Archive for April, 2013

April 30, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: UK Rap Rundown [News]

I’m back after a week away sunning myself and sightseeing in Egypt and am ready to kick offThe Wrap Up‘s Rap Rundown again. I’m going to start with the man who excites most in the rap game; Mic Righteous. The Margate rapper released the visuals to ‘Up All Night’ taken off his recently released ‘Open Mic’ EP. The track is produced by TDH (Tom, Dick & Harry) and I like the grittiness of the video compared to most we see…

We caught a sneak peek of Sho Shallow’s new video ‘Bad’ as Rap Up UK released a behind-the-scenes video. The Brixton emcee reveals that this track was inspired by Wale’s ‘Bad’ because he liked the track and the concept.

Pound Sterling released his ‘Last Man Standing’ mixtape over a month ago and returned to drop a freestyle with a video spitting over Drake’s ‘5am In Toronto’ beat. This is one of my favourite freestyles I have heard as Pound Sterling sets some high standards with his flow and bars.

Paper Pabs from Bloodline took part in GRM Daily’s ‘Black & White’ where he talked honestly and openly about a few issues. One of the first things he questioned was “Is there even a grime scene? I think we need to rename it because I think UK rap is part of grime.” He went on to say they both need each other to balance and it needs to be renamed. What do you think?

USG’s founder Squingy released the video to ‘Rolling’ featuring Lefty. The instrumental draws you into the track instantly. The North West London collective are working on a USG album so look out for that coming soon.

As he gears up for the release of his new mixtape ‘King Of The Underground 2’, Joe Black drops a freestyle entitled ‘I’m Back’.  You might recognize the instrumental from K Koke’s ‘I’m Back’ track. Joe Black’s tracks always sound effortless and as he says in this freestyle, he makes it look like ‘light work’.

It is bank holiday next week so there are lots of events going on. On Friday, J. Cole will be hosting LoveDough which will see Cashtastic and Yungen performing on the night which takes place in Proud, Camden.

Saturday sees Musicalize return to Indigo2 and for me it is the best line up I’ve seen from this event. KanoK KokeTyler JamesSwayGhettsScorcher and Lunar C will all be taking to the stage in this not be missed night.

Streetfest is one of my favourite events of the year and sees an emergence of street culture come together in a car park in Shoreditch; music, clothes, art, skating and more. This year the winner of iTunes ‘Hip Hop Album of the Year’ Oddisee will be performing, supported by Dot RottenDJ Vadim, DJ Nikki BeatnikLivin’ Proof and Supa Dupa Fly.

Lastly, on Monday Link-Up TV will be having their first ever live show at XOYO in Shoreditch with a line-up so far announced consisting of Squeeks, G FrSH, J SpadesYungen and Lady Lykez.

I’ll be at all or most of these so see you there!

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April 30, 2013

Shystie – Scumbag [Music Video]

Scumbag is Shystie‘s second official release from the Pink Mist E.PScumbag was premiered live at her mixtape launch last Thursday. The track is an emotionally charged reminder to the men out there who are unfaithful to think twice, especially when it concerns Shystie!

Buy Shystie – Pink Mist EP here

April 19, 2013

Ayar – Good Is Getting Better [Free Mixtape Download]

UK rapper AYAR drops hot new mixtape ‘GOOD IS GETTING BETTER.’

ayar

The project boasts some stellar features from artists such as NairaJayd AlexanderMoverRageouz, and Don E plus over fresh production featuring classic cuts and hip hop beats.

The mixtape is an introspective look at the UK rappers life as he paints a journey of his life, relationships and street struggles through contemplative rhymes and spoken word.

AYAR does not rely on hard-hitting beats to carry him along, more on his remarkable lyrical flair and incredible storytelling abilities.

