Skrein

December 6th, 2004

Skrein

One of Undali's finest MC's answers questions on his 12" and album release, how he got into hip-hop and the UK scene, who he's feeling at the moment and what he makes of my crappy town of 20 years, Barnet. Enjoy.

How old were you when you first got into hip-hop and what were some of the first tracks or artists which sold it to ya?

I was 13 when my big sister bought me Gangstarr 'Hard to Earn', I didn't have a clue what the geezer was goin on about but I liked it. After that I heard Slick Rick 'The great adventures of..' and that was it. I was on it.

When did you make the switch from rap fan to rapper and were there any mc's in particular that were your sort of blue print or role model that you wanted to emulate or be as good as?

I used to DJ before I started spittin but my heart wasn't really in it (plus I was crap)... but as soon as I first picked up the mic I knew that was the one. From there, it was just about writing as much as I could everyday. As for a blue print/role models… I would rather be like Keith Chegwin than these bloody rappers.. I'm all about doing my own thing.

Most young hip-hop heads in this country start off liking the yank stuff from MTV etc before becoming more aware of the domestic scene. How did you get into UK rap and what were the first artists you checked out?

I got into U.K hip-hop after hearing Skinny on Twilight of the gods… Rowdy Time!... I remember being blown away and really feeling like I could relate to this more than some gangsterplayablingblinging cunt who talks bare shit about things I just hadn't been through. It's natural that the kids love the US shit because they get all the exposure, but they only need to hear one hectic UK cut and they're converted. That's what we are trying to do.

What are the main releases you've had out so far and what's coming up in the near future?

I was all over Underground Alliance 'Basementality II', featured on Foreign Beggarz 'Asylum Speakers', released my 1st solo 12" 'Mind Out/Once upon A Skrein', got a track on the 'Basementality II E.P' vinyl, bare tracks on the D.J Moodie mixtape (Jan 2005) and an experimental live instrument album in the pipeline, plus bare features on other peoples shit and another Underground Alliance E.P.

How did you find the scenes reception to 'Mind Out'? I heard its one of three singles leading up to an LP. When's the next dropping?

Yeah, the reception's been nuttin but positive. I am grateful. Its heavy to see it in the big DJs playlists and in the magazines it aint got less than 4/5 so I'm cool wid it. The next 12" will be dropping in March 2005 so get ready..

Can you talk us through your album a bit. Perhaps some track titles, producers, guest MC's, even a title?

Its all about this track called 'Chasing Dragonfly's…' with live alto and soprano saxophone, some smooth shit, remember you heard dat.. But generally its gonna feature production from the mighty Wyt-Fang, Dag Nabbitt (the illest) and Contact play's Jimmy Wha'Gwaan, as for guest m.cs, I'm all about holding the fort down on my own but you never know who might show up…

How long have you been working on it so far? Is it as gruelling as I imagine it is to be building up to an independent album release?

There's pros and cons as with anything. The good thing is I have full creative control and don't have some dickhead chatting shit in my ear tryna get me to do it one way or another, so I know it is gonna be 100% me and that's all good. The negatives are the fact you cant do it all by yourself so your waiting on other people for certain things and that is long, but I guess you gotta set your own standards of productivity and stick with em. It's hard but I'm loving it. I love the Underground but my only wish is financial backing and stability so I can focus on making illa tracks rather than having to miss a soundcheck or run off in the middle of a studio session. Long.

When are we gonna get it and what label do you think it'll be coming out on?

The album will be on Undali Records, dropping in Autumn 2005.

It's nice to hear an artist simply dropping the single or two and coming out with a full length project. Didn't fancy doing 15 12" releases, a compilation, then an EP, THEN an album?

I'm all about learning from the artists before me who have come out properly and checking their workload, also learning from the ones who aint done it properly, the ones who missed the boat and took too long, I'm not on that.

Who do you thinks killing it in the UK at the moment, on the microphone and the boards (besides undali!)?

As far as I am concerned Dag Nabbitt is the illest mothertrucker in hiphop right now. Period. Staines and all. Plus, Graziella is one sick bitch. Serious. She's gonna smash it…

What's your all round personal favourite UK hip-hop album and why?

I'm still waiting for that classic bro.. I'll let you know when it comes.

I loved the mention of my shitty town Barnet in one of ya tracks. So you met some of the skinheads around here?

I used to go college in Cockfosters a couple years back and I'd be on the Piccadilly line with Hefs and concept (TMF) looking to slit our wrists cos it took so fucking long, but its all good doh. Mad love to all the Barnet skinheads.. in fact I was at Underhill the day the lads got relegated from the football league standing on top of a garage just tryna get a piece of the action. Classic. But haven't been back since..

Have you always been living in Camden or there about. What makes it such a cool place? For some reason I love that area. (but then I'm in Barnet)

'Angel existence/Highgate pastimes' says it all. I grew up in Highgate, moved to Angel, work in Kentish, study in upper Holloway and generally rep Norf London.. wouldn't wanna be anywhere else mate.

Are you strictly just a rapper or do you produce, break, graff at all?

I merely spit venom at small children and pimp dinnerladys… that is my role.. extra cheese and beans on my jacket potato please vera.

Drop some shout out's and words of wisdom out there before we finish:

Big up all the Brighton hiphop heads (mad love, keep supporting, we got you), rare kind (Daz, Big Nige, juseus christ), syreeta, Daktus and all the Contact playaz, Underground Alliance, mr mukhi and shlomo, naff lady, all the Liverpool supporters worldwide (our time will be soon) and last but not least all the Dinnerladys with piles, varacus vains and stinking armpits… I love you..Naff Laden. Undali!



One Response to “Skrein”

  1. D Breakneck Says:

    Man’s gotta a lotta stage prescence!

    Wicked at the Speakers / End Of The Weak MC challenge!

    I’m deffo looking out for the name on the flyers for more stage shows and wanna hear some trax…

    Nice…