We caught up with Mugun, part of the UK’s new wave of grime artists, to talk music, fashion and influences. Mugun is one to pay attention to. His delivery forces your undivided attention while his tracks toe the line between commercially palatable and boundary-pushing. The young, Coventry-based rapper has already been nominated for a GRM Daily award and won ‘Best Urban Act’ at the Unsigned Music Awards. Watch out for his new music this year and read on to discover more about the man himself…
You’ve just dropped your latest track, Enter Space, how are you feeling about it?
I hope it does what it’s supposed to do, but I’m sure it’ll speak for itself. I’m hoping that it’ll be my first proper commercial attempt, but trying to keep it energetic and Grimey – I was trying to find the right sound which turned into a more Garage sound. Pressure was a lot more chilled and directed toward the more Indie audience, whereas this track is for everyone.
You’re part of a new wave of Grime artists emerging in the UK, how did you get into Grime?
I’m the youngest of six, and it was my oldest brother’s music we used to listen to in his Honda Civic. One of the first Grime tapes I heard had Scorcher, JME, Skepta [on it] from way back when they were recording in their bedrooms. When I was listening to music back then it was Grime that hyped me.
Wherever I go I have headphones, I’ve always got music in my ears. When I hear a song I see a movie, I’m always living in the song I’m listening to. From that, it’s always been Grime, from primary school to secondary school.
How would you describe your sound?
I’m not sure I’ve found it yet, I’m not sure if my sound is Grime. When I was 14 or 15 I found old school Rap and that’s how I ended up merging Rap flows with Grime flows. Right now I’m a Jazz fiend and that’s what I’m into. I feel like my sound is undefined. If somebody hires me for a feature, I want them to know that they are going to get a perfect feature.
I’m trying to be a bit more like Kendrick Lamar, you ask Kendrick for a package and you get the whole package. He sings and raps, and that’s all him.
What is Grime to you and what are your influences?
Grime is music, and music is everything to me. I don’t miss anything, I listen to new releases, watch any music videos, I listen to everything.
Have you come across any challenges being a Grime artist ‘from’ Coventry?
Sometimes, but I’m quite reserved so I sometimes see it as bonus. I get to keep myself to myself because I’m from Coventry and no one wants to get to know me, but as soon as they hear a vocal that all changes. If they know Mugun already people will say ‘hey’ but if they don’t and they hear a vocal then that changes.
Which artists do you admire, both in and outside of Grime?
Grime-wise, Skepta is a pioneer. For the kind of guys that dress like us, the ones that really don’t care, he’s given us this doorway because he started dressing crazy and went off the rails. We get it, I totally get Skepta before the fashion. He opened the door for us for guys doing our kind of music.
Outside of Grime, I’m really into an old school classic that has followed from when I was young, Electric Relaxation by A Tribe Called Quest. But the album for life is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, and Baduizm by Erykah Badu, these kind of got me through school.
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with?
It’s quite a few to be honest, and would usually be people I always listen to, but I’ve been expanding what I listen to try and see where music is going. I’d love to do a live set with Erykah Badu because I’ve seen how she controls her band and it’s amazing. I’d want to do a song with Daniel Ceasar; I couldn’t even think of a better song right now than Get You.
I’d love to collab with someone like A$AP ROCKY, simply because of how much he’s changed the game. The first song I saw of his was Peso while I was in Jamaica and I Skyped my friend and was like “who the hell is this” and was hyped.
For the love of music itself, the one artist that I’d love to work with is A2. For the ‘lo fi’ stuff that I’m a fiend for, he makes the dream.
What can we expect from your next project?
A lot of love, there’s a lot of love in there. It’s going to be really edgy, sort of the on the vintage side of life. But generally there’s going to be a lot of love in it.
How would you describe your style?
Care-free. I’ve been shopping for so long that I should be able to put on what I want and be OK in my own head. I used to be a bit of a ‘hypebeast’ and needed to watch drops. Then I got into vintage clothing, but now I just wear whatever I want.
Has Dr. Martens been a part of your style, if not do you see it having a part in the future?
I’ve always wanted them to be. My style was a bit crazy when I was younger and I had to wear certain shoes because of where I was from. But as soon as I hit 16, I always thought now I can get a pair of Doc’s. I’ve always loved the classic boots, with some denim, I love that.
What makes you DIFFERENT?
I missed a lot of friendships when I moved back and forth to Jamaica, that’s where my family is; I wasn’t a great kid. I feel because of that I’d say I’m different because I’m not influenced by a lot of the music in the UK, I feel like there’s more of an open world out there and for us, we can go anywhere.
Mugun wears the 1460 Orleans boot. Shop now on our US site.