Download Ayar – Good Is Getting Better here 

April 16, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: UK Rap Rundown [News]

Last week I went down to Geko’s show in north London to find a queue and crowd of screaming, fanatical fans (mainly girls). The young rapper from Manchester who is part of USG performed tracks from his mixtape ‘Voice Of The Future’, bringing out special guests Ard Adz and Sho Shallow, also bringing in other young talent as support acts which was great to see…

Yungen dropped his ‘Topic Of Discussion’ mixtape which has 16 tracks and includes features from SqueeksCashtasticG FrSH and others with production from Steel BanglezKnox BrownRymezS-X and more. The video to track ‘F**k Them’ off the tape featuring his Play Dirty family Krept & Konan was also released, with some dark visuals.

Coops is an artist I have been hearing a lot about recently, with his name buzzing around on the scene. He released his debut mixtape ‘What Do You See’ in February, showcasing his ability on the 24-track tape. Last week saw him release the video to ‘My State Of Mind’, which samples Nas’ classic joint ‘NY State Of Mind’.

From the Str88 Cash team comes Kerz ‘Real Rap’ mixtape with a good 22 tracks produced by DJTR Beats the whole way through. Kerz delivers a good tape, making more people take notice. He covers a variety of topics, showing his depth and versatility as an artist.

Mozart’s Shizzle releases the video to ‘Crown Me’, a motivational and emotional track at the same time. The track is taken from his ‘It’s Mozart Baby’ mixtape which dropped right at the beginning on 2013.

The audio to Sneakbo’s new track ‘Ring A Ling’ was put online for all of our listening pleasure and samples Shabba Ranks, fusing bashment and bass music, and is musically different to anything heard from Sneakbo before. He talked to Mistajam on his BBC Radio 1Xtra show on Wednesday where he announced he is still working on the new EP ‘Certified’ and we can expect it this summer.

If you’re free on Saturday, April 20, get yourselves down to ‘Hip Hop Isn’t Dead’ at The Garage in London where there will be live performances from English FrankSkinnymanKlashnekoffDurrty GoodzBlack The RipperMic RighteousLogicMystroGenesis ElijahJaja Soze and others. The night will hosted by Charlie Sloth, A Squeezy and Big Cakes; plus there will be an open mic competition. See you there!

April 14, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: Mic Righteous [Interview]

Mic Righteous has risen steadily from an up and coming underground emcee to gaining positive mainstream success, most recently with tracks ‘Hold It Down’ and ‘Ghost Town’. With the release of his third mixtape ‘Open Mic’ which is currently storming the iTunes chart, The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner catches up with Mic to talk watered-down music, attention from the ladies and a secret exclusive…

The Wrap Up: Talk us through the beginning – what was the thought process behind your artist name and do you feel you’ve lived up to it?

Mic Righteous: My original rap name was Mr E; that was a name given to me by my older brother – I looked up to him. It was more of a jungle MC name, so I thought I needed to change it. I was thinking and then the word righteous just came into my head – I’ve always been a fan of mic’s, like Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan. I thought Mic Righteous sounded good so I went to my manager and I asked him ‘What does righteous mean?’ he told me what it meant [and he kept the name from then on].

Now I have developed into that character… it was like that name was given to me, I never found the name because I didn’t know what it meant at the time. [Therefore] it’s not a case of ‘have I lived up to it’, it’s ‘am I living up to it?’ I’m not him yet, God keeps putting these trials in front of my way and I keep tackling them, and that will enable me to develop into it.

TWU: Your third offering ‘Open Mic’ is your first offering that isn’t free for fans – why do you feel this EP is worth paying for as opposed to the others?

Mic Righteous: One of the hardest things as an independent artist is [the lack of] money and financial backing. If you want a video to look good, that’s going to cost you thousands of pounds – but we’ll put the thousands of pounds in. That money is coming out of the pockets we have to work and hustle on the streets for.

I do feel like the effort and work I’ve put into my mixtapes is the sort of work and effort that these artists are putting into their albums – and I’m just putting that out for free. That’s costing me a lot of money and I’m not making anything back, but to me it’s never been about the money, it’s always been about the love.

