Always first to feature new artists, we did a Q&A with this East London rapper who talked to us amongst other things, about his releases so far, performing live and the UK music scene.
Who are you and where you from?
My name's TB Tuberculosis aka TBEAR. Call me by any of dem three and we're good. And you know I'm comin' straight outta Dublstow, East London.
There's so many diseases out there. Why name yourself after TB?
Before da rappin' ting, they called me Tbear or TB innit. But 'cause I spit dem sick lyrics, they started callin' me Tuberculosis. Simple.
Are you a part of a group of do you have any affiliated crews?
Well I'm a soloist soldier but I rep for my crew Da Manor Enterprise, straight fromm da east end. Watch out for Classic, Infamy and Faro. They'll be all over my mixtape. The 'Beast From Da East'.
How long have you been rhyming and what first got you into it?
I been rhymin' since school, but only seriously recordin' since 2000. For me, writng rhymes is sort of therapeutic so I started 'cause it's what I do to sooth the soul, you know?
Who are some of your influences or favourite rappers?
Ghostface is my favourite all time, but you know big Jay Z and dem.
How'd you describe your style to those who aint heard of it yet?
I sound like TB Tuberculosis and sometimes I sound like TBear, so you could just say I sound like me. I dunno. My sound aint limited 'cause I'm versatile wid it, so you can be pleasantly surprised every time you hear me.
What stuff have you put out so far, and what are you working on?
Yeah. 'Summerwine', 'Manorish', 'Nang'. 'Back Down', we dun da video for and dat was off da threat EP with Fallin'. Couple tracks still. I jus finished shootin' an independant video for my track 'bless u' which will be on Channel U soon. I've just finished my mixtape 'The Beast From The East' which will be mixed by DJ MK and it should be ready by the summer. I'm in the process of doin' a part two for the mixtape which will be mixed by DJ JStarr, straight outta Sauf London!
Are you into other sorts of rap music like grime, and will you make some of that stuff one day?
Wherever the wind takes me cuz. I wont wake up and say 'Yeah, I'ma do a grime track today, ya get me? I don't think when I do grime that it's grime, an' if it is, then I was doin' grime before grime was done. But to answer ya question, yes. I rep' the UK underground and the double time / half time ting is part of it.
Tell us a bit about how you put together your raps.
Mainly I write in silence, to the beat of non existent drums, just about everyday. It's kinda therapeutic you know? Some blessi, a pen. It's all good. But some times u hear a beat and you gotta write to it so ya shit fits perfect but yeah I do both.
I'm always an MC blud. I don't step off da stage 'n' become Clark Kent or nuthin'. Dis is what I do. It's my life. Whenever I'm workin' or linkin' or woteva, that's cutting into my MC time!
How you feeling your local music scene?
What, London? It's big man. We doin' it large. I'm from East but I'ma Londoner you know? I rep' da city, ya get me? So da scene is large from all four corners. But East London is doin' its thing. Trust me. I think the bar has been raised and people can now see da cream rising. Not just in east or London but da UK as a whole. People from London seem to think that it's all about the capital but I'm seein' da whole UK as my hunting grounds. So shout da Birm's man, dem Liverpool, Manchester, Notts Wolves. Da list goes on.
Who's running things in hiphop at the minute?
My favourite rapper is Ghostface so it would be him and Supreme from his crew. That guy was sick on Supreme Clientelle, and production wise I gotta say Just Blaze 'cause he's so versatile. In da UK, erm… Dat's hard man, but there's a lot of good rappers and producers over here still.
What goes down at your jams and how do you find performing?
I love performin' man. I feel at home on stage with a microphone, so it's all live. My set usually consists of a lot of blessi smoke, da sickest lyrics you ever heard in your life and two ton elephants walking on 20ft high tight ropes. It's fucking amazing blud. You'd be a fool to miss it. My next show is in Stratford Theatre on the 7th of june. Make sure you get there early! And I'm openin' for Plan B in Cambridge on 15th of June with Shameless. Make sure you get there too.
It's election time (at time of interview) so, Tony Blair or David Camron?
Tony Blair, 'cause we got da same initials. I don't really care who gets da vote but I suppose it's better the devil you know innit? I mean, none of their initiatives affect me ina positive way, you get me?
Politics is boring so, Eastenders or Coronation Street?
Political science is real cuz! But it's gotta be Eastenders blud.
What websites can people check out to keep up on TB news?
Well you can holla at me on my Myspace page to read my blog, watch my video or check out the latest information. If you want to buy some product, visit www.tapintomusic.com for the 'Threat' EP and the 'Batch Special' Mixtape.
Have you got any shout out's or plugs to round this up on?
Yeah. Shout my fam, Da Manor Enterprise Classic, Infamy, Clippa, Sweepa 'n' Faro. East London's finest, trust me. Shout to Shameless and the Dat Sound family, DJ Excalibah 'n' Tommy Sparx. We doin' it big this year, spreadin dat disease! 'Bless U' the video is out on Channel U and the "Beast From The East" mixtape will be ready for the summer. Tb's coming man. Go get your Vaccines.