Updated: Jul 1
[From L - R : Ranbir, Rugema and ATMA]
It's not often we get amazing groups in the UK urban music scene so we had to put you onto such an epic introduction to Rugby-based Hip Hop Trio 2U4U who set the pace this year with a stunning golden era style of music. High School is a soundtrack with members demonstrating lyrical conscious energy, obscure, firm hip hop production inspired by the eternal sounds of producers Kanye West and Timbaland.
The single also features soulful singer Michael Bird and bases its centre on the groups upbringing and life memories as well as inserting a deeper look into this formation of the group, music reception Majelland what else they have in store, The three-man triple talent squad who've had features on Dummy Mag, XL Play and 405 with receiving applause for their singles like Kings of Africa (Tell Me) , Marjella and notable covers such as Mar produced by J. Dilla. 2U4U detail more.
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1. 2U4U welcome guys, you three premiered your latest track ‘High School’ highlighting the foundation of hip hop with storytelling and distinct flows. Could it break it down for new listeners? ATMA: Just good soulful hip hop, with crisp percussion, and dope rhyming. Rugema: This song is a nostalgic track highlighting three special relationships in my life, including my girlfriend, my Mum and fellow 2U4U member ATMA. I talk about how they’ve influenced my life and express my gratitude to them.
Ranbir: I love this joint, man. I sat this one out, my brother did his thing on the production side of things, and Rugema came through really nice with the raps, as did Michael on the vox.
2. It’s refreshing to hear more Hip-Hop trios in recent years. You guys brought in Michael Bird on the track with some serious soul essence. How was the union when it came to fusing your sounds together, did you have studio sessions too? Rugema: Yeah, we’ve known Michael for a while. I moved to Birmingham briefly back in 2019 and his NeighbourHD live music night in Digbeth allowed me to hear him sing for the first time. His voice was amazing and so were many of the other musicians that I met there, some of whom played on this track. Shout out to James from Odd Soul!
ATMA: It’s always a pleasure to collaborate with the family on this 2U4U journey. Personally, I’ve been working with My Rugema for well over a decade now so when we all come together it’s always just fun, especially when we record the vocals. As far as influences are concerned there were definitely a few I always have in mind. For this joint, though I purposely wanted to capture the Kanye College DropOut - Late Registration vibe with the joint, hence why it’s called High School I really wanted to nail that crisp soulful sound! Had a little ode to Timbaland too at the very end with how I switched up the drum programming too, often in music, you’ll just hear drum loops running through, felt that little touches/nuances would be nice - which was exactly what Timbaland used to do back in the day.
3. Now ATMA, you bring the production magic to the group, what was it like working on the track with the others. Did you draw from any Hip Hop producer influences for the track?
ATMA: Well me and My Rugema used to make music just to see for fun to see where it’d take us, but my brother Ranbir has been doing it long before us, and he’s also a producer for the crew, so it was only natural that eventually, we’d end up doing stuff together. As far as rap artists that I listened it was only the American producers that I was inspired by and continued to be aspired by, the likes of J Dilla, Kanye, Dre, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Madlib, Nottz - until this day I’m enamoured from the music they created.
4. On the verge to be a big sound soon, it’s rare we see acts like yourselves, growing up in Rugby, what was the groundwork like within creating your sound as a group, did you listen to a lot of artists growing up and what’s the dynamic like working together as a trio?
ATMA: Yeah, I listened to everything really but liked anything that was dark, dope and nice - a bit like the place where we’re from!
Rugema: Like ATMA said, we met in school (hence High School) and just started sharing tons of music with each other. We initially wanted to be a production duo as I was doing beats back then too. Our sound was formed through a love of hip-hop, jazz and soul. I’m sure Ranbir can touch on that further in terms of how he influenced us with his knowledge of music.
Ranbir: Yeah, we were immersed in music since our childhood really my brother and I, and also our youngest brother who plays classical Indian instrumentation. We mainly grew up listening to Michael Jackson joints, the Quincy era really, and then just stumbled onto rap - from radio actually, when Westwood did his Friday night rap show on BBC1 (large) - and then from there, just researched what made rap what it was, and to some extent still is, with the heavy jazz influence, the emphasis on the drummer, and all that. From there, we just listened and listened to all the greats, and that’s who we’re inspired by so that’s the kind of shit we’re going to make, you feel me? We have our sound that we love and that’s it for us!
5. You’ve been at work this year with music covering wide radio spins, new material is also in the works with your upcoming EP. What three words would you describe this project as, and what do you hope the listeners capture sound wise?
ATMA: Fans can look forward to the album we’ve been working on before and during this pandemic, the music is the heart for us, so in each song, there’s always something going on, with a keen ear y’all will be able to enjoy some good shit. Rugema: Moody, melodic, concise.
Ranbir: “We hope that you will find our presentation precise, bass-heavy and just right.”
6. To finish it all off, what can your supporters watch out for in the new year and are there any other projects or live performers coming up?
ATMA: More dope shit to be honest. Rugema: We’re exploring releasing our EP on the blockchain as well as traditionally. We want to use this release method to get the fans involved with our success and be able to fund a tour country-wide and maybe even internationally.
Ranbir: Hmm, hopefully way more new music, on a more regular basis, both as a group and our solo shit too.