AJ Tracey

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AJ Tracey
AJ Tracey performing in 2019
AJ Tracey performing in 2019
Background information
Birth nameChé Wolton Grant[1]
Also known as
  • AJT
  • GTraceO
  • Looney
  • Loonz
  • AJ
Born (1994-03-04) 4 March 1994 (age 28)
Brixton, London, England[2]
OriginLadbroke Grove, London, England
Genres
Occupations
  • Rapper
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • dancer
  • record producer
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2009–present
LabelsIndependent[4]
Websiteajtracey.co.uk

Ché Wolton Grant (born 4 March 1994), known professionally as AJ Tracey, is a British rapper, singer, songwriter and record producer.[5] He is from Ladbroke Grove, West London.[6] Tracey rose to popularity in 2016 and was listed by The Guardian in a list of "best new acts to catch at festivals in 2016".[7]

Tracey's first mainstream EP, Secure the Bag! (2017) entered the UK Albums Chart at number thirteen. In 2018, Tracey released the single "Butterflies" featuring British rapper Not3s which served as his commercial breakthrough, peaking in the top 20 on the UK Singles Chart. His self-titled debut album, which was released in 2019 by Warner Records, received critical acclaim and peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. It featured his highest-charting single as a solo artist, "Ladbroke Grove", which peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and was certified platinum by the BPI.

Early life[edit]

Grant was born in Brixton and raised in Ladbroke Grove, West London.[2] Grant's father, of Afro-Trinidadian origin, is a former rapper,[8] and his Welsh mother is a former jungle DJ.[9] He was named by his mother after the revolutionary Che Guevara.[8]

He has been rapping since the age of six.[2] He was educated locally at Middle Row Primary school and went on to attend Holland Park School. He dropped out of a criminology course at London Metropolitan University to pursue his music career.[10] He is an avid supporter of Tottenham Hotspur.[11]

Career[edit]

2011–16: Emergence and EPs[edit]

Under the stage names Looney and Loonz, Tracey's music can be found online dating back to June 2011. An early SoundCloud account, Looney Tell 'Em, contains eleven tracks, each with free downloads enabled. These include four songs from the scrapped grime EP The Dungeon (featuring non-exclusive beats from Spooky and Rude Kid) and two songs from Didn't Make the Cut, originally slated for release on the scrapped hip hop mixtape Fuck a Fairytale.[12] His debut mixtape, Didn't Make the Cut, was released 13 September 2012,[13][non-primary source needed] and comprises 21 UK rap and grime songs and freestyles which, in his own words, are "the tracks that didn't make it onto my actual mixtape". The project was initially to be titled Scirocco Musik and its artwork still reflects this title. In August 2013, his collective, My Team Paid, announced that they were to release a joint mixtape entitled My Team Paid.[14] One single, "Clouded Skies", emerged, but the project was ultimately scrapped. Tracey's second mixtape, No More Looney, was released through DatPiff on 30 August 2014. The project includes thirty-three tracks, many of which feature fellow My Team Paid members Big Zuu, Jay Amo, Wax and Sketch.[15]

Tracey first gained attention through appearances on pirate radio stations and the release of his debut EP The Front in mid-2015.[16][17] In December 2015, Tracey released his second EP Alex Moran, which featured acclaimed tracks including "Spirit Bomb" and "Naila".[7][18][19][20] BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Sian Anderson also played "Swerve and Skid" heavily on her show during 2015, which was the first song of his that was on commercial radio.[8] During this period, Tracey also recorded (but did not release) a trap EP entitled Rain.[21][22] In 2016, Tracey – a Tottenham Hotspur fan – appeared in promotional material for BT Sport's coverage of the Premier League.[23] He also collaborated with Dave over a remix of Ruff Sqwad's Pied Piper to create a well received track entitled "Thiago Silva".[24][25]

2017–2020: Secure the Bag! and self-titled album[edit]

Tracey performing in 2019

In October 2017, Tracey released his fifth EP, Secure the Bag!.[26] He also began producing records that year.[citation needed] He made his production debut on "LA4AWEEK", co-produced by Nyge and released in April 2017, and later produced label-mate Big Zuu's "Tell Man Twice", released in August 2017.

