(AllHipHop Breeding Ground)
909Memphis describes himself as “a kid like anyone else,” but his musical talents are undeniable. Hailing from the UK but moving to the United States at age 3, the singer, songwriter, and rapper is a huge fan of sports and music, the latter which inspires him to get better each and every single day.
Residing somewhere in the midst of R&B, pop, and trap, the athlete turned recording artist carves his own lane, injecting his own personal life experiences into his hard-hitting bangers. First uploading his music to SoundCloud back in 2016, the 23-year-old began experimenting with his voice, adding certain pitches that add to the overall vibe of the record.
Most recently, 909Memphis unleashed his new album titled Resilience, speaking volumes to the current times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
AllHipHop: Talk about being from London and moving to the States at age 3.
909Memphis: I was born in London where my parents met. My dad’s originally from there, my mom’s from LA, then she moved over there with her mom and stepfather. They met in their mid 20’s and had me, so I have dual citizenship since I was born there. I’m an English citizen and an American citizen too, it’s pretty lit.
AllHipHop: Biggest influences coming up?
909Memphis: Ooh, I like Lancey Foux a lot. Do you know who that is? He’s this English underground artist. I’m bumping a lot of Polo G honestly, I love Polo G. He’s definitely influenced my music a good amount, even Toosii right now. If there’s any artist I really want to work within the next year, it’d definitely be Toosii, Polo G, Yung Pinch, Rylo Rodriguez. Because my music’s R&B, pop, trap. If we were to collab on something, it’d make some really crazy music.
AllHipHop: You and Yung Pinch have the same vibe kind of.
909Memphis: A lot of people be saying that s###. Within the past 6 months, when I asked people who they want to see me work with, it’s always Yung Pinch, Toosii, all them. I’m still a little smaller than they are so it’s going to take me a little bit more time.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize you could do music for a living?
909Memphis: The year after I graduated from college, I started to really see progress in my music only because I started to do it full-time. When I was in school, I was also a student athlete. I’d make music, I’d study, then I’d go play soccer. Every single day, I had a routine. Sometimes I’ll be staying up late, 2am recording s### after I study.
I really wanted to do the rap s### but being able to juggle it in college made it 10 times easier to go so hard with it when I got out of school. I had all the available time to really cook up. That’s when I started to see the money. Honestly too, using a little bit of time growing up out of college, gave me the idea that you can make more money with your brand that doesn’t have to follow the music. You can merge sales, use your platform for a bunch of stuff. I had to use my little business mind there.
AllHipHop: What made you move to Nashville?
909Memphis: I was living in Northern Virginia at my mom’s crib. To be honest, I was getting tired of that s###. It was me, my mom, my sister, I was always making noise in the basement. We lived in a little townhouse. Honestly, I met this girl right? [laughs] I came to come visit her in Nashville. I f##### with the city because of the music primarily. I always heard something about Nashville because everybody where I’m from comes to visit or moves here.
I really liked the idea of the fact that it was music city, but it’s different. Even though it’s classified as a city of music, it’s not as fast as LA or New York. For me as that type of person, I like that. Because I’m always thinking, I’m always rushing s###. To be in a calmer environment down here is fire. I’m here for my girl, my music, I also coach kids for soccer as my part-time hustle.
AllHipHop: Do you? That’s so cute.
909Memphis: I got laid off in Northern Virginia, then I had an opportunity to become a coach out here too. The universe let it happen. I’m testing it out now and I love it so far. The food is awesome out here.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite food out there?
909Memphis: Hot chicken. It’s so good, for real.
AllHipHop: How’d you get your name, 909Memphis?
909Memphis: I’m not from the California area at all, I have family out there. One of my homies organized a collective, his name’s Primo. When I was about 18 years old, he found me on YouTube when I was making beats. You know how it is the game these days, everyone’s making collectives online. We had something going called 909. I be having my own brand. How Rocky has AWGE, I’m trying to make my own type s### like that. 909 international because I’m English.
