Roots & Influences: Derrick Nenzo

Roots and Influences invites our favourite artists, local and afar, to curate a playlist of 10 songs that have inspired their career to date. Ahead of the release of new crowd-pleasing single ‘whoa’, we catch up with Scouse wordsmith and producer Derrick Nenzo!

Now residing in Leeds, Nenzo has been away from the public eye brewing a whole new sound to bring to the stage and internet. Following up his debut album  ‘AOCC, Pt. 1’ and a circuit of packed out shows in his city, ‘whoa’ lands on Friday 22nd April to bring a whole new vibe to the bubbling alternative/rap scene in the UK. The track is the first official single release from Nenzo’s forthcoming album ‘…and other creepy crawlies, Pt. 2’, dropping later this year. We catch up with the 22 year old to find out more about where it all began…

“What is internet? D Nenz here, sitting in Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds (*cough* doing a headline show here on 17th May *cough* cheap tickets and unreleased tunes, come through). These are 10 songs that have helped shape my sound and cover some of my influences from past to present. I’m paying attention to tracks which were pivot points for myself and whose influence can be heard seeping their way into my own tunes.”

Jamelia – Superstar  

If we’re going from past to present then it’s only right to put this banger in. My first ever memory was being in the car with my mum listening to this song, so there’s definitely some influence from 3 year old me dating back to this slap.

Maan – Buzzin (Remix) ft. 50 Cent 

Skipping forward a bit – before hearing this song I was blasé about my music taste and just listened to whatever flew on the radio or what my mum would play in the house (usually soul and motown). I heard this one at 11 years old and it unlocked something in me. I was a little chubby kid but this song made me feel like the shit and still does, got a good vibe to it. After this I discovered 90s rap and I was away.

Sum 41 – Fatlip

When I was like 14ish I went through this big pop punk phase haha. I listened to all the surface level shit – MCR, Fallout Boy, Blink. But from that time period I rate this song highly.

Odd Future – Analog 2  

I remember life being confusing when I found Odd Future and their music. I was trying to be a little road man in school and didn’t really know what was going on, I just remember playing a lot of Skate 3 and vibing to this and other Tyler songs. This one led me to discover the rest of OF (Earl, Frank, Syd, Mike G, MellowHype).

Drake – Feel No Ways

I know… but studying this album taught me a lot about rap production and still stands as my favourite Drake album. There’s a few off this one that I like, but ‘Feel No Ways’ just stands out from the rest of the tracks. Late night drive vibe.

Kanye West – Black Skinhead  

Dunno if you watched the Netflix thing but my only problem was that there was no coverage of the Yeezus album, proper shit. Anyway, I’ve unpicked that album with my brain a lot. I’d say ‘Black Skinhead’ was just ahead of its time and the use of vocal synthesis had me in awe. Nerd aren’t I.

Frank Ocean – White Ferrari  

I didn’t get into ‘Blonde’ until 2018, but the timing was right. The whole album is a spectacle but this song in particular, oof. Fetal position crying in the bath type beat.

Kevin Abstract – Baby Boy  

I’ve always been drawn to artists who push the brackets wider and march to their own drum. Kevin Abstract of (recently departed) Brockhampton is the shit in my eyes. His earlier stuff was cool, but his 2019 release ‘ARIZONA BABY’ was really in tune with how I felt at the time and connected with me. The soft, pitched up vocals remind me of those lonely summer nights. 

Mura Masa – Deal Wiv It (ft. slowthai) 

Slowthai is a top tier artist and performer imo and his influence on my music is obvious. I think both collaboration tracks between Slowthai and Mura Masa show the value of putting two heads together to create something bigger. I relate to Mura Masa’s work practice, it seems like a laptop and headphones anywhere kind of guy. Very nice.

Whoa – Derrick Nenzo (Pre-save here

And last but not least, what’s the point if I don’t drop myself in here? It’s taken years but I feel I’ve finally landed on my own sound with my new tune. ‘whoa’ (available on all platforms 22nd April) is something new, something nobody’s ever heard before. Influences are present but it’s a leap forward… This song got made quick; just sat in my kitchen and zoned in for 6 hours making the beat then wrote all the lyrics the next day. It’s a walk down the street feeling like a baddie type vibe, a fuck you to the establishments. It’s out this Friday and will be available on all streaming platforms. Just the beginning.

Follow Derrick on Instagram and Tik Tok to stay up to date and tell him if you’re feeling whoa – in the meantime, check out his last album ‘…and other creepy crawlies, Pt. 1’ below!