Aitch is here to put grime and UK hip-hop on the map. Boasting 1.7 million followers on Instagram alone, real name Harrison Armstrong exploded onto the scene with his debut track “Straight Rhymez,” catching the attention of fellow London rapper Stormzy. The Manchester, England native arrives equipped with relentless bars, a spitfire flow, craft lyricism, and his own unique style and personality.
Deemed Manchester’s Golden Boy, Aitch describes his music as “straight vibes. I make fun music. I make music that makes people smile and want to have a good time. People like me for being me, they know I’m not trying to be something that I’m not. I’m not trying to be anyone else, I do me and 9 times out of 10, it works.”
Coming from humble beginnings, Aitch began his journey freestyling with friends in the school yard, eventually uploading his standout freestyles and records to Youtube. Fast forward to 2020, the 20-year-old has collaborated with all the greats from Ed Sheeran to AJ Tracey, even opening for acts such as Wiley and Cadet on their UK tour.
Beyond the numbers, Aitch is a walking testimony that you can succeed and achieve milestones by remaining independent. Flaunt caught up with Aitch via Zoom to discuss the release of Polaris, shooting the visual for “30,” Ed Sheeran hitting him on Instagram, his Top 5, and more!
Where you located right now?
I’m in Manchester, which is about 3 of 4 hours away from London. It’s cool, good vibes. Been chillin’. Now that the music’s out, I’m going to take it easy. Try my best to get some exercise in if possible.
Congrats on the release of your EP Polaris, how you feeling?
Thank you very much, I’m excited. I’ve released other projects but never been as excited as I am for this for some reason. Sometimes I release other things and not everything goes the way I want it to. This one’s been perfect so I’m really happy with how it’s going and how we put it out.
How was this one perfect?
Because the process was how I wanted it to be. It’s my first big independent project, I was more hands-on myself. I’m in a better position as well, I feel a bit better about this one.
This was a surprise release right?
Yeah, no one knew it was coming out. I just dropped it. With everything that’s happened due to the Coronavirus and what not, we have to keep people entertained. Keep people locked in. If we can’t do that by performing, we have to do that in other ways. We drop stuff randomly and let people take it in.
What’s the significance in the title Polaris?
Polaris is a star in the north called the North Star. Manchester is up north in the UK. London’s the capital, it’s down south. Manchester where I’m from is more up, so I’d consider myself to be the “star from up north.” I’m still getting mentioned in the same sentences as these people, but I’m not from the same area.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from the project?
I want people to have fun. I try not to make it where people are going to have one favorite. I want people to be a bit indecisive on what their favorite song is. There’s a couple vibe that people could really fuck with. I want people to enjoy and take it in. There’s definitely plenty more where that came from.
What songs mean the most to you and why?
The song called “Moston,” that’s where I’m from. That’s my area. That’s me representing. “Triggered” because of a certain mindset when I was making that song, I wanted to get something off my chest. Now that it’s out, that thing’s finally off my chest. One more is “Zombie” with Kenny Beats.
How’d you connect with Kenny Beats?
Kenny’s got 2 on there. I was in LA, we linked up and made a song. I thought he’s a cool guy, we have a good relationship. We linked up again before I went back to the UK. I made another song, then both the songs I put on the tape. It’s a vibe. I like the beat more important than anything. The beat goes hard, I like to play that one in the car.
The music video for “30” looked super lit. How was drifting in the cars?
It was sick! It was cold. We weren’t actually going to do a video for that song. The day before, we changed it. We were supposed to do a video for another song. I listened to “30” and was like “oh shit, nah we need to do that one.” I informed my manager and said “I know you’re going to hate me, but I want to change the video and do a different one.” We changed it all the next day, it ended up working out. It’s a little representation of where I’m from. When we do the “Moston,” video there’ll be more of that.
Best memory from shooting the video that day?
Watching the video editor trying to ride a mountain bike. We had to put a stop to it before he killed himself.
I love your vest in the visual too, talk about your fashion style.
I’m slyer than the undercover drippiest guy on the earth. I don’t go over the top. I like that vest, actually got it the day before the video because I needed something to wear. I saw that one, it’s a Louis Vuitton vest. I didn’t really have time to try and get a hold of Virgil to get it for free, so I had to get it for a rack.
Do you know Virgil [Abloh]?
I’ve never met him, but I speak to him on instagram. He supports my music. I’m waiting for us to meet so he can bless me with something.
How did you end up on the explosive remix to Ed Sheeran’s “Take Me Back To London”?
Obviously, Ed had the original song. My manager told me that Ed was speaking about me. I believed him, but I didn’t think he was too serious. A couple days after, Ed messaged me on Instagram. He’s telling me which songs of mine he likes, this and that. He asked me to be on the remix, I’m like “no doubt!” I’d be silly if I said no. Big up Ed, he’s a good guy.
How was shooting that video?
It was sick. I brought him to my area around the corner from my mom’s house. We shot the video literally a few minutes away from my mom’s house. He loved it, we brought him to the local food spot. The whole estate/area was out for him, big rows of people out on the road. It was good to see someone so big come be so normal. I’ve met artists nowhere near as big as Ed and they think they’re on top of the world, but Ed doesn’t.
Who’s in your Top 5?
Right now, my favorite artists are AJ Tracey, Headie One from London. My US favorites aren’t poppin’ right now, but 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa. I like listening to all the Detroit guys like Sada Baby and Drego & Beno, they’re a dup. I listen to a wide range of things.
Talk linking with AJ Tracey on “Rain,” what did that mean to London?
That’s my guy. We’d always see each other, but never actually made any music. One day I was in London in the studio in his area on his road, it’s only right I gave him a call and see what he’s doing. He came over, it was a natural process again. We took it easy, I made the song. It definitely turned out better than I thought it would. I knew it was going to go off, but not as much as it did.
How’d you guys tap in with Tay Keith?
You know what, that was all AJ. He actually had the Tay Keith beat in his emails. As soon as I heard it, I said “let’s do it, we’re doing that one.” When we decided to shoot the video, my management team got in contact with him. He was down, came through and showed so much love.
Anything else you want to let us know?
I have no tours to promote because I can’t go anywhere, so straight music at the moment.