Ben Spurr has a quick chat with a legend of UK hiphop to talk about past, present and future material, plus footy!
In 1996 Blak Twang became the first UK artist to pick up a MOBO award for the 'Best Hip Hop' category. Now the show is celebrating its tenth anniversary and although the industry has changed dramatically and many artists over the years have sunk in to oblivion, who should be short listed for the same award a decade on but Mr. Twang himself. Ask yourself how many other artists have secured this kind of longevity in the UK Hip Hop scene and you may need to rack your brain, but the artist also known as Tony Rotten is back stronger than ever with his latest offering 'The Rotton Club'. Ben Spurr caught up with South London's finest wordsmith after an energetic performance at Lincoln University.
Give us a brief history of your career
My career's been going for about 9 years now and I've had four albums so far, three officially released and one unreleased classic called 'Dettwork South East'. The '19 Longtime album' came out, the buzz kind of kicked off a little bit and then 'Kik Off' came out and got a lot of love so a lot more people got to hear me now. I had the singles 'So Rotten', 'Trixstar', 'Kik Off' the track itself and now I'm on my new album 'Rotton Club' that was out in April. Hopefully I'll release another album next year because I'm working on that now.
I know you are a big fan of Arsenal Football Club, what do you think are their chances in the Premiership this season?
I remember last season we started off incredibly like Chelsea. We were storming ahead but then had a little wobbly and everything went a bit pear shaped after that. Chelsea have got the money to buy all those players that keeps it like a solid squad but I still think we play the best football in the Premiership. I think with a couple of deadlier strikers to partner Henry we could compete with any team so our chances are just as good as last season.
A lot of your lyrics are socially conscious, like your last single G.C.S.E (Ghetto Children Sex Education). What made you stand up and talk about such a controversial subject?
I just wanted to do something different. I want people to look back and say 'yeah Twang had that track and it was interesting.' I wanted to highlight something I think is quite important as far as where I'm coming from around the inner city areas.
Another track from your album 'Stop N Search' details police officers stopping innocent individuals to be searched; to what extent do you think victimisation still exists within the authorities?
I wouldn't call it victimisation but I would say that there's still a lot of prejudice that still exists, racial prejudice. I was just talking about things I was going through growing up- getting stopped constantly and it's still happening now. It's about those who pre-judge you which is prejudice so 'Stop N Search' is self explanatory.
What music do you listen to in your spare time?
I love music in general. Right now I'm listening to Kanye West's new album. It's like a breath of fresh air what he does.
What's gunna be the next single?
The next singles 'Travellin'. Trust me when I tell you, the video looks incredible. It's next level so look out for it.
Any final messages to the readers?
A wise man once said 'if you feed people shit enough they start to love it'. Make sure you go out there and explore and discover your own music. Don't necessarily follow what's being pumped a hundred times a day. I want people to get back to enjoying music just 'cos they like it, and don't have to justify why they like it. So get back to having your own mind.
Blak Twang's new single 'Travellin' is out Oct. 31st on Bad Magic.