In early 2018, AJ Tracey modelled for the OVO clothing line in 2018.[27] In May 2018, Tracey released the single "Butterflies" featuring Not3s. The song served as AJ Tracey's commercial breakthrough, peaking at number 19 on the UK Singles Chart. The single was followed up with "Lo(v/s)er", which peaked at number 38. Tracey also featured on Craig David's album "The Time is now" collaborating on the track "Somebody like me". In early July 2019 the Swedish rapper Z.E [sv] released his second album, Mer än rap ("more than rap"). Tracey was featured on the title track "More Than Rap".

On 21 November 2018, Tracey announced the pre-order of his self-titled debut album, released on 8 February 2019. The lead single, "Doing It", was released for streaming and digital on the same day.[28][29] Four more singles were released to promote AJ Tracey: "Butterflies" featuring Not3s, "Psych Out!", "Necklace" featuring Jay Critch and "Ladbroke Grove". AJ Tracey debuted at number three on the UK Albums Chart and is certified Silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). "Ladbroke Grove" became Tracey's highest-charting single peaking at number three on the UK Singles Chart.[30][31] On 10 October 2019, Tracey announced the upcoming release of a deluxe edition of AJ Tracey, to feature five new songs and a couple of surprises. The album was released on 25 October. On 14 February 2020, AJ Tracey announced his Australian tour starting in Adelaide on 24 April, but was later postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[32]

2020–present: Secure the Bag! 2 and Flu Game[edit]

On 6 October 2020, AJ Tracey released the tracklist for his sixth EP, Secure the Bag! 2 on Twitter and was later released on 27 November 2020.[33][non-primary source needed][34] The EP debuted at number 75 on the UK Albums Charts.[35]

On 4 February 2021, Tracey featured on the track "Bringing It Back" by Digga D.[36] The song topped the UK Chart's Official Trending Chart and debuted at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart.[37]

On 22 March 2021, Tracey announced via a fake press conference on YouTube his second studio album titled Flu Game as well as the album's tracklist, which was released on 16 April 2021. The album includes singles such as "Dinner Guest", "West Ten", "Anxious" and "Bringing It Back". Five hours prior to the release of the album, AJ released the single "Little More Love" as well as releasing a music video on YouTube.[38]

On 26 August 2021, Tracey was featured on the Gorillaz track "Jimmy Jimmy" from their Meanwhile EP.[39]

Politics[edit]

In June 2017, Tracey endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election. In a Labour Party campaign video he said: "The Labour Party strongly support the youth in following their dreams and giving people a chance." He added: "In my opinion we need a Labour government to give young people a hope, a chance for their future and I genuinely believe that Corbyn is the man to do it."[40]

