Independent Artist of the Week: Ello. C & Dxvndre
June 15th 2022
Boom bap is back with the new collaboration between local veteran Ello. C and rising wordsmith Dxvndre. The duo are FBi Radio’s Independent Artists of the Week, and Dxnvdre stopped by the studio on Monday to chat with Lill Scott on Up For It! about their new EP IRON SHARPENS IRON. The debut release was forged over the last 2 years through an organic collaboration:
We recorded the track maybe 2 years ago… We had that track in the bank and thought ‘why don’t we make a full tape?’. Being a solo artist we obviously had our own crafts and our own work to put in. I’d say in the past couple of months, even since the start of this year, we really pushed for it. So we were sending verses back and forth, doing live video chats.
Ello. C and Dxvndre don’t do anything by halves, and the collaborative process was about mutual appreciation and pushing each other as artists:
I wouldn’t call it friendly competition. The title speaks for itself. “Iron sharpens iron” I used to always say to him, because he’s such a big inspiration to me with what he’s done with the music scene.
The three tracks that comprise IRON SHARPENS IRON feature Ello. C and Dxvndre trading brooding verses over vocal and string samples and gritty boom bap drums. With reference to conscious-rap greats like Big L and Biggie, a personal, introspective and authentic element is present throughout the duo’s work:
‘Mirrors’ is a reflection of yourself. In the hook I say “are you your best friend or your worst enemy”. For me personally, I can love myself one day and be so self-critical the next, it’s just a constant battle with yourself and trying to better yourself with whatever you’ve got.
If this release is any indication, there’s plenty more inwards-looking raw boom bap to come. But don’t be fooled – the emphasis on the personal doesn’t blunt the duo’s fiery live presence. There’s confidence, there’s swagger and there’s charm, and you can catch it at Ello. C and Dxvndre’s show at the Factory Theatre for Hostile Takeover 2 on 9 July, and supporting Timba and The Peeps on 16 July. Have a listen to Dxvndre’s chat with Lill Scott up top, and have a listen to IRON SHARPENS IRON below.