Bonkaz doesn't want to have a breakout year, he wants longevity. He's not focused on a hit, he wants a classic. Yes, 2015 has been an unbelievable 365 for the South-London rapper, who delivered a summer grime anthem with his debut single 'We Run The Block,' garnered international attention with the vibrant video for euphonious hit 'You Don't Know,' and released his EP, Forgive Me When I'm Famous, not only flexing his diverse sonic taste, but also providing proof that Bonkaz deserves to be named with UK rap's top tier. An upcoming tour with Netsky can only further the fervent momentum.

But on top of mounting hype, however, Croydon's New Gen pioneer is more focused on building something else - a timeless debut album.

Publications are quick to call you the go-to name whenever considering the rise of UK rap's new generation. To start, how would you put the identity of this new generation into words?

I think it has more to do with originality. Everyone's bringing their own thing. I feel like everything progresses. As opposed to differences, I think this is the first time that there's been a lot of artists that are coming through at the same time. I think everybody's just ready to be themselves. Everyone can just bring their own interpretation and make it a lot more wide, which I think is why there's attention from other parts of the world now.

In some rap scenes globally, artists on the come-up may not always show respect for the people that have paved the way for them. I see a lot of "move over, it's my turn" happening. But with you, you really pay homage and respect to the artists like Dizzee Rascal and Mike Skinner, who you grew up listening to. Why is that so important to you?

These are the guys that inspire me to do what I'm doing. And I'm not so focused on having a time. If someone said to me, "2016 is your year," I'm not focused on that. I really want to last forever just like these artists have. I listened to Mike Skinner years ago and he's just as relevant to me now. I want a long-lasting career like that where, whether or not you're the top artist at the time, there's still going to be people that still relate to your music and want to listen to you forever. So, I see no problem with paying respect to the artists that came before me. I'm not so competitive.

Speaking of OGs, I noticed the tweets between you and Craig David, when you reached out for him to be on your album. What did that mean to you when he agreed and has there been any progress made in working together?

I always kind of felt like that. When I do my album, I want Craig David on there, I want Mike Skinner on there. I want these people that I grew up listening to. The people that I feel all last forever. Those are the people I want on my album, as opposed to just whoever is the new top three hottest rappers or whatever. I think that for a body of work, that's something that really means something to me. I've always spoken about it to my friends that I wanted to work with Craig David and that I wanted him on the album. Then the other day, I just tweeted him like, "I'm not releasing my first album if you don't get on it," and he just tweeted back like, "yeah, let's make sure it happens." But I thought he was just saying it. Then, he actually DMed me and we actually have the session booked in now, so that's exciting.

That's really exciting. Congrats on the milestone. In regards to the album, you also tweeted, "I'm not dropping an album unless it's beautiful and it has the ability to make you turn up and cry." How has that process been like of preparing to put together a body of work that's timeless and impactful?

I feel like it has to come from honesty. Kind of touching on subjects that really affected you. If there's a really sad moment, I should touch on it when it comes to my album. If there's a really happy moment, I need to touch on it when it comes to my album. And just have those moments that really affect people, as opposed to something that just sounds cool, especially with bodies of work nowadays, they don't really last for that long. People will talk about them for a month or two, but for me, it has to be that one that even if you don't listen to it for two years, even if I've got two new albums out, you'll go back to it and put it on and allow it to take you back to where you were. But I think that comes from honesty. Just putting yourself in the actual music.

In a lot of your interviews and in your music, you display your creative values quite openly. Words like inspiring, timeless and honesty come up a lot. Where do those values come from and what drives them in your art?

It comes from me just taking the time out to understand who I am. I want to actually pay attention to who I am, because I want my music to be a direct documentation of myself rather than what's cool at the time. You are you, forever. I don't think it comes from always trying to be different or taking a look at a scene and saying, "okay, what's missing from the scene? Let me try and fill that." It's more about, let me just be myself and be honest. That's the only way to truly be different and be unique, because no one else is actually you. It's about putting that in the music and all the values I have, I want to speak about a lot. I want to let people know that this is how I feel.

