One of the North East’s most popular artists with a burgeoning international fanbase in Germany and America, Reali-T has had an exciting few years. Breaking through from underground rap act with cult-favourite collective New North East to establishing himself as a solo artist covering magazines, getting plenty of gig bookings and receiving regular radio play.
Talking to Lee Hawthorn, Ya Boy From Hackney reflects on his 2018, provides insight into the influences behind Life Bars…Fam and tells us about a text he received from a certain super-producer he has collaborated with.
How did you feel about your 2018, overall did it go well for you. How do you feel on reflection of last year?
I think it was mixed to be honest, I mean some people might look at it and think it was good but I think it was mixed. I think it’s the old thing where you release music and then, people that actually know you support you less, whereas the people that you don’t know support you more. I guess that just comes with the territory.
I feel like after headlining the o2 Academy, you can’t really say that it was mixed. It had to have been a good year…
Yeah, yeah it was good but then I think maybe I’m just paranoid but I feel like when you have these little successes, you start to see peoples true colours. Like, people don’t support you as much. It happened with my first album as well. Like people that I thought, you know, had my back from the beginning. Then, attitudes started to change a bit. That’s actually kind of what I touch on in, you know, the Life Bars…Fam mixtape and stuff cos I said lets just release it and leave that in 2018 with all the other rubbish.
You mentioned the mixtape there and obviously you released that at the end of the year, was it a deliberate thing? Like you wanted to end the year with some music?
Yeah. I mean, I had all those tracks then I thought you know what, I don’t want to go into 2019 with this like, I don’t know, is like…purge, the right word? I don’t know. I just wanted to get it off my chest then leave that. I don’t want to go forward. What I noticed yeah, I didn’t do this on purpose, but when I listened to my own tracks, which I do [laughs], the Life Bars…Fam mixtape was kind of, for me, depressing. I mean, not Lil Peep depressing, where I’m cutting, slitting my wrists and stuff like that, you know like, a lot of what I’m saying is, like I don’t understand a lot of the way people’s attitudes have changed towards me. Like, I thought you loved me. You know what I mean, like? Its different things like that where I feel like people have treated me differently and I can’t quite place my finger on it. Or maybe I’m just paranoid. You know how rappers be.
I did see something today, somebody tweeted literally maybes an hour or so ago that says artists are the most sensitive people in the world and it’s true isn’t it.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So I might just be sensitive. I’m a mummy’s boy, so. I’m my mothers favourite rapper and that so, it might be…Very sensitive. Could be that but… all you have to do is listen to it and you can judge for yourself innit.
So you mentioned there you kind of wanted to purge before the new year. So, new year, new you.
Yeah [laughs] basically.
What are the plans going forward, for this year, then?
I don’t want to say, well I want to release the follow up to Stay Tuned. And this one is going to be like, you know, proper, like. I wanna do this one big not just release it on Audiomack and all that stuff.
I didn’t even know people released things on Audiomack until you did it, so…
Well, you know, huh, pioneer! [Laughs] but like, I wanna proper release it. Like, get my name proper out there. Hopefully, by God’s grace. I’ve got other plans but like I don’t want to say too much innit, gotta keep it on the low. Especially if it flops, people will be looking at you like, ‘what the hell?’, you said you were going to do all this and this and you’re not doing anything. I’ll give you a slight, slight hint of something yeah…Naughty40 texted me literally yesterday. And that’s all I’m saying.
Hmm. I like it when retirements are short lived. That’s a proper rapper retirement that [Laughs].
[Laughs] He said he’s still going to produce. That what he said but you know, we’ll see.
We’ll see, we’ll see.
I think he’s one of the top talents in the North East. I mean, not just for himself. I think more for other artists to be honest. I mean, he’s produced on some of the best projects in North East history, I would say.
I would agree.
If they wanna argue, they can argue with themselves but that’s what I think.
Don’t @ me. Don’t @ T? But you have just been announced for a couple of gigs that are coming up. The first one is Sunderland on the 25th, is it? In Independent.
Yeah. Thats a good one because its with the old NNE guys. So if people are thinking there’s bad blood there and stuff…there isn’t really. I mean, you know, you can say what you want, by looking at Facebook and stuff like that but we’re all bros. Just sometimes, bros can’t work together.
Yeah, brothers fight, don’t they. It’s what happens. Family’s fight.
It’s what happens. I’m sure we wish each other all the best but like…We’ll kill the show. That’s a known fact. We always have. Yeah, so I’m looking forward to that one, definitely. I was a late addition. I had to cancel a few shifts, at the Pharmacy…but you know, I’m there.