Inside the surreal world of Slowthai

As Slowthai reveals his introspective side with new album Tyron, we speak to frequent collaborators Crowns & Owls about the album art’s attempt to crack the glossy veneer of fame, and why the Northampton-born rapper is still the voice of a generation

If there’s one thing you can be sure about Slowthai, it’s that he isn’t afraid of making a statement. Real name Tyron Frampton (his musical monker came from a childhood nickname that riffed on his speech impediment), the Northampton-born rapper has earned legions of fans for his brilliantly bonkers music videos and hard-hitting lyrics, which provide a searing commentary on the state of the nation. That’s not forgetting the unruly, infectious energy of his live shows, where he’s been known to strip down to his boxers, vomit on-stage and, in one particularly memorable performance at the 2019 Mercury Prize ceremony, brandish the (fake) severed head of Boris Johnson.

Look beyond the attention-grabbing headlines, however, and it’s clear that Slowthai has a huge amount of musical talent and passion for every facet of the creative process. His cousin-turned-manager Lewis Levi is a prime example of this, doubling up as the rapper’s creative director and one half of director duo The Rest, who have created some of his powerhouse promos, including his latest video Cancelled.

Crowns & Owls first worked with Slowthai on the album art for his debut LP, Nothing Great About Britain

“Because Ty started out with super humble, DIY beginnings, with Lewis’ knowledge of filmmaking he was very smart from a managerial perspective. He could make these really fucking impressive music videos with very little money, and just gave Ty such a strong sense of references within the work and such a rich backdrop straightaway,” explain Crowns & Owls, another of Slowthai’s frequent collaborators.