Flavour’s Maz and Shireen venture to a North London Barge to chat with mixtape veteran and as we discover, the larger than life and humourous DJ Whoo Kid.
As fellow Flavourette Maz Halima and I arrive in North London, we walk towards our destination to meet DJ Whoo Kid. The New York born and bred Hip Hop DJ has created a name for himself across the globe as a mixtape veteran, being signed to G – Unit Records and with the fast success of his website Radioplanet.tv, ‘where Hip Hop meets Hollywood’.
Whoo Kid may be from the Concrete Jungle that is New York, but he isn’t solely immersed in his own scene; you gotta love his love for UK music. Way before British music was fully embraced; The Kid was working with Giggs, Tinie Tempah, Wiley and others. As Shireen and I approached the multi coloured barge that is the Dope Chef HQ, we hop on and get settled on board for a candid discussion on all things music… almost.
S: What was it that first brought you to work with UK artists?
I was touring loads and I saw the reaction that UK music received; people go nuts in the club when UK songs come on. I thought I’d get involved, I thought I could combine these artists with artists in America. I have access to almost all of them. I wanted to create a new movement, and gain some form of respect for the UK artists.
M: You say people go crazy in the clubs; do you think that’s because the English accent is a novelty?
No I think it’s just the record; it depends on the artist and the record. When you hear ‘Pow’ everybody becomes Jamaican, whether you’re Asian or white, everyone’s shouting ‘POW!’ In America everything is defined by the artist, personality or swag. When Rick Ross comes on the drug dealers want to order bottles, when Lil Wayne comes on the girls go crazy. It’s crazy but it was like that years ago, I didn’t understand UK music because of the accent. Tinie Tempah speaks so proper. He has the young, pretty boy mentality, so he gets all the girls…
S: As well as Tinie, you’ve worked with Giggs, Skepta, Wiley… what other UK artist would you want to release a mixtape with?
I wouldn’t mind messing with Chipmunk and Wretch 32. There are a couple of other artists out there that were just figuring out details with. I like Katy B too. I don’t really like a lot of female artists because in America all we have is Nicki Minaj (laughs). I’ve been hearing Ms Dynamite for years. With Katy B I see the reaction when her music comes on – girls be wiggling. I just like being involved with things that drive people nuts. I would like to work with Katy B; I like her swag and her style. Girls like her because she dresses like a boy or something, very dyke like. That’s what I like – girls on girls. Right?
S: So yeah… we have a few great female artists in the UK. Have you heard of Lady Leshurr?
I haven’t. See, I’m not really crazy about female artists. Out here they may be open and have other things to rap about, but in America the earlier rappers like Lil Kim just spoke about f**king and sucking d**k. But at the end of the day it’s like, ‘is there anything else?’ So many of them have come out wriggling and dancing on stage – but talk about nothing. If you’re not down with a team in the US, there’s no way you can be effective. Out here obviously a woman can be on her own and create her own buzz. In America, females need to be in a group, like Nicki Minaj. If she didn’t have influences from Lil Wayne and YMCMB she would still be hustling. She’s been in the game for around 10 years; before she blew up she had to find her way.
M: How do you think UK music will progress in America and do you think it has longevity?
It definitely has longevity because its progressing slowly, so it’s not just going to be a fad where it just pops up then disappears. It’s cool that it’s organically growing. You can hear it at the classy clubs now, where all the rich kids hang out; the sons and daughters of movie stars. When you go in there and you hear Tinie Tempah it’s not only because the song is hot, but because they feel like the song is their own and it’s for them. You’re not going to see rich kids in the regular clubs listening to Soulja Boy; they don’t want to be mixed with the same wave as everyone else. So when Tinie Tempah comes on in the club, it feels exclusive to them and they have their own exclusive lifestyle. I’ve played everywhere from Kazakhstan to Australia and when Tinie Tempah comes on, you see that the ‘Pass Out’ beat is so universal.
M: Yeah, UK music has blown worldwide.
Yeah, now you see him [Tinie Tempah] on big TV shows like The View and The Late Show so it benefited me because he was like, ‘I did a mixtape with Whoo Kid,’ so I think I did the right thing. I hooked him up with Chris Brown and Wiz Khalifa; he’s got records with them now; that’s what I’m here for. It also helps that Jay Z bigs him up. It’s happening slowly but surely, all the big guys are shouting him out. Diddy shouted out Skepta; Giggs always gets compared to 50 Cent. It has to happen this way because you don’t want to just come and go. I mean, I don’t want to say Dizzee Rascal came and went, but every time I’m here [in the UK] everyone says how he’s commercialised UK music. I like Dizzee Rascal, there’s nobody at home that doesn’t like him. Every actor I’ve interviewed on my radio show, every British one brings up Dizzee Rascal or Tinie Tempah, they’re the only two names they bring up.
