If you've been on TikTok in recent weeks, chances are you've heard a snippet of UK rapper Central Cee's recent single Obsessed With You, which samples PinkPantheress and Mura Masa's Just For Me.
The single, which follows a series of collabs with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Fredo and more, is the latest example of Cench's talent, as well as his ability to write a love song that's hype enough to get any room shaking. To help introduce you to Central Cee's world, we've taken a look at his origin story, as well as his place in the UK music scene. The sky's the limit for him, and he's already well on the way to taking flight.
Who is he?
Growing up in Shepherd's Bush in the UK, Central Cee spent a lot of time listening to music with his father. Speaking to Sidedoor Magazine, he recalls these moments, saying, “The cultural sounds I grew up with was a lot of underground house music, garage. Then a lot of dancehall/reggae. I started listening to rap/grime a few years after. The fact that I grew up listening to different types of music aside from rap gives me a different perspective sonically when I write."
Central Cee started writing rap songs at the age of 8, before hitting the booth at just 12. Speaking about growing up in West London, he tells Crack Magazine, “I didn’t have anyone older than me besides cousins who I didn’t spend much time with. It made me grow up faster, I had to be more aware and responsible. There are a lot of invaluable lessons you can learn on the roads. I think I learned more on my way to and from school rather than in it – at least skills that would help me survive.”
He's well-known for his motto, "live your movie", which is a reminder to his fans that everyone has their own path, and that everyone's the star of their own story. It's this inspirational attitude that has drawn many people to Cench's music, because he's not hiding the realities of living in West London, but he's also helping people search for something greater out of their lives.
What does his music sound like?
Wild West showcased the range of sounds that Central Cee is capable of, with jazz and reggae sounds prominent on the project. Speaking to Complex UK, Central Cee says that he doesn't want to be defined as just a drill rapper. He explains, "I don’t want to be boxed in as a drill rapper… It sort of ties in to me doing my own thing. It’s not intentional, but I definitely don’t like labels or expectations and my work reflects my own diverse influences."
Speaking about Wild West, he says, "One of my favourite things about doing music is being able to make the people close to me proud. The people that have vouched from me, I like to prove them right. In terms of me, although the tape’s sonically quite close to drill, I cover various topics and styles, so I want people to realise that I’m not some one-dimensional artist. This isn’t even half of what I’m capable of, so I want listeners to finish the tape and be excited for what I’m gonna bring to the table next."
What's next for Central Cee?
After the release of his breakout mixtape, Wild West, his next project is hotly-anticipated. He's hinted that his next project will be called 23, but we're still waiting for an official release date - though knowing Central Cee, it doesn't look like that'll be too far away.
Speaking to Crack Magazine about the future, he says it looks more visible than ever. He explains, “I could always see my future, but now it’s just that much clearer. What I’ve now realised is how hard it is to have a vision of the future. I don’t have any expectations of where I’m supposed to be. But I am feeling really grateful.” Cench has been building for a while now, and it's time for him to reap the rewards.