Kenny Allstar (born 19 April 1993) is a British DJ and radio presenter who grew up in South East London. Known as a radio DJ for residencies on Radar, Reprezent, and BBC 1Xtra, he became a leading broadcaster and important gatekeeper for London's underground rap scene through his popular Mad About Bars series on YouTube where he hosts freestyle videos with local MCs.
|Born||1993 (age 25–26)|
|Occupation(s)||DJ, radio presenter|
His interest in music arose early in life. With no television in the house, he recalls listening to the radio day and night, trying to play along to 50 Cent on his keyboard as early as six years old.
He was inspired to devote his life to music when his father took him to a carnival when he was nine or ten. At age 13 he started attending a youth club near his school where aspiring MCs could get on the air. Grime was big at that time, and each aspiring MC would pay £2 to rap for eight bars. Soon he decided MCing wasn't for him and began DJing at that local underground online grime station. By his mid-teens, he had bought a cheap set of decks and begun DJing at South London rap cyphers.
Before he turned 18 he talked his way into presenting on Deja Vu 92.3 FM. He also presented on London's Radar Radio, toured as Sneakbo's official DJ, and was instrumental in the rise of rapper Abra Cadabra.
His Mad About Bars series on YouTube's Mixtape Madness platform has run for three seasons, with many individual episodes racking up millions of views, and the whole show notching over 30 million views in its first three years. There he has championed important rappers including AJ Tracey, Izzie Gibbs, Kojey Radical and many others.
This led to a permanent engagement with BBC Radio 1Xtra, when the platform brought him back in Oct. 2018 to take over the Friday night slot of DJ Semtex, who left after having worked with the station for 15 years. Making the announcement, Mark Strippel, 1XTra's head of programmes, described Kenny as a "core champion for the UK scene."
Kenny's debut album, Block Diaries, was released 5 October 2018 on Columbia Records. Its 17 tracks bring more than 30 musicians together and, DJ-style, take the listener on a tour of London's musical landscape, covering a variety of styles: UK rap, drill, Afro Swing, grime. It features a number of rappers and other artists who came into the studio to produce with Kenny for the project, including 67, Not3s, SNE, Abra Cadabra, Belly Squad, and M Huncho. "Tracksuit Love," the album's first single, a collaboration with Headie One, drew over 2.3 million views on YouTube and 1.5 million spins on Spotify in its first three months.
Kenny's aim for the album, he said, was to be a "culturally significant voice for young people in London, those who are growing up on council estates in less fortunate situations." The album title came from Kenny's memories of growing up amid the tower blocks of the estates where he grew up, and his youthful habit of writing his thoughts and feelings in a diary.
- Ciaran Thapar, "Voice of the streets: Kenny Allstar is bringing the UK drill scene together," Red Bull, Sept 2018 (retrieved 2 Oct 2018)
- Sunjay Kohli, "The Rise & Rise of Kenny Allstar," A Nation of Billions, 2 Oct 2018 (retrieved 3 Oct 2018)
- "Kenny Allstar: The Voice of the Streets," BBC (retrieved 3 Oct 2018)
- "BBC Radio 1Xtra has announced four new DJs with Jeremiah Asiamah, Melody Kane, Kenny Allstar and Snoochie Shy joining 1Xtra's Residency which champions the next generation of new DJ talent.," The Line of Best Fit, 22 Nov 2017 (retrieved 3 Oct 2018)
- "Kenny Allstar to replace DJ Semtex on 1Xtra," BBC News, 19 Sept 2018 (retrieved 3 Oct 2018)
- Frankie Dunn, "warm up for the bank holiday weekend with kenny allstar's carnival mix," Vice, 24 Aug 2018 (retrieved 3 Oct 2018)
- "INTERVIEW: The time is now for Kenny Allstar to share his debut solo project," L'ART Magazine, 6 Aug 2018 (retrieved 2 Oct 2018)