Che Lingo on the power of ‘My Block’: “You need to believe that you’re the king or queen of where you’re from”

Che Lingo on the power of ‘My Block’: “You need to believe that you’re the king or queen of where you’re from”

Rising rapper Che Lingo has opened up about how a pride of where he came from and “police injustice” inspired his recent breakthrough single ‘My Block’. Watch our Song Stories video with the rapper above.

Back in February, it was announced that Che Lingo had signed to 7Wallace – the record label of actor, musician and DJ Idris Elba. To mark the occasion, he dropped the hard-hitting tribute to his South West London neighbourhood.

“Society might teach you that where you come from is a disadvantaged place,” Che Lingo told NME. “As much as it might be in reality, you can’t let it be in your head. I grew up on an estate in South West London, where my nan did her best to give us absolutely everything. Then I moved to Harrow and my mum did the same thing. They were just doing the best for their children, and drilled into me from when I was very young that you need to get used to trying to make money.

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He continued: “It’s like that for a lot of youths that come from estates, and ‘My Block’ personifies that. I’ve walked into this place that I thought was the reason I didn’t get that, or the reason that I wasn’t invited to that, or the reason that this person decided to clutch their bag a little bit tighter. You think that those are all negative things that make you less valuable as a person. When you’re in that space, you’re the king or queen of it. You need to believe that about where you live, where you’re from and who you are.”

Che Lingo. Credit: Press

He also explained how the initial “driving force and inspiration” of the track was to raise awareness for his friend Julian Cole – who had his neck broken and was left brain-damaged by police after an incident at a Bedfordshire nightclub in 2013. Cole’s family continue to fight for justice.

“Later on, three of the officers lied about what happened in their statements and were then convicted of gross misconduct and fired from their jobs,” said Che Lingo. “The family got no compensation, no one was criminally charged, and I know people who have gone for prison for less.”

He added: “If you can be a young, black, semi-pro footballer, not even in London and still get your neck broken, be left paralysed by the police, then that’s devastating. It devastates me every day and it devastates his mum. I had to go to her and say, ‘I’ve written this song and it mentions what happens to Julian and how I feel about it, and I hope you can give me your blessing’. She said it was totally fine and that they’re still fighting the case now. It’s been seven years.”

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Watch our full Song Stories interview at the top of the page, where Che Lingo also explains the process being the track’s powerful and cinematic video.

Che Lingo’s new single ‘Black Ones’ featuring Ghetts premieres on Friday April 3.

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