One October evening when 23-year-old singer Osh was getting ready for bed at home in Croydon, south London, he got a phone call about a video. Specifically, about one he posted on his OshThisSide Instagram page, which had since blown up on Twitter, in ripped videos. Shocked, he tweeted his almost minute-long freestyle himself, to make sure people knew its original source. By now, you may know him as Fleece Drip, or the man responsible for howling “my yé is different to your yé,” under white top-lighting and switching between two camera angles. Osh, for anyone who missed him, is living in a post-memed world.
For the sake of your mates who aren’t online much, here’s the rundown. His freestyle’s instrumental is a Prisc Jay remake of the beat from “Ye” by Burna Boy. Funnily enough, that original Burna track might have reached a bigger audience after being regularly mistaken for Kanye West’s album of the same name. In June, Burna tweeted that this mix-up saw his music streams go up by 200 percent. Fair enough.
But look, what most people loved about Osh’s freestyle was the first six seconds. As the handheld mobile phone camera pans from a white wall to him, he sings – no, he belts, right at the top of his lungs – that: “DIFFerent to your yé,” line before easing into a “dripping in sauce, the drip-drip is so sauCY.” Now, Osh is seriously invested in music so he didn’t upload this as a joke. Describing why memes are memes is honestly hellish, and not worth reading, but all you need to know is that people laughed and shared and rated his voice. By the start of November, he was singing live for BBC Radio 1Xtra, on the actual London Eye.
About a week before his video landed at the end of October, people had started paying attention to another viral freestyle. This one came from Loz Smith, an influencer from Woltherhampton, who “shaku’d on the beat as well” in her version of the ‘Zeze Challenge, over Kodak Black’s Travis Scott- and Offset-featuring “Zeze” instrumental. So what does it feel like to become a viral UK music hit, so soon after another person? We spoke to Osh to find out.
Noisey: Hey Osh, how are you? I take it things have been busy all of a sudden.
Osh: Wonderful. Too busy, but we make time for you.
Appreciated. Tell me about how you came up with your freestyle idea, then.
Initially, we didn't expect it to become the viral sensation that it is now. It was just for content. I don't know if you looked on my Instagram, but, if you have a look at it, there's other freestyles on there. What we originally did was use instrumentals – you know, when you just type in instrumental and anyone can just make one. But, we said, let's change the way we are doing things and make instrumentals of songs that are already established eg: the “Ye” instrumental from Burna Boy. We were going to use that another one by Travis Scott and another by Drake. But the “Ye” instrumental was the first and we posted it – and what happened has happened since.
Even though enough people have screamed this to themselves or their mates over the past couple of weeks, what’s the story behind the “my ye is different to your ye” phrase itself?
The phrase? You're going to have to wait for the video. It's explained in the video so what I'm doing I'm just watching everyone's interpretation of it. People aren't too far off. What do you take from it?
I get the impression that it’s like, ‘what I’m doing is on another level to what you’re doing, even though they might appear to be the same thing.’
It's along them lines, but as I said when the video comes out, you'll have a proper understanding of it from my point of view.
Alright, I see that you’re getting the people ready for your video. Why do you think so many of them responded so well to the freestyle?
Firstly, the phrase. I think we're going through a little phase now where viral videos are doing well, getting attention. I think the situation with Loz the week before helped quite a lot. People saw my video and thought it was just another viral video. When they went on my social they saw that I've been doing music on a long-term basis, they were able to take it more seriously. There's certain categories that stand out, I think people can relate to that also.
Why do you think that is?
Everyone thinks they are better than everyone at something. So, I think that everyone can relate. If they don't, everyone wants to be better than everyone at something.
Do you think there are similarities between Loz’s “ Shaku on the Beat ” and your freestyle, though?
No – the only thing I can compare it to is how they both blew up, but I think me and Loz are going down two different journeys. In her case, she said she just did a freestyle for fun, and what happened has happened, but I've been taking music seriously for a while now and I'll continue to do it. I didn't know the video was going to go where it went. But, I’m getting the opportunity where the foot goes through the door a lot quicker than how we initially meant for it to go through.
When did you first clock that it was turning into a meme? And how did that feel?
Last Monday night: I was going to sleep, ready for work the next morning, and then I got a phone call about the video and I went to look for myself. Someone else had originally posted it, I didn't even post it. So, we thought, we need to post this on Twitter so everyone knows where it comes from.
When you recorded the freestyle, did you expect people to read it in a jokey sort of way?
I took it seriously, I take my craft seriously – just like you take yours seriously. I didn't know it was going to go viral like straight away, but I posted it in the same way I approached all my other freestyles.
How would you describe that style of your other freestyles?
I like to think of myself as quite versatile, I wouldn't say I have a specific sound. I feel like I'm able to do a few things: I can rap a bit, I can sing. So, I wouldn't put myself in one category per se. My aim is to make music that everyone will enjoy.
Some people have been trying to link “My Ye Is Different” to Kanye and Burna’s “Ye,” and some of the streaming confusion that connected them earlier this year.
Really? Haven't heard that one. It's got nothing to do with Kanye, it's more along the lines of what we discussed earlier in terms of my personality, my style, my vision is better than yours so…
Well then, what are your future plans?
No more freestyles; we’ve got a year’s worth of songs. This is a serious thing. This isn't just a one off or freestyle thing. As I said that freestyle was there for content, we had a song out before, a lot of people are noticing that song. Now, a lot of people are noticing all them freestyles. I don't want anyone to think this is a one-off kind of thing. Obviously we have to replan again because this song caught everyone's attention. We give the people what they want now, but long-term we've got so many other things lined up.
Give us a final message, from life after a meme.
I just wanted to thank everyone for liking the song first of all. I hope it will put our foot through the door, I hope it will give us a platform. There are other things, the song is coming soon. Just look out for us.
Thanks a lot, Osh.
You can find Precious on Twitter .