One album, two mix tapes and an EP into his music career, this guy is soon to drop his first 'professional' (you know, hmv style) album, and if his passion has anything to do with it, it's gonna be awesome. Hear the man talk about it, and other things in a site exclusive.
How much music have you released to date and what should we check out of it for the best picture of you as an artist?
First off props for the interview, V.E.X. is a humble bredda nameen. I'm still Gangsta Gangsta but humble, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this site, cos you guys is makin moves. Thank you for lettin me speak. And lemme lick a quick shot for Same Brain Bllap Yeh I've released four full length projects man, an Album an EP and two full length mix tapes. To get the best picture of V.E.X. I would say check out Contact Day tho nameen, that's my first ever proper recording, and even though my delivery is no where to the standard it is now, the actual lyrics and flow are a good indication of what you can expect on my shit. But to be honest bro, I wouldn't tell anyone to check my old shit out, I hate my old stuff still…just get the new LP, it's coming soon, and check my brand new Audios on the web site. Take ya girl to check that shit out, make love to V.E.X. music y'all.
How did you get into hip-hop and how long have you been a part of it, be it doing graff on desks at school or recording ya first track?
I can't really remember actually getting into hip-hop at a specific time, the first thing I remember listening to was N.W.A. In the playground at school, these older kids were listening to it, and I asked em what it was. They told me to get lost, but one of em said suttin like "it's N.W.A. not for you man" Of course I checked this out, interested, and from there on got into the sounds of Hip-Hop. It wasn't so much N.W.A. that inspired me, more the way these guys were shouting in rhythm over this raw ass beat. Which I later discovered was rap music. Then I started writing what I considered poems after that, on my English books and then it progressed. My first song was called "Madman"...it was about actually stabbing people. "Ima stab u wid a knife, Ima bring u strife, ima kill ya wife…" the ill shit.
Which part of the land are you based in and what's the hip-hop scene there saying, if there is one?
I'm based in Luton that's my fuc*ing place man, love it. I mean I'm African-British so no European place is truly my home so my true home I'd like to think is Africa, but I haven't even been there yet, but I hear the motherland calling now and then, she accuses me of selling out. When I start eatin off of this rap shit (like platinum status baby), I'm gonna do an African tour for free, quote me on that. But I've been bought up in Luton all my life, it's all I know so I have to rep that. The hip-hop scene in Luton is bubbling man, one or two of us you may have seen on channel U. But no ones truly made that step yet, it would be rude to say the hip-hop scene in Luton is…ME…but…
Who'd you say are your biggest influences and favourite artists on and off these shores?
I never like answering this question because I could big a bredda up, and that's in effect giving them ammunition against me. Even though I'm kind of past my battling stage as far as live stuff goes. I still gotta keep my guard, stay fresh, people are always ready to cut a nice emcee down so…Blak Twang is an inspiration, he's the first real Hip-Hop album from the UK that told me…"shit we can do this like for real" I'd heard earlier stuff obviously London Posse, etc but Twang really spoke to me man, flow etc. I'm also feelin Klash like how he's coming with the real music, also got the west indian influence in his shit but not in a corny way, just real. Mystro I've felt for time blood, one of the minority of emcees who know how to flow, and entertain. Seen him live he's sick. As an emcee I'm feelin Dizzee rascal too man yeh I said it, mans in my actual crew will smack me for saying this! Not so much his music because I still can't get into that Grime, Garage, Eskimo in an igloo shit whatever it is, but I suppose it's like Hip-Hop, as in southern rap is still Hip-Hop. Different beats and flows, but it's still a form of Hip-Hop so it's really the same if you look at it from the whole Southern / New York… and then UK Hip-Hop / Grime perspective. I dunno, my problem is bro, I'm a miserable old schooler unwilling to accept change, I like Hip-Hop to sound like Hip-Hop but these kids are doing their thing, good to see UK Black people makin money. But as an actual emcee, I think Dizzee kills it. Of course Taskforce, the Out Da Ville mans, Wildflower I used to like too, what happened to her? Enough tho I feel uncomfortable bigging up these people, they may take advantage of my kindness in the future. As for Overseas…Canibus, Ras-Kass, Big Pun, Nas, Public Enemy, Wu, Early ice cube, Ice-T. I used to really like Eminem until he was exposed as thinking people of my race are all "Ni*ger shits" but before that shit I used to support him. I like Kanye Beats too…he's like in my top 5 producers man, alongside Dre, Premo, Rza the WU producers, Redmaster. No one really influenced me as such, my music is all my own, but I guess you take a bit of something from everyone when you're coming up. Just like I take shit from mans in the street when I'm hungry, be it currency or carbonated beverages.
