The Uk scene's dopest DJ talks about life after 1xtra, writing a hiphop flavoured play, his current and forthcoming releases and his tips for 2006.
What have you been up to since leaving 1xtra?
Various finger to pie combinations. I've been working on the new mix CDs 'Bless' and the 'UK Dubstate' mixtape. I've been gigging like mad. In the UK we had the UK 'Dubstate' tour and then I was off to Norway to headline a UK hip-hop special. I'm also writing for the new free magazine SOS, so grab that if ya see it anywhere. Yeah, mad busy right now. '
Looking at the state of the station now, how do you rate its level of support for the UK hip-hop scene?
It's still strong but it's not like it was when I was there. You can't just go online and check a show and know that within 10 minutes you'll hear something new and UK. You might, but it's not guaranteed. Also, not to diss anyone, but they don't seem to have their finger on the pulse of what's happening right now in the scene that I'm a part of. No one is playing the new Zygote 12" with Jehst and Sun Dragon. No on is playing Phoenix Quarter or Sir Smurf Little or even bloody Phoenix Quarter featuring Sir Smurf Little. That's my thing; finding new acts, fresh talent and bringing it to the masses like I did with Sway and Shameless and the Dirty Diggers and all these acts whose first big outing was on either 'Ex Files' or the first HHC CD I mixed. Now it seems like there are new acts coming through but it's a very different sound to the one I have been unearthing.
Have you got a new show lined up and when can we expect to hear you back on the airwaves?
Just look out for me. When I'm ready, I'll let everybody know. In the meantime check the mixes online and the mix CDs (of which there will be many!). I'll let the press know all my movements.
Would you ever consider getting involved with one of the internet radio broadcasts?
Maybe, but not long term. I'd like to do a guest mix here and there and that's about it. I love radio. That's my passion but I also enjoy earning a living and internet radio will not allow me to do that.
Do you think we'll see a new hip-hop flavoured stage play from you at some point?
Definitely, and I don't think it will be anything like 'Da Boyz'. As good and successful as it was, I think we were trying too hard to do the hiphop thing with it and now I just kinda wanna let the new play evolve a little more organically. I'm working on 'Dracula' at the moment, alongside the guy who's just written the music for the theatre I work with and their pantomime in particular. So, it should be a little different. We'll see…
Tell us about your new Dubstate release. What's on there?
Well for those who don't know or those who are so fickle they've forgotten in the last 5 months, 'UK Dubstate' was a feature of the 1Xtra show. I had the idea ages ago of getting emcees to send in their freestyles and verses over big American beats. Now over 3 years, I've built up quite a catalogue and decided to make some of the best ones available to the public.
So you've got lesser known acts like Ralph Rip Shit, Conflix, TB and Luc Skyz next to the more established acts like Taskforce, MD7, Skeme, Doc Brown, Braintax and K.Ners. Then you've got the new big hitters. Sway, Lethal, Shameless, Lowkey, Plan B, Broke N English, C Mone and Swiss. It's real cheap and out nationwide on the 30th January. However, if you feel you need it in your life now (and you do) you can go directly to either www.scenariorecords.com or www.suspect-packages.com
If in a parallel universe, UK hip-hop was huge and it was the US scene that was small, what British beats would they be jacking?
Nice question. I'd say anything by Joe Buhda or Skitz. Them big grime beats like the Kray Twinz and Da'Vinci. Mentat's beats. Anything that bangs in a normal hip-hop club basically.
I read that you got into hip-hop through The Fugee's. What did you make of their new track 'Take It Easy'?
Ya know what? When I saw Lauryn hill on the MOBOs I was so disappointed that I haven't paid too much attention to their new material. I thought she'd gone a little mad. It's like she wasn't even rapping nor singing. Just shouting a lot and bouncing all over the stage. I prefer my hip-hop with a bit more direction. Not some Tigger shit.
What's been your favourite UK hip hop release of 2005?
For me it's a weird one… 'Sick 2 Def' by Plan B. It was just so different and I've seen him perform it in front of really diverse crowds and it always goes down well. There has also been a load of hot mix CDs like the Klash' one, the new Lowkey mix and Sway's Promo Volume Two. So far as full length LPs, I obviously love the Dirty Diggers album 'Freakishly Strong'… I'm sorry. Did you ask for just one?
There was something said online about Klashnekoff dissing you at a gig. What's up with all that?
I'll keep it simple.I wrote an article which he disagreed with. He was vex and a little drunk when he performed in Glasgow and ended up calling me out and getting the crowd to join in with it. I got vex because I'd rather he'd of come directly to me or called me and spoken about it, but then he said I hadn't come to him about it. But that's because I had no beef with him. I just read a few interviews with him and saw one gig that I ended up reviewing. Now here's the thing. As a reviewer, my opinion is just that. My opinion. I feel like if it wasn't me that had said that but someone like James McNally from HHC, it would have been left alone. Anyways, the beef is squashed and now you've heard my side of the story. Big up Klash'.
What material are you most looking forward to dropping and what are your tips for the top in 2006?
I'm looking forward to people hearing a lot more of my production, on the 'Ex Files Doc.2;, on Mentat's remix project and on Shameless' new EP. Plus, I'm hoping to put out a twelve inch eventually, probably in conjunction with the 'Ex Files'. My tips for the top in 2006; obviously Sway, Plan B, Tor, Ghetto, Smurf and maybe the Diggers but in a different arena.
Have you been working on much production and what projects do you have lined up on that front?
Like I said, the Shameless EP has some of my production on it, the Mentat project, my own 12". I've also done some work with MC Trip from Spit Kingdom and Willow from The Colony.
What equipment are you using and how would you describe your beat making vibes?
I'm using an MPC2000xl alongside Cubase and Sound Forge. Plus, there is an old Moog in the Dat Sound studios that lets me get some incredible sounds out of it. I'm from the old skool of starting with a sample and building it up from there but recently I've been listening to a very eclectic mix of stuff and it's inspired me to actually learn to play keys, chords and scales. I wanna make shit when I'm 30 that is one hundred percent me, and to do that I need to learn some instrumentation.
Do you wanna make any shout out's or comments to leave this on?
Yeah. As usual, big up to all the fans and supporters of what I do. Keep supporting and hit me up at email@example.com. Big up to RapNew.co.uk Big up to all my Dat Sound fam, my real fam, and my sham fam. Pick up the 'Dubstate' mixtape now from Scenario or Suspect Packages. Also, email firstname.lastname@example.org with a mailing address and get a copy of 'Bless' the mixtape mixed by myself, Tommy Sparks and Skully completely free! Peace and one love.