After decades of relative insularity, Dutch rap finally seems intent on breaking free of its bordered constraints. Where previous generations were content with domestic fame and locally-sourced musical reference points, its current wave is hungrier – their periphery is wider, their goals are transatlantic, and they have the Internet-nurtured artistic palette to make it happen. Tads Thots – a member of berserking Amsterdam collective SMIB – epitomizes that broadened scope. There’s his sneering swagger on ‘Fukboiproof’, his hypnotic, dead eyed hook on ‘Pay Me Net Depay’ and his sugar-glazed autotune melodics on squad cut ‘Skeemen’, to name just a few of the weapons at his disposal. With successful singles by fellow crew members Yung Nnelg, Ray Fuego and GRGY paving the way, Tads Thots’ upcoming EP might just take them truly worldwide.
What do you have in the works right now?
The EP is basically done, I’m just mixing it. I’m putting the last pieces on it. All the songs are done, being engineered and shit. It’s coming out, but it’s stalled now because I can’t tape the final bits. I fucked up my voice!
That sucks, man.
It’s fucked up! And it’s been like this for like the last month… But it’s gonna change the world when it drops.
Holland’s not progressive at all, man. You have people trying to like, be risky, and do drugs on TV. They call that progressive. It’s just a word they use.
Can’t you find, like, a Tads Thots vocal impersonator?
[Laughs] That’s impossible, man. I wish I was more generic… I’d find somebody who could do that shit for me.
You need to cut down on identity. My main question though, is does the EP slap?
It’s gonna slap so hard.
I believe it. It feels like SMIB’s art has what it takes to cross over, more so than any prior wave. Thoughts?
Definitely. That’s why we’re SMIB Worldwide! We know it goes beyond Holland, man. A lotta [Dutch music] is doing numbers that’d almost make you think it has what it takes to go there [outside the Netherlands]. But still I know that, in sound, it’s so Dutch. It’s like Black Pete… it flies in Holland, but anywhere else, it’s like ‘what the fuck?’
Ready for the world. But are you still fuckboi-proof?
Yeah man! That [‘Fukboiproof’] was like my first song man, shit…
For sure. Wish I could put it on Spotify but it’s not my beat, it’s Tyga’s. Somebody let Tyga know I killed him on his own beat! We were just in the studio and I heard this Tyga song… it’s wack. But the beat’s fire, so yeah, killed them.
That was like, I didn’t want to ask GRGY ‘yo, send me beats, I wanna rap’! I wanted him to want to send me beats, because he knows I’m gonna kill them. That’s what I did with ‘Fuckboiproof’ and he was like ‘damn, why didn’t you ask me to send you beats’? Just the way I wanted it.
That’s basically why we created SMIB. To have our own world, create our own destiny. Ain’t shit out here, unless we make it.
One of my worst fears is being considered a fuckboi. Historically, my main approach there has been to stay indoors and minimise all human contact, but I figure that might be counterproductive to life in general…
Nah, that’s definitely the way. That’s the way.
Fair. But how else can one avoid fuckboi status?
You’ll be fine as long as you stand up for what you believe in. You can’t be on one thing one day, and dismiss it the next. I mean, you can change, but even change, it happens naturally. You have to be consistent.
Noted. So, I find it interesting how Dutch culture prides itself very vocally on progressiveness…
Ha! It’s not there bro, it’s not there.
But they insist. It’s this weird conservative-progressive hybrid. Why is that the case?
Holland’s not progressive at all, man. You have people trying to like, be risky, and do drugs on TV. They call that progressive. It’s just a word they use. Like “inclusiveness”. It means nothing. It’s fuckboi shit in itself; it’s not consistent. They say it, but don’t do it. That’s basically why we created SMIB. To have our own world, create our own destiny. Ain’t shit out here, unless we make it. Real shit.
Holland doesn’t have a history of people standing up to shit, I think that’s the biggest thing. Obviously, the status quo is never gonna be the same people complaining about nothing changing. So it has to be the other side, and that’s us. We’re the first generation being like, ‘no, we’re not fucking with this’.
How prevalent is, like, aggressively pro-lyrical rap conservatism in the Netherlands?
It’s the same [as elsewhere]. I think Dutch music culture… it’s just now getting its own personality. It was never this big and this diverse. And it’s not even that diverse. It’s just starting to shape itself.
So even that debate, it’s not even the old-versus-young debate. You have young people like ‘where are the bars?’ and ‘where’s the substance?’ There’s people who can adapt to change, and people who can’t.
There’s people who can adapt to change, and people who can’t.
I’ll do my part. Maybe it’d help if I join SMIB? I ask this in every interview but it’s yet to work out… but, in preparing my application, I’ve churned out some potential rap names for myself. Can you rate them?
Let me rate that shit!
Okay. I have above average height, so I was thinking: Tall D.
That’s gonna be a 5.
Middle Class Homie Quan.
We might just go with that one… Yung Adult.
Ok well, there’s a lot of Lil prefixes, so I was thinking of just going with Lil.
Yeah, that’s a good one. Definitely an eight. It’s risky.
Lil’s on the table. Any closing words for the kids? What’s the trendiest current drug?
Tell them to get on that Xanax wave.
Is that the best message for the youth?
Man, fuck the youth.
This is true.
Tads Thots plays his EP release show on 1 December at s105 (De School), Amsterdam. The show is free for members.