What other genre's do you check for and can those preferences be heard within your sound?
My girl recently got me into Stevie Wonder hard, it's like I slept on him, he's amazing man. When I'm 50 I'm gonna come at you all on some Stevie shit. His style is the ultimate definition of how singing should be done. I'll still be rappin too, don't ever doubt that. On some Guru shit, love that bredda. I'ma be Mic rockin for time. Why not? Just because rap music is young it seems weird to have old rappers, but in reality, it's no more strange then old rockers. I like R&B singers, but I'm really fussy, plus I don't buy R&B CD's…my girl does, and I just listen. Other singers but…my girl will probably be readin this. I'd like to big up of course, Alicia Keys though, I feel her haaaaard, anyone who knows V.E.X. knows how he gets down with Alicia. I'm going to stalk her when I get time after the Album has dropped.
We're nearing the release of your full length album. What's it called and what kind of vibes are included?
There's no title for the Album yet, probably be called something like "Same Brain are actually better than you" If this albums sounds anything like any other UK stuff you've heard then I'll give you your money back blood. Honest man, not sayin I'm the illest, I get told I got an unusual style. So people will either Love me or moderately enjoy me, but all I'm saying is, I'm tired of a lot of UK Hip-Hop, so I'm approaching stuff differently. It's all 100% Hip-Hop music tho haha, don't get that confused. No funny beats, Garage n all that, just raw Hip-Hop. Also there's a song on there which I'm hoping will go down in history, I can't say no more than that because people bite…they still know who they are. So do the people who hang with em…but yeah, besides the best music tracks i've ever put out in my life, there's something on this Album done musically no one will EVER have heard.
Any tracks you're particularly excited about people hearing? Guest spots? Producers?
Yes, the song I mentioned above, but as much as I want to I can't mention too much on it right. I just hope it's appreciated and not fuc*ing leaked. I can't wait for people to hear the Collabs, all in house…Same Brain on there. I got solos with Redmaster, and Crucafix, and a collab track with the whole of the crew. I don't fill my shit with people I don't really feel. Got a singer on there or two ya kno, straight pimpin.
Are you releasing it independantly, if not, what's it coming out on?
I'm in the early process of speaking to two or three labels, but nothing is confirmed, but I'm appreciating the interest, trying to be humble but still pushing for the kind of deal I want. Put it this way everyone will be able to go into their local HMV, Virgin etc and buy my music. The big question is when, I'm hoping early 2005, before March of that year. But you'll be able to get hold of it in the proper places when it does drop. Probably best if I say in 2005.
Who makes the beats on it and what are they like?
Redmaster, officially recognised as one of the illest humans in existence. That dudes like my twin, especially when it comes to this music shit as well. Killin everyone on the microphone, that's just generally accepted but also, he's the only person I've EVER fucked with beat wise. He did Contact Day, Salvador EP, some of the songs on the mixtapes, it's a music connection as well as a criminal / mafioso / hoe pimpin / international drug lords connection. The reason his beats are the best to me in the UK right now are because he makes the exact shit that is perfect to me. Hip-Hop shit. But his Contact Day stuff, even Salvador stuff is eclipsed by the stuff he's bakin' for my new Album. It's all Preemo, Rza quality. He's not gonna like me sayin that probably but to me, and the others who've heard it (without me mentioning who the producer is), they've agreed so.
