Hitting you with another exclusive, we chatted to one of the UK's greats, Kyza, to talk about his highly anticipated debut album 'The Experience. We've even got the world's first review of it for ya!
Tell the readers who you are.
Yeah, what's poppin' people? For those who don't know who I am, you can call me Mr Sayso, Johnny Boog, Omar Godd, Justin Kase, Justin Tyme, Lord A. Mercy, King James, Jnr Vice, Sam Fisher The Splinter Cell, The One Man Hurricane, Lil' Lennox, Smirnoff and my personal favourite at the moment, Sir Sexton Blake. Ha Ha Ha, or you can just call me Kyza. More simple innit?
Where are you from and how long you been rapping?
I was originally born in a small town called Wellingborough which is in Northamptonshire, then I came to London in 1992. I've been rapping properly since about 1998. Never looked back since…
What were some of the first records/artists that motivated you to start rhyming?
I would say that one or some of the first records and artists that got me into rapping were Eazy-E ('Eazy-Duz-It'), London Posse… I had Gangster Chronicle on vinyl! Ha Ha. Eric B & Rakim most definitely… Those three are the most prominent ones in my memory banks right now.
Do you think rapping's a skill you're born with or can anyone train into being hot?
Erm… I think that definitely someone can be born with the gift to be able to rap. It's all about whether you are able to nurture and develop that gift. I mean like, someone can and a lot of people do learn to rap, and well too. So it's a bit of an open ended thing I suppose. I do actually think that I have been blessed with the ability to rhyme, and I definitely nurtured my gift and tried my best to be a master with it still.
How naturally did rapping come to you and how much practice went into mastering the craft?
A lot has gone in. Let me tell you right now bruva, I still actually thing that I haven't fully mastered it yet though. I'm always trying to surpass my previous efforts continually. Like, trying to reach the top of that mountain with the intagible peak. Haha. Never quite there.
What genre or type of music do you classify your material as?
I would classify my music, even though I don't particularly want to, as rap/street based poetry. Whoever that dont know, is free to call it what they like. I think that you can tell what it is though still… Heavy as fuck! Haha.
Run us through the key releases you've dropped.
Well… I think all my previous releases were key ones on a real… but they are 'Lights Out' b/w 'Harsh Reality', 'Real Rap' b/w 'Devil In A Dress', 'They Call It…' b/w 'R.E.A.L.' and finally 'Fight Klub' b/w 'Bitter, Sweet Love' and 'D.O.A.'.
Is there a particular release pre-album that you're most proud of?
There isn't particularly any one that I'm most proud of really. I'm proud of all of them. They ain't wack! Believe, haha. I think I enjoy either 'Devil…' or 'R.E.A.L.' or 'Harsh…' and 'Fight Klub' the most though.
I've seen you rated on US sites for 'Devil In A Dress'. How much did that track do for you?
Ya see, them yankee man, dem know what time it. Hahaha, joke. 'Devil' I think got me the most recognition on road for deffo. I also think that people started to look at me as more of a 'straight spittin' MC too. That track forced people to listen to it from start to finish. You can't really do that with a lot of tunes in this current climate of music, and that tune came out two years ago too, and I still get peeps coming up to man and saying "Yo cuz, is that story true fam?" I burst out laughing when they ask me them things. I love it man. Haha.
Have you got any more similar tracks up your sleeves?
Er… I'm sure that there is many more in store that are worse, sorry, better than 'Devil' to come. Is that what they want to hear though? Haha.
Tell us about 'The Experience'. How long have you been working on it?
Ah, 'The Experience' has basically been 20 something years in the making but the album was recorded over the space of a year amidst a myriad of events. I don't really know what people are expecting but expect to hear the sound of my blood and soul bleeding through the speakers when you put in the disk. I just hope people like it though. I'm maaaad nervous still.
There's something for everyone. Did you set out for that?
Sort of. I just put on there, the type of stuff that I thought people can relate to and really listen to still. It just so happens that there is a track for everyone on there. What luck eh?
Who's handling the beats on there and how did you all link?
D'Lux did half the album. I've got Chemo, Touch Tone, Caramac… Most of them man there, I've known for a while or a long while… The only person I didn't know was Touch Tone, who did my actual favourite track on the album, 'Snakes And Blaggers'. The point I wanted to make with the album was that you can make a banging album without the name brand, if you get what I'm saying? 'Cuase some of the lesser known guys have got some gunshot beats too ya na!
Do you produce much yourself?
