Ché Wolton Grant (born 4 March 1994), better known by his stage name AJ Tracey, is an English rapper, grime MC and record producer from Ladbroke Grove, West London. In May 2016, The Guardian listed him in a list of “best new acts to catch at festivals in 2016”. His fifth EP, Secure the Bag!, entered the UK Albums Chart at number thirteen in October 2017.
Under the stage names Looney and Loonz, Tracey’s music can be found online dating back to June 2011. An early SoundCloud account, Looney Tell ‘Em, contains eleven tracks, each with free downloads enabled. These include four songs from the scrapped grime EP The Dungeon (featuring non-exclusive beats from Spooky and Rude Kid) and two songs from Didn’t Make the Cut, originally slated for release on the scrapped hip hop mixtape Fuck a Fairytale. His debut mixtape, Didn’t Make the Cut, was released 13 September 2012, and comprises 21 British hip hop and grime songs and freestyles which, in his own words, are “the tracks that didn’t make it onto my actual mixtape”. The project was initially to be titled Scirocco Musik, and its artwork still reflects this title. In August 2013, his collective, My Team Paid, announced that they were to release a joint mixtape entitled My Team Paid. One single, “Clouded Skies”, emerged, but the project was ultimately scrapped. Tracey’s second mixtape, No More Looney, was released through DatPiff on 30 August 2014. The project includes thirty-three tracks, many of which feature fellow My Team Paid members Big Zuu, Jay Amo, Wax and Sketch.
Tracey first gained attention through appearances on pirate radio stations, and the release of his debut EP The Front in mid 2015. In December 2015, Tracey released his second EP Alex Moran, which featured acclaimed tracks including “Spirit Bomb” and “Naila”. During this period, Tracey also recorded (but did not release) a trap EP entitled Rain.
In 2016, Tracey – a Tottenham Hotspur fan – appeared in promotional material for BT Sport’s coverage of the Premier League. He also collaborated with Santan Dave over a remix of Ruff Sqwad’s Pied Piper to create a well received track entitled “Thiago Silva”.
In October 2017, Tracey released his fifth EP, Secure the Bag!.
2017 also saw Tracey foray into record production. He made his production debut on “LA4AWEEK”, co-produced by Nyge and released in April 2017, and later produced label-mate Big Zuu’s “Tell Man Twice”, released in August 2017.
Tracey’s father, of Trinidadian origin, is a former rapper, and his mother is a Welsh former jungle DJ.
Tracey is the cousin of fellow Grime MC and close collaborator Big Zuu.
Tracey was educated locally at Middle Row Primary school and went on to attend Holland Park School.
Tracey dropped out of a Criminology course at London Metropolitan University in order to pursue his music career.
In June 2017, Tracey endorsed Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the 2017 UK general election. In a Labour Party campaign video he said: “The Labour Party strongly support the youth in following their dreams and giving people a chance”. He added: “In my opinion we need a Labour government to give young people a hope, a chance for their future and I genuinely believe that Corbyn is the man to do it.”
Later that month, following the Grenfell Tower fire, he was asked for his thoughts on the disaster by The Guardian. His brother Mickey told the cameras: “The central government response has been shambolic. Theresa May, you have a lot of questions to answer, genuinely.” Tracey added: “She needs to resign, to be honest… She came with heavy security, no one was allowed to approach her. And then Corbyn comes down, do you get me? No security, chats to the mandem. This is why everyone loves him… It seems like he genuinely cares.”
On 14 April 2018, in response to the May administration’s decision to launch airstrikes on Syria following the Douma chemical attack, Tracey tweeted: “why is a woman none of us voted for dragging us out of europe [sic] and into world war 3?