like what they put out relates to me and I can see myself in these clothes, it's my style".
Have you always been a fan of fashion?
Of course, I think everyone wants to look good, looking good makes you feel good.
POUNDZ in the new Royal Injection Range by KING Apparel
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
"Good question, I see myself doing crazy global features. I would love to work with someone like Jhene Aiko, she is at the very top of my list in terms of collaborations. It's a long way away but that's where I hope to be. She's very different and unique. I see myself hitting all the big festivals, just conquering everything that the game can offer."
So breaking America would be the aim, do you think your music would vibe with the listeners across the pond?
"Breaking America would be mad cool, and I think UK Drill is growing over there. You see the reaction videos on YouTube and i'm like raah, they feeling my music, they feeling drill. It's motivating and inspires me to continue. Some UK artists have gone over there and done well so it's very possible and I want to emulate that and more".
UK Takeover: Stormy headlining Glastonbury (top left), Dave winner Mercury Prize Awards (top right), Krept and Konan (bottom left), Dizze Rascal (bottom right) and newcomer POUNDZ in KING Tennyson Hoodie (centre)
With the UK grime/rap artists such as Stormzy, Krept and Konan, Dave and Dizzie Rascal all making big moves in the US, although POUNDZ may be from a different genre of UK Drill, the ambition and goal to do the same has not been diminished, and the desire to follow in their footsteps is strong. There's no obstacle too high or hard for this young one. I love the enthusiasm and positive outlook and have no doubt he will reach the heights he believes.
Keep an eye on this kid cos he's ready to blowwww!
Words by Ali Walji
Instagram - aliwalji17