Life & Culture

Master Peace, South London’s Reigning Alt-Punk-Surf Rap Star

The 19-year-old tells Ben Perdue about the pressures of growing up in south London, and connecting with King Krule over an out-of-date sandwich

Taking the musical road less travelled from grime to indie, Master Peace’s massive following pays tribute to the radical talent of a 19-year-old who only just released his debut track, Night Time. Coming up through radio sets and Soundcloud, his genre-agnostic style has as much in common with The Cure as it does American rapper Trippie Redd, thanks to the influence of his brother’s trap collection and what his mum played on the radio. Everything is relevant, so long as it’s relatable.

From the set of his shoot for the A/W19 issue of Another Man he reflects on the pressures of growing up in south London, connecting with King Krule over an out-of-date sandwich, and how Phil Collins helped shape his sound.

“They got me wearing some posh clothes today! Got me looking bare like clean, innit. Seems like in the music scene, and just like growing up, everyone wants to have expensive clothes and stuff. Whereas me, I’m very simple. I don’t really want any of that. So, I’m very away from all the big label garms. I just want people to be happy being themselves instead of having to force an image.

“At school I never had the latest clothes and gadgets, and people used to take the piss out of me for that reason. So, it’s always been in my head that man don’t like me for me just being myself. Because I don’t wear this, or act like that. Especially coming from south London, where everybody judges you on appearance and how you look. If you’re not wearing the latest Air Forces you’re a wasteman.

“For people to relate to what you do, you’ve got to give them your truth, not theirs. It’s like that King Krule song, Easy, Easy. He talks about spending the last of his money on a sandwich from Tesco, and it ends up being out of date. It’s like, what the hell? And that’s one of his biggest tunes. There’s so much shit going on. Talking about being broke and having to do stuff just to survive. But it’s such an upbeat, happy song. And you think, oh my God, he was really going through this! Yet he’s happy about it. And that’s exactly what it feels like to live in London, this is what it is. He’s explaining his journey, and what’s going down every day in south-east Peckham.

“I find it all so fascinating, because you have to connect. There is always someone in the world that’s gone through what you’re going through, or worse. So yeah, you can talk about when you bought a sandwich and it tasted like crap, because someone out there will relate to that. Maybe they had no money and had to steal from Tesco. 

“You’ve got to relate to everyone else. 100 per cent. It’s the same with the people who influenced me. Nirvana had relatable music. Fleetwood Mac had relatable music. Phil Collins had relatable music. And that’s why we still sing the songs that they made.”

GROOMING Mark Hampton at Julian Watson Agency using L’Oréal Professionnel & MAC Cosmetic HAIR COLOURIST Harriet Muldoon at Larry King Salon SET DESIGN Paulina Piipponen PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSISTANT Stewart Capper STYLING ASSISTANT Fergus O’Reilly HAIR AND MAKE UP ASSISTANT Mizuki Kida

A version of this article appeared in the A/W19 issue of Another Man.