By far our most favourite UK rap artist of all time took time out from recording his next LP to tell us what the new mixtape's like, what fans have in store and how he approaches his legendary work.
Whats up Capps, how's life treating you?
Whats good? I'm doing well, working hard on the new album and promoting a new mixtape.
What have you been working on since your last release and why's it taken so long for us to hear you again?
I've been keeping busy on the production side, making albums with Rukus Regardless and Midnyte. We made three volumes of Rukus's 'Code Of Practice' and Mid's album 'Revision'. I'm still on the constant search for vinyl, trying to build up my drum breaks for my album. I try to find drums sounds that nobody has used yet so my material is brand new. Right now I'm building up a stock pile of tracks so I can pick my best dozen for the final process of my LP. I'm also back in the lab with Styly Cee. We've got a couple of songs prepared for a future project and I had a couple of tracks on Ed 209's 'StayExstatic' EP.
I actually had an album finalised in 2006 but I decided to wait before releasing it and keep working towards new material, keeping the highlights from the original project and just continually building until I had something I felt was as strong as my previous releases.
Tell us about the new release. What producers and guests are on there and how long did it take? What label's it out on and how did that relationship come about?
'Director's Commentary' is my 10 year history tape. I went in the vaults and pulled out some classics and some newness and some never before heard music. I've got tracks on there from all eras of my career – 'Heavy Bronx', 'G.E.T O.U.T', 'Spaz The World' demos, Herbaliser, 'Resilience', Ed 209, B sides, new freestyles, tracks from Weight Bench and Code Of Practice and I got the original version of 'Capkon Entertainment' on there which was never released 'cause the beat got changed just before the vinyl was pressed for Skullsnap records.
The mixtape was originally intended for spreading round at shows but we got the website up and running 'cause we felt it should be heard by a wide spread audience. I got Styly on the cuts and he mixed all the tracks together and put his finishing touches on it to make it authentic. I made it independently like how we made the 'Get Out' albums, then we got in touch with Dealmaker in Notts and they got on the help out with promotion and the official side of things. Shouting Ste and Sean at Dealmaker putting the hard work in.
Out of all UK rappers your quite an elusive character. Is this something you promote?
I concentrate on my music most. My music takes precedence above the business side and the media side. I have a lot of respect for someone who is able to balance the music with the promotion side of the industry, but at the same time I believe that at the end of the day the music is paramount above all else. I would rather make sure the beats are correct and authentic and the verses are 100% – then let the songs speak for themselves.
How come we don't hear as much from you or see you live as much as some other UK artists?
I've been working on the producing as much as possible since touring with the Herbaliser. Weight Bench has been doing shows in Notts and I recently supported Styles P when he came to Notts. I want to start doing shows regular like when I released 'Spaz The World', spanning the whole of the UK. I'm currently looking for a booking agent for when I release my new LP.
The quality and depth of your work surpasses most. How much time goes into penning your verses?
I write different depending on what situation I'm in. When I worked on the 'Get Out' albums I would write the verses there and then while Theorist made the beat, we would always record the verses as soon as they were finished. Same as the WB albums. Most of the lyrics were penned within 20 minutes because we would treat it as competition to who would be first to record. A lot of importance was held on recording the verse during the first take 'cause that's where the adrenalin concentration would centre.
We would use a technique we called the Wonder method, named after Stevie wonder 'cause I saw him recording on Biography channel and he would only record his playing 3 times. If he didn't record right after the third take he would not record at all. If you can't record within three takes, then the verse doesn't get used.
For my own work I have used all types of methods. I use influences from John Lennon 'cause he would write lyrics for pages and pages, then take certain paragraphs and single lines and join them up together to piece together full songs. Nowadays I write 4 to 12 bars in my head when I'm inspired, then write it out later so I don't forget. Also I take words and phrases I hear and make them centre pieces for my verse. As well as using the Wonder method, I have sometimes taken weeks to write a single track and used over 50 takes to get a verse correct, depending on what it is I'm trying to create.
Have you always had such a gift with words ever since back in the day when you were a kid?
I would always try to take a word we used often and change it or lenghthen it so it means the same thing but different. I liked creating slang from an early age so it would be personal to only a certain few, to the point where you could almost talk in code. That's why I have followed rap music so consistently 'cause the slang is being constantly upgraded and developed. Most important to me is using words I have never heard before from other artists 'cause then I feel I'm progressing and adding to what I respect.
Do you think we'll ever get to read your work in written form as opposed to on record? It's very poetic.
The main thing I think about writng is that you are making a product out of thin air. You're using your mind to form a product that can spread across all continents and be heard by anyone. I have never thought about putting my work in written form but I do think of my verses to be like a diary that spans across what my mind is concentrating on at the time.
How do you rate the current UK Hiphop scene and what artists and releases are you feeling right now?
I listen to a lot of old music from the vinyl I collect. I don't follow the UK scene too much, but I respect any artists who are making music to protocol. I listened to a lot of UK rap earlier on in my career. I know there is a lot more of an industry nowadays and that artists are linking up worldwide a lot more which is something I respect. I will listen to american rap music and to my friends 'cause that's what counts to me.
Do you enjoy much of the Grime scene and what less conventional rap music has to offer these days?
I listen to all types of music but I only concentrate on Hiphop that I relate to, like how the beats are produced and how the music sounds. I remember coming back from London and hearing a beat from Wiley on the radio which had an Aliyah sample on it which was ill. I respect how Grime artists rap so fast which is an art in itself.
What's next for you? Do you think we'll get a full solo album again soon?
That's a definite. Right now it's solo produced. I've got plans for the album that I can't talk about right now, like the concept of the album and features, but like I said before, I make music and that's what counts to me. Others can be media savvy and know how to connect in the industry and manipulate the press to work for them. I could care less. My music stands alone without needing anything else. I'm only concerned with making critically acclaimed material and building another classic.
Many people rate your 'Get Out' series as your greatest work. Do you think you'll link with Zero Theory again?
Theorist is busy with his album right now. I heard some of it and it's off the scale. He's doing what he does and I'm busy with this new album. There could always be another album when we've both got time.
Outside of rap, what are your interests in terms of other genres, reading, films etc?
Me and First Blood are always on the search for new Shapiro Glickenhaus films like the 'Basketcase' trilogy, any Medusa communication films like 'Maniac Cop'. We just copped the 'Frankenhooker' movie and we're looking for any Charles Band movies like the 'Puppet Master' series, 'Trolls' and 'Demonic Toys'. We go to car boots for vinyl and VHS early.
How can fans keep up to date with what you've got coming out, or do we just have to sit and wait?
I got the website www.cappomixtape.com and the myspace is 'Cappomixtape' Plus I'm here in Nottingham every day working hard. 'The Directors Commentary' authorised mixtape is out now. Should have some new exclusive tracks on Myspace soon and I will release my new album in the near future, regardless of what happens to Nottingham's rap scene or what happens in the industry. I will release a classic album that will be my best work to date.
Have you got any shouts you'd like to throw out?
Shouts to all Nottingham affiliates, past and present. Styly Cee, Rukus and Mid. All UTC staff and the WB movement, First Blood fam, Konny Kon and Whalley Range, C-mone, – shouting Rapnews also. One.