Braintax – The Final Chapter

March 12th, 2008


In another exclusive interview and the last Rapnews update, Braintax talks about his final album, his decision to call it a day, the shutting down of Lowlife Recods and working with C-Swing.

In retrospect, were you happy with the ‘Panorama’ material and how do you feel the LP was received?

Yeah, I was really happy with it. The only thing that bugs me is when you talk about politics, some people, mainly reviewers, scoff at it, like ‘who does he think he is’, like music should be purely superficial bullshit and have no business aspiring to more than that.

By UK Hiphop standards, the new ‘My Best And Last Record’ is a fast release. Why the rush?

Rush? You’re kidding aren’t you? We were more than a year making it, mainly because of me being busy doing other things. The only difference here is that I’m not doing the whole 2 month pre-release marketing thing because quite honestly, I can’t be arsed ‘cause it’ll sell to the fanbase and that’s good enough for me.

Are the new tracks left overs or did you set out to create the record from scratch?

No, it was all done from scratch. I’ve got some spare tracks I wanted to release but not enough to make up a whole CD’s worth. To make this album, we knocked out about 14 tracks and picked the best 11.

Was the plan always for this to be your last record or was that a decision that came later on?

Er… I can’t remember. I think it was pretty much always the plan for this to be the last album. Like I said, I wanted to do a CD of spare tracks mainly from the ‘Panorama’ sessions but I didn’t get enough together to warrant it.

How conscious were you of this being the last opportunity for you to throw particular thoughts out there?

Yeah, it was something I thought about but I was lucky in that this album wasn’t a strain. It’s the easiest one I’ve done and the ideas just came in a flood.

Tell us about who’s handling the beats and what you’re saying with some of the tracks?

All the beats are by Colin Emmanuel (C-Swing). You should know a fair bit about him already. He’s not just a guy that makes Hip Hop beats. He’s a producer in the proper sense of the word. He can make pop, rock, whatever. And, he can play piano as well, so there was a lot more depth to making the beats on this album and I had quite a lot of input as well.

Colin’s an open minded guy and he’s not too precious. If I wanted to change this or that, or add my own bassline, then he’d be fine with that. He’s been based in the studio next to me for the last 6 or something years so we know each other quite well. We’d been talking about doing stuff together for years but never got it together.

Did you not want to contribute as a producer on what was to be your final ever release?

No, I’m not on a big mission to prove I can make beats. I like making beats a lot but I’m not the greatest producer and my skills are limited ‘cause I don’t really play an instrument. I knew that with Colin in charge I would get the beats I wished I could make myself and I did.

Have you a sense of satisfaction that you’ve done everything you want to do as an artist, and have nothing left to tick off?

Yeah, 100%.

The title’s got a lot of finality to it. How sure are you that this is it and you won’t be doing a Jay Z?

I’m very sure. Music’s a young man’s game and there’s nothing sadder than a once dope artist trying to get back that old magic. Plus, I’ve got other things going on I need to do with my life.

Where does this leave Lowlife Records and the artists that you’ve been helping put releases out?

Well remember, we haven’t put anything much out for the last 3 years so really there’s not a lot of work to be done other than the basics for my new album and we’re still doing some promo on Dubbledge. Check the new video coming in the next couple of weeks. Other than that, it’s not like the label will cease to exist ‘cause the back catalogue’s still out there.

Have any factors beyond personal plans effected the winding down of the label? EG, Sales and interest.

No, it was just a personal decision. I’ve heard a lot of rumours about this and that, most of which are quite funny, but really, who wants to do the same thing they were doing when they were 15 when they’re 35? Not me…

UK Hiphop’s never been an easy area to sell records well in. How much has this increased of late?

It’s got a lot harder now with the whole internet, downloading thing. To be honest, the last thing I’d advise anyone to do nowadays is set up a record label. The music business is in a mess.

Do you think it’d be possible for a new wave of heads to come through and successfully launch a label and records like you’ve done in the current climate?

