In recent years, the blueprint for a commercial UK drill hit – pitched-up pop sample, bouncing rhythm, catchy hook laced with basic wordplay – has been firmly established by artists like Central Cee and A1 x J1. For emerging artists, there’s a temptation to follow suit, and on singles like ‘PTSD’ and ‘Money and Vibes’, Manchester rapper Nemzzz (real name Nemiah Sims) has skirted cautiously around the edges of this formula.

But crucially, he’s never dived in; from his jazzy, laid-back breakout tracks ‘Elevate’ and ‘Nemzzz Type Beat’ to his soul-bearing freestyle ‘8AM In Manny’, the 19-year-old has consistently chased something much deeper.


His debut mixtape is no different. Across the 11-track project, Nemzzz uses a soulful, silky and pop-tinged brand of drill – constructed largely by longtime producer Zel – to explore various feelings and conflicts he’s faced on the rise toward the top of Manchester’s flourishing rap scene.

On ‘PTSD’, Sims opens up over a warped sample of Sade‘s ‘Like A Tattoo’, shaped around hi-hat triplets and booming kicks that collide to build an infectious bop. Sade’s original tells the story of a guilt-ridden US soldier returning from Vietnam – and this emphasis on emotional health is mirrored in Nemzzz’s lyrics: “No one chat to me when I needed / Overthink too much / I get distracted, start to deep it.”

Elsewhere, there are references to how rap has brought him wealth, but none of the out-of-touch braggadocio showcased by some of his peers. As he states on ‘Reflection’, “This track ain’t for me to flex / I’m just here to vent, okay”.

There are some less adventurous moments, where the teenage rapper drifts into slightly clichéd raps like “All my Ls, they come with a V” (‘L’s’) or “Them gal look good on IG / In real life don’t look the same” (‘Reflection’). But that’s to be expected from a young artist still sketching out his sound, and it’s clear Nemzzz isn’t interested in simply rehashing designer lifestyle lyrics and tired gender stereotypes.

‘Do Not Disturb’ documents the realities of navigating life as a young adult; on money and mental health, relationships and rivalries. It’s clear that Nemzzz is a refreshing voice in UK rap, steering the genre towards an even brighter future.



  • Release date: March 15
  • Record label: Independent



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