The best music features we published in 2023

Our Music Director picks some of this year's highlights, including reports on Berlin club culture and British-Somali rap, as well as exclusive interviews with Casisdead and Jack Antonoff.

An extremely rare interview with Casisdead

Casisdead never does interviews. But on the eve of his long-awaited debut album Famous Last Words, we managed to twist the masked enigma’s arm. Sam Davies’s profile digs deep into the lore of the UK’s most tenacious rapper. Cas talked about drugs and death, mostly.

Read more here.

Olivia Rodrigio knows what makes her happy

At last year’s Glastonbury festival, we managed to get a bunch of THE FACE’s staff together to watch Olivia Rodrigo’s high energy, emotional set. From that point on, we knew we needed her on the cover. And so for our latest issue, Assistant Editor Jade Wickes flew out to West Hollywood to chat to Olivia about karaoke, social media snooping and making the best album of 2023. Olivia was shot by legendary documentary photographer (and proud farmer) Jim Goldberg.

Read more here.

RXK Nephew is America’s weirdest rapper

RXK Nephew has released thousands of songs, many of which peddle wild conspiracy theories and completely unfounded allegations about celebrities over bizarre beats. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to pin down Neph for this candid profile that ran in our Spring print issue.

Read more here.

Mali wave: the rise of Somali UK rap

Nino Uptown

Rahel Akilu met with the artists at the forefront of the Somali genre to talk about stigma, solidarity and the future of the scene. Photographed by Bardha Krasniqi, styled (and creative directed) by Farhia Bashir.

Read more here.

The Dare on hype, hysteria and his raunchy electroclash revival

Love him or hate him, The Dare, aka Harrison Patrick Smith, is one of New York’s most talked-about musicians. As he hit London for a string of sold-out shows, Shaad D’Souza grilled him about virtue-signalling, QAnon death threats and his one-man mission to revive electroclash. Charlie Kwai also got great snaps of Harrison strutting around South London in his Gucci suit.

Read more here.

Jack Antonoff: “I’ve never made anyone hoping everyone would like it”

Another banger from Shaad D’Souza. The Bleachers frontman and pop producer has co-created massive records with Lana Del Rey and Taylor Swift. So what’s with all the haters? Jack said a couple of things in these interviews which caused a little stir among New York media types.

Read more here.

Bktherula is in another dimension

The Atlanta rapper’s sound is wild and psychedelic, and she’s got an unconventional philosophy that’s fuelling it. She explained it all to Mano Sundaresan, who runs the very good music blog No Bells.

Read more here.

DJ Absolutely Shit: the unstoppable rise of cringe names in dance music

The silly squad has taken over the Berlin club scene, once a safe haven for solemn techno purists. Jumi Akinfenwa investigates.

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Vamp mode: documenting the Opium subculture at Wireless

The likes of Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert and Yeat have changed hip-hop fashion. Maybe some of the people featured here will show these photos to their grandkids one day, to prove that they weren’t always such squares.

Read more here.

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