I got the lowdown on a young and dope new crew on the UK hip-hop scene, finding out how they formed, what they've got coming up and a lot more..
Who's in The Phobia and where are you based?
Founded by Legolis, the group is comprised of: Kalsereousz, Rory Breaker, General Knowledge, Bobby Drake, Goldarloshivich, Smokey and Perry Scaramanga. We're all East London based, L.STONE (Leytonstone) in particular but some heads don't live in the ends anymore.
How did you guys hook up and how long ago was that?
It was around '98 when Legolis started me rhyming to Hip-Hop. I was a heavy listener, but a Jungle music lyricist. He made me bridge the gap. '99 saw me and Legs constantly rhyming together also encouraged by Fatt Dave. Fatz peer pressured us into freestlying with him over his Playstation beats. Everyone else was getting so high they thought fuck it, everyone else is on it so why not?
In the same year I did a Studio Management course at college, produced a track I wanted all my boys to spit on, but nuff people flopped the recording session. It turned out for the best coz the people that turned up ended up being the original members of PHOBIA. (me Bobby Drake, Goldy and Legolis).
Soon after Legs decided to make it official, a name was born and we were a crew. Later on Legolis trained up his younger brother Scaramanga, and we were introduced to some guys up the road doing their thing called TPM (Breaker & Smokey) in around 2000.
What does each member bring to the table in terms of style and personality?
First of all the whole crew brings a certain level of gutter reality rap, original wordplay, unmistakable flows and East London authenticity. Within that…
KAL - conscious, current affairs.
BREAKER - street life, battle rap.
SMOKEY - street life, pub culture, drug addiction.
GENERAL - life issues.
BOBBY - drug addiction, street life.
GOLDY - under dog, hater.
SCARA - battle rap, storytelling.
LEGO - intellectual, dark.
Is the Keep It Movin 12" all that's out so far?
At the moment yes, but stay locked on to bare-records.co.uk for more info and the we are redeveloping thephobia.com
How did you link with Bare Records?
Through Smokey. Now you know his style, you could guess they met in the pub.
Where did you shoot the dope video? Did it chart well on Channel Poo?
We shot most of it in Breakers Dad's warehouse. Some on location in the ends and some on the North Circ! As for "channel Poo" it is a bit. Watch this space for now.
Where you find the army truck?
Lets just say there's some guys in camouflage looking for it right now.
What project are you working on and when is it gonna drop?
Lots. Smokey EP, Breaker EP, Phobia mixtape. I'm working with the zone2 boys on their 'Stuff' mixtape's and their upcoming solo projects. With so much on, deadlines are hard to keep to. But with all good music, it'll be ready when it's ready!
Is all that on Bare Records too? Can you talk us through some of the tracks you've done so far?
Smokey EP will be coming out on Bare Records. There are some advanced tracks you can check out at bare-records.co.uk. I dont wanna sound like I write for the Sun but the stuff Smokey's been cooking up is Smokin!! Seriously, the beats are a new style of Smoke. He's evolved for this EP and the flow patterns sound more intricate than ever. I think he'll be near enough producing the EP himself. I put a few verses on there with my usual ruggedness and a touch of consciousness. I don't wanna give too much away but I wrote one of my best verses of last year for that EP because I was feeling the beat so much!
Which producers have you, and would you like to work with?
At the time of writing I've only worked with unknown producers except for my Phobia mandem and Jammer P. However, I'd love to work with almost everyone on Low-life. I got a lot of time for what Brains, Jehst, and Farmer are doing. Joe Buddah, Lewis Parker, Baby J are all heavyweights. Remember Skitz's Twilight Of The Gods? Big. P Brothers killed production on Cappo's
LP. Don't know their names but whoever makes the beats for Foreign Beggars.
What other UK hip-hop crews are you feeling at the moment?
I haven't heard fresh material in a while but I reckon Task Force are undisputed. Foreign Beggars have got a nice blend. Terra Firma, Kyza and Klash are up there still.
Who aren't you feeling?
Ha, I aint got enough time to answer that comprehensively. But I will say that The Phobia stand for true music reppin our environment and our way of life. So obviously we aren't feeling anyone who isn't.
Do you get the chance to perform live much and what goes down at a show you're involved in?
Yeah. You can catch Breaker in battles all over London. He was at Battle Scars this week and is entering Jump-off tonight to battle Prof. Green (guess who's getting a fag thrown at them in the Keep It Moving video). You can always expect energy and a rowdy vibe whenever Phobia grips a mic. We got the 'The Dungeon Sessions', every 3rd Sat @ Dungeons, Rigg Approach, off Lea Bridge Road, Leyton. We got creative license over the Hip-Hop room, so expect open mic freestlyes and whatever else. Next Jam 23rd April, see you there!
How do you feel about the grime and 2step artists coming up. Is it all hip-hop or separate all together?
I was in a heated debate the other day and was forced to concede that grime is a form of RAP music, the same way that RnB and Country are both forms of SING music. Hip-Hop is a whole next genre and in my opinion grime could never claim to be as good or a part of it. OK Grime is influenced by Hip Hop, but I saw Marylyn Manson iced out in a lowrider in one of his videos, what does that mean? Nothing. Nothing other than Hip-Hop is so big and so international it influences everything. Everything influenced can't claim to be a part of the original entity. Hip-hop began by being Jazz and Funk influenced, does that make Hip-Hop a part of those genres?
2step is the bubbling stuff like chocolate boy and that right? I got no problem with that stuff, do your thing innit. But when grime heads wanna say that their music is the new hip-hop and is better or whatever it just makes me sick. I know grime to be 1-dimensional battle lyrics and repetitive rhymes, with a formula so basic anyone could be a grime mc. I'm not hating, it just doesn't stimulate a University graduate like myself. I like to think about what someone said and rewind it, trying to break down
All good artists cannot be held by their genre boundaries. People like Kano and Dizzie Rascal are talented artists and can spit on what they want but I wouldn't call em Hip-Hop.
Which artists, from the UK and anywhere else, have inspired you guys to make music?
We all grew up listening to Nas, Dogg Pound, Onyx, Wu-tang, Biggie, Mobb Deep, KRS One, Public Enemy, Rakim, artists in this kind of mould. Me and Legolis started going to shows watching: Taskforce, Jehst, bury crew, Skinnyman, MCD artists in
this kind of mould.
Personally I have been checking out French Hip-Hip for years. Can't quite decipher the language but the production style and fluidity of Mcs on tracks is hectic. Heads like NTM, Saion Super Crew, Azad from Germany who is influenced by French Hip-Hop, DJ's Krush and Honda out of Japan, definitely get my ideas racing.
Are you cool with the internet and bootlegging or think it's out of order to the artist?
As long as it aint my shit! na, you cant stop bootlegging. Cheap people will always copy a mates CD or download it. What can you do? People that know me will tell you I don't take it too seriously coz I aint in this for money. Some things you don't want to buy you're just curious and wanna hear it. Personally I download if I'm curious about something but I do pay for something special, get my official covers/inlays and put it in the collection. I guess artists need to work harder at making good music that people will feel you deserve support for.
Have any shout out's or plugs?
Big up phobia mandem and affiliates, shout to Jake at Big Smoke Magazine and Response Photographic.com and support my peoples Rap Raven and Zone 2 on: Sinmovement and I Want Stuff and Of course respect to RAPNEWS fighting the good fight.