The identity of Newham-born emcee Fusion (real name Quincy Oyenvga), like most people, is layered and influenced by a number of different factors. Though it was Lord Of The Mics 5 that brought him to the attention of most, it was breakout single ‘Newham’ that defined him as an MC and an artist. Heavily inspired by the East London borough of the same name, ‘Newham’ gave us an honest first-hand look at life in East, warts and all.
After that came a string of well-received bangers steeped in classic grime production, each one marking him out as an MC who doesn’t mince his words. Like a lot of people of colour growing up in areas ignored by the government, Fusion has had an upbringing filled with highs and lows. The recent death of his father, he says, was a particularly traumatic event in his life (“I don’t always like to talk on the matter, but it’s not an old situation”). However, he’s also keen to focus on life’s positives. “Whether it’s London or a different country,” he says, “all areas have the sides to them.”
His music isn’t about glamorising the harsh realities; rather it’s a way to reach the overlooked members of society for whom this is daily life. His song ‘For The Crime’, released in September this year, took a direct swipe at the way young black men are portrayed in the media. It’s an issue that’s close to his heart, too. But, Fusion remains focused on changing the problem, rather than simply lamenting it. “There’s a lot to be discussed,” he adds, “but what’s more important is what’s going to change?” One of the more positive and consistent influences on his identity is his Nigerian heritage. “True say we are loud and love to express,” he jokes. “I just do this through the music. My country has great musicians, some of the world’s best if you ask me. I listen to Fela all the time. My upbringing opened up my eyes and made me sharper than I was supposed to be, I saw a lot, but it’s good though because I’ve got a lot to write about.”
His Nigerian heritage, his working-class background, classic grime tropes and the often damaging gaze of the media have all come together to create the MC that stands before us today. The one thing that ties all of this together, however, is his almost caustic levels of honesty when it comes to his journey so far. ‘For The Crime’ is an obvious example, but even tracks like ‘Rudeboy’ and ‘Don’t Get Me Mad’ underline the fearlessness of this rapidly rising MC.
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