As long term fans and supporters of Cafe Recordings and their artists, Rapnews caught up with P.A.C to hear him speak extensively on his new E.P and lots more.
Please introduce yourself and tell us where you're from?
The name's P.A.C, which stands for Powerful And Calm! A depiction of my everyday temperament and the transition between me as an MC and an individual. I'm a born and bred South Londoner and grew up in the days when playing Double Dragon, Green Beret and Commando in the arcades were the in things to do… Rocking Chipie shirts and Chevignon jeans rolled up to the ankles, and Avirex jackets weren't so big and colourful but more stylish. Those were the good ol' days (laughs). I've lived here all my life. I grew up on a small estate in Tooting but now hang out in SE25…
What's your local hiphop scene saying and how do you rate the UK movement in general?
I don't have or follow a scene right now, so I really can't tell you how the scene's moving from an inside view as I'm always just trying to concentrate on my material… However. I believe the UK movement is definitely going in the right direction, albeit in small fractions. It's not making quantum leaps but there are certain individuals who are making movements which overall, is positive for the UK.
How long have you been rapping and who are some of your hiphop idols?
Around 91' was the year I got into rhyming. I was more freestyling to begin with, just rocking with close friends without pre-written lyrics. It was nice back then. We would just rhyme for hours about anything. It was like a daily routine at times… I then got into the whole Junglis sound and became more of a battle MC… My influences from that period were Slick Rick, Demon Boyz, Big Daddy Kane, Ultra Magnetic, Organised Konfusion, Pharcyde and The Roots.
What have you released so far and how would you describe the sound and content of your rapping?
My first release was 'Conspiracies' on Sampler No 1 (Café Recordings), which was back in 1999 when the sun used to shine for 12 weeks solid… (Ahhhh) Well anyway, after that I dropped 4 tracks on Soul Communication, a Hip Hop compilation by DJ Stix (Kingsize Records). Set Menu 2 came next with a track called '4 the love of it'. 'Driver' came several months after that on a 12" released by Mister Jaes (Café Recordings).
I hit the scene on a real conscience level at first… I was writing rhymes on topics I would see in the papers, TV etc… and deliver my thoughts on some of these issues that I read about or witnessed. I would say these days I'm freer with my rhymes so I try and bug out a little bit more and catch a vibe rather than drop too much knowledge which is really for the hardcore listeners of UK Hip Hop. I'm much more versatile and want to create something that everyone can appreciate.
What artists, from the UK and elsewhere, are you enjoying the music of and who'd you like to collaborate with?
From these shores I'm feeling material from TY, Klashnekoff, Roots Manuva, Gee Bag, Creamo and B Sharp… On the flip side MF Doom's got me rocking right now, Little brother, Dead Prez, Pitch Black… to be honest there's quite a few! Boy, I'll collab with anyone who wants to… I just can't get enough of making new material whether it be on my tods or with anyone who's got the right vibes…
How did you feel your recent 'Matter Of Opinion' release was received by the scene?
So far so good… I've had a quite a bit of airplay on 1xtra, Choice and XFM, so I'm happy wit that… I think I can only respond fully once I've done few stage shows and get some proper feedback and interaction from the people.
How did you hook up with Cafe Recordings and will you be collaborating with Antidote and its other artists again?
Café Recordings is part of me. I'm part of the life force. I was there from the seed to the tree it's forming into now… collaborations with Antidote, Thee Absent, Dandy etc… is inevitable like birds emigrating in the winter!
When can we expect a full album release from you, and what can you tell us about the material on there?
Expect a new album in the second quarter of the New Year which will probably be different from the sound on the 'Matter Of Opinion E.P' I'm working on some new material as well as a mix tape but it will definitely be some foil wrapped freshness! I'm looking to use more upbeat breaks and different styles to incorporate a new sound and vibe which verges on the point of science lab experimentation… no weird shit though, just new…
Who handles the majority of your production and what effect does this have on your creative process?
Mister Jaes has been the no.1 producer since my first release and has been and still is a good combination. There is no reverse or bad effect by this as we've grown together and built equilibrium with our understanding of the music, however Jae brings out a more raw side to me, like on the E.P. I'm direct and pushy with my lyrics and that's just only one side to me. Jae's beats are natural head boppers. It's just that feeling the beat brings out. Going forward, I will also be working closely with Broadcite Recordings who are more of a Broken Beat UK based label.
Your EP included 'Power' which was on a political tip. Drop us some knowledge on the same vibe:
Well as I said earlier, I'm can be an opinionated person on some subjects and the war against Iraq raised some issues which I wanted to put across in 'Power'. The PM got sucked into the whole foray to try and build ties with America. It was none of our business but knowing full well the benefits he would reap by joining forces, basically building tight bridges with the most powerful country on this planet and not forgetting the small chance to gain access to what is known to some as black gold… There are so many theories as to why we went to war but the underlying thing is that it was the wrong approach and many have and are still suffering for it…
Why do you think The Street's and Dizee Raskal's of this world have gained such commercial success, whilst the UK hiphop scene hasn't?
I would say they both hit their niche at the perfect time… The Streets went straight in with true 'britshness' and got connected to a niche audience. This audience may not be your usual UK Hip Hop followers but a lot of heads got into that sound and to the followers it was a proud feeling to be a part of that movement when it first landed… The same went for Dizzy. Fresh sound hit the schools and the clubs. Right energy, right place, right time… Creating another movement! The commercial success is down to the quality and the easy listening elements to their music, which will obviously appeal to a wider market… I think a lot of UK Hip Hop is not understood by a wider range of people, which is why it's probably not branching out as much as it should… Well, not at a quick enough pace anyway!
What was the last great Uk record you bought or blagged?
I'm no vinyl boffin but I do collect a good few CDs now and again… The last great record I bought was not Uk Hip Hop but a broken beat compilation by DKD entitled 'Future Rage'.
Do you dabble in other elements of hiphop or is it strictly the music you're involved in?
Strictly the music for me… I'm devoted to making new music, writing/production or playing an instrument. For me, that's all I want to do 24 hours of the day…
How often do you get to perform, and how would you rate your freestyling ability?
This year hasn't really been a performance year. It was congested with everyday issues and trying to get material done, but sometimes when the two coincide, one usually suffers and for me it was the latter so I took a bit of time out from the whole performance thing. However, going forward, I will be organising some shows to promote the 'Matter Of Opinion' E.P. so make sure you look out for my up coming appearances in 2006. My freestyle is a bug out. I'll just rhyme and rhyme about anything. I got more vibes when I freestyle rather than flush out the words and metaphors, so rating myself doesn't really fit, as I just believe in being real and that's what I am when I freestyle. I just let loose…
Have you got anything to add to wrap this up on?
Respect RapNews and to the readers. Make sure you get a peep of the 'Matter Of Opinion E.P' out in specialist stores. Check www.caferecordings.co.uk for outlets. Respect to everyone supporting UK Hip Hop and to all the Café and Broadcite family… Peace