From Amy Winehouse to Adele, London has been known to house some pretty influential artists. One artist to add to that list is up and coming rapper, Stefflon Don. Known as Stephanie Allen, she brings forth a unique sound that is a mixture of cultures from her migration as a youth. Born to Jamaican parents in Birmingham, England, the family moved to the Netherlands when she was four. She spent a good portion of her life there before the family moved back to England, this time to the UK. Music was a big part of Steff’s childhood, stemming from her participation in talent shows to her love for dancehall.
Her dad once gifted her with a tape recorder where she recorded her raps. It wasn’t until a group of friends got ahold to the tape and praised her skills that she realized music was her calling. Stefflon Don’s diverse background makes for an interesting sound, one that can be described as hardcore and gritty. Influenced by dancehall and bubbling, a sped up version of dancehall created by DJ Moortje, she has made her own lane. She caught listener’s attention by remixing Section Boyz’ “Lock Arff” and Rae Sremmurd’s “No Type”, but it is her style that has locked listeners in. It even caught the ear of Jeremih, who placed her on the hook of his song “London” from his Late Nights: Europe mixtape.
Beyond features, her difference has definitely paid off as she was able to score a publishing deal with Sony. In December 2016, she released The Real Ting Mixtape, which reaches towards her Caribbean roots. On the song “Tight Nooki”, Jeremih returns the favor by hopping on the chorus for this up-tempo song in which Don brags about how good her “nooki” is. “16 Shots”, which is darker in tone, is a warning that she is not to be messed with and will defend herself if need be. “Real Ting” is Steff’s proclamation that she is a trailblazer, so much so, that the industry is clamoring for her and others imitate her. She combines her British accent with patois, which makes for a very distinctive sound. It can’t be denied that Stefflon Don is good. From her look to her sound, she has all the right qualities to take American by storm. She is definitely the ‘Real Ting.’