A chat with the man about his forthcoming album, its concepts, producers and title + his influences, label, live shows, how much of a struggle it was to get the album sorted and what his favourite UK LP's are. Check it out!
Wassup. For those that don't know who ya are, can you introduce yaself?
My name is Genesis Elijah. I've been hovering around the UK Hip-Hop scene for a few years now supporting bigger acts like Klashnekoff, Skinnyman, Tommy Evans, Yungun etc and killing open mic nights but now I'm ready to take centre stage with my new album.
What's it going to be called and when's it dropping?
'Deh Pon Road', translated for those of you who aren't hip to the slang means: 'there on road'. If you're deh pon road that means you're living the road life or the street life and everything that goes with it, that's basically what this album is about. I wanted 'Deh Pon Road' to show what Genesis Elijah is about, my good side and my not so good side. 'Deh Pon Road' should be on road by Feb 05.
Can you run us through some of the guest artists and the song topics?
'Deh Pon Road' features what I consider to be some of the best talent in the country. I got Terra Firma on there, that's Klashnekoff, Kyza and Skriblah they're like a super group as individually they're just as good. I've been a fan of Terra Firma from the first time I heard them and I consider them the benchmark so it was a real honour to work with them. I hooked up with them when The Answer and me were working on one of our mix-CDs.
I've also got Skinnyman and the Mud Family on there. You can't really talk about UK Hip-Hop without mentioning Skinnyman. That track was recorded in 2003 for Dominant 3rd Records so they hooked that one up. I've also got Wordsmith (who's about to take this game over) and Ahmos also making a guest appearance.
The topics covered on 'Deh Pon Road' are as varied as my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, I might be thinking deep about life so I'll write a song reflecting that, other times I might be wanting bust some boys head because he has been running his mouth so I'll write about that. These songs were written over a period of 3 years and I wanted this CD to be a introduction to me so I tried not to choose songs that went too deep in to subjects such as my past, politics and other things, which I want to deal with in depth in the future releases.
I saw on a webpage that the album is in three sections. 'The Road', 'The Art', 'The Truth'. Would you tell us how you came up with that concept?
Like I said, I write about whatever I'm feeling at the time and everything I've written, I feel falls into one of those 3 categories. The 'road' section is songs about what we live day to day i.e. the drugs, the violence and the situations surrounding that. The 'art' is the music. These songs are about the music it self weather it be me talking about how much I love or hate the scene or the struggles in trying to come up in this industry. The 'truth' section is simply that, the truth. These are the deeper songs, these tracks are about me trying to get the message to the youngens that this 'road' life isn't the right way to go. It's hard to tell a teenager to go to school and get an education when the teachers treat them like they are already a failure plus the things they're teaching seem to have no relevance to their life anyway. I mean why would I give a fuck about what happened to this country a 100 years ago when my people only been here since the 50's? Still we gotta let the future know that just because we (my peers) messed up and fell victim to the system it doesn't mean they have to make the same mistakes. Ok let me get down of my soapbox.
Which producers have done the beats on the project? Do you ever produce stuff for yourself?
I've got quite a few different producers on this project. Most of them I've been working with since I started out, mans like Non-Slick, Beat Butcher, Dutch Courage and Tom Caruana. Obviously since hooking up with Broken Souls I've been working a lot with ImZ and Neehi.
What sort of musical vibes do the beats contribute to the album? What sort of sounds?
This album has got many different vibes. We got the aggy stuff but we also got the calmer stuff on there too. This album doesn't really have a definitive sound only because it is a collection of tracks recorded over a long period of time. The next album is gonna be a bit more uniform but for this one I just took what I thought were my best tracks and put them on one CD.
How much of a struggle was it to get it completed, what with being a UK rapper? Have you been working on the material alongside holding down a day job?
It's been really hard tryna get this album together. I mean as well as recording and doing shows I got my 9 to 5, I got a daughter to look after and I got my girl stressing me to spend more time with her. It's crazy! It's really hard to stay focused and I've thought about quitting so many times but I feel this is what I was born to do. It's what I've dreamed about for so long and I feel I'm so close right now that I can't let anything get in my way.
