The rapper talks on his name, music, that Nas tune, dissing Common, performing live and what forthcoming releases are on the way.
Where in the UK are you from and what was your first taste of hiphop music and culture?
I'm from London, and my first taste of Hip Hop culture was Electro. My favourite track was 'I'm a Pac Man'. I can't remember who it was by now! And also 'Planet Rock' by Africa Bambaata and the Soulsonic Force. I'm Old Skool haha!
What effect do you feel your enviroment of London have on the nature of your lyrics and the vibe's of your music?
Not that much to be honest with you. Most of my inspiration comes from my warped mind! I deal with a lot of my inner confusion by writing it down and making it rhyme. Well, the rhyming bit is the fun part. London is a fucked up place so I don't really like talking about it. There's far more important things to be talking about than where I live. How fucking boring.
How did you come up with the name Rising Son, and do you reckon this did you favours in winning the God's Son remix competition?
The name 'Rising Son' has many meanings. Look in the dictionary for the most accurate definition of 'Rising'. I would say the most accurate description of the word with regards to me is 'Insurrection', which means an uprising against the system. The word 'Son' is pretty self explainitory! As far as the whole God's Son/Rising Son thing, I don't know about that. I would hope that it had more to do with my verse than us having similar names. I mean, I wrote the best verse after all. Haha!
Your name suggests the idea of continual development. What other ethics would you recommend someone striving to be a rapper?
I would tell them to first build up a name for themselves. Attack as many open mic/underground shows as poss' 'till they start getting their names on flyers. Then when they're known they should start getting on mixtapes and then eventually drop a CD. Then keep dropping CDs and collaborating until they get offered some sort of deal or create their own outlet. Then they should think about sales and moving units and the sort of music that sells. It's not an easy game 'cause once you're known on road, then it's a bit like 'well, where do I go from here?'. You can't stay underground forever. Either you're gonna make money from it or not. Nobody's really progressed from that point. At the moment it would seem that people are quite happy for rap music to stay at the level it's at in this country. Break the mould.
How much of an impact did being on the Nas track have on your career and which of the other entries were you feeling?
Being on the Nas track did absolutely nothing for my career. I'm serious. It made people envy me and that's about it. Fuck 'em though. You would have thought that Hip Hop connection and other such magazines would have wanted to interview me…nope. You'd think that the 'Urban' scene would support and get behind me after doing such a high profile collabo'...Nope. The whole scene could have benefited from that if we worked together. But no. My management still had to go around and ask for interviews. It's almost as if the whole affair went over people's heads because their favourite rapper didn't win. Awww diddums! To be honest, I am surprised that I won because I thought the results were going to be marred by politics.
When I heard the final 8 entrants I was surprised at the level of competition. And when I found out who didn't get into the final 8 I was even more surprised. I expected to see some more well known names in there. But then again…I was in there too! But hey, like I said I was surprised at the level of competition involved. With the exception of Yungun and Lowkey, I wasn't really worried about anyone. Then when I heard that Essa was in the final 8 I shit myself 'cause I know he's fucking shit hot! Then I heard his verse and I was like 'uh-oh I could be in trouble here'. Then I heard Lowkey's verse and I honestly thought it would come down to me and him in the end, which it did. I was surprised to have beaten him because he was more popular than me. But good old Nas judged it on the skills, not the popularity and I'm sorry, I think that time round I wrote the better verse. Not saying I think I'm better than anyone. I just come out better that time. Other than those two though I wasn't that impressed.
Can you run us through what material you've got out there at the moment and what someone who hasn't heard you can expect from it?
Well again it's like no-one wants to listen until you piss someone off, so that's what I did. The song out at the moment is called 'Dear Common' and is dissing a lot of people's favourite rapper because he is an ignorant fuck. Apparently it's wrong for a black man to have a white girlfriend. I'm sorry, this is 'The world according to Common'! It is apparently 'watering down the black race' to have a white girlfriend. Not any other race, just a white girl. I'm sorry but aren't white girls who date black men also 'watering down their race'? Yeah. So we dissed him. Me, Doc Brown and Yungun. I've also got a video coming out called 'Rising's Theme' which is a relentless onslaught of punchlines! It's not supposed to be serious at all. Just having a laugh and playing with words and rhymes. It's meant to be a bit of fun which people seem to have forgotten about these days. Lighten up.
