GET TO KNOW - VITAMIN G
"...everyone was like, ‘you know you’re actually quite good’ so I was like you know what, I'm just gonna carry on doing it...'
Through hard bars and steezy wordplay, Vitamin G is making his name apparent throughout the UK, we caught up with him to find out more about the Cambridge based hiphop artist.
Vitamin G, aka Harley Offei Godfrey, sticks to his roots of London as he tells us where he comes from: “I’m originally from Edgware, in North London, that’s where I was born, and then I moved to Watford for like a couple of years. We lived in some shitty areas man, my mum grafted to move up to Cambridge, Bridge City innit, break it down from Cam and Bridge so we call it Bridge City, and that’s where I pretty much grew up and learned to spit, yeah man I’m from Bridge City.”
Harley then went on to say how his rap name originates from a mash up: “It’s a pretty funny story to be fair, I didn’t even come up with it. I was going to be called something basic like Harley OG cos my names Harley Offei Godfrey, so the initials breakdown into OG.
I was gonna go with that, I was mash up with my mates one time, I must’ve been about 16/17, and my mate Ben, big up Ben, it was like 6 in in the morning and we were all just mashed. I was spitting, freestyling, just spraying writtens all night, then he was like, you know what? He just comes out with this random pearl of wisdom, like you know what I’ve got the sickest rap name for you! I was like yeah go on then Ben what is it, Vitamin G! Was like what yo, I’m using that. Big up Ben for that man.”
"But then discovered like, marijuana and shit like that..."
From football to petty beefs, Harley told me about how rapping came into his life: “That’s another funny story as well man. I mean I’ve always loved hiphop, grime, rap and that artform of rap itself. I was always into it but I was always well into football, I used to play for Cambridge United for a little bit, so I thought that’s where I was going to go, like what road I was going to go down.
But then discovered like, marijuana and shit like that and got less and less dedicated to that. You know like them ones back in the day when like the whole year would be in the assembly. My mate and my mate dissed me in front of my whole year with like 5 of my other mates on stage, like some petty little beef back in the day. But I’ve gone home and wrote a 3 minute diss track to hit them up, like Tupac, they’re all my mates but like, back in the day it was a big beef, looking back on it it’s hilarious. So I wrote this diss track and cussed them all down, sent it round to like 3 different schools, it circulated around Cambridge and everyone was like, ‘you know you’re actually quite good’ so I was like you know what, Im just gonna carry on doing it.”
He then went on to say how producing fell into his path by his mates back in Cambridge: “Producing has always interested me, I think I’ve been doing it for 2 or 3 years. Me and my mate Max, who’s called Buds, you should check him out he’s a sick rapper as well. My boy Max Judds, and Twiggz as well, my mate Twiggz, he’s a rapper and all, from Bridge City. He’s where I first recorded, ever recorded a vocal, and I’ve always watched him make beats and shit, and he was just like get Logic man. Then me and Max managed to get a cracked version of Logic, and I’ve just been pretty much learning it off him. But now I’m living with like Wundrop and Kemastry, it’s a mad yard, mad productive.”
On talk of Wundrop and Kemastry, Harley told me how he got introduced to the Yogocop crew: “That was through Harvs and KLB, they’re from Cambridge as well. They brought me through to a show at, what’s it called, Slipjam at the Prince Albert, at the last one they ever did. I went to that about three years ago and met all the Yogo donnies there and then thought fuck it I’m gonna roll with these man, cos these lot know what they’re doing. Proper talented, diverse bunch of MCs, producers and DJs man I rate it highly.”
In a house hold full of talented MCs, the heat Harley is cooking up is highly anticipated: “Yeah man some of the shit me, Kem and Wundrop are coming with, mate you’re not ready for it. We’re called The Compound, cos all of our names are kinda scientific, there’s a scientific based theme behind the name. You’ll probably hear some tunes drop soon, we've made bare.”
Live performances is crucial to getting your name out there, Harley told me about his first experiences doing live shows: “Must’ve been when I was like, it’s not even live sets, just open mics, just hopping on a mic. First ever set I got, it was on my boys’ Twigs’ set, I didn’t actually have my own solo set with any one else. I just kinda jumped on his set in Cambridge in a place called The Junction when I was about 17/18, a good - I don’t even know I’m shit at maths - but yeah a couple years ago now.”
"I bare used to go to a lot of free parties and shit, I'm still partial to drum and bass and jungle and that."
Harley then went to talk about the genres he’s listening to at the moment: “Obviously grime man, I grew up on that shit. I like all the new trap sorta shit, some of the American trap and that I don’t rate the lyrics, but the beats are so banging I rate them. I bare used to go to a lot of free parties and shit, I’m still partial to drum and bass and jungle and that. Like a bit of reggae, dancehall, everything really. If I like it I like it.”
R&R Records are a hiphop based record label in Leeds, Harley continued to talk about his involvement with them: “I don’t know if you know a producer called Jack CC, he’s got quite a big following on Soundcloud you should check him out man. They’ve got this thing called R&R records, and I’ve been rolling with them. Me and Verbz went out to Budapest in December with them man, they had a set and put us on. So me and Verbz managed to do a set out there in Budapest, Hungary, so it was large, big up Jack for that man. (We were out there for) like 4 days, pretty rare place not gonna lie, we got into some madness out there, it was jokes.”
With his upcoming project is still under works, he told me about his plans for this year: “For the rest of the year just gonna keep smashing the work out man. I need to get my solo, self-produced EP mastered, and still waiting on a couple of features from a couple of heads like Verbz, he’s a long guy to wait for. Then Kemo and Wundrop as well, they’re also long even though I live with them, but I’ll manage to get that.
There’s no release date or anything for it yet but I’ve shot a video for one of the tunes. I’ve got another one lined up, I need to speak to the guy, he did say at the end of January, but yeah it’s now February, just need to get in contact with him and get the ball rolling.”
Before we know it summer will be on our doorstep and Harley has got big plans for when it comes: “Hopefully festivals man, haven’t got the Ps to be buying festival tickets anymore. I love festivals man, I mean I probably will go to Boomtown and shit again, cos it’s like tradition. All my mates go to it, it’s gotta be done. Me and Harvs played there last year.”
He then went on to talk about his Boomtown experience: “We played up in the Old Town as well, that was hard. That’s one of the livest sets I’ve probably done, I literally didn’t sleep when I did that set, I had an hours sleep from that set to the next set, my voice just wasn’t there. I could barely spit, I went in as hard as I could, but I was just sounding mad croaky and wheezy, but you live and learn.”
When it comes to making beats or writing music, every artist has a different approach: “Personal experiences man like, I don’t know it depends how I’m approaching a track. A lot of my bars are just like, bars innit. Some of them, certain lyrics and certain tunes that I’ve wrote, have a more sentimental vibe about them, but then there’s other tunes that are just straight bars, do you know what I mean?
I don’t know sometimes my verses are one word, I’ll hear a word that I think sounds cool, and just mould it around that, try and derive a context out of it. Then like I said before sometimes I just try and put how I’m feeling on the paper. Then with beats, it’s like, that’s kinda different, you get inspired by a number of things like a sound, a sample, anything man like, the drum beat itself, whatever really.”
Be sure to listen out for Vitamin G and The Compound this year, we are not ready for what they're cooking!!
Big up Harley and everyone supporting!!
February 3rd 2018