Pa Salieu emerged as the winner of BBC Sound of 2021 out of 10 other finalists. Expressing his feelings about the award, Pa Salieu said:
“I was just really happy to even be included on the list alongside some amazing artists, a few of who I know personally. They’re all crazy talented, so to be the winner of something like this so early in my journey just feels mad.”
The Gambian UK based rapper Pa Salieu also opened up about life in Coventry. The 23 year spoke about surviving a gun shot and other issues regarding his life in an interview with the BBC News Agency.
The rapper told the BBC:
“ If I actually died – in their eyes, I would be a criminal.” He said this while recounting moments he was shot on the head outside a pub in Coventry.
He went further to add: “Gang related. ‘Drive-by shooting’.Trust me, the whole perception would be different right now. You would have never heard of me. If you do hear of me, it’s, ‘That’s that kid that died.’ ‘Gun crime.’ ‘These foolish youths.’ No.”
Pa Salieu is grateful for surviving that shot as it gave him a chance to paint a different picture.
Still recounting history and survival, Pa Salieu talks about how he has been in trouble with the law since he was just 17 years old.
“Police used to say I’m in a gang. I wasn’t in a gang.I was never in a gang. Because I used to try to survive? I got caught with a knife when I was 17? What, because I’m paranoid of the streets?
“I got shot in the head. People get killed every day for no reason where I’m from. I don’t expect no-one to understand”.
Today, the young artiste wants to be the “voice for the voiceless, as their voices count too”.
Shifting from survival to his music career, Pa Salieu is an artiste with incredible punch lines – his music consist of great skills of wordplay, stories about his life growing up and how being marginalised can also be life affirming.
His debut mixtape “Send Them To Coventry” is described by The Guardian as “too fresh and inventive to ignore”, while the NME dubbed him the “UK’s next star”.