DELS

If you didn’t know already, there’s a new boy on the grime scene and in his fold are a crack team of the hottest musicians around at the moment.

DELS, the pseudonym of 27-year-old rapper Kieren Dickens – so called because of a high school mix up with a boy called Delroy,

leading to the nickname that caught on with such force even his mum uses it – has teamed up with modish producers Joe Goddard,

co-founder of electropop juggernauts Hot Chip,

musician Kwes and experi-popstrel Micachu.


He follows in the school of slow-rhyming (think more Roots Manuva than Giggs)

but where his contemporaries plough a dub-oriented furrow,

Dickens takes the back alleys of Clubland,

using an abundance of dirty synth lines and juxtaposing beats to create gritty,

gloom-laden hip hop that’s somewhat akin to Kano,

who in fact worked with Hot Chip’s other founder Alexis Taylor on his last record, ‘Method to the Maadness’.


Saying that, however, lyrically the two couldn’t be more different. DELS

Where Kano raps about sexual conquests, rudeboys and the sleazy side of showbiz, Dickens spits rhymes about the darkest realities and escaping to dream worlds,

which may stem from his love of melancholic rockers Joy Division.

“I’m obsessed with Ian Curtis,” he states when citing his influences, among which also fall Andre 3000, MF Doom and Biggie Smalls.

“The way that he wrote his music – I think there’s something quite beautiful in that. It’s morbid as well and I’m quite a morbid person.”

Death is something that’s always on Dickens’ mind as he has constant night-terrors about it.

“I’m always dreaming about death. I think it’s because I’ve been going through a rough patch recently, but I can’t help it, every night I’m getting killed in some way or I’m about to be killed,

or I’ve already died and I’m watching myself dead on the floor.

I don’t know what all these things mean but it’s quite weird and it’s really disturbing because it’s fucking up my sleep pattern.

I’m waking up every night, sweating my arse off.”

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