Blessing the site with its first ever interview, the Low Life Records artist talks about his influences, his plans for the future, what other labels he is feeling and the challenge of gaining success.
What artists and songs were an influence and motivation on you to become a rapper yourself?
First and foremost 'The Message' and early 80s stuff like Captain Rock and some Electro stuff, then a whole load of stuff from the mid 80s onwards: early Run DMC, BDP, Public Enemy, 3rd Bass, De La Soul. My favourite rapper for years has been Masta Ace who I still find inspiring.
How's it like handling a record label at the same time as being an artist?
Has Low Life grown enough for you to be able to concentrate on your music or are you very much still involved in it's day to day running?
I'm still in the office at least 6 days a week, there's a lot of things around the record label which are necessary to make up the figures cos it's impossible to make decent money just from putting out vinyl.
With such artists as Jehst, Taskforce and yourself, the label's easily the most significant of the UK hip-hop scene. What other domestic labels and artists do you dig?
I think Zebra Traffic are doing some good work and going about things in the right way, creating their own roster and staying consistent. YNR of course, I know them pretty well cos obviously that's partly Jehst's baby. And then there's Kemet which again is run by people who are professional and realistic about how to achieve success. It's important to stay realistic in UK Hip Hop.
How hard is it for domestic acts to succeed when MTV Base and similar Sky Digital music channels show little, if any interest in anything other than stateside wannabe thugs and gangsters?
It depends what you mean by succeed, a lot of underground heads might not be as well known as major label acts but they're probably making more money and at the end of the day they don't owe back to their label some big money advance like major label artists do. It can be better to be the little man even though you may not be famous.
Since your first releases such as Fat Head and the tracks with Breaking The Illusion up to the present, what?s been your most enjoyable experience in the industry?
Working with Task Force was a good experience cos it was very inspiring. Also becoming accepted in London was satisfying and also getting paid decent money for gigs was a revelation. Best of all is just going to jams and seeing how many people are supporting homegrown Hip Hop now, cos I remember doing jams in the early 90s that had less than 10 people there.
What projects can the public look forward to hearing? Is there going to be another Braintax LP soon?
I've been so busy with other things I've no solid plan but if I get the time later in the summer hopefully I'll be recording some new stuff. Main things I've been working on are the Rodney P LP (end of summer) and the Jehst LP (autumn), also I've just done a single for Mystro and worked on his debut EP.
Are there any show dates planned, if so what are they?
I've stopped doing gigs cos of the time they take up, all the rest of em have gigs all the time, check Rodney P out in Autumn cos he'll be touring with a live band, and Jehst will be back gigging in Autumn with a brand new set.