Ahead of his dope new 12" release, the SFDB artist talks about all sorts including his influences, style of music, producers and forthcoming projects. Check it out.
Introduce yourself and tell us your earliest memory of hiphop.
The name's Clarity, one half of the Ugly Heroes, part of the SFDB Family. Just trying to get my music out there. I live in the sticks that is Shaftesbury, in Dorset. My first step into hiphop as a listener was when I used to see kids wearing those classic Public Enemy shirts. I was curious about the logo really, so I bought a couple of albums, not even really knowing what kind of music it was! I loved that PE symbol and then I loved the music. I was really into Wu Tang (like everyone) when they dropped the '36 Chambers'. It cemented my love for it all.
How long have you been rapping and what releases have you put out, or been planning?
I've been rhyming about 6 years now, constantly working with Conrad Watts. We put a couple of Ugly Heroes CD's out about a year ago which were really to give out at shows and things, but got a lot of Bristol heads called Self Construction. I was also part of the Wordsworth Surgery with Beanz and Conrad with a 12" just out called 'Large Scale'. And of course my solo stuff starting with 'Way Of The Dragon 12".
What does your style and its lyrical content have to offer listeners?
I'm trying to bring some vivid imagery sort of thing without becoming too leftfield. I hate the thought of just talking crap, but then I hate the thought of spitting with deep words but lacking the straight up sort of flow. I think people like Cage and Ill Bill really mix the two together. Real intricate flows, tightly riding the beats without lacking the content. I think that every person trying to make music for others needs to be comfortable with themselves. I can safely say that although influenced by other artists, I'm not trying to be some other kid. I'm trying to do me.
Why did you choose the name Clarity? Do you feel a lot of rappers aren't clear enough with talent and a message?
My mate thought of the name and I loved it so kept it! I do think there's a lack of message out there. There's so much stuff going on, and rap can be so powerful. I think we can waste it's full potential. I hate the way people think they're really saying something when they say they hate Bush, and don't have a clue why they've got issues with him. If people really dig and find the truth before rhyming, that's cool. But you can't just say stuff 'cause the next man's saying it. That's being a blind sheep. It does nothing and has no impact. I think there's a place for all types of rhyming. I just think there's a lack when it comes to serious topics.
How did you hook up with SFDB Records and what can people expect from your debut 12"?
I hooked up with SFDB through Beanz when he was on the label. I did 'Discovery Channel' for Secondson's album and then was invited to be part of
the family and started working on things for the label. It grew out of friendship though really. We're all good mates and SFDB is something Secondson has always said is all of ours and we share it, promote each other, build with each other. It's our outlet. My fist solo 12", I'm pleased with. Secondson's produced two beats and then there's one beat from Rola and one from Sir Beanz. It's got Conrad Watts and Gritty on it and it's called 'Way Of The Dragon'. I hope that I've got something different across to the person listening. It's both dark and light hearted. It's my best piece of work so far for me… I just hope someone else enjoys it!
You must feel quite privileged to have Secondson producing your debut release. Are you guys gonna work together more?
I'm definitely blessed to have Secondson working with me, and blessed to be working with Rola and Beanz! Secondson is producing my entire album. We've just nailed so many tunes and have come up with a sound that we're both really excited about. Some of the stuff Secondson pulls out the bag for me completely fits the subject matter I want to write about. The other great thing is the fact that we can both deal with critisism and we're not afraid to say if something needs some work. Iron sharpens iron and I'm grateful for the input Secondson makes to my artform.
Do you do any production yourself, or any other element of hip-hop for that matter?
I produced both Ugly Heroes CD's. I can make beats, but not on the level that Secondson, Beanz and Rola are on. My computer's bust now though, so I'm just writing untill I can afford another set-up. It's definitely something I want to do again.
What one thing during your hiphop career would make you feel comfortable that you've made it and succeeded?
My wife would say a house! To be honest, I'm just happy to build up a solid catalogue of stuff and have a load of tunes for my daughter to hear when she's older. I'd love to be doing this full time but it's not my main focus. I believe that you can put out music and still be a normal guy. Mainly, I want to hang on to the friendships I've developed, the people I've met who share the same love of great music.
Why do you feel hiphop outside of London is gradually becoming more and more popular and impressive?
I think people outside of London are starting to feel OK about not being from London. Don't get me wrong, some of the best stuff comes from London but it's stolen the small amount of limelight there is in this country. I'm a listener, so I know that people are getting sick of the scene only using one part of its character. There's so much talent in other parts of England and I'm glad it's starting to be noticed.
What UK hiphop artists and producers are you into, that you'd like to collaborate with at some point?
Loads! Too many to mention. I think Cappo is the best emcee we've got in the UK. For me, he just kills it.
Are you into any other forms of music and will we be seeing those flavours leak into your music?
I love loads of types of music. Mars Volta, Decemberists, The Shins, System Of A Down… I couldn't cope with just listening to hiphop and think if you want to rap, you need to pull away from the whole "hiphop" mentality to keep it new and fresh.
Have you had the opportunity to perform live much yet, and what's the most memorable gig you've witnessed?
Wordsworth Surgery gigs were constant in Bristol. We did a couple of dates for the GLC tour last year. That was pretty cool. It's mad having someone hunt you down to pay you rather than chasing some dodgy promoter who isnt going to pay you at all. That's my best live memory. The best gig I've been to was Therapy when I was about 13. Loved it.
What's the dopest magazine? Undercover or Hiphop Connection? Or do you simply visit Rapnews!
Who's the better rapper? Bart Simpson or Roland Rat?
John Barnes slaughters them both!
Have you got any shout out's you'd like to drop?
Too many so I'll just shout out my wife Joni and my daughter Amelie. Cheers mate.