The host of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Rap Show is currently touring the UK with the superstar rapper. Calver’s relationship with Drake began after she filled in with a DJ set in Germany. She later became the first woman to record a mix for OVO Sound.
“I became affiliated through a DM from one of his managers,” she explained. “Fortunately, someone was too drunk to DJ at Skepta’s party, so I had to fill in and then did a mix for OVO. It’s massive. It was a portal to break UK artists over there.”
Calver revealed that she’s working with El-Khatib and his team on the soundtrack for Top Boy. “They respect me a lot, my ear, my opinion. It’s a good working relationship and a good friendship; we’re doing a lot of stuff together behind the scenes. They’re really cool,” she said.
The presenter has also been touring with long-time associate Fredo, who performed the first Tiffany Calver Freestyle earlier this year.
“I used to say to my friends, ‘me and Drake are going to go on tour,’” Calver explained. “When has he ever taken a DJ on tour? He texted me asking when Fredo’s tour was ending. I sent him the flyer and he said, ‘Do you want to come on this tour and DJ?’”
We are pop culture now, which is interesting
Calver is a self-styled expert on both US and UK rap, and said British acts are enjoying a purple patch in America.
“The nice thing is people are breaking these boundaries, look at Giggs and Drake with KMT or Skepta and A$AP Rocky, when it’s done correctly and you have support from the US anything is possible and they really are into UK stuff,” she said.
“I interviewed Lil Yachty in Atlanta and he brought up a rapper called Lancey Foux from the UK, he’s very much still underground. They are listening. They love drill or street rap, Drake loves Fredo. A lot of US people do.”
Calver stressed the importance of platforms such as GRM Daily and Link Up TV: “Back in the day, we didn’t have a good infrastructure for the music we were putting out but now it’s really strong and those platforms play a massive part in the world and the industry here seeing what’s going on. Without them I don’t feel like major labels would have bought into our culture as quickly, it’s seeing what the public actually want.”
Calver said that Dave and Fredo’s No.1 Funky Friday is a landmark “that would have not happened years ago, we are pop culture now, which is interesting.”
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Photo: Olivia Rose