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Seif Umaar

Meet the MC: Jordy

With an impressive list of solo efforts, collabs and podcast series under his belt, Jordy is riding high and doing it on his own terms. He speaks to DJ Mag about taking the leap to do music full time, making his family proud, and his new EP ‘The Love Ting’

Recently selected as the opening act for the UK leg of Pusha T’s world tour, featuring on the soundtrack of the upcoming series of Top Boy, and nearing one million monthly listeners on Spotify, wandering curiosity has brought Tottenham-raised, Essex-based rapper Jordy to the cusp of rap stardom. “I’m a nosy boy,” the MC tells DJ Mag over a zoom call. “I’m really a ‘What does this button do?’ type guy. So now that I’m here, I wonder what’s up there? Why not keep going?”

On the mic, Jordy is blessed with a confident clarity that MCs like Streatham’s Dave and fellow Tottenham rapper Skepta possess. His punchlines are true to the dry wit of his in-person character, but the most endearing part of his flow is his honesty. “I’m the baby of my family — on my dad’s side anyway — and they would never let me be someone I wasn’t,” he explains. “They would have slapped me across the head. I could never get that across. So naturally, I never try to be who I’m not.”

Coming from a family of gifted music producers, Jordy would often rub shoulders with the scene’s elite names in his formative years. And, although clearly talented, those cousins didn’t grant him access into the game right away. Instead, they made him earn it. “My cousins have produced for everyone, you name it: Stormzy, Ghetts, JME. They’ve produced for all of them, and I was there from the start of their producing journey,” Jordy recounts. “But they didn’t let me in straightaway [and] I didn’t understand why. 

“Eventually they were like, ‘Alright, you’re ready’,” he continues, “and I remember feeling salty like, ‘What’s this you’re ready stuff? I’m your cousin! Just let me record!’ But it can’t be like that and I respect them for taking their time. To be fair, they’ve still got their DNA on everything I’ve released at this point, so they did it right.”

Throughout Jordy’s ascent, other people recognised the extent of the MC’s musical abilities even before he did. After joining the Vibbar rap collective in 2015*, he collaborated with the likes of JME, Big Narstie and Scorcher, before being singled out by veteran MC Mercston to work on a tune as a solo act. Then, when sitting in on a studio session for rap veteran Ghetts’ ‘Ghetto Gospel: The New Testament’ album, Ghetts heard him humming a melody to himself and pushed him to jump in the booth and record it. “Then I ended up on his album,” Jordy says with a chuckle.

Having quit his day job to pursue music full-time only last year, Jordy knew that to overcome his doubts about whether his music dreams could be a reality, he had to throw himself into a sink-or-swim situation. It paid off. Now, he’s not so much swimming as surfing on precarious waves with ease and grace. Jordy explains the bravery behind that leap of faith: “One thing I did know is if you throw yourself in water, your body will fight to float. I didn’t want that safety net of ‘I don’t need to go super HAM because [a monthly salary] is going to come at the end of every month’. So yeah, eventually I just pulled the plug, man; I took a leap that usually I don’t take because I’m that sort of pessimist, or I’m too much of a realist. But yeah, I just jumped.”

Seif Umaar

“Wanting to prove I’m the best... that’s like a secondary objective to me. I don’t lose sleep over who doesn’t think I’m good. The hunger you hear in my music is more so about my producers."

Listen to tracks like ‘Lie Detector’, the closer from his recently released project ‘The Love Ting’, and you won’t find any hints of self-doubt. Rather, he sounds like a man with a lot to lose and even more to gain, through bars like “I know what I bring to the table, give me credit / ‘Cause I bring my own table, I don’t need to beg it.” That competitive spirit runs throughout his music — in fact, his first ever recorded song was a diss “replying to this kid in school that everyone thought was good, but I knew I was better than, but no one believed until I put something down on wax,” he remembers.

But conflict and competition don’t serve to fuel Jordy any longer, he explains. “Wanting to prove I’m the best... that’s like a secondary objective to me. I don’t lose sleep over who doesn’t think I’m good. The hunger you hear in my music is more so about my producers — my producers or my older cousins and brothers. They’ve fought for me when people didn’t see it.  And they have children and they don’t have a lot of room for error. So my hunger is to give them vindication more than anything.

“I need them to be right, otherwise I’ve wasted their time,” he says earnestly. “It’s a lot more to do with vindication for my brothers. It’s a lot more to do with feeding my family, which I’m finally doing by the grace of God, and just keeping that going.”

Jordy’s latest project, ‘The Love Ting’, is his strongest and most focused project yet, displaying his evolution in more ways than one. Pillared by sultry basslines, romantic guitar riffs and sensual vocal samples, the EP finds Jordy tenderly singing at some points, while offering his thoughts on the “L word” throughout. But why broach the topic at this point? “I find rapping easy — not to sound braggadocious, but rapping is easy. Rapping about rapping is monotonous. I didn’t feel like I wanted to dive into anything dark just yet,” he says. “I thought to myself, what’s the most common thing that every single person has in the world? They’ve probably been in love. So I thought, let me just challenge my pen and attack this language and see how I fare with it, and this is what I came up with.”

Many Jordy fans will know him from his FILTHYFELLAS fame, alongside Poet and a host of other hilarious armchair football pundits. In a shrewd move, Jordy used that media visibility to help promote his music by making The Love Ting interview series. Giving further context, he explains that “for a long time my music videos haven’t performed [as well as] my streaming. So why am I wasting so much money? So I thought, you know what, let me make a [YouTube] show in line with the projects. If you do watch it once, at least you laughed and you might go back.”

Now, buoyed by internal and external validation and using all avenues available to him, Jordy knows what he wants from music. “I want to be the best version of myself and help everyone around me,” he tells DJ Mag before we say goodbye. “I don’t give a fuck about awards, excuse my language. I don’t care about noms. It probably helps everyone behind me on paper, but me, Jordy? I don’t care. I just want to be the best version of myself, the most authentic version of myself. And if everyone around me is cool because of that, then I’ve won, man.”