In the past year, you've really demonstrated how diverse you are as an artist from 'We Run The Block' to 'You Don't Know.' Sonically and conceptually, your work varies incredibly. When it comes to beat selection, how do you describe the perfect beat and what hearing it does to you?

It's about a feeling for me. I need melody. I need something that makes me feel something. I always compare the music to physical art like paintings. My lyrics are like a picture in my head and if you give me a piece of paper, I'm not going to want to use it, because these lyrics are so valuable to me, I need a canvas. I need something that is sustainable and is going to hold its value. It's like a Picasso painting on a piece of scrap paper. You'll want the canvas. It'll last longer. It's more valuable. When it comes to finding the right beat, I'll compare it to that.

And I read that you don't actually write. You create songs in your head and remember them through repetition. How many tracks do you have in your head that you're working on at the moment?

Something like 15 different tracks. Some of them will never come out. Some of them get lost in translation, because I don't write them down. I just leave them and then a year from now, I'll start singing the melody to myself and I'll be like, "where do I know that from?" and it will be from something that I came up with like a year ago. It's just more exciting for me that way. When I start writing things down, it feels too much like work.

How many of those 15 tracks are actual contenders for the album?

I've got one track that I made already that I'm like 99% sure that it's going to go on my album. The track means too much to me. I was thinking of putting it out on the EP that came out a few months ago but I felt like I needed to save it for the album. Other than that, I don't have any yet. I guess when I do the Craig David session, I'm going into that season with the album in mind. I want the album to be serious music as opposed to just songs that are going to be bangers. I think Kendrick's really good at that, he can make a song like 'Poetic Justice,' that you can dance to but the actual concept behind the song is serious. That's one aspect that I want with my album, to make it as timeless as possible.

And the thing with Kendrick's latest album that made it so serious sonically was the producers and musicians he worked with to create that jazz-hip-hop hybrid. Do you have any producers in mind in particular to take you there?

I just started on some stuff with Sango. He's an amazing producer. I really want him on my album. Sango is someone, we've been sending things back and forth and are going to get in the studio and work on some stuff. I'm just looking for people with that distinctive sound. When I go to a producer, I want to get something that only that person can do. I want every song on the album to be something that I've actually worked on myself, as opposed to just receiving the beat and putting some words on it. I want to sit down and let them know the feeling that I want to get out of it and get them to translate that.

How do you describe the creative place you're in right now?

Expressive and fearless. I'm willing to speak on any subject and just make any music that I want to make. I have no interest in sticking between the guidelines of what people think a rapper should be or what people think a UK rapper should be. It's about being fearless and open in general. Just in life. The best way to do that is through the music.

You're about to head on tour with Netsky. What can those who copped a ticket expect from that?

Netsky is super sick. He has some amazing songs. I'm just going to bring my vibe. I think I'm just going to go there and do the bangers. It's that type of show. I just be keeping the energy going and having fun. Running all over the stage like a mad man.

This has basically been a break-out year for you. What have you learned throughout the evolution of this year?

That anything is possible, really and because of that, I kind of want to have more than one break-out year. I'm looking to always be expressive, so in two years' time, if I feel a completely different way, it could be another breakthrough year. For me, it's all about documentation. So that's why I'm doing the album. I want to document exactly who I am and exactly how I feel.

You come across as someone who's super self-aware and maybe even your own biggest critic. So what alterations will you be making to your life, or music heading into next year?

To take more time actually creating individual songs. The way that I created songs up until this point, I don't think I'm going to take that method into recording my album. The EP that I did a few months ago, I recorded it in about two weeks. When I do my album, I want to take time with it and nurture the songs and get the best out of the songs that I actually can. It's like writing a book. When people read it, they have to take a lot of things from it and understand it and interpret it in their own way.

Bonkaz's latest track, 'You Don't Know', is out now.