9 June 2023

On the road with Jeshi: The rising rapper on experiencing his first UK and European tour

HUNGER recently caught up with the London-based rapper following his headline show in Manchester.

Rising rap star Jeshi has seen his career flourish ever since the release of 2022’s Universal Credit – one of the year’s most quintessential rap albums. Storytelling is at the forefront of Jeshi’s music; on the project, he tells tales of life on the dol, the impact of classism and tackles the harsh realities that many Brits face on a daily basis. Combining slick and poignant lyricism with hard-hitting flows, the project cemented the London-based artist as one of the UK’s most promising talents. Since the release of Universal Credit, Jeshi has been reaping the rewards of the album’s success, embarking on his first UK and European tour and now hitting several festival stages over the summer period. Recently, HUNGER was in attendance for Jeshi’s headline show at The Deaf Institute in Manchester with BTS snaps captured by photographer James Cowan, which can be found below. Meanwhile, we also got the chance to sit down with Jeshi to discuss all things touring and how his life has changed since the release of Universal Credit.

Congratulations on your UK & European tour; what was it like embarking on something like that for the first time in your career?

Everything’s so nonstop I’m kind of on autopilot until I have these insane moments of clarity where I realise how surreal it is running around to all these places you’ve never been and having rooms full of people singing the songs you write. 

How would you describe a Jeshi show?

Unpredictable. I have my setlist, but I let the crowd take me where they want. Most of the time, that’s to some random places.

Do you have a favourite track to perform?

It’s been really fun playing the new ones and getting that real-time feedback. 

Do you ever get nervous before performances?

I do if it’s been a while. Touring was great because you’re playing every day. It allows you to really get in the rhythm of it, and all the nerves disappear.

What’s on your rider for a show?

Tequila and beers. I’m a simple man. 

Do you ever get homesick, or is being on the road something you fully embrace?

At this stage, I love every second of it. It will get to a stage where I’m sure it stops being quite as fun, but I’m nowhere near there yet. 

What would you say has been the highlight for you on the tour?

Signing Lost Mary’s, the true sign of the times. People getting lyrics tattooed has been really heartwarming too.  

If you could share a stage with anyone, who would it be?

Sharing the stage with Keith Flint would’ve been pretty wild – that unhinged energy of the prodigy always feels so British and really connects with me. Would’ve loved to have jumped around and gone mad with him. 

Now that ‘Universal Credit’ is coming up to a year since its release, how have things changed for you since the release of that project?

Well, I’m not on universal credit anymore, so that’s a start haha.

How would your younger self feel about the position you’re in now?

Seeing me now would’ve given me some needed perspective and patience. I learned those traits so late I’d feel so worthless not being where I wanted to be at that exact moment. Patience. 

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2023?

 A new era which I’m mad excited to start sharing with you soon. 

  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Photographer James Cowan @jams.ac
  • Creative Contributor Lucy Parker @lucaayparker

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