Manchester rapper Abnormal Sleepz has signed to Amsterdam-based record label The North Quarter.
Owned by drum and bass legend Lenzman, for what is the first hip hop release on the label.
Aside from the name, the label does have a history with Manchester, with founder Lenzman’s remix of Still Standing by Manchester’s Children of Zeus winning best remix at the 2016 Drum and Bass Arena awards.
Speaking on how the connection with Lenzman came about “we have a mutual mate who we use for videos, and he was a fan of my Meditape 2 mixtape and had seen what I was doing. We just got chatting from there, it started with me doing a couple of features on a couple of releases on his platform.
From there it was a case of us talking about how we could get my music out to a wider audience. It’s also a way for them to diversify for them to put out more hip hop and soul music.”
The success of his independently created and released mixtapes has allowed Sleepz to develop as an artist, honing his craft, and that process was crucial to him now taking a step up to the next level with a full album release.
“I started focussing on myself. After putting out Meditape 1, which thinking back was a bit half hearted, and it was Meditape 2 which took me to that new level with people starting to really take notice of my music.
It was the first time I’d really properly invested any money into studio time, and I just ended up putting it out on Bandcamp, rather than any of the other platforms, as I didn’t really know how. At that point I was still hesitant to sell my music, but on Bandcamp you can either download it for free or name your price. People were paying for it when they didn’t have to, and I recouped everything I’d put out for the studio, which was mad. It showed me how many people around the world were listening to me”
With this catalogue of mixtapes, features and singles behind him, Sleepz debut album Kaleidoscope, is now out through the North Quarter.
On the album “This project was created at a time where there was a lot of things happening around me. This affected my feelings and moods over a period of time which changed a lot.
This is what the project essentially reflects down to the sound and music I’d produced during this period. As people we have lots of layers where our emotions are concerned so it was important that this project reflected my energy and how I felt through the constant changes.”
The first single from the album, Textures, a collaboration with fellow Manchester rising star HMD, was released as an exclusive through Complex, features a brilliant, Windrush era, 1940s-themed video created by Karl John and Blackstone Visuals, and is inspired by Sleepz upbringing in Moss Side, living in and around the generations and families most impacted by the scandal.
Alongside the label signing, Sleepz has also signed to Earth Agency for bookings, alongside some of Manchester’s best talent, such as Children of Zeus, Levelz and Gaika, so there are launch parties, shows and tours in the works to support the album release.
There will also be more videos and singles in the works from the album, with Kaleidoscope available everywhere now.