No I don't produce. I know how to, kind of, but I don't. A jack of all trades is a master of none, so I just stick to rapping. I co-produced a couple of tracks, but that don't really mean a damn thing at the end of the day though. I'm not gonna sit here and take credit just 'cause I said to D'Lux or Chemo "yeah, put an extra snare there" or "let me play the bass line how it sounds in my head". Haha, ya see what I'm sayin? It can give you an advantage as a rapper 'cause you learn about how to make songs and you overstand the structure of the music and how it comes together.
What label's the project coming out on and how did you and up on their books?
It's coming out on Pepa Records. The whole thing just came about naturally, you know still? They were interested to put out my
project, so we obliged…
How did you meet the other members of Terra Firma and start the crew?
Oh my fucking lord! I'm being serious. I answer this question every interview, so I'm not going to do it again! Don't be offended! Haha.
With such strong group members, how much competition is there between you to drop the heavier music?
I wouldn't say that there was any competitiveness as such, but there is definitely that element to uphold that 'Terra' standard still… I mean, check it. How would you feel if you were in a crew with one of, if not the best UK rap artists right now, who has had two classic critically acclaimed CDs out, and you had only singles and had to put out an album right? Pressure? That's an understatement, on a real!
Are you all on the same page or are disagreements usually part of the creative process?
When we're working on a track we are like voltron. No matter if one or two of us have laid down a verse already. We instantly know what to come with to make the pieces of the puzzle fit but on the flip side of that, there are disagreements. The crew wouldn't be a proper crew if there weren't, I don't think. Anyone who says different, their crew is as fake as fuck then. Standard…
Tell us about the mix CD that you guys are bringing out?
The mix CD is called 'The Foundation: New Era' which I can honestly say is going to blow everything out of the water! Please do not take these words lightly! Just expect pure fire and brimstone from it. The first single 'W.A.R.' is stupid! We have old and new beats, skits, double time and normal riddims on there and that's all I can say. Yes there was a hold up, but trust me, the wait will be worth it.
How do you rate the current UK hiphop scene and who are some of the artists you're feeling?
To be completely real, I don't really rate the UK scene that much. That's not hating or pessimism. I just don't like it as a whole. The industry for starters, anyway, haha, all I'm saying is that we need to step up our game. We've been living in this bubble of contentment for a very long time and it's time to come out of it and get real.
As far as artists, I'm into people like Pyrelli, T.B. (T-Bear), Ghetto from Kano's camp, Poisonous Poets, Stylah and Lowkey, Triggs Vega, YBM (Young Blad Malitia), Mr Ti2bs, Sincere, Yungun and a couple of other unknown cats… Most of the people that I listen to nowadays are new people who are not that well known who are coming up. Regardless if I know them or not, it's all about the new breed for me. The old heads will always be there. That's standard, but it's time for some newness in this game now I think. Blind Alphabets, Hoodz Underground. Just some more names for ya… Ha.
Your versatile flow would suit Grime. Are you interested in that music much?
I like some of the music as far as listening is concerned. I try and keep an open mind you know? But as far as venturing into that side of spitting, I don't think that it's really me to be real. I like to put a bit more into my rhymes and songs. I don't think there's that much room for that in the Grime scene. If you want to hear music that has vibes and energy, then Grime is the one though.
Are you gonna be touring the new album?
I'm not sure, I mean, I'm gonna be doing a couple of dates up and down the gaff sometime soon. Just gotta get them confirmed…
How do you find the live performance side of things? Your acappella at Kung Fu is legendary.
The live performance is for me the top of that "mountain with the intangible peak" in a way. I get such a buzz when I'm up there. It feels like I'm a magician who has the whole venue in the palm of his hand. As people might know, I've been referred to as 'the best hype man in the bizz'. No one bar Spliff Star or Flava Flav is a better hype man than me. Ask anyone. I've yet to do a back flip on stage though, haha.
I am a living, breathing, walking, one man hurracaine on stage. Some fans have said on my MySpace that when I've performed and they put their hands up to spud me, when I spud them, I nearly took their arm off or broke their wrist. Real talk! Haha. I think that Terra Firma are the accapella dons man. When we do an acca', people listen bruv…
Now the album's out, what's next in the pipeline?
Next thing from me you can expect is a second album, which I'm working on already. More singles and releases solo and with Terra. A mixtape maybe. 'Shots Of Smirnoff' Part One; No warnings!'. Mixtape title. That's about it really.
Gotany shout out's or messages you wanna end this with?
Yeah, I wanna shout out to the Beatmakers Anonymous family, Ceryus, D'Lux, Ms Selby, Selina and Anthea, The Firma Fam! Mr
Lawson and check out these people…
Apart from that, to all the fans. 'The Experience' is here! Experience it! One up, Kyza!