Enny didn’t mean to cause a stir, but it happened.
“It’s quite a juxtaposition,” the south Londoner says, as she’s sat in an all-black tracksuit on the other end of a Zoom call. “The world’s fucked up, but it’s been the best year for me so far.”
The quietly confident rapper had her breakthrough moment back in October, partly thanks to accidental good timing. Her second single Peng Black Girls, featuring singer-songwriter Amia Brave, wasn’t intended as a politically-charged track – the lyrics weren’t actually written with the Black Lives Matter movement in mind, and it’s a coincidence that the video dropped the week Kamala Harris became the first Black and South Asian woman to be elected Vice President of the United States. But in a year where Enny had to “create out of a dark place”, Peng Black Girls had landed as a powerful statement.
The track’s colourful, sunlit 8mm film video was filmed in the same Thamesmead corner of London where Enny grew up, featuring a cast of her close female friends and family. “There’s peng Black girls in my area code /Dark skin, light skin, medium tones /Perm tings, braids, got mini afros,” Enny raps over the perky, soulful production, celebrating Black womanhood in it’s most unpretentious form. Directed by Otis Dominique, the video strips away the forced, overstylised depictions of Black British womens’ experience, with metallic acrylics, gold jewellery and massive puffer jackets taking centre stage. Enny’s Nigerian heritage features, with Aunties dancing in gele (a Yoruba head tie worn on special occasions) on the block, while Enny spits a cheeky bar that’s an instant classic: “want fat bootys like the Kardashians (no!), want a fat booty like our Aunties (yo!)”.
“Sometimes we’re in tracksuits, sometimes we’ve got our hair all done, sometimes we’re going out on the town looking sexy, just us,” Enny says of the range she wanted to represent in the video.
As a child, Enny was rarely allowed out of the house to play by her less outgoing parents, so she’d often stay at home and experiment on her keyboard. Singing along to gospel songs was her first beat, often in car journeys to and from Church. As she approached secondary school, curiosity brought rebellion into the mix in the form of rap music – more specifically, die-hard J Cole fandom.
Creating a band like every other clicheéd teenager, Enny and her mates called theirs Room AA, in reference to the room they practised in at school. Before long, she identified herself as a rapper. From praising the Lord to singing about big bums, Enny’s demure appearance might trick anyone into thinking she doesn’t have a potty mouth. To my surprise, she’s quick to let me know that “Peng Black Girls is the cleanest song I’ve ever written”.
Now, a remix featuring Jorja Smith has dropped. After signing to Jorja’s label FAMM after releasing her debut track He’s Not Into You, Enny was joined by THE FACE cover star for a surprise visit to the studio, where the impromptu collaboration quickly took shape. “Rah, she really really liked the song!” Enny remembers. “Next thing I knew, she’d done a verse and the hook”. On the remix, Jorja gets things to get off her chest, questioning double standards that are plain as day. “Raise my voice, you’ll say I’m angry /Kiss my teeth, you’ll say I’m too teeth” is the kicker, before she references Solange’s straight up song Don’t Touch My Hair.
Saying it exactly how it is, looks good on Jorja and Enny. They share little care for what others think of them, or if they’re seen as too ghetto or loud. The bar’s been set high, so what’s Enny’s next step? She tells me about a music video in the works, at first describing it as “much closer to a hood video”. Then, she settles for a more straightforward summary: “It’s just more real.”