Rizzle Kicks is an English hip hop duo from Brighton, consisting of Jordan "Rizzle" Stephens (born 25 January 1992 ) and Harley "Sylvester" Alexander-Sule (born 23 November 1991 ). Their debut album Stereo Typical was released on 31 October 2011. As of May 2012, Rizzle Kicks have sold over 1 million singles and over 600,000 albums in the UK.
2006–11: Formation and career beginnings
In 2006, Jordan began attending rap and performance workshops with the Brighton-based charity AudioActive, joined a year later by Harley. The pair attended AudioActive's Hip Hop Foundation project and Jordan continued attending workshops and performances until 2010. Jordan is quoted as saying this work helped the duo "hone our skills and build a passion towards the career that we're in now. AudioActive did us a lot of good and without them we wouldn't be here!"
Jordan and Harley both attended Brit School, where Jordan studied media and Harley studied theatre. Jordan was in the process of making his mixtape Minor Breaches of Discipline where he rapped over samples of some of their favourite artists (Gorillaz, Lily Allen, Arctic Monkeys) and asked Harley to sing over some of the tracks. Realising how well their styles fitted together, they formed Rizzle Kicks in 2008. The name stems from 'Green Rizla', an early nickname given to Stephens by a football teammate after a crew of the same name from the school that he attended at the time. That nickname evolved into 'Rizzle', and the duo decided on the suffix 'kicks' due to their shared love of football.
As a newly formed duo, they hustled for beats from local producers, honing their sound, and created several bedroom demos, three of which ended up on their debut album. They also created a presence online; blogging on their website "Your Daily Kicks" as well as posting lo-fi music videos to their YouTube channel. The videos were co-directed by the band and made by Toby Lockerbie, a wedding photographer they met at a party. A video was made for a demo of "Down with the Trumpets" in the summer of 2010, closely followed by the video for "Miss Cigarette". During that time, they had finished college and Harley went on to work as an assistant drama teacher, whilst Jordan was flipping burgers at the Corals Greyhound Stadium in Hove.
Their YouTube videos caught the attention of several record labels and in November 2010, they signed to Island Records, part of Universal Music. They continued work on their debut album and worked with several producers including Ant Whiting, Norman Cook, The Rural, Futurecut and Craigie Dodds.
2011–12: Stereo Typical and commercial success
In June 2011, the duo released a promotional single, "Prophet (Better Watch It)" accompanied by a stop motion style video made up of 960 photographic stills. The track was initially offered as a free download, before being released on iTunes. In July 2011, they learnt they had an unlikely fan, in that of Stephen Fry who proclaimed over Twitter that he was "unexpectedly loving the old school hip hop sounds of Rizzle Kicks." Over the summer, Rizzle Kicks played a number of festivals; they supported Dizzee Rascal at Ibiza Rocks in June and were invited back to support The Streets. They also headlined the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds 2011 after having played Radio 1's Big Weekend in May.
Their first official single, "Down With the Trumpets", was released on 12 June 2011, in the manner of on air on sale, entering the UK Singles Chart at #84 and going on to eventually peak at #8 in September 2011, having been certified gold. The single spent a total of 13 weeks in the Official Top 40. On 23 October, they released their second official single "When I Was a Youngster" which peaked at #8. Their debut album Stereo Typical was released a week later on 31 October 2011, entering the chart at #9, peaking at #5 and was certified platinum in May 2012. Their third single "Mama Do the Hump", which was produced by Norman Cook, was released on 16 December, eventually peaking at #2 and has been certified platinum. The lo-fi video features a cameo from James Corden. The track spawned a dance craze known as 'The Hump' which infiltrated parties across the UK and generated many YouTube videos of members of the public doing the dance.
The pair featured on "Heart Skips a Beat" by Olly Murs, which was released on 21 August 2011, entering the chart at #1 on 28 August 2011. They have recorded remixes for artists including Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, Foster the People and Olly Murs. They made a remix video for close friend Ed Sheeran's song "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" which features Ed himself, and was filmed in the band's back garden in one take.
Rizzle Kicks' played their first headline tour from March to May 2012, a sellout, including two nights at London's Shepherds Bush Empire. A second headline tour took place in winter 2012; they played 26 dates across the UK including O2 Academy Brixton and The Roundhouse in London. The live set up currently consists of a band including a guitarist, drummer, bass player, trumpet player with Harley on second guitar for some songs. Their shows are characterised by high energy, dancing and bra throwing from female members of the audience. Throughout the summer of 2012, Rizzle Kicks played many major festivals across the UK, including Wakestock, T in the Park, Wireless Festival and T4 on the Beach, along with headlining the Bestival and V Festival. In July, they played a series of shows across the Southern coast of the UK as part of the Olympic Torch relay and carried the torch in Hastings. In May and late October 2012, they embarked on mini tours around Europe as well as a stint in Australia for the festival Park Life in early October.
In December 2012, it was announced that they will play the Royal Albert Hall in March with Labrinth as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust shows, a charity of which they have been long-time supporters.
Rizzle Kicks worked on their next album with Norman Cook, Ant Whiting and new collaborator Pharrell Williams, whose track did not appear on their album. whilst also working on a scripted comedy sitcom that they have co-written and hope to star in.
They embarked on a US tour from January through February 2013, supporting Ed Sheeran and Foy Vance. On 3 June 2013, Rizzle Kicks announced their new album, titled Roaring 20s, releasing it on 2 September 2013. In June, they played the "BBC Introducing" stage at Glastonbury Festival.
On 4 December 2013, Rizzle Kicks released a new song, "Happy That You're Here", to their YouTube channel. and on 9 May 2014, the duo headlined the May Ball at Aberystwyth University, and the Summer Ball on 6 June 2014 at Royal Holloway, University of London.
On 2 April 2014, it was revealed that Jordan had been cast to star in E4 drama series Glue. In April, Jordan (credited as Rizzle Kicks) rapped a verse on the remix of the grime track "German Whip" by Meridian Dan, which also featured Skepta, Bossman Birdie and Professor Green.
In October 2014, Rizzle Kicks performed Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" in a special music collaboration with James Corden for Channel 4's "The Feeling Nuts Comedy Night" raising awareness of testicular cancer.
Rizzle Kicks, on 10 August 2015, they released on Spotify a song Summertime, which was very similar to The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff's 1991 song of the same name.
Stephens is currently releasing music under the stage name Wildhood, and released his debut solo EP Vert on 16 March 2016 following the singles "Psycho Jam" and "Double Dark". He had previously released two collaborations with Mikill Pane; one, "Check", under the pseudonym of Gnarly Ventura, and the other, "Hold My Crown", under his real name.
Alexander-Sule is currently releasing music under the stage name Jimi Charles Moody, and has released several singles. His debut single, Blue Honey, had over ninety thousand plays on SoundCloud in its first month. That song, as well as singles Other Man, Death Row and The Woman have over fifty thousand SoundCloud plays. His song House of Moody was featured in a Lexus ad and also the Madden NFL 16 soundtrack.
Stephens appeared on the second episode of the Robot Wars celebrity special with a collaboration with the Terrorhurtz drivers called Dee, a pink axlebot. It lost two of its fights by knockout but won the third by a split decision, which gained it 2 points, but not enough to progress to the final, as it would have needed to have won by a knockout to earn 3 points.
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