As a teenager Tyronne Hill (better known as Kid Bookie) felt like he couldn’t listen to rock music. Despite growing up immersed in his dad’s Nirvana records and sister’s pop-punk playlists, and originally playing in a “Sugarcult ripoff” band, at school he felt like an outcast.
“School moulds you into a character you don’t want to be,” he begins, visibly charged. “I moulded my shape to fit everyone else’s narrative to be the fuckin’ south London hood rat, yet I’ve no idea why.”
But he couldn’t betray who he really was. His experience of trying to conform, and eventual rebellion against fitting in, informs the music of Kid Bookie. Sure, he loved hip-hop – especially Eminem – but was always drawn to the culture he tried to suppress, and it’s this fusing of two sounds of the underground that inspires him the most.
“I’m not trying to keep up with trends or be popular. I’m not here for the party, I’m here to make the party. It’s evolve or die,” he says emphatically. “I’m not trying to throw shit at a wall and see if it sticks, I have a canvas and I know what colour paint I like, so I’ll mix them together and see where it goes. I don’t care if you buy it because I never came to sell anything.”
And that is Bookie’s mantra. He’s not here to get rich, explaining that it’s about challenging himself and the listener, ruminating on life, death, happiness and more existential crises that keep a 30-year-old awake at night. Last year, Bookie’s boundary-expanding music earned him a MOBO nomination for Best Alternative Music Act. Surreally, Corey Taylor was the first person to congratulate him, having collaborated on each other’s records.