It’s about real hip-hop coming through. People with an opinion will always say ‘we don’t hear real hip-hop’ or ‘people don’t play real music’ – but that is because people don’t support real music or pay for it. So, this is not me saying ‘you guys have got to pay for this’, this is a trial to see if it works. Now’s the time to support real music.

TWU: You’ve expressed the dramas of your life in your lyrics. How hard has that been, or is it therapeutic for you?

Mic Righteous: Pain is just an emotion that’s a reaction to an action that goes on in your mind. The hardest part for me is the sacrifices I have to make. I’m a 22-year-old who has a child; he has a very good mum but unfortunately I can’t be with her no more – I can’t have that life. That’s part of God’s test on me; I have to do what’s right for him.

TWU: In an interview with The Wrap Up last year, you said you knew you would ‘have to water everything down’ eventually to win the public over. Did you follow through with ‘Open Mic’?

Mic Righteous: If you listen to ‘Open Mic’, you’ll hear what I mean – that’s about as watered down as Mic’s going to get. It keeps its credibility and it’s just me playing around with hooks. Not everyone is going to feel that aggression… I’ll never, ever, ever just jump on a Calvin Harris tune; I’ll go to the studio and get a beat made for me. I’ll go in the studio with a guitarist and asked him to mash up some Slipknot and I’ll rap to that. I don’t mind that because I like that kind of music; I wouldn’t mind screaming my head off on a rock beat and going crazy. 

TWU: What do you want fans to take away from ‘Open Mic’?

Mic Righteous: I just want them to understand that no matter what, I’m just going to be me – take what you want from it; but understand the work and dedication. I want them to fall in love with it and follow me on the journey.

TWU: Tell us something that fans would be surprised to know?

Mic Righteous: This is just a maybe, so I shouldn’t be saying anything but Shireen I like you and I like what your doing so I’m going to say it regardless of what anyone else has to say… As long as ‘Open Mic’ goes well, there MIGHT be a 30-track mixtape of pure hip-hop bangers. I dunno, I didn’t make it, this guy Mic Righteous did… It MIGHT be released – who knows?

TWU: This is one for the ladies….do you have a girlfriend?

Mic Righteous: A gentleman never tells…

TWU: But you get more female attention now… so how do you deal with it?

Mic Righteous: When I was young I never got female attention, so when I’m out here and I get female attention I lap it all up [laughs]. That’s just the way I am… I love women and I respect them fully. I like it, I can’t lie I really do enjoy it. I like hanging with females, sometimes more than dudes. I know a couple of girls that I can chill with and we get on better than most men.

TWU: Last message to the fans?

Mic Righteous: It’s all love. I’ve got love for every single one of you, old and young. The door is always open for more fans… I don’t even want to label you as fans because you’re not; you’re just people that I love. If you love me then keep listening to what Shireen’s doing because she is a wonderful person and keep reading her articles on The Wrap Up because she’s doing something good.

Published on 11th Feb 2013

April 14, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: Kof [Interview]

KOF is not only a singer full of soul but a writer, producer and director of his own videos, amongst other talents. After releasing the ‘An Alternative Soul’ EP, the artist from Liverpool has now given his fans some free tracks in the format of three downloads – ‘SOUL: Love, Life and Live’. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner caught up with the lovely KOF in London to talk about how personal his music is, his upcoming tour and the forthcoming debut album…

The Wrap Up: It’s been a couple of years since you last spoke to us. Tell us briefly what has happened in those few years…

KOF: I’ve totally changed my music style. I’ve worked with a bunch of different artists from Wiley to Terri Walker to Manu Bibango. People seem to be respecting me as a songwriter, producer and as an artist a lot more.

TWU: Your lyrics always possess realism which many people can relate to. Is it hard to let people into your life and do you ever feel like your privacy has been invaded?

