New-school pop, old-school chops

Here's a new genre for your iTunes playlist - "indie-hop".

To be fair to the boys from Rizzle Kicks, it was a genre they created "on the spot" during an interview in 2010.

"It was a bit of a joke," Harley "Sylvester" Alexander-Sule, 20, who makes up one half of the British duo who've been flying up the charts with their breezy old-school hip-hop, told LOUD over the phone from London.

He's the singer while rapping duties are handled by Jordan "Rizzle" Stephens, 19.

The pair were playground buddies who reconnected in primary school and then went to the famous Brit School, an arts school whose other alumni include Adele, Jessie J and Amy Winehouse.

Mulling over the validity of the "joke" indie-hop genre they created, Alexander-Sule said: "The music we're making is quite guitar-based, with a hip-hop drum beat."

But it's tough to pigeonhole Rizzle Kicks either way.

The music is both familiar and fresh - old-school hip-hop beats with a vibe that's young and peppy without being cloying.

"Our music influences are people like Jamie T and Gorillaz. We wanted people to know we're not just a pop act," Alexander-Sule said.

"We've got some ridiculous combinations of genres. You'll hear a Bo Diddley-type country-western riff with a fat hip-hop drum break."

The duo's real success has been due to exactly that - and making one of the best pop albums of the year with their debut Stereo Typical.

With just the slightest hint of being naughty, they're almost running in the opposite direction of current hip-hop.

Their contemporary, Azealia Banks, 20, is fast making a name for herself as a potty-mouthed princess with her hit, 212.

"The number of times that song is censored (on the radio) makes it sound like crap, because every other word needs to be bleeped out," said Alexander-Sule.

Their cheekiest song on Stereo Typical, Mama Do The Hump, merely suggests that the duo want to "join the mile-high club".

1 2 
Become a fan on Facebook