Rapper Ché Lingo spoke to the Wandsworth Times ahead of the release of his latest EP, Sensitive.

Ché has lived in Surrey Lane for most of his life with his nan and now lives in Clapham.

He started making music at the age of 13 as a hobby and an escape, spending a lot of time at youth centres across south London mixing music.

Two years ago, he went full time.

Ché and his team have released several singles, an EP titled Charisma and toured the world.

Sensitive is out today. It is an even more introspective EP than his previous EP, in the sense that it’s about how he felt not being in control over relationships.

Growing up in Wandsworth

Wandsworth and south London played a massive role in Ché’s music. At the time, there was a lot of crime in the area, which he saw first-hand.

But deeper than crime, he also dealt with self-confidence issues with his appearance and non-confrontational personality.

“Growing up in Wandsworth was an amalgamation of different things. I always had my problems like everyone, but these problems stemmed from the fact that I didn’t have a strong character.

“As a kid, I had a lot to say but it was difficult when I was confronted. I was always the butt of jokes which knocked my confidence.

“I also had problems with my appearance and weight, I was mad insecure.

“There was loads of madness. It heavily influenced who I am, my nan sheltered me a lot so when I went out, things outside of my house would affect me double.

“Me and mum later identified that as me having high levels of sensitivity. I was a sensitive youth.”

Your Local Guardian:

Influences and youth centres

Ché cited his nan and mum as major influences on his life growing up. He described how his nan would home-school him, after school, and place an emphasis on articulation and English.

He described his nan as a “prude academic” while he described his mum as "a G".

She taught him the life lessons which gave him the skills to live alone.

His nan also influenced his music, constantly seeking out music and playing Reggae in the house.

It wasn’t just the women in his life that cultivated his talent, youth centres were a major reason he was able to pursue a career in music.

He said: “If it wasn't for the youth clubs I wouldn't be here because that was one of the first places that cultivated my talent for rapping and making music. I would go there whenever it was open to record music.”

With continued cuts to youth services, Ché said they should get more funding but also recognised that youth centres don’t always give young people the freedom they crave musically.

“You have to let a man live his trust and speak his reality. That’s why you don’t really find them in youth clubs making music,” he said.

Finding his sound

Despite the reggae influences from his nan, it was really listening to grime that formed the basis for Ché’s unique sound.

Outside of the house, Ché listened to Hip Hop RnB and mainly Grime, starting with So Solid Crew, then later Chip, Wiley and Skepta before turning to artists like Ghetts and P Money.

He said: “I really appreciated the way they piece together music. The mixture of music I listened to growing up was very ‘for the people’ or 'f*** the system'. That's subconsciously been instilled in me and my music, I'm very for the people.

“I think those three types of music are very evident in what I do, less so reggae. The soulfulness crossed over with grime and hip hop to make me who I am.

“That’s why you can get a song like ‘No Sidekicks’, it's very evident grime flows, but the song itself has nothing to do with what the core values of grime and it’s over a soulful-house style beat.”

Your Local Guardian:

Life as an unsigned artist

As an independent artist, Ché also runs his own label, which allows making music without the influence of outsiders.

He said that it's important for a good artist to have a positive team that can help push a project.

When you find this mix “you get a Frank Ocean or Kendrick Lamar, or Ghetts or J Cole or Stormzy,” who control their music and the team recognise their charisma, talent and rawness.

“I was never in music to make money. I can categorically say Sensitive is my best music to date and its void of anyone’s opinion.”


Over time Ché has become known for his fashion, but this wasn’t something he actively pursued.

It stemmed from his issues with his appearance growing up, meaning he felt the need to change his appearance to feel good.

From there, he has spent time in the fashion world and is something that he thinks is important to him.

Following the release of Sensitive, Ché Lingo has a busy year ahead of him, with a tour later in the year.

Listen to Sensitive here.