100% Arrdee: Brighton’s geezer rap star

The self-proclaimed cheeky chappy proves his lyrical prowess on new song, Oliver Twist.

We all know how it goes. The skittery drill beat cuts out, then a crude lyric is belted out with enough lairy energy to power an entire stag do.

Body is probably the biggest UK track of 2021. Arrdee’s verse on the guest-heavy remix was destined to go viral on TikTok and it also seems to be something lots of people like shouting along to on nights out, if events in Australia are anything to go by.

Even before he hopped on Tion Wayne and Russ Million’s chart-dominating, history-making hit, Arrdee had people talking. At the beginning of the year, the 18-year-old Brighton rapper, born Riley Davies (get it? Arr-Dee), had his first breakthrough moment when he dropped the video for his Cheeky Bars freestyle, during which he breathlessly brags about wreckhead antics and a hectic love life, also alluding to Brighton’s seedy underbelly and trouble that’s lurking around the corner.

The polished Cheeky Bars video seemed to deliver a fully-formed UK rap star and, by the time he dropped 6AM in Brighton two months later, there were rumours that the big labels were circling him. But Arrdee wants everyone to know that he’s been chipping away at his craft for ages.

What do they say? It takes 10 years to become an overnight success,’”Arrdee says, peering down at his phone screen through his aviators’ brown lenses. He’s in the passenger’s seat en route to London from Brighton – a now almost daily trip since he blew up. I was rapping since I was about 12, in year seven. A lot of people don’t know I had about 7,000 followers before Cheeky Bars or anything like that.”

New single Oliver Twist is Arrdee’s shot to capitalise on the Body remix hype and score his own hit. It’s got a hook you might struggle to forget and he hopes his new listeners will recognise his skill. The main side that everyone sees is that I’m smiley, I’m fun and bubbly, and cheeky,” he explains. But I’m still intelligent as well and I can write bars.”

Love or hate his laddish charisma, it seems certain that we’ll all be seeing a lot more Arrdee on our screens. Check out the video for Oliver Twist and get a feel for his vibe with his 100% questionnaire below.

10%: Where were you born, where were you raised and where are you now based?

I was born in Brighton, I was raised in Brighton. Now, my mum’s house is just a little bit outside of Brighton – [house] prices in Brighton are skyrocketing at the moment. But now life’s getting a bit better and we’re a bit more comfortable, we’ll definitely be back there.

20%: Love, like, hate?

I love a bev. I like the sun. I hate two-faced people.

30%: If you’re cooking to impress someone, what will you make?

I’m ordering a Deliveroo and pretending that I cooked it, because nothing I cook is going to impress anyone!

40%: What’s the best pet you’ve ever had?

My Staff, Charlie. I had him until I was about 12 or 13.

50%: When did you find your confidence as an artist?

I thought I was sick even when I was shit! I think it all boils down to the way my mum brought me up. Whatever she wanted to do, she’d do. She went from no GCSEs, to working two jobs, to college and now she’s in her second year of uni. My mum was always like, If you want to rap, then you better rap your arse off.” I think I got my own microphone when I was 12 and downloaded Audacity.

60%: No.1 holiday destination?

Ayia Napa, Ibiza or Malaga, or somewhere like that, [where I can] just go mad.

70%: What’s your least favourite question that the media ask you?

How do you feel about the comparisons?” Because everyone’s trying to get a rise out of me with the whole me and Aitch thing. One, I don’t think we look that similar or sound that similar. Two, he’s cold. Why would I mind being compared to someone who’s talented?

80%: How did you celebrate your last birthday?

It went on from Thursday to Sunday. On the Thursday, I went for a meal with my nan, my closest friend, my mum and my brother, and then went to a pub. The amount of drinking going on there was crazy. By the end of the night we were telling the bar people to just bring us random shots. Went back to the house at about one in the morning, with a few girls. On Friday, I turned 18 and I went to the clubs. I think you could get a drink inside, but you couldn’t sit inside. Ended up going mad, throwing up out the window of the taxi – luckily I didn’t get fined, because I didn’t get anything in the taxi. On Saturday, I went to a pub with my old man – literally hanging out of my arse! – and had a few drinks with him, even though it was painful to get them down. Then on Sunday, I hosted a show on Decadence radio.

90%: What can artists do to help save the world?

That’s a very political question and I’m not a politician.

100%: What can you tell us about your new tune, Oliver Twist?

It’s a hit. The whole of the UK is going to feel it, I just know. It’s a good balance of me getting lit and being sarcastic, and flipping scenarios around and making them funny, but also showing lyrical ability and a bit of concept. The video is a fucking madness.

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