I talked to the man about the importance of mix tapes, how he got into DJing, his current album Construction Skillz and lots more. Check it out.
What got you into DJing and how long you been doing it?
I started DJing quite late. I was 17 when I bought my first decks. I had never even had a mix before that. I just thought it was something that looked like a laugh. I went halves on a pair with Blunted Needles and we took it in turns, 2 weeks at my gaff, two weeks at his. It wasn't ideal but it meant in the two weeks it was at my house I proper rinsed them and we improved quite quickly off the competition from each other.
Can you recall your first encounter with hiphop music and culture?
Not really. I can't recall a defining moment exactly, but I remember my first Hip Hop album I was proper into was Cypress Hill. From there I got into A Tribe Called Quest, their first album I remember I know all the lyrics to. After that it was The Funk Doobies, De La Soul, Wu Tang, KRS1 and Biggy. When I was younger I remember nuff people were into Jungle, DnB and Garage. I was into all that, but Hip Hop was always my shit.
Where abouts in the UK are you based and how you find it?
I'm North London, born and bread. Around where I live is cool. There are a lot of very creative people in a small area, and a lot of impressive stuff going on. There is a wicked vibe. It's nice to be involved in that in whatever way I can. But at the same time it's all kebab shops and bookies, the same as anywhere else. There are always a lot of wankers just around the corner. I guess it's a love hate relationship.
What are the significant releases that you've been involved with so far?
The first proper release I guess you could say was the Beat Brickies 'The Mix Vol 1'. From there I was involved with the cuts and some production on 'Basementality pt2'. I laced all the scratches down for Prem C's EP and I do most of the scratching on Skrein's 12? too. On a solo tip I have recently released 'Construction Skillz' which is doing well and features nuff heads so check it out. Having said that, I am involved with all the Undali releases in some shape or form, whether it be creative or business related.
How did you hook up/become a part of the Underground Alliance collective?
I founded Underground Alliance back in 2000 with Doobie, and the other two Beat Brickies, Colombo and Blunted. Back then it was just a DJ crew. From there we were putting on Hip Hop club nights and just having a laugh with it and meeting more people. Underground Alliance's growth was a natural progression really.
Tell us about the Beat Brickies. Who are they and what projects are lined up?
The BB's are the three man Undali DJ crew consisting of myself DJ Moodie, Blunted Needles and Colombo Majik. We taught each other to DJ. Blunted Needles has got a sick mix tape coming out soon and I just released Construction Skillz which has been our first solo projects but when they get back from Brighton, we are gonna be working on a lot more Beat Brickie material. That's gonna be the ill shit.
How long did it take you to complete your Construction Skillz album?
Constrcution Skillz took quite a while to record and get all the tracks completed. It's difficult to pull everything together when there are so many collaborations. These rappers can be long, believe. But once I got all the tracks there it didn't take long to put it all together. It was a learning process as well. Future releases will be much easier to put together.
What does your role of heading the CD entail considering most of the tracks and vocals are contributed by producers and rappers other than yourself?
I produced several tracks on the CD and coordinated the whole project. It was as much a communication thing as a music thing. I chose all the beats from different producers, and then got particular rappers, who I thought would compliment the beats to write something for them. I obviously laced bare scratching throughout and spent time making the CD flow as a whole. On future releases I will probably use more of my own production, but what's more important for me is making something that people will want to listen too over and over.
Do you have a favourite track or two from the collection and why?
I think the Skinnyman freestyle is one of the sickest proper freestyles I've ever heard. Skinny smacked it as always. Dragonflies is one of my favourite Undali tracks, but I think the Task Force track is sick too.
How do you think the CD's been received by the scene so far?
I have had a lot of positive feedback. Everyone who I have spoken to has really liked it, but they would say that to me! But I think as far as Undali goes it has some of our best material and people are genuinely showing love. I guess I'll see how it sells! But I know how to do it now and the next one's gonna be a lot better I hope. I just wanna keep improving and making better music.
Are you going to be doing a little tour to promote it at all?
Skrein and myself supported the Beggars on their tour in the run up to the release and we have done a lot of other shows where we boost it, but as far as an actual promotional tour we haven't got anything lined up. Everyone has got a lot of work on and shit, so we have not had much time to think about it and get it together. We probably won't bother with this release and save our time and energy to put into upcoming releases.
How important do you think compilations or mix CD's are in representing the scene as a whole, as opposed to them not existing and people just dropping one artist albums?
I think they are essential. If you think about the Hip Hop game, the number of artists who have put themselves in a position to actually release an album, and you consider how they got there, you will see how important mix tapes are. Loads of artist wouldn't be releasing albums if it wasn't for the success they have had on mix tapes in the first place. Take Skinnyman. He has recently released his first album after years of being in the game. He built his name up primarily through mix tape appearances. Mix tapes have given untold people a chance to establish and make a name for themselves. They are vital at a grass roots level but they are also platform to bring a range of artists together on one CD. I personally feel that a good mix tape has more to it than your average Hip Hop CD because it incorporates the DJ element into the music more, something that often gets overlooked.
Are there any compilations or mix CD's out there at the moment which you're rating?
I recently picked up DJ Rectangle's mix tape. That's a proper sick one. He's got skills but doesn't over do it, which I like. As far as the UK goes though, Slippaz '10 Pound Bags' are always good and Skully is also killing it.
Who would you say is the hottest rapper and producer in the UK right now?
Boy, I got so many artists I like it's hard to narrow down. Production wise, I think DJ Mentat has done really well. I heard a couple of new Slippaz beats the other day which were proper ill too and I like the production of TY's album too. There is some sick beats coming out of Undali too but you'll have to wait for that. Rap wise it is the legends that still do it for me. Task Force, Roots Manuva, Skinny and people like that. Shit I'm getting old.
What one thing gets you more moodie than anything else, and what do you do when you're at that extent of moodieness.
The other day I put a blue sock in with like five pieces of new white garms and they all came out pale blue. That fucked me right off. Or when you find someone else's toe nail clippings on the floor by your bed. Jesus, that makes me while out.
Got any shout out's or plugs you'd like to make before this is over?
Yea, go get DJ Moodie's 'Construction Skillz' for the ill blend of UK Hip Hop High grade. It smells sweet baby. Peace to my undali family and big up to my Moms.