We chat to the Birmingham-born Grime MC, Dapz on the Map, about his music, touring with Skepta & Kano, plus so much more.
Dapz is far from your average grime artist. He has a philosophy towards his art. He sings, he raps and he raises topics that other artists fear to speak. It’s no surprise that Dapz has already built a loyal following; which is rapidly growing by the day.
Read the full interview with Dapz on the Map below:
We want to know, what put Dapz on the Map?
I think it’s more a case of ‘who’ put Dapz On The Map?
I got my name from my dad. From young, he used to call me Dapper, due to my name being Daniel. I began to Emcee with the name Dapper D. Haha!
I thought I needed something with a ring to it, but after a couple of months, I realised the ‘D’ needed to go & quickly changed my name to Dapz. The On The Map is simply a reminder of where I want to be.
Can you talk us through your journey? Where did it all start?
I’ve been into music from since I can remember, but I would say it fully started for me in 2009.
I used to work for a company called ‘Homeserve’. For my age, at the time, it paid well. My colleagues were friendly, I was a top seller and I would get a lot of perks & incentives; but I still wasn’t happy.
I believe you have to be happy in life, so I left & decided to put everything into this journey of mine.
Just after releasing it, I remember getting a Facebook message from DJ Apostle, who was huge in the Bassline scene at the time. He told me he had heard me on a pirate radio station, called Kriss Fm, and he wanted to work together.
I started recording a few bits with him & eventually ended up leaving the studio I was recording at to work with him full time.
In 2010 he came across the magician Thomas Mellor, a humble producer who kept himself to himself. Apostle introduced us & we’ve all worked together ever since.
Oh My Days is the latest single from Dapz on the Map, which was produced by Thomas Mellor. Watch the video below
What was the inspiration behind Oh My Days?
OMD was a continuation from iSWEAR. I liked that I could be free & create quickly changing melodies rather than always be calculated. I don’t want my sound to be restricted.’ Dapz
What does a typical day look like for Dapz on the Map?
Most days I’ll wake up anytime around 6:30/8.00. I usually have a word with God then get active.
I get dressed & try to eat breakfast, go through my emails & socials, then I speak to my team for hours. Haha.
Nine times out of ten I’ll get a jacket potato around 11.
I try to live a spontaneous life, believe it or not, but if I don’t have anything musically to do, then I’ll usually check for my family & reason about champion settings.
What artists are you currently listening to the most?
I listen to the obvious Grime artist who are killing the scene, but someone who I like, who you probably wouldn’t know, is Dexta Daps. My brothers play him around me all the time & now I’m sucked in.
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Dapz, your work rate is insane, what keeps you going?
It’s love. It’s a passion that I have inside. It’s always been here, but I’ve been scared to embrace my true feelings.
I treat this an art. ‘We’, as artists, can’t be claiming we are artists if we aren’t putting out art, or at least classing it as an art form.
No matter how long it takes; if I’m going to call myself an artist, then I have to move in that fashion.
That feeling of getting it right & listening like ‘yeahhh’ is priceless. I guess that’s what keeps me going.
This led to Dapz’ sold out headline show at Birmingham’s O2 Academy.
What does it feel like to sell out your own headline show?
I’ll never forget Seeing that ‘SOLD OUT’ sign on top of the billboard display & screaming at all the cars in traffic. They must have thought who’s this mad man! Haha.
I’m grateful to have supporters that I can perform over 15 songs from 2011-2016 and they know every word! They get it. Family & friends were there.
My daughter came out & performed MURDAH with me as well, so that was emotional. The first one. I’ll never forget it. Onto the next champion settings
— Dapz OTM (@Dapzonthemap) August 2, 2016
What’s it like be touring with Kano and supporting Skepta?
Coming out first & converting strangers in the crowds into supporters. The whole travel experience. The reason why I decided to take the risk & put on my own headline show…
I’ve learnt you have to be in the live field to understand the trucks to it. Performing is different to recording. It’s a whole new area within itself.
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What’s the number one thing you have learned about the music industry so far?
It’s about being a TRUE artist & not caring if you fit in. I say embrace you & everyone else will follow suit.
What’s the Grime scene like in Birmingham?
Exciting! The infrastructure is building; and, from what I can see it looks like everyone is getting their packages in order and taking their ability seriously.
The talent has always been there amongst us, so it’s great to see that artist from Birmingham are beginning to breakthrough on a UK basis. I’m glad to be part of it.
Is there any new Birmingham artists Londoners should look out for?
Read more: 11 old skool Grime songs you should know
If you were mayor of Birmingham, what would you change?
The Educational system. I don’t think all that they explain to us is needed. I believe we miss most of the important stuff out.
Dapz on the Map – An Interview with Birmingham’s Champion