Tops Mafioso is known for his refined sound and thought-provoking writing ability. The budding artist has received praise from several industry specialists including; the MOBO Awards and BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target and DJ Semtex.
Here’s what happened when I spoke to Tops about his new single and more.
First things first great name, how did you come up with it?
Funnily enough, I used to have a high top in secondary school and throughout my years at uni. It got to the point where it kind of became my trademark so that’s where Tops came from. The Mafioso just adds a bit of flavour.
How would you describe your music to someone who hadn’t heard it before?
My music is a combination of cultures from inner-city London. London is a melting point of culture. Growing up here and being of African heritage, there are many diverse sounds that influence my music.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Number 1 has to be Kanye West – that’s my guy! I also really like Andre 3000. I just like people who are fearless, confident and free.
How did your musical journey begin?
I think my journey began in a pretty similar manner to a lot of artists.
You know those Secondary School playground “rap battles” which in reality were just cussing matches.
Many of us were inspired by the artists of the grime era. I realised I was good at it (rapping), so I devoted to some time to making music.
I was doing a few shows here and there but uni was the real turning point, a crossroads if you like. This was when I really decided to go for music.
My heart was telling me to go for it and I didn’t want to be a “what if” guy.
If someone told you they would pay you £100k to recite a song word for word which song would you choose?
Oh my gosh, it’s gonna have to be Kanye West – through the wire
Name someone on your playlist we wouldn’t expect to be there?
Funnily enough, considering the type of music, I make I don’t actually listen to a lot of rap music. I am really liking Nick Hakim and a lot of alternative music.
I listen to music because I connect with it not because it’s popping.
Tell me about the My High Fashion party? Do you plan to have more events like that in the future?
So the event was like a video premiere combined with the opportunity to get to know me as an artist.
Everything from the staging to the decor represented me as both a brand and an artist. I am all about empowering the youth.
The venue was definitely in tune with my vision, offering an urban jazzy vibe.
I am all about bringing people together. Being raised in an African household my family would always use any excuse to have a function so it’s embedded in me. In regards to future events, there is a something is in the works but all will be revealed in due time.
What was the concept behind high fashion as a song and how have you tried to reflect this in the video?
In essence, I was talking about what I liked, I like clothes and how they allow people to express themselves.
For the video, I wanted to come up with something totally different.
With that being said, I always try and get a positive message across so with this video I used it to celebrate black women in the fashion industry and diversity.
Why? As an artist, I have a platform and therefore a duty to put out a positive message.
The song seems to be getting a lot of love from the radio and on Spotify how are you handling the success so far?
Glory to God. I am grateful for the positive feedback, I’ve just got to keep pushing.
I remember the first time I heard my song on the radio. I was at my cousin’s engagement party and it was playing on Capital Xtra. It was great to share that moment with my family. My family is always there to keep me going and heading in the right direction.
How are people responding to the video so far?
Everyone seems to be loving the cleanness and the message, which I am incredibly grateful for. It’s funny because my engineer was gassing up the track but I like to downplay things, so it’s great to have such positive feedback.
Since the song is called high fashion I have to ask what is your favourite item of clothing right now?
Yeezys 500s – not just cos I love Kanye.
You’re in a fire and you can only save one pair of trainers which would you pick and why?
It’s gotta be my McQueens! They look good with everything and have a smart element so they’re a safe option.
Where can your supporters see you live?
I’ll be at a festival in a few weeks and I have a show on the 28th and on the 29th.
Any final shoutouts or plugs?
A lot more music is coming, follow me on the socials @TopsMafioso on everything.