I watch a lot of British rap music videos and freestyles on the internet. They make up enough of my viewing that the suggested videos section on YouTube is almost always filled with some strain of British rap, often hosted on channels like GRM Daily or SBTV. That’s how I first encountered British rapper and singer Ramz’ “Barking,” which, at the time of writing, has reached No. 4 on the UK singles chart, sitting above big name pop artists like Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, and Selena Gomez.
The video (now sitting at over 14 million views) was released in September and the single officially came out at the beginning of December. “Barking” didn’t connect with me immediately though—for one, it takes over a minute for the music to start in the video—but I found myself returning to the song and humming the hook over and over. Plus, Ramz has the kind of personality that’s easy to get behind, from the way he presents himself in the video to the fact that he recorded “Barking” with a friend at university. At the end of this day, this is a song about meeting up with a girl, and, as Ramz explained in an interview with GRM Daily, it’s very much based on real life.
“With this, it was more or less a freestyle; I was with my friend, bare in mind I was at Uni these times and he lived below me. He asked me what type of music I wanted to make if I was looking to do this music thing properly. I said afro-rap like a bashment kind of sound and he just put on a MoStack type, J Hus beat and I just started freestyling about what I did on the weekend and obviously it was me linking my ting [laughs].”
“Barking” isn’t Ramz first song, but it’s by far his biggest moment yet, and he’s poised to make a real impact in 2018. Listen below and check out his latest, a remix of Raye’s “Decline,” too.