The UK grime pioneer, 36, on cake-baking, waiting for his MBE and why he can’t get enough of TV show Suits.
Why did you sign up for Celebrity Bake Off this year?
They asked me to do it. I was a bit nervous. I do the odd TV thing every now and then but this one is for a good cause as well.
It’s one of those programmes I never saw myself doing but that’s almost a reason to do it because you’re out of your comfort zone. I don’t bake.
Is it a show that you watch?
No, I’d never watched it. I had to have a look at it before I went on.
Did you think about practising a bit of baking in lockdown?
So they gave me the option but I literally wanted to go in blind – let me just go in on the day and see what happens. I thought that would make better TV as well.
What did you make of Bake Off judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith?
Do you like new challenges? What’s on your to-do list?
Just making music as always. That’s the main thing I’m always trying to work on. I’m not the dude who is trying to find all this other stuff to get stuck into, to invest in. People throw that word around a lot now – invest, invest.
Maybe I should be but I feel this is the time to throw yourself into what you actually know you’re good at.
Are you more competitive with yourself than with other artists?
It’s a bit of both. You see artists doing stuff and you want to get involved but in the end it is you just competing with yourself. You’ve got a different fan base and people are into you for different reasons.
Social media can definitely bring a lot of unnecessary distraction. You see what other people are doing and you think that that’s what you need to do. My main thing is I definitely like working with other artists.
I’ve been doing that a bit more recently. Social media is good for linking up with other people but other than that…
You’ve been recording since you were 14. Does your strong work ethic come from your mum?
I think so. Watching my mum work and all that. I’m obsessive as well. Once I really like something and I get into it, I throw myself all the way in. I was lucky I found music early. I genuinely didn’t want to do anything else.
What TV have you been watching over lockdown?
I’ve been watching Suits. Yeah, I got into it really late. It’s been on for years. I didn’t know that. I’m hooked. I watch it every day or every couple of days. I love it.
They come up against the problem and they usually come out on top at the end, with lots of deal-making. They’ve ramped up the swearing as well, I’ve noticed. The first three series I don’t think I heard any swearing. Now it’s f*** this and f*** that.
You had UK dates lined this month that have been put back due to Covid. Are you keen to get out in front of a crowd again?
Not as much as maybe I thought I would be. Not like, ‘Oh God, I really need to get out and do a show.’ I haven’t really felt like that. I don’t know what that’s about.
I’m just waiting for the world to get normal again in general. I’m looking forward to shows but I haven’t been sad that I haven’t had any.
Have you any idea where the first rescheduled shows will be?
We’ve lined up a few but the dates haven’t been announced yet. I’m taking it easy with the fact that there might not even be any this year. I’m not even gearing myself up totally for it.
Have you found ways to relax in lockdown? Do you still box?
I haven’t been because the gyms are closed. I’ve been riding my bike a bit. A few sit-ups but one minute I’m really on it and then I just can’t be bothered.
What will be the first thing you will do when lockdown ends?
That’s a good question. Maybe go to the gym. I’m not really crazy for the pub. I’m not one of those, ‘Can’t wait to go down pub!’ I’m alright. I’ve spent so much time in the studio and indoors but this s*** hasn’t crazy affected me.
Have you a date yet for collecting your MBE?
I don’t know. I just got that letter, ‘Yeah, it’s been acknowledged. See ya later.’ I don’t know if I’m actually going to get one. I genuinely don’t know. They haven’t got in contact with us or sent anything in the post.
Have you learned anything about yourself in lockdown?
Maybe I’m a bit more patient – or maybe not! I dunno. You journalists are always hitting me with these questions to get philosophical.
What have I learned? Maybe how to bake? Yeah, cos if the world ends, don’t worry as long as I can bake a cake!
The Great Celebrity Bake Off For Stand Up To Cancer is at 8pm on Tuesdays on Channel 4.