If you had to call someone else out on record tomorrow, who'd it be?
Dunno, it might be you haha! Nah as I said, Common is an ignorant fucker and needed to get checked. I don't want people acting like what I'm saying isn't right because it fucking well is. People have the right to be with whoever they want to, and no rapper has the right to dictate to people what's right and what's wrong. To say that interracial relationships are wrong is to suggest that I, and all people of mixed race were born out of sin which I feel denies me as a man and us as a people. Catch me in the wrong mood and that's a declaration of war!
What forthcoming stuff have you been working on and when can we expect it to drop?
I've been working on my mixtape 'Blood, Sweat & Beers' and that is due for release in early 2006. Jan/Feb.
There seems to be a bunch of new UK rappers each month these days. How do you differ to what's already out there?
My music is fun to listen to, when I'm not being political. To be honest, I'm getting a little sick of this 'Gangsta' emulation. Although we appear to pride ourselves as not 'gangsta' and 'it's not like that over here' almost ridiculing Gangsta culture and almost anti American, secretly we wish we were Yankees. Come on, you know what I'm talking about. You look and sound ridiculous. 'Brrap Brrap in da manor in da manor', shut up. It's like we have an inferiority complex and need to feel as hard as the Americans. They're not hard. They're just super ignorant and have very big mouths and the right to bear arms. This is a recipe for self destruction.
Who are your favourite UK rappers and producers, and who do you hope to collaborate with somewhere down the line?
Right now, the only people I'm feelin at all are Sway, Genesis Elijah, Terra Firma, Redskin, Baby Blue, Skinnyman and Poisonous poets. I'm sure there's a few more but those are just off the top right now! There's a mix of humour, entertainment, words, sound and power there. I want to be mentioned among those names as the one who changed the game. I aint met no producers who I like really. I mean with the exception of DJ Snips, Jay'O (Los Soul), and my brother Character. Most UK producers don't have what I look for in music. I seldom find a producer from the UK who isn't up their own ass, or that has what I'm looking for! It's like Lowkey said "not one rapper in the UK is a superstar"…that goes for producers too!
UK rappers seem to have different concepts of success. Where'd you have to be at to feel like you've achieved your goals and made it?
I don't give a fuck what anyone says. Success is when you have Jay-Z and people like that calling you for a collaboration or to sign you. Success is when you are the headliner and not the support act. It's when you can buy a fucking Egyptian mummy and a fairground in your garden for christ's sake! Nah, overall success is when you are comfortable with your life and you are in complete control over what you are doing.
What's the status of the Phu Good Men crew and how much do you think your time together aided your development as an artist?
Man, let me sum that up in a nutshell. PGM was a crew that was created for 2 reasons. A) I made that crew so that I wouldn't have to go out there on my own and so that I could create opportunities for other rappers who I felt deserved it. And B) to make a very small producer with an over inflated ego feel better about himself. But you know how the saying goes…..the Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away. I'm glad to see those who decided to continue doing well, but I got no thanks, props, bigups or even a fucking mention from anyone. It's all good though, it's life innit! I forgive them, for they know not what they do.
What's the last great album you bought and why?
Probably 'Streets Disciple' but only 'cause I'm on it. Can you imagine I had to fucking buy that album from a shop? Sony tried to front like they never had it in yet but I went out and fucking bought it from a shop. Cunts. Fuck that anyway. I would say the last great album I bought was 'Genesis Elijah – Deh pon road'. I don't buy albums anymore. I mainly just download them!
Where and when can heads catch you perform live and what kinda set do you put on?
Well, this is what I mean. After doing the Nas thing you'd think that people would be more receptive to me performing at their events, but no! I still get the same treatment as "Joe nobody" trying to shop his demo. Unbelievable. Right now I'm working on something undeniable and exciting so that I can be on the road from early next year. Having management helps a lot. My shows are off the wall, ask anyone who's seen me perform live!
Have you got anything you'd like to add?
Check me out at www.myspace.com/risingsonuk