The man blowing up on the scene talks about the many projects he's working on, the UK scene, choosing his artist name, influences and much more.
A couple of months back an e-mail did the rounds promoting 'The Internet Song' by a rapper called Dubbledge. Not too many people had heard of him but the song certainly provided entertainment and generated interest in the artist. With the recent release of 'The Working Class Dad' by Micall Parknsun which featured two Dubbedge guest spots, the interest furthered. This month, in the space of a few days, the London rapper performed at both the Jehst and Foreign Beggars launch parties ahead of featuring on Rodney P and Skitz's 'Original Fever' show on 1xtra. He's already got a ton of projects stored up and planned, and has transformed from relatively unknown, to rapper a lot of people are talking about. His career, not yet even in full flight, seems a testiment to hard work and preparation, and an example many aspiring artists would do good to consult. We caught up with him to find out a little more about who he is and what he has to say.
Why did you choose the name 'Dubbledge'? What are the two different sides to ya?
Took ages finding a name. Thought of some really shit ones like 'Nelly' and 'Gangsta Killa Murka Murda Motha Phucka Phuck' but they didn't really do it for me. So now it's all about the Dubbledge. It's a metaphor. A Rasta man once told me that the tongue is a double-edged sword, even though it may be one of the smallest muscles in your body. It can do the most damage. It can start wars or bring peace…and it's true. I mean, if you do a show and 400 people come up and say you smashed it, then 1 person comes up and says they weren't feeling it and you're shit, I guarantee it's that 1 person's comment that your remember and even though 400 people just told you how good you was, you're gonna feel like warring that 1 negative comment.
What description would you give your rapping and lyricism?
Hard to say. I do whatever the beat tells me to so the flow or wordplay hardly ever stays the same. I just try to keep it entertaining 'cause if an entertainer can't entertain, then he needs a new job.
How long have you been rhyming, and who were your early favourites that you looked up to?
Been rhyming for a long long time. My early favourite was Moses when he was spitting that tune about 'Let My People Go'. I thought that was heavy. These days seems like a lot of emcee's are busy promoting slavery, especially the Americans. Fair enough, we might have swapped the iron chains for platinum ones but we still mental slaves. I mean, I'm getting to a point now where I'm beginning to get blessed with my 15 minutes of fame, and now I'm getting people's attention and certain heads are listening now and if I open my mouth and the best thing I can think to say is 'Gangsta Killa Murka Murda Motha Phucka Phuck' then I'm wasting my breath. People died to set me free and now I'm disrespecting their struggle by promoting the death of my own people.…that's week! As in 7 days of weak. That's why it's all about the UK 'cause to me the UK is the truth. The USA gave us this music but that don't mean we have to follow them does it? I mean, the only man I'd wanna copy from would have been Jeru the Damaja in his prime on 'You Can't Stop The Prophet' 'cause that tune's a phuckin classic and I wanna make a classic!
Outside of hiphop, what are some of your musical influences and how do you feel they resonate in your own material?
Garage, Jungle, Rare Groove, Grime, R&B. Basically I like music that either gives me a vibe or makes me think. Music's a real powerful tool so I like the rhythms that pull some kinda emotion out of me. It's like if I'm driving and I got some nice melodic tunes on, I'll be 'Sunday driving', taking my time, letting people jump in front of me, stopping for Granny's to cross the road etc. If I switch on the radio and some hype shit comes on, that's it. My driving switches. Next thing you know, I got my foot down and I'm cursing idiots like it's my road and they need to recognise that or get off it.
Music effects my moods. That's why I appreciate beats from producers that pull some kinda emotion out of me like Steve Ebola or LG. They seem to tap into the spirit of the song and pull it out. You hear the beat they made and you automatically know if they had a good day or not cause they transmit the vibe into the music they create. That's what I wanna do with my rhymes. Take you on a little journey and draw you into my world.
It seems like you've appeared out of nowhere on guest spots and live shows lately. How come you wern't everywhere sooner?
Guess it weren't my time. I'm a patient guy. To be honest, I did try back in the day but looking back on it I didn't have a bloody clue. You see, it's more than being able to rap. Talent ain't mean a thing. It's all about hard work, perseverance and business. If you're actually talented, then it's a bonus. I'd be at the jams but I just played the background. Never really been into the open mic ting. Always felt like I should get paid to spit. Reality is, who's gonna pay you when they don't know you?
I could have been out years ago but I weren't focused. I settled down and got in family mode and stayed a bedroom emcee. It changed when I was looking at my son playing and sitting there, thinking about being some old brae wearing Nike Air in a rocking chair, telling his grandkids how I could have been this and I could have been that, but I'd really just sat on my arse watching Channel U, taking the piss out of man doing what I felt I could probably do better. But obviously, destiny don't come to people that sit on they arse, so I got off it and got in studio and since then I've made over 3 albums worth of material, so I'm about ready to flood the market. Ever since I woke up, it's like some unseen hand is opening doors for me so watch this space 'cause I'm blessed…
Could you give us a run through of the releases you've been involved with so far?
Got the 'Smile' EP. That's out on Dented Records. All tracks produced by Steve Ebola…Big up all the Foreign Beggars fam…Dag Nabbit, where's my bloody beat CD bruv? Got the 'Sonshine' LP. That's out on Sit Tight Records. All tracks produced by LG with Biscuit on the flute to add that little extra touch of class to the dirt. Got the 'Don't Interrupt' LP out on Cut Above Records. All tracks produced by Jabba tha Kut. Hold Tight Ziggy, that's my bodyguard on the B-side vocals.
