The Smiths. The Stone Roses. Oasis. Think of Manchester, and you think of guitar music. The six strings have dominated the city’s music scene for so long that any budding artist from the area could be forgiven for thinking that an ability to knock out a few chords was part of the entrance exam.

Not so for Moston-based 19-year-old rapper Aitch, however, whose skip-stop flow and catchy rhymes are proving more than enough to cause a ruckus in the North West and beyond. Having already supported the likes of Wiley and Cadet (RIP) on their respective UK tours, the straight-talking United fan is on a mission to show that not only are there MCs in Manchester, but that they’re every bit as good as those from the South.

Aitch, can you tell us about the area you grew up in? Was it very much music and football that were the two biggest things for people to latch onto?

Yeah, 100 percent. I grew up in Moston, north Manchester. To be quite honest, there’s not that many MC’s from Moston. Maybe there’s one or two, but realistically it’s football. Especially for the mandem, football is the way forward really. If not it looks like we’re going to college.

We heard that Chip’s been a big influence for you. What was it about his music that drew you in?

I think I took a liking to Chip when I was younger because he was young as well, and I thought rah, my man is just young, doing his thing. And I think that was what influenced me to try my thing, like, I can do that. So yeah, big up Chip.

And what about football? Can you describe the era that you grew up in as a Man United fan?

As a United fan, childhood was great. Man weren’t losing, man was winning titles and all of that good stuff, you get me. Recently it’s not been great but the lads will get back on track this year I’m sure of it.

Which players stood out for you and what was it about them?

Back then I would say my two favourite players were Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney, just because they were two certified English mans ready to ball. But right now, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. They’re my guys.


Do you remember getting your first football shirt?

The funny thing is, when I was really young, I really wanted a certain Chelsea shirt, because it was yellow and I liked the kit, but my dad wouldn’t let me have it. So my first one was United, I don’t actually remember which one, and then an England one.

Manchester is a city of two tribes: red and blue. You’re obviously red. Is the City v United rivalry big with your mates and your family?

Yeah, there’s a little war between us. Realistically most of the mandem are actually Man City fans. There’s like me and three or four others who are United and the rest are City. For my family, I would say it’s 50-50, one side United, one side City.

You’ve had a big year. What’s it been like as an experience?

Crazy, this year has been mad. This has been a life-changing year for me and we’re looking to do the same thing again but multiplied by 10 next year.

How much hard work has it taken to get to where you are now?

We was working all the time. Driving up to London every week, manager’s car breaking down because the car was too warm, you know them things, engine’s gone. But yeah, we put in massive work. It was hard, especially coming down to London all the time from Manchester, up and down 24/7. But it was definitely worth it, 100 percent.

What would you say are the key ingredients needed to break through in music?

First and foremost you need the right team around you, the right people around you. Not even just your music team, but you need your friends and good energies around you, full stop. And be yourself. No one can say anything to you if you’re being yourself.

How do you stay level-headed as your profile grows more and more and people are telling you such positive things all the time?

I don’t know, it’s just natural. I feel like I’m just like this anyway, I just go with the flow and take it all on the chin and just keep it moving.

Does it feel good to break the mould of the London music scene, especially being from Manchester?

Definitely. It seems like I’m the slightly different one compared to everyone in terms of the sound and the way I talk and stuff, but I like it. You get me, it’s something fresh for everyone.

Manchester is synonymous with Oasis and guitar music. Is there a new wave and a new sound coming through?

Yeah, 100 percent. Manchester music is about to take over very soon. If it’s not this year it’s going to be next year. You’re going to see a ton of artists floating about. It’s already breaking through now, it’s just a matter of time.

What would you say is the main difference between music that comes out of the North and music that comes out of the South?

The main difference is obviously people’s accents. But I would also say that up north we do things a little bit differently. I think everyone just does them, not following no trend, and whatever happens, happens.


In your eyes, what does Manchester stand for?

It stands for authenticity, braveness. And yeah man, being strong init. I feel like we are a strong city and independent and we stand on our own, you know what I’m saying.

Bugzy Malone has labelled himself King of the North. How big of an influence has he been for you?

Massive influence. I was a massive fan growing up and now I have a song with him. Big up Bugzy one million times definitely.

What was it like to find out that someone like him was listening to your music?

To be honest I knew he liked my music because he shared it even before I knew him. It’s good to see that all this is happening within a year. He’s the person I grew up listening to, and then I just blew up and within a year I’ve got a tune with him, which is just sick.

You were involved in Man United’s away kit launch. Do you take that as a sign of how big an audience your music is reaching?

Yeah, but I also think that I’m the right man for the job. I think I represent Manchester well and obviously I’m a United fan, so I feel that was a perfect match for the whole thing.


You also played at a gig where PUMA launched the new Man City kit. Have you had brands or clubs fighting over you to claim you as a fan of theirs?

Yeah, that’s another little war. There’s a little war going on for Aitch. But I’m here man, I’m civil, I keep it civil with everyone.

You’re sticking with United though?

I keep it where the heart is. They’re my guys, United are my guys. My dad’s a United fan. You’ve just got to stick to your gut.

Speaking of gigs, how much do you enjoy performing on stage?

It’s my favourite part. I think it’s so sick to hear people sing back the lyrics that I wrote on my phone. That’s definitely my favourite part.

You’re out there confidently making music that is truly yours. How much do you want to stand out as an artist?

I just want to be known as that guy who isn’t from London coming to take over. I’m in my own lane and concentrating on my own thing. I just feel like I’ve got my own section waiting for me and I feel like I’m about to go and take over my section and stay there.

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

I would describe it as “Manchesterised”. That’s not even a word but we’re going to make it a word. Litness, fun and bangers. [Laughs]

Looking forward, what are your aims for the rest of the year?

To be honest, I didn’t know that all of this stuff would happen so fast, so a lot of the targets I set have already been completed. For the rest of the year I pray the EP does what I want it to do. I want the EP to do numbers, and then I just want to keep making sick music and keep giving everyone vibes. And make sure everyone keeps their eye on me, because next year I’m ready to ultimately take over.


Read the full interview with Aitch in SoccerBible Magazine Issue 13. Pick up a copy here.

Photography by Daniel Cheetham for SoccerBible.