Who would you say are the main influences to you in the hip-hop world, both on and off these shores?
I'm influenced by artist from all genres of music from Capelton to The Super Furry Animals but as far as other Hip-Hop artist my main influences are Terra Firma, Dead Prez, Roots Manuva, Jay Z, Killah Priest, Sway Dasafo, Wordsmith and Ghostface Killah. There are others but these are the MC's I really study. Even though I've been rapping for over 10 years I still got a lot to learn so I just try to pick up things from other artist in order to get better and perfect my craft.
I saw on your bio that you've been a fan of Dead Prez in the past. Is this still true? They went kind of crazy with their last couple of things e.g.. 'Slap a white boy'...
I think Dead Prez are one of the most important groups of our time. I know it's a bold statement but they inspired me so much. It's funny how you picked up on the line 'Slap a white boy' but how many of your favourite tracks talk about 'Shooting nigga's'? Dead Prez are one of the only groups to come out when all these other rappers are talking this fake 'bling, bling' shit or wasting all their bars on that 'I tear through planets with my pen' far out metaphor punch line bullshit and just talked sense. We've always had con rappers like Common, Mos Def and Talib Kweli but they always came across a bit soft. Dead Prez are coming out like 'fuck you! We gonna get ourselves out of this shit and you ain't getting in our motherfucking way!!'
Will your new LP be coming out via Broken Souls Productions, and how did you come to be a part of that crew?
Yeah 'Deh Pon Road' is coming out through Broken Souls. I linked up with them through a bredrin who was working with them gave and them some of my stuff, they liked it and approached me with a non-exclusive contract. ImZ came up with the idea of doing a little promo CD to give to promoters and radio stations but the idea just snowballed into what is now 'Deh Pon Road'.
What's The Answer up to at the moment. Will there be any new FTP Radio stuff coming out in the future?
The Answer and me are working on the new mix-CD right now! It's called 'Kick In The Door' and it's gonna be the best one so far. We're gonna come with more high profile artist plus some of the baddest newcomers. With this CD we really wanna solidify ourselves as the top boys in the UK Hip-Hop mix CD game. 'Kick In The Door' will be released in conjunction with Broken Souls.
What UK albums that have come out recently do you rate highly, and hope your own work to have the same high quality of?
I really liked the Blak Twang's 'Kik Off', Ty's Upward and Skinnyman's Council Estate Of Mind' but for me Roots Manuva's 'Run Come Save Me' is the best one yet. It's just full of classics. The production is damn near perfect, the way it is mixed and the attention to detail is amazing. I hope in the future I can do something of that standard. I can't wait for his new one 'Awfully Deep'.
Do you have any live gigs lined up that you wanna let people know about? Do you enjoy getting up on stage and who usually backs you up on the decks/hypeman mic?
Check my web site, GenesisEllijah.com, for the dates and venues. I'm stepping my game up next year so I'll definitely be at a manor near you soon. Being on stage is definitely my strong point. I love being on stage and I love getting a reaction from the crowd, that's the reason I rap. I think that's where a lot of artists fail because they don't bring any energy or charisma to stage. You can have the nangest track but if you deliver it half-heartedly then what's the point? When you pay money to see me perform I ain't just gonna stand there looking at the ground mumbling. I'm gonna put my heart and soul into what I'm saying because everything I'm saying I really feel and believe. When I perform you get at least 4 for the price of 1 cos I always have Answer with me and 9 times out of 10 Wordsmith and Ahmos but also I try to bring in the other artist in my circle such as Dubbledge, Deadly Avenga, Verbal, Kay K, Sik Boy, Parky, AC & Terra Slim plus others if they're about. Trust you get your moneys worth!
Have you got any shout out's you wanna make before this wraps up?
As well as all the people I've just mentioned let me give a big shout to Joker Starr and Dark Angel for bringing me in on that Choice FM ting and also Broken Souls for putting in the work to get my career moving. Big shout to you mans too cos you're really doing your thing. Blessings.
For more information on Genesis Elijah, 'Deh Pon Road' and Broken Souls please visit GenesisEllijah.com and Brokensoul.com