ITHINKTHATSRIO: East London’s Newcomer

With the release of his debut single, “AFRO“, we introduce to you — emerging UK artist, IThinkThatsRio! The melodious rap single arrives six months after the London native made a splash late last year with his ‘Prayer’ freestyle, which drew the attention of the scene.

IThinkThatsRio, who hails from Chadwell Heath in East London, has always had a passion for music. Although he has been training for a number of years to be a professional footballer, music seems to be his calling.

After turning 20 last year, he began taking music seriously. He realized that music had the capacity to help him express his feelings. He fell in love with how that made him feel and swiftly charted a new trajectory from a footballer to a musician. “Afro” sees IThinkThatsRio waxing lyrical about having the freedom to do what you want, whether that be with your hair or with your profession.


When talking about the inspiration behind ‘Afro’ and how the song came together, IThinkThatsRio goes on to say:

Creating ‘Afro’ was such a vibe. I was in the studio with TheLifeOfKG when this Grossgod beat came on. The first thing that came out of my head was ‘take out my braids, just roll with an afro’. The rest came together from there. As well as the track just being a vibe. I believe the message behind it, which is that we should be free to make our own choices, without fear of ridicule or judgement from other people – in my case, it’s how I wear my hair sometimes”.


For the accompanying music video, IThinkThatsRio has collaborated with burgeoning London-based visual director and photographer EazyVisuals (Ebenezer, B Young, Ryan De La Cruz, Michael Ward) to bring the infectious track further to life.

With a series of upcoming hits, IThinkThatsRio is primed to make a significant dent in the 2021 freshmen class, after his debut single “Afro.” Luckily for us, we had the pleasure of chopping it up with the rising rhymer. Take a look below at our interview where we talk how it all began, AFRO, and what’s next for IThinkThatsRio.


  • Hi, ITHINKTHATSRIO! It’s a pleasure to be able to speak with you about the release of your first drop off of 2021, your single titled, ‘AFRO’. I love your music — please tell us more about where and how it all began.

Well I was in the studio finding beats with different vibes and obviously the one I used. It was the one that matched the way I felt at the time. Then obviously my hair just got taken out as well from being in braids. Then the first the line is pretty much self explanatory ‘take out my braids just roll with a Afro’.

  • Tell us about what it’s like growing up in East London? How would you say it’s influenced who you are as a musician? 

Growing up in East London was ok but it definitely wasn’t the best the surroundings. It can easily lead you down the wrong way. But, personally I’ve always been that type of person to always stay focused and stay out the way even if it means being alone. To be honest ,it really hasn’t influenced me in any way. Due to me being gravitated towards different styles from a very early age. I’ve always been open minded.

  • That’s good! The versatility in your childhood environment is reflected within your music. Would you say that your culture has influenced your music and sound?

I wouldn’t say my culture has really influenced me much in terms of my music and sound. But, I definitely respect the musicians that are from the Caribbean. Especially one of my favorite artists, Bob Marley.

  • Who influenced you the most and which artists helped inspire your sound and artistry?

One of the artists that influenced me the most was Juice Wrld. Due to him being real and unique with his lyrics and sound.

  • Oh, ok! I can see that. RIP to Juice WRLD. At what point did you realize that being an artist is what you really want to pursue?

One time when I was on the train going somewhere. I was listening to a song and the lyrics kind of related to me. So from there, I felt the need to write stuff to get a few things off my chest. It just felt good doing.

‘AFRO’ — The Project 

  • It’s Here! It’s finally here and I’m loving it! What would you say the main message of your new single is for new listeners and fans?

The main message to the people is about being yourself and doing what makes you happy and what feels right.

  • I love the message conveyed in ‘AFRO’, how long did it take to record? 

The song ‘Afro’ took around 3 hours to record but obviously I didn’t do it straight away because I was working on other tracks before that but the beat I used for ‘Afro’ I already had lyrics written down for so I just went back and recorded the song after I was finished with the other ones.

  • Ok, that’s good! Sounds like it was one of those records that just flowed and came easily. What was your proudest moment when curating ‘AFRO’

It was exciting for me to show people my first music video and listen to the feedback everybody had.

What’s Next?

  • Everybody in music has a different goal or idea of what success will be to them when they start making music. What does success look like to you?

Success for me in music is just having sold out shows, doing well on the music charts, touring the world and just having fun and being happy.

  • Seeing as you just released your new album, and really delved into your career during the pandemic, would you say it’s been treating you well? If so, what’s the best part? 

Yeah it has, to be fair. Even though I have been inside the house I’ve still been able to come up with melodies and lyrics for my songs. The best part was realizing my first music video.

  • Congratulations! That’s exciting! Outside of music, what are some things that you are into? Or things that you are excited to do when the world opens back up?

Outside of music I really like playing FIFA ultimate team on PlayStation. Also, being around family, friends and with my girl.

  • Thank you so much for your time ITHINKITSRIO! It’s been a pleasure. As we wrap up, what can we be on the lookout for from you soon?

What’s next for me is to just keep releasing singles. To build up the tracks and keep the fans and people drawn in. Then to eventually release projects. Be on the lookout for more releases from me as I build my track list.

Stay tuned here at KAZI Magazine for more on IThinkThatsRio. 


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