Devlin: "As soon as I was crawling, I had a Spurs shirt on"
16 July 2017|Tottenham Hotspur
Rapper Devlin is loving life on and off the mic at the moment.
On the mic, his latest, critically-acclaimed album ‘The Devil In’ dropped in February and was his highest-charting album to date.
Then, of course, another love of his life - Spurs.
After relishing the football we served up last season, Devlin helped us launch our all-new Nike kit last month, proudly wearing the famous cockerel.
So how did this Dagenham-born musician support Spurs having been brought up right in the middle of West Ham territory?
“My dad (Mo) was a Hackney boy and although that’s east London, it’s all about Tottenham and Arsenal in that neck of the woods,” he explained. “And he dragged us all up in Spurs shirts! As soon as we were crawling around, myself and my brother (Alex) had Spurs shirts on, so it’s always been Spurs for us.
“I took my fair share of stick in Dagenham, for sure! That area is West Ham through and through! I’m a fan for as long as I can remember. As I said, as soon as we were crawling around, we were in Tottenham kits, kicking balls around in the back of the garden. I’ve been Spurs all my life, and I’m 28 now!
“My first memory was against Leeds at White Hart Lane. My dad took me. We drew 1-1. I loved the atmosphere. It was crazy and I was only a little man! I must have been six or seven. The atmosphere was overwhelming and I fell in love with the place.
“These are great times. We’ve a great young squad, the manager has brought them all together and the fact we’re playing great football and up there challenging is brilliant. We’re all loving it right now!”
‘Watch Us Rise’ is the message from our Nike kit launch and how apt for Devlin, considering the rise and rise of his grime genre. Another of grime’s rising stars, AJ Tracey, is a huge Spurs fan who also helped show off our new attire.
Devlin has been around from the start. His first album ‘Bud, Sweat and Tears’ reached 16 in the UK charts back in 2010 and hit Gold status. His single ‘Watchtower’ featured a certain Ed Sheeran and reached number seven back in 2012. He’s also watched his peers like Wiley - another Spurs fan - Stormzy and Tottenham-born Skepta hit the very top.
It’s not been an easy path, but you sense he’s relished the journey.
“For me, no matter what happened, I was going to do my music,” he said. “Skepta was a DJ when I first started listening to him and not many people know that. He’s put nearly 15 years’ hard graft to get to where he is now. It’s about that grit and determination.
“When you are younger no-one really knows who you are and you used to have to fight over the mic in a council flat at two in the morning to try and get your music heard.
“It wasn’t all glitz and glamour, but now it’s nice that we’ve reaped the benefits of that work. We stuck to our guns, didn’t take no for an answer and it’s all good now.
“When I first got a record deal it blew me away. I was 21 when I signed with Island Records. I remember taking the call from my manager and I thought he was winding me up! I didn’t tell anyone. I thought ‘this has got to go sour’ but all that work paid off.
“I’ve never been the most successful artist in my realm, I’ve done well, don’t get me wrong, but there’s an element of respect I get out there and that’s nice and from your peers, that means the most.
“I’m loving life right now - come on you Spurs!”