Chiedu Oraka

Award: MOBO Help Musicians Fund

Year: 2020

Genre: Hip-hop/rap

Instrument/voice type: MC

Location: Yorkshire

My music is the sound of a new working-class Northern England. Cutting my own lane in UK black music I captivate my audience by telling the untold story of what it means growing up black on a Yorkshire council estate. Rapping with my broad northern accent I like to give my listeners the experience of Hull’s street and party culture.

All from my homemade studio, my sound is turning heads and receiving many spins from BBC Radio 1’s former tastemaker Toddla T and BBC 1Xtra’s Sian Anderson. Grime tastemaker Sir Spyro invited me onto his show for his Grime on Tour feature where I received Man of the Match from my rival spitters.

My freestyle ‘Helly Hansen 3’ was premiered on Radio 1 by Toddla T and added to the Grime shutdown playlist on Spotify and my single ‘Darcy’ has over 3M streams and sat on Grime Shutdown for over 309 days. The Streets Mike Skinner is a big fan also, spinning it on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show with press features including The Guardian, i-D, BBC Newsbeat, The Quietus, GRM Daily, Mixtape Madness, RWD mag and Clash mag.

So why do I do this?

The name “The Black Yorkshire Man” to me represents being the underdog, pride in being black and epitomises the empowerment of people's differences. This is the reason I make music and this next chapter is going to start elevating this message.

Growing up on the roughest council estate in Hull, I was the only black kid in my area and with no brother or father I had to fend for myself. I was targeted, ridiculed which made me embarrassed of my Nigerian heritage.

As I got older I got myself into constant trouble with the authorities and ended up in jail. My mum never gave up on me and forced me to go to university where I turned my life around and got my degree.

Today I’ve grown to become a man who holds his heritage and history with pride however, one thing is the same… I still stick out like a sore thumb. I’m a rapper with a northern accent, I still live in the same white area, I stand out and I love it.

I feel proud to say I have created a black music scene in Hull from scratch. Through nurturing and developing producers and DJ’s such as Deezkid (producer of MBB and Darcy) and Joe the Third (resident on one of London’s biggest underground grime radio stations “Mode FM”) I have built my collective Lockdown and independent label “Room 73”.

I have brought names to my city such as Jammer, Manga St Hilare, Devilman and Tempa T. Giving support slots and creating opportunities for up and coming artists, DJ’s
and local venues. I do this to give the local talent a platform, help develop newcomers and create a community for black music.

A lot of this has been showcased in a documentary I will be releasing called “Fabric of Britain” working with London based production company Karmarama.

I am also in the process of releasing a 4-part documentary called “Black Kings Upon Hull '' funded by “Back to Ours” showcasing the black experience outside of the bigger cities.
Ep 1 link - https://youtu.be/KLueAjFwJus

Other Key Achievements:

  • Men Behaving Badly’ & ‘N.H.E’ BBC 1Xtra Introducing Track of the Week
  • Radio 1 spins off Toddla T (MBB, Helly Hansen 3 & War Chant) & Annie Mac (Darcy)
  • 'Men Behaving Badly’ video on GRM Daily (24/09) & Darcy
  • Man of the Match performance on Spyro freestyle 13/09 (Chiedu 1Chiedu 2 & Chiedu 3)
  • MixMag8/10 “MBB boasts genuine originality and one of the catchiest choruses this year” (Chantell Fiddy)
  • Headlined Humberside Street Sesh 2019 & performed at BBC Big Weekender 2017
  • Supported Stormzy, Jaykae, Akala, Novelist, Krs One, Mo Stack & Poundz
  • Only official UK remix of 2019s biggest viral banger, Blueface’s ‘Thotiana’
  • Single War Chant (produced by Majestic) in music week's “Black Music Chart” for over 8 weeks peaking at number 2Supported by BBC R1, 1Xtra, 3, 4 & 6 Music
 
Now I have the support from The MOBO Help Musicians Fund I will be able to go ahead with my planned project for 2021. For my project I am working on a 5 single EP called “Ave Life” to kick start the New Year with the focus centred around new and innovative ways to take my visual content to the next level and expand my digital fan base.
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