Stephanie Allen aka Stefflon Don first set the underground alight in 2015 with her take on the Section Boy’s street smash Lock Arf. The Clapton rapper has been hot prop ever since, driving grime and rap fans alike wild with her wicked wordplay. Currently readying the release of her new mixtape, Real Ting, Steff is one of the most electric and eclectic emerging acts for 2017. The self-described “girl with the blue hair” is a truly singular proposition; the bilingual, mum-of-one, who both raps and sings, is smart, stylish and witty – a true one-off.
Steff first made an impression on the internet in 2015 with her powerful, patois-inflected versions of Wretch 32’s Six Words and Lock Arf, the video for which featured Section’s Inch. She quickly found herself fielding requests from the UK’s elite; over the last year Steff has lined up an arsenal of features with everyone from Lethal B (Wobble remix) to Sneakbo (Work remix) and Angel (Hop On), and, coming full circle, recently found herself one of the few features on Wretch’s recent Top 5 album, Growing Over Life. She also appeared in Gigg’s Lock Doh video and joined Young Spray for his all-star remix of Sho, alongside Chip, Frisco, Devlin and Ghetts. In September she worked with Krept and Konan on R&B star Jeremih’s single, London. The 24-year old’s quick-witted one-liners arrive rapidly, whether arch observations on London – ‘you haffi marry the na-na-na-na before mi ride the banana’, drolly extolling her awesome abilities on Hop On, or warning women of the dangers of abusive relationships on Six Words.
The industry took note of her rising Youtube views and fast-growing fanbase, and earlier this year Steff signed a publishing deal with Sony, but has decided to remain otherwise independent until she’s ready for a record deal. “I want to do me for as long as possible, nothing over my head, no strings, and I can enjoy making these songs for the sake of making them – not for a ‘hit’,” says Steff of staying DIY. “I want to do everything not for money right now so I can put my stamp on everything and people can see exactly what I’m about. I don’t want no-one telling me what to do. I never wanted my music to be about business.” For Steff, the most important thing is staying true to her very strong sense of self. “The most important thing to me is being real – that’s why I’ve called my mixtape Real Ting. I only talk about things I’ve experienced, or things I know someone very, very close to me has experienced. It’s about being the real ting cos there’s so much fake out here, so you have to be real. My music has to be true to me. I don’t make it to go on radio – I only make music that I love. I don’t care if no one else loves it. I’m true to myself.”
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