In an October 2019 interview with The Observer, Tracey voiced concerns about climate change and said: "If I'm voting for anyone now it's the Green Party."[41]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (8 February 2019). "AJ Tracey interview: 'I put strippers in my last video because I like women'". The Independent. Archived from the original on 13 October 2019. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "AJ Tracey – BBC Sound of Music 2017". BBC Music. Archived from the original on 22 April 2019. Retrieved 23 June 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "AJ Tracey on new album, goat cover, Cadet passing away, Giggs, his style, tour". Tim Westwood on YouTube. 16 February 2019. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  4. ^ Homewood, Ben (6 February 2019). "'You need nerves of steel': How AJ Tracey became the fresh face of independent music | Talent". Music Week. Archived from the original on 26 January 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  5. ^ Savage, Mark (12 July 2019). "AJ Tracey puts independence before profits". BBC. Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Rising Grime MC AJ Tracey Ascends To New Heights On This Silk Road Assassins Remix | The FADER". thefader.com. Archived from the original on 27 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b "The best new acts to catch at festivals in 2016 | Music | The Guardian". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "AJ Tracey Interview: the lad from Ladbroke Grove takes on the world". NME Music News, Reviews, Videos, Galleries, Tickets and Blogs | NME.COM. 1 February 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  9. ^ BBC Radio 1Xtra (24 March 2016). "AJ Tracey drops a freestyle for Toddla T". Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2017 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "AJ Tracey: 'I had to do everything on my own'". The Guardian. 27 October 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  11. ^ "My team forever – AJ Tracey on Spurs". Tottenham Hotspur F.C. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Looney Tell 'Em". SoundCloud. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Toonz MTP on Twitter". Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  14. ^ My Team Paid (11 August 2013). "MTP – Clouded Skies". Archived from the original on 8 April 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2017 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ "AJ Tracey – No More Looney". DatPiff.com. Archived from the original on 18 January 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Interview: AJ Tracey | Dummy Mag". dummymag.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Hear 'Champions League' from AJ Tracey's new EP | RWD". Rwdmag.com. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  18. ^ "AJ Tracey's "Naila", Produced By Zeph Ellis, Is A Classic-In-Waiting | Complex UK". uk.complex.com. Archived from the original on 21 August 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  19. ^ "AJ Tracey announces second EP Alex Moran". Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  20. ^ "One of the Most Killer Grime Tracks of 2015 Now Has a Video, Here's AJ Tracey's "Naila" | NOISEY". Vice (magazine). Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  21. ^ "AJ Tracey dons his 'Trapsuit' for new track | RWD". rwdmag.com. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Daily Discovery: AJ Tracey | Pigeons & Planes". pigeonsandplanes.com. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  23. ^ "AJ Tracey vs P Money: The Spurs v Arsenal grime battle | BT Sport". sport.bt.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  24. ^ ""Thiago Silva" by Dave / AJ Tracey Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 7 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  25. ^ "Dave & AJ Tracey go international with 'Thiago Silva'". thefourohfive.com. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  26. ^ Armstrong, Megan (6 October 2017). "AJ Tracey Drops 'Secure The Bag!' Grime EP: Interview". Billboard. Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  27. ^ "Meet AJ Tracey, The College Dropout Keeping Grime Fresh". The FADER. Archived from the original on 1 October 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  28. ^ "AJ Tracey unleashes new single "Doing It" & announces debut album". GRM Daily. 21 November 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  29. ^ "AJ Tracey to release self-titled debut album early next year". Fact Mag. 21 November 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  30. ^ "AJ Tracey announces debut album details". The Fader. 21 November 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  31. ^ "AJ Tracey's Gone Back to His Grime Roots With "Doing It"". Noisey. 21 November 2018. Archived from the original on 21 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  32. ^ Jackson Langford (13 February 2020). "AJ Tracey Announces 2020 Australian Tour". Musicfeeds.com.au. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  33. ^ "aj on Twitter: "STB!2 on the way"". 6 October 2020. Retrieved 14 November 2020 – via Twitter.
  34. ^ Balram, Dhruva (27 November 2020). "AJ Tracey – Secure The Bag! 2 EP review: UK rap don goes back to his roots with surprise release". NME. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  35. ^ "Official Charts". Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  36. ^ Winter, Courtney (4 February 2021). "Digga D & AJ Tracey Go Back to Back on Huge Collaboration "Bringing It Back"". GRM Daily.
  37. ^ "Digga D and AJ Tracey score top trending song in the UK".
  38. ^ "AJ Tracey announces new album 'Flu Game' with fake press conference". Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  39. ^ "Gorillaz release surprise new EP 'Meanwhile', celebrating Notting Hill Carnival". NME. 26 August 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  40. ^ Britton, Luke Morgan (29 May 2017). "Watch AJ Tracey explain why he's backing Jeremy Corbyn and Labour in UK election". NME. Archived from the original on 7 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  41. ^ Hutchinson, Kate (27 October 2019). "AJ Tracey: 'I had to do everything on my own'". The Observer.

External links[edit]

  • Quotations related to AJ Tracey at Wikiquote