‘I have to confront it’: Shocka, the grime MC who came back from a breakdown

He was playing arenas with rap trio Marvell – then lost it all. Now, after a powerful freestyle about the Grenfell tower fire, Shocka is back, and preaching a message of self-care

“All UK rap videos look the same: same rented cars, same bling, same penthouse, same girls. It’s boring. I wanted a change.”

Grime veteran Shocka is ruminating on the instinct that made him reshape his career. Sipping a coffee in a Shoreditch, London, he looks every inch the socially conscious MC – tall, bearded, and conspicuously lacking designer logos. He’s riding high from the viral success of his latest single, the ridiculously catchy Self Love, an ode to positivity with a truly diverse cast for its video, which has been viewed by millions on social media (helped in no small part by a repost from rap’s favourite uncle, Snoop Dogg).

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