10 Questions

‘Raising the bar for hip-hop in Flanders is very low

With a third release in less than a year does TheColorGrey a roll to the title of ‘hardest working Antweirpeneer in hip hop’. ‘For what it’s worth’ combines soul, jazz, and unbridled devotion.

Yo guys, so I’m from Antwerp, montreux. So that means … That I also just annoying to be hit, they are.’ Delusions of grandeur and to play in one ademstoot: TheColorGrey …

Yo guys, so I’m from Antwerp, montreux. So that means … That I also just annoying to be hit, they are.’ Delusions of grandeur and to play in one ademstoot: TheColorGrey can. The 23-year-old Will Michiels stated in Trix his new ep For what it’s worth . After In between phases (even an ep) and debut album Rebelation his third litter in less than a year’s time. Michiels produces so, um, rap.

“And yet, I don’t feel that I am very hard work,” he said backstage after the show. “I do, however, everything yourself: my beats, my raps, my vocals, the recording and the mixing. But it goes without saying: I produce trays full of demos, and if there is a release arrives, I work the best.”

Nonetheless betrays the high pace him: both Phases as Worth sounds less finished than Rebelation – a debut that bulkte of the radiowaardige rap and r&b. That also gives Michiels. In Rebelation is also more story. That ep’s turning rather to the vibes, and I also want to arranged a new material, to be in the attention to continue. But I have planned this year, one ep, and then to focus on my next album. That must be down to the last detail.’

Still, Michiels’ new material in the taste of Trix. As the swinging ‘The thirst’, which he grinning Instagram-flirting outlines. ‘I ain’t got a clue/ if she ever heard or TheColor/ but she must have seen the blue tick/ next to my name, so she wonders’. “I do notice that women react differently if I give them a message send, since there is a blue verified-check mark next to my name,” says Michiels. ‘Previously, they would not respond, but now they seem to think: tiens, that guy is exactly known. But for the sake of clarity: it’s not that I constantly girls is chasing after. My friends know that I am in my songs, their stories tell.’

Prince

Live Michiels supported by a five-piece band led by guitarist Niel Soetaert. A rarity in hip hop, where tours are often inexpensive to be kept around to draw with just a dj or a tape. The effect: the band funkt that the pellets performance fly, and with rake gitaarsalvo know Soetaert ‘Silence speaks’, and especially the dope ‘Wide awake in 2K’, an additional groove. “This was our first show with the band – in the past I worked also with a dj,” says Michiels. “But my songs are full of soul and jazz, and take care of live instruments for an added dimension. Just look at Anderson Paak, D’angelo, Prince: all my heroes played with a live band.’

TheColorGrey measure is a international sound: Michiels has the dope flows from a J. Cole (‘On-lock’) but hangs just like the soft spoken r&b-slijmer à la Miguel (‘Need to know’). Thanks to a nimble voice. “I rap since I was nine, but have only two years that I can also sing. In the past I was looking for this guest, but I snapped off again on their style – or more usually, on their English accent. They could not bring it as I wanted to, and so I do it now itself.’

That severity for his colleagues, it seeps over into other tacks. ‘It seems in Flanders ain’t no real niggas allowed’, sounds in ‘Two sides to every coin’. “Without arrogant to want to do: I think that in the written press and the radio in Flanders not many people with real knowledge of hip-hop. Because I still see artists who are bigger than I am, but a worse accent have nothing to write or just can’t rap. And no, I am not going to name names, but it is just so. I understand it: Belgium has no comprehensive frame of reference for hip-hop. But the result is that the bar for hip-hop here is very, very low. The radio’s want to keep up with the hype, and so they find everything with a beat is good enough for the playlist.’

A professional footballer

Elsewhere combines TheColorGrey that save with ointments: the jazzy ‘On & On’ cross community to a heart under the belt and keeps them at the same time, a mirror. “If you are my color, you get just less opportunities. That rap I: “the ones in office don’t care about us … but still for us to vote”. That works demotivating – as a teenager I was also a hangjongere. But I add also like to add: “there’s always people watching/ either the cops or the youth”. That means: be aware of the fact that young guests look at you and maybe the wrong example to follow. To say nothing of the police: it starts with the policeman, but you don’t know where it ends. You need to realize what you’re doing.’

Of itself seems Michiels finally damn well know. His studies journalism was already after a half year at the willows and for his career as a professional footballer – he was under contract with Westerlo – he seemed to be ‘just too lazy’. But now he shakes the radiojazz of ‘On & on’, the glijerige soul of ‘Blackberry’ and the genuine club banger ‘Jamaica’ all with the same dedication from his sleeve. Where a lot of Flemish rappers but one nail to knock, TheColorGrey an entire toolbox. You had your Instagram DM’s already checked.

TheColorGrey (****), seen in Trix, Antwerp, on 29/3. Also on 5/4 at Vooruit, Ghent, 7/4 at Botanique, Brussels, 23/4 in het Depot, Leuven and 29/6 at Couleur Café in Brussels.

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