Kid Bookie: “I don’t care if you buy it because I never came to sell anything”

He was nominated for a MOBO and is pals with Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. But Tyronne Hill – aka Kid Bookie – isn’t here for accolades. He’s here to change the game for himself…

Kid Bookie: “I don’t care if you buy it because I never came to sell anything”
Luke Morton
Derek Bremner

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.

Speaking to Bookie about what’s to come, more collaborations are in order, involving some huge artists we’re not allowed to reveal. Hard at work on the follow-up to 2021’s Cheaper Than Therapy, he has “gone even more weird” and started to embrace vocal harmonies. “I’m not going to be ‘rapper boy Kid Bookie’, that’s not my narrative – it’s other people’s,” he explains.

Spending time in Bookie’s company it’s impossible not to be drawn in by his bravado, forever backing himself, all with a motormouth delivery that finds odd, whimsical tangents but ultimately reverts back to artistic integrity.

“[My music] is organic, man. It’s from the ground up. It’s built on fucking mud and it’s pure learning,” he surmises. “Sometimes we’re dancing for the industry to see us, but you need to do a dance the world wants to keep dancing to. That’s what I can offer.

“I get people’s instant perception of me, but go beyond your mind and give my thesis a chance. It’s way deeper than trying to be a moment. I don’t want to be a wave that crashes on the shore, I’m trying to be the fucking ocean.”

Kid Bookie plays Download Festival in June. This article originally appeared in the spring issue of the magazine.

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