Got 2 features on Micall Parknsun's album, 'Working Class Dad'. I'm on 'Combo' and Hungry' which Lowlife may push out on 12" soon. Go buy that 'cause I kid you not, the album's a phuckin' classic. Got Genesis Elijah's 'So Hip Hop' (remix) on Broken souls…You need his 'Deh Pon Road' album in your life too, 'cause it's more then an album. That's a full blown revolution in a CD case. It might even slap some sense into your speakers.
Right now though, I'm promoting the 'Fist Of Jah'! That's coming yesterday so catch up… That's got all sorts of people on it. Orifice & Shlomo (Foreign Beggars), Inja (Delegates of Culture), Skrein, Dr Syntax, Wordsmith, Genesis Elijah, Micall Parknsun, Mention & Dabla (London Zoo), and Verbal and Deadlee a.k.a. Captain Bun Dem (O.C.B.), Selesha…basically most of the heads that are next to blow or at least deserve to 'cause their mic skills are superior. There's a real famous dancehall guest appearance on there too but he don't know much about it.
Obviously not mentioning Rapnews in 'The Internet Song' was just a memory lapse, right?
Memory lapse! Bruv! I have trouble remembering what bed to sleep in. My girl hates it when I do that. You lot are on the remix anyway. It's called 'The Rapnews.co.uk should have been in the Internet song'. Should be big!
How do you rank the internet as a resource for hiphop heads as opposed to radio, TV and magazines?
All publicity helps, even the bad. Internet has made the world a smaller place so how can it not help? That's why I made the 'Internet' song 'cause it's one market I really need to start tapping into too 'cause it's pretty well unlimited as far as marketing potential goes, plus it's not as regulated as the other forms of media so you're more likely to get the true essence of this artform rather then the mass marketed rubbish they ram down your ears 'cause someone had the funds to pay for air play and a big advert in a mag.
What projects have you got in the pipe line and when are we gonna hear them?
'The Richest Man in Babylon'. That's the album. It's complete and should hit mid 2006. Gonna release the 'Fist of Jah!' and a tune called 'Da Work Out' plus a couple vid's 1st to build some hype though. There's tracks on Ghost's album, 'Seldom Seen Often heard' and Disorda's next 'Suspect Files Vol 3' coming soon or sooner depending on when you reading this.
Skrein and Dr Syntax's 'Skreintax' album, I got some features on that coming out soon…Various mixtape's floating about. Blah blah blah blah…Got stupid amounts of stuff to tell the truth. Made some big tunes with Jehst, Parky and Asaviour recently…infact, I'm not even gonna talk about some of the projects mans got lined up 'cause shit's gonna hit the fan when they drop and it's good to keep some tricks up your sleeve, especially when they got the potential to be big!
Have you got any ties with labels at the minute and if so, how did you hook up with them?
Got strong ties with Dented Records. Hooked up with Vulgatron a few years back and he's helped me 'nuff since then so between them and Casual Records, I think I've found a home for 'The Richest Man in Babylon'. Got side projects with a few labels and a couple are talking to me but talk don't pay the bills so I'll wait till my instincts tell me it's right before I sign anything…If I ever do sign anything. I got a hidden agenda anyway!
How highly are you rating the current state of the UK hip-hop scene, and what artists are you enjoying the most lately?
UK hiphop has always been heavy in my eyes. From the London Posse days up until the Sway days. It's just better now because more people know what they're doing and it's found its own identity and some quality control is creeping in. Plus, the focus seems to be moving away from just London rappers at the mo'. I mean, I'm hearing some real skills from certain people up north so the barriers that accents were causing are breaking down.
Another reason it's got better is because technology is cheaper now and you don't need a £100,000 to make a half decent album anymore. UK never had the funding before. That's why only a couple of heads used to rise to the top but now that people can afford to take matters into their own hands, you're gonna see wave after wave of big UK emcees. As far as emcee's I rate, there's 'nuff of them but certain verse's just stand out. Like, I heard an old verse by Kyza on a Skribla mixtape that blew me away. Think the tune was called 'Hung Drawn & Quartered' with Parky and Ram, but their verses weren't on the CD so I still haven't heard the whole track, but Kyza spat fire on that…the verse is sick. Must have been 'cause I still remember it
What artists and producers would you most jump at the chance to collaborate with in the future?
I ain't fussy. Known or unknown, if they tight and we can see eye to eye I'll bring bars to the table. I ain't got a wish list though. Only person I'm a fan of is my son so might collab' with him one day. I ain't joking either. My little man's got skills mate.
Have you ever dabbled in other areas of hiphop besides the music, such as graffing or breaking?
Tried the breakdancing ting and didn't get past the Caterpillar. I got into Capoeira though. That's like breakdancing but kicking someone up while you do it. How can you not love that? "One hand-stand kick you in da head and…"
Care to make any shout out's or plugs?
Mentioned loads of people during the interview, so hold tight all the above and I wanna big up Franco, Ricardo J, Apa-tight, Ghosttown, J-Cat, Lazy J, everyone I forgot, all friends and fam, anyone that's supporting, anyone that's buying and anyone that's gonna hear about me from this interview so big up yourself Tee.