In a word… no.

What’d you say has been the most enjoyable part of being Braintax and Lowlife Records honcho?

Not having to get a proper job.

What’s been the lowest or most stressful situation over the years?

There’s been too much stress, mainly the large amount of bullshit you have to contend with when you run a record label. If you’re not ripping people off then you’re busy not trying hard enough to sell records that no one wants to buy.

When you’re flicking through yours and the labels discography, what records will warm the heart most?

Probably the Rodney P album and ‘Biro Funk’, but they all mean things to me depending how I’m feeling.

After a few years of retirement, with the slippers on in front of your fire, what do you think you’ll miss most?

Honestly, nothing. I don’t miss any of it and my life’s a lot better and healthier now than it’s ever been.

Is there a final press push or tour for the new album, or is this over and out?

No, seeing as though it’s my record label I don’t have anyone on my back to do promo stuff, so I’m not gonna do any ‘cause it’s basically a hassle when I’ve got other things I could be doing.

For the final time on Rapnews, what shout outs and messages do you wanna lay down?

None! Your real friends and family are the only people that matter, and they should know who they are ‘cause you tell them in person how you feel.

Cheers to Braintax, the first artist to ever get interviewed on Rapnews, for filling us in on his somewhat suprising retirement, and a big thanks to all the artists and visitors who have granted Rapnews with their time over the years. As you’ll have noticed, there’s been less time than ever for the maintanence of Rapnews so this is pretty much it from us too. There’s few people left to feature and little that’s inspiring enough to review, so I feel it’s time to call it quits and stop dragging the inevitable out. Take it easy and have fun – Tee.

23 Responses to “Braintax – The Final Chapter”

  1. Dama James Says:

    Cheers for the choons over the years. No other label in the UK has had more prominient artists pass thru or at least feature on a Low Life Product:

    Task Force
    Rodney P
    Micall Parknsun… i could go one.

    No matter what he says I’m sure somewhere deep down when he looks at that list he thinks of some good times.

  2. yeah Says:

    damn… thats depressin’

  3. Beit Nun Says:

    respect braintax..

    and the site too


  4. Cantebury Wells Says:

    Proper comes off like a bitter old man in this interview. Shame, but if you dont have a passion for actual rapping, and simply want to sell then yeh theres not much point. Cos no ones buying UK Rap. But if its within you, you’ll keep rapping regardless. Guess its not in Braintax heart. Sad this…almost like a big wake up call for the scene that our attempt at rapping really is over. We all knew it.

  5. jimi handtrix Says:

    its a shame on both counts, this site has provided me with some god matter. Braintax seems a bit arsy in that interview to be honest. prob cos he’s getting on a bit. well done with all your work tee.

  6. Mayor Says:

    Respects to you Tee for the effort you’ve put in supporting the music. Have a good one in the next life you choose.


  7. nonizzle Says:

    There’s been some great interviews on this site over the years, sorry its all over..
    This news plus the braintax interview is pretty depressing reading.
    Whatevers happened between the artists and lowlife over the years, theyve put out some great records. The bitter tone of the interview makes you wonder tho, why bother? i mean why bother to do a record if you (evidently) dont give a fuck, why bother to even do the interview?

  8. y-front Says:

    damn, thats some bitter ish..

    “If you’re not ripping people off then you’re busy not trying hard enough to sell records that no one wants to buy.”

    i think that says it all.


  9. international rap lover Says:

    what a sad day!! Braintax is tooo ill.

    He started a whole new movement with low life and in 2001-2004 they were totally totally killin it in the UK. I’m tellin you, it’s the beef with Task Force/Jehst/Mystro that has lead to the downfall of the greatest UK label to ever exist.
    Braintax – The new album is ill. Retail and Last one out Turn Off The Lights has got constant rotation. RIP - i first heard of some great acts from this site. your recommendations kept me bumpin this shit!!

