In another exclusive interview and the last Rapnews update, Braintax talks about his final album, his decision to call it a day, the shutting down of Lowlife Recods and working with C-Swing.
In retrospect, were you happy with the 'Panorama' material and how do you feel the LP was received?
Yeah, I was really happy with it. The only thing that bugs me is when you talk about politics, some people, mainly reviewers, scoff at it, like 'who does he think he is', like music should be purely superficial bullshit and have no business aspiring to more than that.
By UK Hiphop standards, the new 'My Best And Last Record' is a fast release. Why the rush?
Rush? You're kidding aren't you? We were more than a year making it, mainly because of me being busy doing other things. The only difference here is that I'm not doing the whole 2 month pre-release marketing thing because quite honestly, I can't be arsed 'cause it'll sell to the fanbase and that's good enough for me.
Are the new tracks left overs or did you set out to create the record from scratch?
No, it was all done from scratch. I've got some spare tracks I wanted to release but not enough to make up a whole CD's worth. To make this album, we knocked out about 14 tracks and picked the best 11.
Was the plan always for this to be your last record or was that a decision that came later on?
Er… I can't remember. I think it was pretty much always the plan for this to be the last album. Like I said, I wanted to do a CD of spare tracks mainly from the 'Panorama' sessions but I didn't get enough together to warrant it.
How conscious were you of this being the last opportunity for you to throw particular thoughts out there?
Yeah, it was something I thought about but I was lucky in that this album wasn't a strain. It's the easiest one I've done and the ideas just came in a flood.
Tell us about who's handling the beats and what you're saying with some of the tracks?
All the beats are by Colin Emmanuel (C-Swing). You should know a fair bit about him already. He's not just a guy that makes Hip Hop beats. He's a producer in the proper sense of the word. He can make pop, rock, whatever. And, he can play piano as well, so there was a lot more depth to making the beats on this album and I had quite a lot of input as well.
Colin's an open minded guy and he's not too precious. If I wanted to change this or that, or add my own bassline, then he'd be fine with that. He's been based in the studio next to me for the last 6 or something years so we know each other quite well. We'd been talking about doing stuff together for years but never got it together.
Did you not want to contribute as a producer on what was to be your final ever release?
No, I'm not on a big mission to prove I can make beats. I like making beats a lot but I'm not the greatest producer and my skills are limited 'cause I don't really play an instrument. I knew that with Colin in charge I would get the beats I wished I could make myself and I did.
Have you a sense of satisfaction that you've done everything you want to do as an artist, and have nothing left to tick off?
The title's got a lot of finality to it. How sure are you that this is it and you won't be doing a Jay Z?
I'm very sure. Music's a young man's game and there's nothing sadder than a once dope artist trying to get back that old magic. Plus, I've got other things going on I need to do with my life.
Where does this leave Lowlife Records and the artists that you've been helping put releases out?
Well remember, we haven't put anything much out for the last 3 years so really there's not a lot of work to be done other than the basics for my new album and we're still doing some promo on Dubbledge. Check the new video coming in the next couple of weeks. Other than that, it's not like the label will cease to exist 'cause the back catalogue's still out there.
Have any factors beyond personal plans effected the winding down of the label? EG, Sales and interest.
No, it was just a personal decision. I've heard a lot of rumours about this and that, most of which are quite funny, but really, who wants to do the same thing they were doing when they were 15 when they're 35? Not me…
UK Hiphop's never been an easy area to sell records well in. How much has this increased of late?
It's got a lot harder now with the whole internet, downloading thing. To be honest, the last thing I'd advise anyone to do nowadays is set up a record label. The music business is in a mess.
Do you think it'd be possible for a new wave of heads to come through and successfully launch a label and records like you've done in the current climate?
In a word… no.
What'd you say has been the most enjoyable part of being Braintax and Lowlife Records honcho?
Not having to get a proper job.
What's been the lowest or most stressful situation over the years?
There's been too much stress, mainly the large amount of bullshit you have to contend with when you run a record label. If you're not ripping people off then you're busy not trying hard enough to sell records that no one wants to buy.
When you're flicking through yours and the labels discography, what records will warm the heart most?
Probably the Rodney P album and 'Biro Funk', but they all mean things to me depending how I'm feeling.
After a few years of retirement, with the slippers on in front of your fire, what do you think you'll miss most?
Honestly, nothing. I don't miss any of it and my life's a lot better and healthier now than it's ever been.
Is there a final press push or tour for the new album, or is this over and out?
No, seeing as though it's my record label I don't have anyone on my back to do promo stuff, so I'm not gonna do any 'cause it's basically a hassle when I've got other things I could be doing.
For the final time on Rapnews, what shout outs and messages do you wanna lay down?
None! Your real friends and family are the only people that matter, and they should know who they are 'cause you tell them in person how you feel.
Cheers to Braintax, the first artist to ever get interviewed on Rapnews, for filling us in on his somewhat suprising retirement, and a big thanks to all the artists and visitors who have granted Rapnews with their time over the years. As you'll have noticed, there's been less time than ever for the maintanence of Rapnews so this is pretty much it from us too. There's few people left to feature and little that's inspiring enough to review, so I feel it's time to call it quits and stop dragging the inevitable out. Take it easy and have fun – Tee.