Huddled in a circle on the dark, smoke-filled dancefloor at Corsica Studios, the four MCs that make up Bala Bala Boyz spit over syncopated bass-heavy rhythms, passing a single microphone between the collective's members. Captivating crowds with their energy, and an effortless ability to flow as a family unit, it’s on these South London dancefloors — as well as DIY festivals like Kallida and Boiler Room's four-day London takeover last year — that Bala Bala Boyz come alive.
Master Peace is settled into a booth at The Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch. Nestled amongst bare bricks and leather seats, the South London MC oozes an infectious confidence as he sips an apple juice, looking at ease in his suitably comfortable uniform of cargo trousers and checkerboard Vans, paired with a black top.
“YS was listening to stuff like Max B and French Montana, so I was hearing all of that. I wanted to be a contemporary dancer then, but a lot of things happened and my group kind of split up,” he tells us. “My brother and my mum kept asking me, ‘What are you gonna do after high school? You're just staying at home playing your XBOX’ and shit. I knew I had to do something.
His confidence could never be construed with arrogance. Peace is self-assured, but endearing. He’s not cocky, and pushes himself constantly. “Keep Hush was a way to test myself,” he says. “If people pull up when I’m the headline, then I know I’m doing the right thing. I was worried. I thought, ‘Fuck. What if people don’t turn up?’. A lot of people wanted to come who were industry. We sold it out in two to three days. I had to take the risk.