The young talented artist talks about the track that created a buzz around his music, the first volume of 'Key To The Game' and who he feels is holding it down in UK hip-hop.
Which artists got you into hip-hop?
I would say AZ, Cormega, NWA, Kool G Rap, Big L, Big Pun. As far as my development as an MC I would attribute much of that to attending Deal Real's open mic and battles.
Most of the buzz about you on the scene is due to the Mad World track with Doc Brown. Are you still finding the song fresh or does it get a bit tiring now?
In some ways I am getting very tired of the track but still to the select few people involved in the tune at least it is considered a classic and I can only be thankful and grateful to be a part of what people consider to be classic.
How important do you feel it is for artists in UK hip-hop to make a specific effort to create a track that will appeal to people outside of the small scene such as the Mad World tune which is getting impressive airplay on the likes of Radio 1 partly because it samples a recognisable song to the masses?
I think once you try to make a track like that you have failed already. The beauty of the Mad World Remix was that it was made with no such intention. We sampled a tune (Gary Jules 'Mad World') that we had no idea was going to be released. When it went to number 1 we were surprised as we had already recorded the track. What happened was due to lucky and fortunate circumstances but it's still a shame that it was never allowed out on general release as it could have made so much more noise than what it was limited to.
What new track of yours do you feel can sustain the momentum the Mad World release created and when will there be a new single release?
I think any of them would if the circumstances were similar. However, I have more to offer than just the Mad World Remix and I think the attention that the Mad World Remix received was welcome but was never my aim to achieve. Politics is dropping as the flip to the Happy Guy 12? from the Writers Block CD out now on SORECS. The CD features Kanye West, Rhymefest and Mark Ronson, Doc Brown and a hell of a lot more. So get a hold of a copy someway or another. The 12" should be out very soon. As for a single, I work too hard to just give people one track, consider Key To The Game my single.
Having just dropped 'Key To The Game' volume one, how'd you describe it?
It's just me rapping over some jacked beats and some originals for 24 tracks but it's fucking heavy. Basically you can't get value for money better than this anywhere. 24 tracks for £5 including the Mad World Remix and 23 other classics.
What was the best part of making it and what's your favourite tracks on there?
The best part of making it was writing and promoting it. Check the tracks I Gotta Story To Tell and Still Rising and the rest of them.
What producers handled the beats? Do you do any of your own production and how do you find it?
No I don't do any of my own production though I do give tunes to producers to sample. On Volume 1 we have 2Tall, Nutty P, Snips, Myst, Tequila and DJ Madnness. On volume 2 which we're finishing up now we have Caramac, Fusion, Snips, Sivey, Nutty P, Stereotype, Chemo, 2Tall and possibly some others.
What are the plans for its promotion and how long do you think you'll be working it before getting down to work on volume two or another project?
As I said, volume 2 is completely written we just need to finish recording. I'm always working 24/7 on new music, always writing at every opportunity I get. I make at least one tune a day and I want to do as many shows as I possibly can. If there are any promoters out there who are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Along with Volume 2 we're putting out a vinyl EP called Perfect Timing and after that I plan to do an exclusive to internet free download mix tape. Furthermore I plan to drop Key To The Game Volume 3 as well as up to 3 more EPs all before dropping the Effortless LP. I will go on as many radio shows as possible to promote what I'm doing.
To me, the scene is going from strength to strength in terms of releases. What artists are you feeling and what are you most looking forward to hearing?
In the UK scene I only feel about 5 established artists and those are all of Poisonous Poets, Mystro, Wordsmith, Skinnyman and Swiss. But every day I meet or hear more and more young MCs who really shock me with their abilities. I'm most looking forward to Skinnyman's Council Estate of Mind LP and Doc Brown's The DOCument LP.
Which guys have been your main role models that you look up to as someone you'd like to follow the footsteps of, or take influence from?
I don't want to follow in anyone's footsteps. Lyrically I think Mystro has really inspired me and performance wise I really think that what Doc Brown does is admirable and would like to do similar things.
As a young MC very much at the beginning of his journey, what are you finding to be the greatest obstacles getting in your way?
I think my only enemy is myself and the amount that I achieve depends solely on myself. At the same time there are some people out there who have their heads stuck so far up their arses that they don't know what their own shit smells like also some people are so far behind in the race that they actually think they are winning it and this gets on my dick infinitely. The problem is these people are in positions of influence in UK Hip-hop and they are part of the reason why a lot of UK Hip-hop sounds the same and some acts are bigger than they should be.
KungFu last night was awesome. Love being on stage or prefer being locked up in a studio getting some thing on tape?
Thank you very much. To be honest I love both of them. I feel I am so privileged to be able to speak to people in the way my music has allowed me to and in Hip-hop I have been shown an incredible amount of love by people who don't know me at all, which feels great.
What label, if any, are you on right now and how did that relationship come about?
I'm working with Sensory Overload Records (SORECS) which came about through me ripping open mics and battles and getting the attention of their CEO who was foresighted enough to see my potential.
I've seen a few of your tracks floating around the internet mp3 style. Does that bug you or is it purely welcomed exposure?
It's a bit of both because sometimes I think to myself that a lot of the people who listen to my stuff and download it off the internet should rate it enough to actually want to buy it from me which a few people have.
Do you feel the internet is a positive tool in building awareness of UK hip-hop or should we all log off and start a social life?
I think that the internet is a useful tool in some ways but like everything it is best in moderation, some people take it way too far.
Any collaborations, live dates, releases, or promo coming out that we can keep an ear and an eye out for?
I should be on Skully and MK's radio show on Kiss 100 in the next couple of weeks. As far as live dates, I'm hosting and doing a short PA at the charity event Swish Hop on the 24th of July http://www.swishhop.co.uk. I'm working with Mystro, Skinnyman, Swiss, ShameLess, Yungun, Insight from America whose produced tracks for KRS One's new album, Speech Ferapy, Antiheroes, my boy Spellz, Poisonous Poets, Wordsmith as well as a few more things in the works. As for releases keep checking sorecs.com but Volume 2 and the Perfect Timing EP should be out by the end of the year.
Cheers for taking time out to answer the Q's. Any last words?
Thank you very much for giving me a platform to express myself through and if you want to see if I can rap live check me at Deal Real Record Store every Friday at 3 Marlborough Court off Carnaby street in London. 6.30pm – 11 or look out for me in open mics or on flyers. Get the DOCument LP when it drops, even though I ain't on it Doc is by far one of the best the country has to offer and from what I've heard it is definitely going to go down as the album of the year. Shout outs to everyone I've mentioned in this interview. PS stop the war and save the kids of Palestine and peace to every person in the world that's trying to better themselves in one way or another.