Headie One, a U.K. rap artist from Tottenham, London is up for the 2019 BET Awards Best New International Act, against the likes of Jok’Air (France), Nesly (France), Octavian (U.K.), Sho Madjozi (South Africa) and Teni (Nigeria).
Known for his unwavering vocal flow with stylings of trap and drill, Headie One made his first appearance on the UK scene in 2010 on tracks such as “Wood Green Diss” and “Youngers from Farm”.
Headie One’s real name is Irving Adjei. He is of Ghanaian origin and his moniker derives from a childhood nickname due to his head’s resemblance to a 50p coin.
In July 2017, he put out the mixtape, Drillers & Trappers with collaborator RV and returned in 2018 with his debut solo mixtape, ‘The One’. He is best known for his track “18HUNNA” which peaked on the UK Singles Chart at number 6.
In January 2019 his single “18HUNNA”, featuring Dave, entered the UK chart at number 6 – the highest a UK drill artist has ever charted. In March he released his sixth mixtape, and third with RV, Drillers x Trappers II. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number 21. “Match Day”, the first single from the mixtape, entered the Singles Chart at number 86.
British press have linked the drill and trap genre of music to gang crime in the UK and Irving has not but shy of his own controversies. Headie One has been imprisoned three times, including for dealing crack cocaine and heroin. In January 2018 he was reportedly attacked by rivals at the University of Bedfordshire .A video of the assault was posted on Snapchat and then YouTube, resulting in an “all-out gang war.”
In March of that year the Metropolitan Police shut down his concert at the Barbican Centre. The police had previously “singled out” his music in connection with rising knife crime in London. In an interview in April, he claimed, “Only a fool would say that drill music is the root of the problem of violence in the capital.”