Ahead of dropping his 'Trust' EP, Blaktrix spoke to us extensively about where he's from, what he's doing, what the future holds and tons more, including inspirations, the scene and performing!
Where abouts in the UK do you reside and what do you reckon of the local scene and its talent?
To make a long story not so long, born Bradford, moved to Manc' at the grand old age of 1. Folks split when I was 5. Mums always been in Manc' (Prestwich, Stockport, then Didsbury). My dad moved to Spain from Oxford for 6 years. When he came back, had the choice of where I wanted to live and I chose him 'cause he let me do what I want. Blap! (soz mum). Lived in Bristol for a year, then we moved to CF. Been here for over ten years, broken up with some time back in Manc'. Prob' move in the summer. I got nomadic blood. Nah mean?
How long have you been rapping and what were the artists to first inspire you to pick up a microphone?
First verse I ever wrote was when I was seven. Homework off music teacher. I smashed it. Best in the class. Got all the girls. I can still remember most of it but you ain't never hearing that shit. It's too ill. Back then I was listening to Mc Hammer and Vanilla Ice with my boy Thabo (1 love to Jo'burg!). J Zone lyric: 'rolling down the street pumping ice ice baby, think I give a fuck it's better then the shit I hear lately'. Gets me every time!
Inspirations are far and wide bu it was '36 chambers'. Changed my frigging life. Spun me the fuck out. Phew! Fav emcee's are Ghost Face, Rza, Jeru, Vic Vaughn, Black Thought, King Geedorah, Biggie, Kool G, Lewis Parker, Chester and Farma, Skinnyman, Manuva, and Doom. 'Masquerades' and 'Madvillain' were massive to me. Sizzla, Warrior King, Ninja Man dem man's too. On another tip, Tricky's 'Maxinquaye' was ill too. Bad beats, but I was into that Bristol steez back in the day so there you go.
What material have you released so far and what do you feel offers the best example of your skill?
I met Humurak D Gritty in school. He helped integrate me. He was from Bradford and supported Man U the same way. Our crew held it down and still do. All the mans dem. As a yout, I had two kinda half bro's and they introduced me to weed and Snoop, but in CF I met Jammin', the best hiphop brain in terms of taste and knowledge I had ever known, and he properly shaped the shit I was into. Me, Gritty and Jammin' started doing shit. At 17 we were doing shows in clubs in Cardiff and Bristol sometimes, alongside Optimas Prime who gave us a coupla hook ups (props!). Then I went back to Manc to study. When I came back, Gritty was smashing it on label and ting, and everyone knew Jammin' was an ill producer. It was a wake up call that if I wanted to prove to man that I'm the heavy emcee, I think I need to start proving it.
So, I did 'Strappado Styles', just get suttin out there. I linked with Fracas and Philifingers (big up Southport!). We'd spent 3 years blazing, playstation and chasing gal and I felt their production was at a level. So we chipped in three ways and got on it. I predict big tings for them. Fracas is an ill drummer and his production has him written all over it. You don't write raps to his shit. You write hymns. You gotta bless that shit! That's what I tried to do with Ronin. Phili just comes with that darkness. The style of shit that made me fall in love with hiphop properly in the first place. He done 'Indian Rope Trick'. All the heads love that and Moneyshot finishes it off with some sick cuts. ' Strappado Styles' is important to me 'cause it rep's some of the main elements of what Blaktrix is; honesty, flows and originality. I'm proud of it. I think you can listen to it as one big work as opposed to separate tracks, and I got to have a lot of say in post production. But it is not Blaktrix 'the finished article'. It's a taster, but some mans nyam it as a main course and that's gravy!
How do you feel the Strappado Styles EP was received and what would you do differently in promoting future material?
Heavy reception. We stil got a few cd's, but we shifted a lot too. The reviews were all good. I never set any expectations for SS. We made our money back quick time, but I know that that EP is too open minded for most people. I got loads of unreleased shit I don't know what the fuck to do with. I might just put it all on the net but I dunno. I got more music then I got outlets to put it out, mainly because I prefer making it to promoting it, but now a few faces in the crowd are stepping up to offer their assistance. They just believe in what I do, whether it's some moody ish, banger ish, or just straight up politicking. There's some serious fucking problems in this country that just ain't getting addressed. I don't give a damn. I'll say it how I see it. Warrior King mentality. 'Give you what you need not what you want.'