S: So you know who’s hot and who’s not…
Yeah, me being a mix tape guy, I always want to know who’s new and who’s fresh because I blew up all the guys you see now like Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, Big Sean – he’s killing it now. These guys I knew when they were like little kids and now there out here, so it’s good that I have a view of what is in the future. I’d rather work with people that have done their homework. Giggs and Skepta; they did their homework already. I don’t want to find someone that’s totally new and be out here hustling a new guy. [For example] Skepta’s porn video got him talked about A LOT in America.
S: In an interview in July you said you were talking to Swizz Beats about Wiley and hooking them up. Has anything happened with this?
I got sent 6 or 7 beats, so soon hopefully. Wiley and I are working on an iTunes version of a mixtape at the moment, were probably going to give away one more mixtape for free. I have spoken to Just Blaze, I spoke to Swizz Beats.
M: How is working with Wiley?
Wiley’s on his own spaceship level! Drake called Wiley without me even knowing. I wish he would have f**king told me that. He was just like ‘Drake called me’. I was like ‘why didn’t you let me know these things?!’ He’s going out his way to call you all the way in the UK to thank you for covering ‘I’m On One’. Everybody did ‘I’m On One’, but Drake actually liked Wiley’s version. With Wiley, he’ll send me shit but I can never tell if it’s a freestyle or original. I keep thinking its original, like ‘Don’t Go’ but it was a Wretch 32 song done over, he does it so perfect that I can’t tell it’s a remix! I’m not out here so I don’t know all the songs.
S: You worked with Giggs on ‘Take Your Hats Off.’ How was working with him?
Giggs has a hardcore attitude, I’m probably the only one who can get him to laugh and act stupid on radio; he really doesn’t do that with anyone else. When he came to America I got him out of his gangster shell. I do it to everybody. He had my mix tapes when he was in jail, so he respected me from a while ago. It was kind of weird that I had to look for him, when he was already a fan of Whoo Kid way back when.
M: And you worked with Skepta on ‘Community Payback’?
Yeah, Skepta’s just out of control! Tank tops, women… throwing oil on girls – he’s out of his mind. He’s mad cool though. You’ve got to have a relationship first before you start working. We all clicked and everything was cool. These guys all come to my parties if they’re in town. Tinie Tempah is the best homeboy though. We did unlimited parties in New York and I introduced him to Chris Brown.
S: How did he react?
I called Chris Brown and was like ‘Tinie’s here’, so Chris came. Tinie was like ‘Ahhh!’ I said ‘you’re Tinie Tempah, why are you worried about Chris Brown coming in the club? You’re Tinie f**king Tempah!’ He was so amped. I think in America he has this nervous attitude towards other people, but he needs to figure out that they are all aware of who he is. If you have a name that comes out in America, people call their label like ‘who is this guy, why is he big?’ Once you tell them this guy is No.1 in 27 countries and he’s won all these awards, they get that generic recognition and people respect him. It’s Chris Brown though, he be smacking Rihanna… So he was nervous, he’s a nervous guy.
M: Aside from your UK projects, what are you up to in the states and what can we see from Whoo Kid in 2012?
Right now I’m debuting a Dr Dre record. Dr Dre was on my case last week. I think I’m going to give it to Tim Westwood so he can air it out here at the same time. I know I’m not giving it to him today because he might act stupid and air it early; because he thinks I’m out here like I’m f**king dumb! It has an NWA feel. It’s not like ‘Kush’ or the other records he put out. This is like him spazzing out; that NWA sh*t is back.
My radio show is still going strong. I don’t interview a lot of rappers, just movie stars mostly. I’m just trying promote myself and sh*t, [laughs] touring the world and balancing that with the radio show and mixtapes. We’re also launching a clothing line; we just did a t-shirt collaboration with Bruce Willis.
Now I’m in the UK with Wiley for a ten day tour. I don’t know how I’m going to survive that with the UK women out here; because there all amazingly soft and smoothed out! It’s like a lot of the girls are all mixed or something? They’re all mixed up with white people; the white must smooth people out? [blank stares] Black girls in America don’t look like this. It’s like they are a thousand of Beyonce’s out here.
M&S: Where’s Wiley? [This was due to be a joint interview]
It’s my fault Wiley’s not here, he’s in the studio right now. He was talking some grime sh*t with me – I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t understand that language. He’s always says [pauses hesitantly for the first time] Jheeez. That’s what Giggs always says. Monster Man is my No.1 joint. You like that song?
M: Yeah, it’s crazy.
Does it turn you on when it comes on? He’s talking about an anaconda, he talking about the monster. That’s the reason you like that song, right? [laughs]
M: [flushes crimson] I don’t know about that… I just like the beat. I haven’t met the monster so I wouldn’t know…
[laughs] I hope not, Jesus Christ!