The Switch Sits Down With Yizzy to Talk New Single 'Thierry Henry', Grime's Relationship With Footba

2020 has been a good year for Yizzy. The Brockley-born MC released his explosive Prince of Grime Freestyles Part 1 and Part 2  - where he called out half the grime scene - and also dropped ‘Only One’, an exclusive single for the soundtrack for EA Sports’ ‘UFC 4’.

Earlier this week the self-styled ‘Prince of Grime’ released his new single and video ‘Thierry Henry’; the first release from his newly-formed label RTL. Inspired by the legendary Arsenal and France baller, ‘Thierry Henry’ is interwoven with Gunner references and football-laden bars. The track combines witty lyrics and notoriously slick production - both of which have become commonplace for the south London artist.

Some of the video was shot in The Emirates - was the aim to work with Arsenal on the video?

Being an Arsenal fan I’ve always wanted to work with Arsenal as much as I can and one of the things I said to my manager - even with Manchester United today announcing the away new kits, some of the rappers they’ve announced it with was Dutch and Aitch - there wasn’t necessarily a spokesperson like that for Arsenal that they would call upon to do kit announcements and collaborate with. So I was like ‘oh, I’m an Arsenal fan, I like Arsenal, maybe that could be me?’

At the time I was getting quite a few messages saying ‘Yizz we love your bars but you never talk about football’ or ‘you talk about football but not in your lyrics, what’s going on?’ So I thought, you know what? I’m going to save up all my best football lyrics and put them in one song. And that’s how Thierry Henry came about.

So would you like to become to Arsenal what AJ Tracey is to Tottenham? Do you want to be known at the Arsenal grime MC?

For me it’s more than that. I want to be more like what Aitch is to United. Being a similar age as well and obviously Aitch originally came from a grime background and kind of making his way through the different genres and obstacles. I think that’s much more of a fair comparison. Because it’s like who would have thought that him at 19/20, like me, would be announcing the third Manchester United kit in the main adidas promo video? Come on, that’s incredible. 

You’re rocking the Arsenal away kit in the video - what have you made of the kits this season?

I think they’re sick to be fair. I genuinely think we have some of the best kit designers out there, and I feel like every season we’re consistent with the level of kit that we’re producing; which I’m really happy about. The only other team that I think has better kits than us this season, and everyone would probably agree, is PSG. PSG just came out and did a madness. 

Football shirts in recent times have become fashionable to wear not just for sporting events and I think PSG have done the opposite. They’ve created fashionable shirts that can be worn for sporting events. They’ve kind of done the reverse, hence why it looks like more of a statement piece than just a football shirt.

The AFTV gang appear in both the video and the lyrics, what’s your relationship with them like?

It’s great - I did an interview with Robbie at YouTube quite a while back and talking and meeting with them was great. Troopz I met last year at the FIFA 20 launch and just stayed in contact with him since. At the time I had a song that was on FIFA 20 called ‘Hustle Hard’ - which was lit. We stayed in contact and when the song came about - Thierry Henry - I had an idea for the chorus in my head, like very much a one line flow old school grimy feel, and I just wanted to include them.

Especially because they come from similar backgrounds to me. Like Robbie, Troopz and the rest of them are just Arsenal fans and come from the ends really and truly. I just felt like I wanted to include them because people that are also from similar backgrounds to me and them would just get it. It’s really just a love and respect thing. For all the work they’ve done and the passion they’ve shown, it was very much a nod to them. A tip of the hat, if you will.