West Sussex rapper laments great mate with searing song of grief

Chichester rapper Joey Edwards remembers his close mate Nic in a new track marking the seventh anniversary of his death.

Joey Edwards
Joey Edwards

Nic passed away from a heart attack at the age of 29.

Joey recalls their friendship and the impact of his death in the track Se7en Years which is available on Joey’s Facebook page (@JoeyInnit) and also on YouTube. The piece sees Joey rap freestyle over a song by The XX. The song can be found on YouTube (Search “Se7en Years Joey”)

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“Nic (Joey prefers not to give his surname) lived in Chichester. He was one of my best mates, and it deals with him. I talk about my admiration for him. He was a couple of years older than me, and it is a bit of a cliché, but he was just a really nice bloke. He has got two young children and a girlfriend that he left behind – and a sister. I wanted to do something that was an ode to him. And it deals with the struggle I had coming to terms with his loss. After he passed away, I went into a downwards spiral for the next couple of years, and I found myself at the bottom of the ladder looking up and thinking there is no way I can climb out of this.

“The song is about dealing with his loss. I want people to listen to it because the second half is explaining about this bottomless pit, and it is very poignant. We are talking such a lot about mental health at the moment. People can appear very confident and assured, but you don’t know what is happening inside. The second half opens up about my depression and anxiety and about the need to talk to someone. I have been on my knees. I have been so close to giving up. But I am so determined to keep fighting…

“Nic had a heart attack. He was 29. It was a very sudden death that came out of nowhere. It shocked me and my friendship group to the core. As you get older, you lose that fearlessness you had as a child. When you are a child at the top of the slide, you just throw yourself down. But when you get older you think about the bumps and the bruises and you realise that you are not indestructible.”

Joey is currently working towards an album: “I got into music very young. I always knew that I loved music. I would go through The Stones and The Beatles, and when I got into rap, I think Dylan was an inspiration. He had his own unique style and was very rhythmic with the lyrics.

“I would listen to it all with my dad, and I knew that whatever I was going to do in life had to be in music. I got to my teenage years and thought ‘Can I sing?’ and no, I couldn’t and ‘Can I play an instrument?’ and no, not really.

“But then I found hiphop and garage music, and rapping seemed to me to be quite easy. I always loved writing and telling stories, and rapping is a way of story-telling. But this was about 15 years ago, and the technology to record at home wasn’t there.

“I ended up working at Chichester Festival Theatre, doing bits and pieces, box office and administration for ten years on and off, and it was an incredible, inspirational place to work.”

Around the age of 30 he travelled to northern Italy: “And I was thinking about what I can achieve, and when I came back from Italy, I had written the album.”

Joey is currently working on the album with a view to a release towards the end of next year. He is lining up a couple of singles for early next year, but in the meantime, he has enjoyed success with his debut single which came out in April, called You Know What We Do.

“That was a fun and vibrant track for the summer.

“I had everything in place in January and then COVID hit. I was in a bit of a situation whether to release it or not, but my view was that we should go for it and if we brought a few smiles to a few people’s faces, then it would be worth it.”