Words by Octavia Graham
Image courtesy of Kick Down the Doors PR
When the opportunity arose to interview the rising rapper Rude GRL (Jenna Dickens), winner of “Best HipHop track” at the 2020 PMA Awards, I dropped everything immediately so I could host a zoom call with herself and CC (Chris Constantinou), who worked closely with Adam Ant and has performed at notorious gigs such as Live Aid. The two have been working together to produce the brand-new EP ‘Like Wow!’ available to listen to, under their band name Rude GRL & CC, from January 8th – an amalgamation of post-punk/punk, soul and HipHop with distinctive rapid-fire rhythmic and melodic vocal lines from Jenna. Not forgetting the unforgettable and powerful riffs from Chris. Inspirations include classics like the Clash and the Sex pistols, along with roots music and R&B (the original rhythm and blues kind) which come together with Chris and Jenna’s own individual style and original vibe to create the unique sound of the EP.
The tracks were “in total three hours to write and finish” created with the ethos to “get things done quickly and not mess around”. An awe-inspiring business-like-no-fuss attitude which produced a set of what I would call flawless songs – and the efficiency didn’t detract from the fun. As Jenna pointed out how she enjoyed “watching Chris rocking out” and from speaking to the both of them, their charismatic, kind and energetic personalities show that the hours spent creating content would have been filled to the brim with laughs.
Without a doubt, the song ‘Like Wow’ stands out in particular. The upbeat instrumental matched with Jenna’s strong fast-paced lyrics demand a jump-up-and-down shake-your-head atmosphere. Written in a grand total of ten minutes, it had Jenna wowed and Chris absolutely loving the energy. But the one that really makes you stop in your tracks is “Let Go”, which Jenna labelled her “absolute fave”. The song is filled with emotions from the struggles of trauma and addiction, all squeezed into just over three minutes. Having come from a difficult background in a small Welsh non-diverse town filled with racism and homophobia, on top of a challenging home life, Jenna found music. From the POC musicians on the TV that she could look up to, to the therapeutic aspects of songwriting that allowed her eleven-year-old self to redirect her negative emotions and express them in “a positive way” through lyricism and notation. “Let Go” soulfully channels an array of emotions and experiences that call for you to listen to the track on repeat.
Rude GRL & CC demonstrate immense skill at orchestrating the emotional power of music. From “the smell of the fender guitars” and “curly leads” – a highlight for Chris – to being a conduit for expression. It can make you feel energised and alive to relaxed and calm. I am looking forward to seeing the contrast between the “adrenaline junkie” and “Buddah meditating on stage” when it’s next possible to attend a live gig. Meanwhile, we can all blast “Like Wow” through our headphones and speakers with the volume turned full.