The name Memphis comes from a Dutch professional soccer player, Memphis Depay. When I was in high school, all my friends would joke with me and say “yo, Memphis Depay!” He’s played for a couple clubs, I have no idea what team he is on now. I scored a goal in a game once, one of my best friends was playing around like “oh Memphy, that was insane!” Mimicking what commentators would say for the guy who scored a goal. That’s how I got my name, being a soccer fan and a soccer kid.
AllHipHop: Did you want to be a professional soccer player?
909Memphis: I did, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I grew up my whole life playing at one of the highest levels for soccer. The state, amongst the youth community. I even had a little bit of time training with the DC United Academy, which is a MLS team. It’s like the LA Galaxy of the DMV, so I was doing that as a kid too. I went to college, I played soccer. My freshman year, I’m like “damn, I love soccer so much. I’ma do whatever I can, I’ma go pro.” My junior year: “man, I’m burnt out now.” It gets boring. It’s weird because in life, you try so hard to reach your goals. Honestly you reach your goal, then you’re like “s###, this is not what I wanted after all this time.”
Sometimes, life be throwing you curveballs. Music was one of those things that took the strong hold of my life because of all the changes going from an 18-year-old kid, leaving home for the first time then growing up. Honestly in college, I grew up the most when I left my parents house. It’s a pretty weird situation. I really fell in love with music because it’s fun, it’s different.
AllHipHop: How would you describe your sound?
909Memphis: Oh man, I believe it’s changed over the past couple years. I can tell you who my influences are for sure. I take a lot of my musical creativity and my sound from people like Wiz Khalifa. My goal when I make a song is you have to feel connected to it in some way emotionally. I try to make it sound dreamy. I try to make it sound peaceful, soothing. Because whenever I make most of my songs, you get a ball in your stomach. That’s how I want to translate it. All types of emotion, but the goal is to create R&B, pop-infused trap music.
AllHipHop: Talk about releasing Resilience during the quarantine.
909Memphis: That was a project I worked on for 6 months. 2020 as a whole, it was easy for me to relate the actual meaning of the project to everything in the world going on. Not only for my own personal s### that I need to be resilient towards, but the project could also relate to issues that the whole world’s going through. I really made it everything that I was feeling in that moment. “Peace of Mind” is one of my favorite ones because literally everything I talked about is real s###. Friends hating on you, your friends are not f###### with you. Because people get jealous so releasing it in quarantine, topic-wise made it easy.
Although it feels like people aren’t really as connected as they would’ve been. During quarantine, I haven’t done very much either. When people get back into it, 2021 when we’re allowed back out, it becomes more entertaining. It’s gonna be 10 times cooler next year. My craft got better this year as a whole, being able to be locked in.
AllHipHop: Who was on the intro, “HD”?
909Memphis: This guy named Cass Kid, he’s an English radio host who works for BBC. 3 years ago, I dropped my biggest song called “Pure Spirit.” All of London started f###### with that s### because I was wearing an England jacket. People were like “who’s this American kid wearing English gear?” Little did they know, I still have English Heritage and blood. Everybody over there connected with BBC were blown away by it for some reason.
When I went over there, we had a little interview. He posted it on his podcast, it was a pretty lit situation. One thing that’s cool about this Hip Hop s### is I’m able to make a lot of connections in the United States. But for some reason, my bond with English artists is super crazy. Because I’m English and American at the same time, it’s a stamp. We all work together, we all support each other regardless. Even if we don’t talk, we’re still all sharing each other’s s###. English people, the scenes are different over there. The culture’s different over there, it’s super sick to be able to have those types of people.
AllHipHop: Who were you chillin’ in the clouds next to in the cover art?
909Memphis: That’s honestly supposed to mimic my girlfriend. I like to keep my relationships private because I’m coming up. The bigger I get, the more people want to know what happens behind-the-scenes of my life. But yeah, that’s my shorty in the clouds. You see the plane in the cover art too. I flew to Nashville, I met her. I made that song “HD” before I even met her, it manifested everything. I was going through a big breakup the spring/summer of 2019, then I met my current girlfriend coming into 2020. It was super cool to see the plane. I took a flight and I came back in love. We live together now, she supports my music all the way.
