Hardy Caprio is a figurehead of the afroswing movement. First breaking out in 2017 with the playful hits Unsigned and Super Soaker, the Croydon rapper quickly amassed millions of streams, becoming a one of afroswing’s biggest commercial successes alongside the likes of Yxng Bane and MoStack. Oh, and between all this, Hardy landed a first class degree in Finance and Accounting from Brunel University in 2018. In fact, he passed the one-million mark on single streams the same week as his graduation. Show off.
Having just dropped the melancholic, introspective track 9 Months, the 23-year-old is already back with XYZ, featuring masked rapper SL. “The label wanted us to come back with an afrowsing song,” reads the caption at the start of the video, “what about one of those new drill style songs?” Instead, this time Hardy’s rapping over a UK garage beat.
Hear it below before getting your 100% fill.
10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?
Born in Sierra Leone, I lived there for a year. Then my family moved to Germany until I was four because of the war. Then I moved to England where I lived in Croydon until I was 21. Then music happened so I got the luxury to move out of the area.
20%: At what point did you realise you’d be able to do what you love for a living?
After I signed. Before that streaming wasn’t a thing, this whole streaming generation has happened quite quickly and money just inflated everything.
30%: What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
No one cares, no one gives a shit. That is the best piece of advice you can give someone. When you are releasing music and you’re at home like why don’t people care… they don’t have to care. No one actually has to care about what you’re doing so make them care.
40%: What kind of emotions and experiences influence your work?
Despite what it seems like ‘cos a lot of my music comes across quite happy, it’s actually from a dark place. The choruses add a lot of light but in my eyes I’m still a Croydon rapper and if you parallel me to most other Croydon rappers we have similar experiences and we all mostly go through the same thing. So when you actually listen to Unsigned, if I took that verse and put it on something harder it would still work.
My whole ethos with my music is dancing through the rain, it’s like, yeah I’m from a bad place but we’ll make it work. We’ll have fun anyway.
50%: What can you tell us about your next project?
It’s a maturity thing and a self-realisation – an embodiment of who I am all around, I feel like throughout my career I’ve given sides of me at one given point. I’ve given them happy me, I’ve given them cheeky me, but this one really gives them the core of who Hardy Caprio is as a person.
60%: Break down your typical day at work…
There’s not one day that’s the same. A lot of insomnia, a lot of spontaneous calls and studio sessions. Even when you plan things they never go to plan. When I wake up nothing’s ever going to be the same.
70%: What can artists do to help save the world?
It’s all very dependent on who you are as an artist. It’s not one shoe fits all. Someone from the pop world could directly give positive influence but it could come across hypocritical if a hood rapper started telling you how to live your life. Imagine if you’re getting life advice from 50 Cent who got shot nine times. He’s probably better to tell you what not to do.
I’m fortunate enough that I did want to have a difference in my career. I wanted to show that where I come from you can come up without glorifying the bad side of things. My first breakthrough song was a feel-good song and that’s unheard of. Most people from Croydon come through and it’s just gang.
I remember I was in the studio with Wretch 32 and he was like, “I’m happy you came up,” because for someone like him who is successful, he was worried his son couldn’t pursue rap because of the stigma around it.
80%: Love, Like, Hate?
I love proving everyone wrong, I like being cheeky, and I hate it when people waste my time.
90%: How did you celebrate your last birthday?
Me and my friends went for dinner in west. I’m not a big birthday person, though.
100%: No.1 holiday destination?
Bora Bora or Miami. I do everything based on the success of my last thing so I’m never to go out of control. So if I get this, then I go on holiday.