In Depth

Who is slowthai and what happened at the NME Awards?

Rapper confronts audience member after ‘harassing’ host Katherine Ryan

Slowthai is being slated for his behaviour at last night’s NME Awards last night after making lewd remarks to host Katherine Ryan and clashing with an audience member.

Ironically, the rapper was at the event, at London’s Brixton Academy, to pick up the Hero of the Year award.

Who is slowthai?

Tyron Kaymone Frampton, who performs under the name slowthai, is a 25-year-old rapper from Northampton who rose to prominence following the release of his debut album Nothing Great About Britain last May.

Described by The Guardian music critic Alexis Petridis as “a hilarious punk portrait of the nation”, the album was nominated for the Mercury Prize.

Although slowthai lost out on the prestigious award to south London rapper Dave, he hit headlines with his performance at the ceremony last September.

After stripping to the waist during a rendition of his track Doorman, slowthai grabbed an effigy of Boris Johnson’s head from the floor, held it aloft, and shouted “fuck Boris Johnson, fuck everything”, as Sky News reported at the time.  

What did slowthai say to Katherine Ryan?

Appearing on stage at the NME Awards, slowthai told host Ryan: “Baby girl… if you want to do something, see me later… you ain’t never had anyone play with you like I’ll play with you.”

He continued his attentions to the Canadian comedian after returning to the stage later, telling the crowd: “She wants me to tend to her flowers”.

Ryan responded by saying - sarcastically - that she “loves” the rapper.

“Thank you for the attention,” she told him, adding: “You are younger than my babysitter.”

What happened with the audience?

Slowthai faced a hostile response from some audience members when he returned to the stage yet again later in the evening to collect his Hero of the Year award.

As the London Evening Standard reports, one man shouted “misogynistic” during the rapper’s acceptance speech, in an apparent reference to the earlier incidents with Ryan.

“NME, thank you,” slowthai said, before pointing down at the heckling audience member and adding: “Thank you for ruining my speech.” 

The musician then threw his mic into the crowd, which was promptly thrown back along with drinks amid shouts of “wasteman”. 

In response, slowthai raised his own champagne flute above his head and threw it at the heckler, before lunging towards him after apparently being goaded and beckoned forward.

However, no blows were exchanged, after security guards restrained the shouting pair.

Meanwhile, US singer Taylor Swift, who attended the ceremony to collect the Best Solo Act in the World gong, told the audience: “This is like the craziest awards show I have ever been to, and I love it so much.”

And the reaction?

After batting away slowthai’s comments away during the show, Ryan dismissed Twitter claims that he had made her “uncomfortable”.

“I knew he had lost from the moment he opened his mouth like any heckler coming up against a COMIC – not a woman – a COMIC,” she wrote.

Fellow comedian Dara O Briain tweeted his support, saying: “Hey Boss. Kudos for rising above. Wouldn’t have expected anything else.”

But many other social media users have continued to slate slowthai, saying Ryan’s successful handling of the incidents doesn’t “excuse what he did”.

“But why was it *your* job to defuse it?  And would most women be able to do it as well as you?  (Not by ability but by conditioning). I work in the city and I couldn’t,” said one woman.

“Handled it like a pro...whether he made you uncomfortable or not, it shouldn’t have happened. He’s vile,” said another.

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