Rising Northern rapper ATO (pronounced: atu) follows his 2021 Side A EP with the second chapter to the story – ‘Side B’ released last Friday (29th July) via MCMXCV.
Featuring recent singles ‘COLD’ and ‘COURTS’, featuring Jay Bahd, and new unheard singles ‘nu balance’, ‘Straight Light’ and ‘outro’, this highly personal body of work was predominantly written in ATO’s bedroom. Always looking to tell his story both visually and sonically, dropping alongside the EP today is the video for ‘nu balance’ that sees a documentary style snapshot into the life of ATO from the other side of the lens.
Speaking on the EP, ATO says:
“In the time of making SIDE B, I was feeling the fragility of the world around me and found myself more committed to pushing through different feelings and emotions. The project is so desperate to find answers that the honesty is admittedly impulsive and naive at times. I feel that as a result, the vulnerable sides collide with the more resilient moments and give a more holistic reflection on the themes of love, mental health, masculinity, coming of age and pride explored.
Whilst SIDE A marks the birth of what now feels like my sound, I believe SIDE B is more refined than any of my previous projects. The wide range of production influences from stevexcooper, Jonathon Ng and singular balance, inspired me to take steps beyond my comfort zone and experiment more with melody and freestyle than I have done in the past.”
Why not check out ATO’s new EP hereand his new video below…
Rising Northern rapper ATO (pronounced: atu) reconnects with his Ghanaian roots as he links up with the Kumasi based artist Jay Bahd for his latest single Courts’.
Created out of a late night session with Kai Whiston, EDEN and stevexcooper in London with vocals sent from Jay Bahd following an online meeting between the two artists, the video was shot during a recent trip to Ghana and sees ATO and Jay roam the streets and beaches of Accra, riding around in a Jeep, quad biking and more interspersed with energetic, docu style cuts of real life in the city.
Following the Flohio remix most recent solo single ‘Cold’. Leeds-based ATO, who is of British-Ghanaian-Danish descent, is set to release his forthcoming follow up EP Side B. coming out this Friday 29th July via MCMXCV. The five-track EP includes new unheard singles ‘nu balance’, ‘Straight Light’ and ‘outro’. Check out the video for ‘Courts’ below…
Leeds-based and of British-Ghanaian-Danish descent, rising rapper ATO (pronounced: atu) follows his recent Flohio remix of 2021 Side A’s introspective banger ‘no caroline’ with his latest offering ‘COLD’ via MCMXCV. Putting his identity as a northern rapper from Leeds front and centre, over an emotive yet ominous stevexcooper produced beat, ATO muses about the exclusive nature of the London scene and his everyday frustrations.
Dropping alongside the single today is an Untold Studios Production, Eve Mahoney directed video that compliments the fast pace energy of the song. Sporadic moments of luminar mish mash interspersed with performance shots of ATO mirror his stream of consciousness and according to ATO “gives weight to the feeling behind the bars”.
Speaking on the single, ATO says: “COLD is a stream of consciousness that addresses my everyday vexations. As an outsider from Leeds, I find the industry politics and exclusive nature of the London scene a bit weird. I wanted to express who I am against the backdrop of these frustrations.
I was working on some other music at the time but was feeling to get a few of these things off my chest, so I hit stevexcooper for something I could rap over… He sent a beat titled ‘reflections’ and the energy was perfect. I wrote the verses that night intended for a freestyle and then ended up adding the COLD hook later.”
Rising rapper ATO returns to share a special new remix of his introspective banger ‘no caroline’ with added fire from British-Nigerian artist, rapper and songwriter FLOHIO, landing alongside a fresh docu-style video shot in sun-soaked Leeds and London.
The three-minute production was shot between North-East Leeds (Chapeltown/Potternewton park – the neighbourhood where ATO’s dad lived when he was growing up) and around west London (the first area he lived when he moved to the city at 18), both areas feel like home and provide the perfect visual texture for the rebirth of this track filled with real moments that make up life for ATO. In a serendipitous moment of full circle following the original single taken from ATO’s 2021 EP Side A via MCMXCV that saw him open up and deep dive into his own emotional shortcomings rooted in his experiences, Flohio’s lyrical addition delivers a strong statement of self belief backed up by refresh of ATO’s hook.
Speaking on the remix, ATO says: “When No Caroline was first made, there were a million ideas for which direction to take the song, so a remix felt inevitable. I wanted it to be in the same world of the original but with a new dynamic, to make it feel more like a rebirth than a remix. I’ve loved Flohio’s music for a minute! I believe she is one of the most unique and authentic artists in the UK. Putting Flo on the first verse felt like a natural way to kick off the song with new energy. Once Flo layed her verse, we started looking at ways to tie the new dynamic together. Following Flo, it felt like the hook needed something new. We came up with a response melody that was initially intended for me. Eden ended up laying down the demo and it just felt great, so we kept it that way. This approach captures the process of making the remix: being open minded to completely fresh ideas.”
Leeds-based and of British-Ghanaian-Danish descent, ATO is one of the most exciting new artists on the rise, using his music to reflect on his life and show an alternative side to the London-centric perception of Black Britishness. Bubbling up the scene since his 2019 collaboration ‘falling’ featuring Vic Mensa on his The Fader endorsed EP3, 2021 proved to be his biggest year yet with his acclaimed EP Side A (“Muscle Twitch”, “ziamonds !!”) garnering support from key tastemakers and broadsheets alike including The Observer, The Independent, DJ Target, Crack, Highsnobiety and DJ Mag who nominated him for their Best Of British Awards in the “Breakthrough MC” alongside ENNY, KAM-BU, Nova and DoRoad.
Hailing from Bermondsey, South London , FLOHIO draws inspiration from her surroundings and day-to-day experiences to create a sound that is quintessentially London as it is extra-terrestrial. Since exploding onto the scene in 2018 with her high-octane COLORS performance of ‘Bands’, the South London native has since cemented her status as an unpredictable talent who is as exhilarating as she is impossible to pigeonhole.
Check out the official video for ‘no caroline’ below, directed by Eve Mahoney.
Hailing from Leeds, NTANTU is a UK Rap and R&B artist fusing his sound with African Diaspora inspired music. His new single ‘Far Away’, a blissful and thoughtful track that draws from Afrobeats as well as being infused with Ntantu’s personality.
‘Far Away’ captures a moment of reflection for Ntantu as he touches base with his roots through the style change in the music, and also exploring topics such as love and loss over slick production.
‘Far Away’ follows Ntantu’s hugely successful ‘Pressure (Oh My Goodness)’, which picked up wide spread support across BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and BBC 1Xtra, over 250,000 streams on Spotify (with no editorial playlisting) and went viral on TikTok. Ntantu also performed ‘Pressure’ at this years Creamfields Festival and was a finalist for the Radio 1 BBC Introducing Live lounge in March/April 2021
Going from strength to strength, ‘Far Away’ is part of a wider narrative to an album project that Ntantu is set to release titled ‘NOW’.
Here’s the video for ‘Far Away’, directed by Ntantu himself, who pays homage to Craig David, a huge influence on his upbringing.