I saw that you've released stuff the DIY, burning off CD's style way. What's motivated you to step up and do a more professional release? How many records have you pushed so far?
Simply being ready I think man, nameen I just know that I'm ready now. I've always had the lyric skills but wanted to work on my flow and bringing something more than some dude rapping on a mic to my listeners. So I've worked on the art of rhyme writing, and song making too. I can freestyle or drop a punchline / battle track for 100 bars for days over any instrumental, but to make an enjoyable song that people can enjoy as well as the equal balance of raw music for the heads over the course of say 50-60 or so minutes, that's the art. It's taken me like nine years to get there but I think I'm ready to present myself now. Thus the push to drop stuff in an proper Studio, pushing for the right deal etc. I pushed hundreds of CD's myself, long ass shit, burning, using the Lazer printer at work to print up 500 covers, gettin sacked for that shit nameen bro. But I didn't have any idea of how to push it, I just kinda sold it to people I knew and via my website. No promotion, no real shows behind it. I learnt from all this though still, so I'm going the opposite route with this release. Shows, got plans for European shows etc etc. Magazine promotion. None of it's easy, all while juggling a nine month old daughter blood. I want her to have a famous dad nameen.
Your bio says you've written over one thousand tracks. That's a crazy number. Doesn't your hands start to ache after a while?
Man, there was a period from when I first ever picked up a pen to rhyme with from like 16 up until I was say 22 when I just killed it, everyday I wrote full songs. This is where the lyric skill got perfected, at work like I'd write like rhymes several a day, with hooks n shit at lunch time. Rap them in the warehouse carpark with my bredrins at work and people walking by used to love that shit, I was amped off that. This period is also where I learnt to freestyle too. Then i'd come home and write more, the photo on the Bio page of my website is an actual stack of my rhymes, not all of them but get me, I'm real with this. People say they write but writing to them is a few songs a month. But while they're out ravin and shit, I'm REALLY writing man, never stopped, never will. I've got so much material there, I can write albums off of my old stuff, but for the most part I avoid that, I get tired of my old music…it gets long.
How do you go about narrowing down such a vast number of writen tracks to the 15 or so to include on a release?
Simple, I don't. Those previously written tracks never get used. If ima about to do suttin new, a new LP then I'll get the beats from red, then write the album over two or so weeks fresh. The old shit never get's used, it's all sitting there. To be honest I don't really know what to do with em, I used up some of them on the two mixtapes I've done but that was only 40 or so tracks still. But yeh for a new release I'd write it all new. If I go through my old stuff and see an old punchline I'm feelin then I'll snatch it and put it on an Album…but, normally my old rhymes? they get left in the street like some rejected crack hoe. Unwanted. I'll sell them like £100 for each one or if you want an album i'll sell them in bulk 15 songs for £100,000,000 "it's simple mathematics….you gotta love us, cos same brain and guns equal a lot of dead muthafuckas"
One word to describe domestic hip-hop in 2004?
Same Brain (Actually one word)
Any last words, shout out's, plugs, disses etc?
Thank you to you guys at hiphopnews again for the exposure, truly appreciated. Big up Same Brain, Redmaster, Comus, Crucafix, Tsunami. Most importantly. Big up everyone one at my old jobs who's stayed in contact to wait for my music you know who you are, those who haven't can eat one. Big up all the people who've stayed in contact with me since day (that's no one) and who are not gonna kiss my ass when it happens for me. My daughter, My girl, I'd like to thank my mom, god, my stylist. And lemme shout anyone who feels V.E.X. music, to be able to write something people actually like when it happens is a blessing, so anyone who likes my music I'm eternally grateful and will give you my all on this new LP. Please stick with V.E.X. and Same Brain, jump aboard now, trust. Anyone who's never heard of my Black ass… www.thevexsite.co.uk Thanks guys.