  10. Franko Fraize Says:

    with things like deal real closing, rap news going off the net, braintax retiring and lowlife folding it makes me worry bout the uk scene

    i feel a big part of uk hip hop is missing from wen i first got into it bout 5 years ago. not sure wat it is tho

    props for all ya work. its appreciated


  11. profanity Says:

    people need to stop hating if braintax feels he’s got more important things to do in his life then so be it, plus its not a sign that the scene is over lol cmon get serious…he is not the heart and soul of the scene, he is one man not the scene “almost like a big wake up call for the scene that our attempt at rapping really is over. We all knew it.” pessimism gets us no where and niether does that attitude, i’ll be spittin even if everyone in the scene stopped people need to stop pedistooling artists to the degree they do then they wouldnt get upset and disheartened when people talked like that


  12. D MacFadden, SF Says:

    Dang, I just subscribed to Rap News on my RSS feed. Well, thanks for the Braintax coverage; and all the best.

  13. HartA Says:

    what‘s he talking about? ‘who wants to do the same thing they were doing when they were 15 when they’re 35? Not me…’ Bitter Braintax!

    nothing wrong in doing what you did when you were 15 at 35 if you are respected and have integrity in what you do, there’d be no renowned artists, producers etc otherwise, come on brains

    The problem is that the man got found out by his fans and the industry. Rapping about corruption in politics and his opposition to capitalism etc when all he’s been is a greedy, double-dealing middleman!

  14. bigbramley Says:

    sad to see you go, good luck in whatever you choose to do next, peace and love

  15. Lucy Francis Says:

    Oh sh*t I came on this here T’internet to try and find out when Joe would be touring again, the only thing I caught last time was a glimpse of a poster in Leeds and I was GUTTED when I couldn’t get tickets… So yeah, I have arrested now I have read this and am pretty bummed, haha, oh sh*t!! I can’t believe that this is the end and I never got to see him. I will continue to spread the message, for whatever that is worth as rarely has the message been so full of something meaningful – right from being stood up, to being berated by idiots, to fake rap, to the Palestinian conflict and wider world at large we need to keep our eye on… Who else is going to tap that vein now he is gone?
    Mate – thank you. Seriously. All the best lad.

  16. Lucy Francis Says:

    Oh and everyone, he said it AS IT WAS. no fake shit, no brown nosing. So why expect different in this interview? At least you know the real reasons why, straight from his mouth…

  17. George Says:

    Hope you’re happy doing whatever you decide to do
    You’ll always be on my playlist

  18. Farma (Task Force) Says:

    Braintax didnt mean that he was “ripping artists off” etc..he was just being sarcastic.
    He has done a lot of hard work and a lot of the artists on lowlife (myself included) have felt somewhat “ripped off”...but i have sat down and spoke to joe and dont feel ripped off or cheated any more because he explained to me over a pint what is what..the music industry is the hardest and most competitive place to earn a living..and a lot of time there is a great big void between artists and label owners..this causes most of our (artists) problems..This probably dont make sense to anybody but i personally have a gr8 amount of love and respect for Joseph Christie..and i wish him the best of luck..Live your life sir..peace

  19. bonesy Says:

    F ukhh because it’s DEAD?! ..Alot of people who’ve put in the work like Joey Brains surely deserve an ‘Exit’ man/1 ukhh is DEAD and BURY’d!

  20. bonesy bones - united kingdom forever! Says:

    ...Oh and it would’nt be fair unless i added- if you want to keep it alive, keep it alive! But i firmly believe the Best has been and gone in the scene until the next scene comes along ;)

  21. lomu Says:

    miserable bastards. to be honest i think braintax has made the last 5 years of my life a lot more enjoyable and remains my favourite artist (and what a fitting way to finish). it may not be much but thank you and im very gutted that i never got to see or meet you.
    thank you again

  22. https website list Says:


    very sad state of affairs regarding Low Life and Rapnews….

    “Have a little faith in yourself….”


    One Love..

  23. music cloud Says:

    Life ain’t no dress rehearsal, you did good to move on!
    Best Wishes x