How would you describe the music you make and your style of rapping?
It's the missing elements, and if I leave you thinking 'what's he trying to get at there?' and then going 'true, that's deep' then I'm happy.
Are you working on anything in particular at the moment and what can you tell us about that?
I 'd been doing a coupla tings here and there and along the way got introduced to Rola. We made a coupla tracks and Stagga from Optimas Prime
(Dial Up) heard 'em and said he'd put them out with a coupla tracks he'd been doing with me. The result is 'Trust EP' out Dec' 1. I can't thank Stagga enough. He's so strong as a producer right now, as too his drunken emceeing. Drink more Stagga! Rola, I have to say is the best producer I know. Working with him has bought out the best in Blaktrix yet. I feel KRS 1 when he says 'make your money outside of the game and enjoy the game'. That's what I'm in it for. I'ma make sure I get paid other ways. But I want every head (just da heads!) to know who Blaktrix is. 'Trust' got described as a classic in DJ Mag. Ill write ups all over. Been getting played on Radio 1 and Radio 1 Wales nuff, but straight up and down I need more play on 1xtra. 'Trust' is sick. It all works. Everyone has to hear it. It's big!
After that, I got next EP coming out March. 'What Shall Be', all produced by Rola on Rustik records. I got Gritty, PLO and Mudmowth all tearing it down. I rate that too highly to say here because you gonna think I'm one cocky bastard. But straight, I ain't never met a rapper who ain't all ego. Anyone says different, is in denial. All I will say is Rola's production is on another level.
Do you handle any production yourself, and what equipment are you using?
I don't really do computers. If emcee's wanna talk 'bout life, they should be outside living it. Not stuck in front of a f'ing computer.
What's your stance on getting deals with labels, indy or major?
No labels. I've had situations but Blaktrix is better off lone soldier style, collabing with labels when it's right with no long term deals or contracts.
What UK acts do you rate most highly and who would you most like the opportunity of collaborating with?
Task Force. No UK act will ever impress me like them. Whether it' s 'New Mic Order' or Farma on some Scottish rec' spitting ill poetry, they have it all. I see all these other mans getting love on radio these days. Mans going crazy 'bout them and they don't come close to the ability of TF. The margin is embarrassing. It takes a lot to impress me. I heard a Dubbleedge track, 'Smile' the other day, and just kept on reloading. That's on some other too.
How healthy do you feel the UK scene is and what's the number one problem that it needs to address?
Fuck a scene. I just wanna make undeniably good music. You may not like it but you know it's good. Good music can go anywhere. One thing I have noticed 'bout this country though, is that its all matey matey. I didn't come to the game to make friends. I got enough already. I want these DJs to play my shit because my shit is good, not 'cause they met me and thought I was safe. I won't bow to noone. Nuff DJs playing their bredrens, even when they not at standard and that's fucking with next mans careers. Also, a lot of these DJs are too involved in the scene. Too many self interests. Nah mean?
Is there a lot the UK scene needs to do or do you feel we're on the brink of doing all we can, and its now down to a major taking a risk on us?
Go to a night, murk an open mic. Producer will come say 'I wanna work with you'. Gradually the producers will get better and better. More mans will take notice and you will be judged. I'm not interested in being the over night success of some major. That's not hiphop to me.
How do you rate the internet as a tool for promoting music?
Do you perform live much and what kind of expererience could an audience of your sets expect?
Blaktrix has done 'nough shows. Got my launch on 19th Nov at Journeys. Associated Minds, Dead Residents and Gritty all gonna be there performing so come early 'cause there's gonna be a big queue outside. I've supported Skinnyman, done some hyping for Gritty on his tour with Skinnyman as well and that was all educating. My last launch rammed the Toucan Club. That was a sick night. I think people just like seeing some big lanky mofo stomp round a stage and trip pon wires.
Wanna drop any messages or shout outs to end this on?
Jus wanna say big props to Mayor (serious man, niceness), Ruffstylz, Gritty, Jammin, Phili, Fracas, Monkey, Killa T, Simon and Indeg (my low budget agents and video makers). PS, look out for the 'Night and Day' video featuring Junior Disprol off the 'Trust EP'. It's big. Don't watch that! (I mean, watch it, obviously) Peesh!