The cover art also has devil horns and a halo mixed in too. You gotta be resilient. You feel your temptations of one side, but you also gotta realize your morals and where you came from. Not everything that hurts has to be bad. You can learn from different things, you can take different perspectives. Because at the end of the day, everything’s perspective. It’s perspective no matter what, in any type of relationship. Whether it’s your friendships, your family presenters, your mom, your girlfriend, your pets, it’s perspective.
It’s all about what you perceive to be as something that’s very important to you. Sometimes people don’t feel a certain amount towards something else that you do, that’s why everyone beefs honestly. My man Eli made the cover, the bottom of the cover is darker. You can see under the plane, it’s dark. You can see the sun rays at the top left corner coming in. It shows that every dark time will have a light, and every light time will eventually come to an end.
AllHipHop: I was listening to “Fake Love,” how tight is your circle?
909Memphis: My circle’s super tight. When I was a kid though, I was always going through trouble with people for some reason. First of all I was a soccer player, you know how it is. There’s always little beefs, but nah. People where I come from in a very conservative part of the United States, the DC area or Virginia, there’s not a lot of creativity up there. Me and my homies were always on some different s###, always beefing with people. That’s how it is in suburban VA, everyone’s beefing with each other and competing. Everything I said in that song is true,I only have a couple homies that I can really call my brother and can trust them with my entire heart.
Growing up as a young man, even in the music industry, everything is relationships. There’s people out there that want to f### with you for mutual gain, but there’s also people that really care about your well-being. At the end of the day whether it’s working a real job or I’m doing my music, I only want to win with people I know are there for me regardless. I got to keep away from that fake love. I got to stay away from these people that really be making my days darker.
It can be anything. You know how easy it is for something so small to f### up your day? It’s so easy. I stay super to myself because it’s easier that way in my opinion. I used to not be this way, I wanted everybody to f### with me. I wanted everyone to understand who I was. As you get older, the less you really are wanting to give yourself to others or looking for validation your whole life.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
909Memphis: I need peace and quiet in the studio. I really like working alone to be honest. Anyone makes their best s### alone. I won’t lie, having one to two people in the studio with me is good because it puts a little pressure on me to actually make some hits in front of them. Having people in the studio also improves your stage presence, it makes you gain confidence. I be very experimental with my s###. Especially as someone who’s a singer but uses autotune, I like to f### with the autotune and make it sound super weird sometimes. Some of those sounds come out weird as hell, but the final product is sick. I need water, lots of water. Right now, my mouth is dry as s###. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Talk about your relationship with the Lyrical Lemonade family.
909Memphis: Honestly, Cole hasn’t reached out to me at all yet. It sucks because I want it to happen really badly, but they’ve been posting my music for a couple of months now. They posted me the last week of 2019, then every single drop from then. They’ve been showing love every single time, shoutout Danny Adams. He be writing up my stuff all the time off the strength, showing me love. I know some of my management have a relationship with Cole and his manager too, they’re really super cool people. I really want to make sure me and Cole get a video in one day because that s###’s gonna go crazy.
AllHipHop: How was modeling for G Star?
909Memphis: That s### was super cool, I really wish I could do more. A year and a half ago, I was in New York because I was going to meet up with a potential manager. Cooking up with some friends out there as well. I posted the YouTube video snippet for my song “Top Off,” I bought some Instagram promo because why not? They just started doing that Instagram promo s###, I said f### it. So I put $5 into it, then next thing you know I had a DM from some casting agent. She said “yo, are you in town right now? We need a ghostrider for the G Star commercial with Dexter Navy.” Dexter Navy shot it, that s### was super lit. I got to meet Dexter Navy. They made me literally hop on a Chevy and ghostride like a freaking stunt devil. It was the craziest s### honestly, but it was so fun! They still follow me, still show me love with my posts. Their clothes are beautiful.
AllHipHop: What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
909Memphis: That’s a hard one, I guess I’d still be doing soccer. I’d be coaching kids full-time. I got my degree in marketing too so I’d want to go into marketing a professional sports team. I don’t plan on doing that because I think my music’s pretty fire. I’ma go up some more and keep working hard.