KOF: I don’t talk that much about the stuff I go through, so music is my platform for me to do that. If I’m going through something and someone else is going through the same kind of thing and they hear someone singing about how they deal with that situation, it’s going to be beneficial to that person. On ‘Soul: Life’ there is a track called ‘My Child’ where I talk about the situation of an unplanned pregnancy and how that can affect someone from a male’s perspective. That’s one of the deepest songs I’ve written. I haven’t even told the person who it’s about that I’ve written the song.

TWU: We know music isn’t your only talent. For those who don’t know, tell us more about the versatile KOF and what other talents you have.

KOF: I’m into art; modern art. I love to edit videos, all my own stuff; I find it hard letting other people do it. I’ve written one script called ‘Dark Star Rising’ which was an amalgamation of a bunch of my songs; we put them into one story for a youth theatre group based in Liverpool.

TWU: The last time I saw you perform live, you had the audience in a trance. Do you get nervous with so many faces all looking at you and how important are live shows for you?

KOF: I always get nervous before a show. If I do get nervous before a show, I will always have a good show. When I don’t have nerves and I’m on a kind of cocky vibe I usually f**k up or I don’t have a good show. Live shows are very important, especially with the new music I’m making where I’m talking about the different things that have happened in my life – I’m able to connect so much better with the audience.

TWU: Speaking of live shows, you have your ‘An Alternative Soul’ Tour approaching. What can we expect from the show?

KOF: There are a couple of surprises; Terri Walker will be performing on the Birmingham date and she is going to pop up at a few different shows. I’m trying to bring out a few different people from each city I go to. You’re definitely going to get a few previews from the album; there is a track called ‘Never Sober’, which will be the first time I’ve played the guitar on a track.

 

TWU: You’re in the process of releasing a series of free EP’s ‘Soul: Love, Life and Live’. What was the motive behind this?

KOF: Just to connect with the audience and for those who supported ‘An Alternative Soul’, it was to give them a snapshot of where I am since then. I recorded most of the records earlier on this year, so musically now I’m in a different, improved space. We wanted to put some kind of structure behind it, which is why we split it into ‘Love, Life and Live’. ‘Love’ isn’t the soppy kind of love – it’s a different aspect of love, ‘Life’ is a bit introspective and ‘Live’ is the studio and acoustic stuff.

TWU: What can expect from the upcoming album?

KOF: I’ve written some stuff for Benny Banks and I’ve worked with Ratlin and Nutty P. ‘Dirty Love’ with Sam Frank is one that stands out more than anything, so I’m still trying to look at creating records that can complement it because I really love that song. In terms of song writing, expect that same realism, positive and socially in-depth. The first single should be coming out before the tour, but I don’t think I’m ready [to release the album] so I’m going to push it back and it will be out early next year.

TWU: You have some international releases as well; tell us a little more about them.

KOF: A couple of years ago there was a label in France called Border Blaster, they heard one of my tracks called ‘All Good’ and they wanted to sign it, but it never happened. After they heard ‘Be Like You’ and ‘Child Of The Ghetto’, they called me over and wanted to distribute the album through Europe over over different territories. We went over to Cannes earlier on this year, did a couple of live showcases and sealed the deal. Now we will be releasing a deluxe version of ‘An Alternative Soul’ on November 19, so were having a launch in Paris for that and the following week in Amsterdam.

TWU: Nice! Finally, where do you see your career in the future?

KOF: More collaborations and more experiences that I can turn into music again. That’s all I can ever see myself doing, anything that’s in touch or attached to music. I really do want to write a lot more songs for other artists. I feel if I give myself time, I can get into the headspace of another artist, whoever that may be and actually create a good song for them that means something to them and their audience. I just want to make everything I’m doing better; the production and videos – I just want to push myself.

 Published on 15th Nov 2012
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April 14, 2013

Melanin 9 [Interview]

Melanin 9 dropped his first mixtape ‘High Fidelity’ in 2007 and has since become one of the most respected lyricists around in the UK hip hop scene. Ahead of the release of his debut album ‘Magna Carta,’ Flavour caught up with the rising star to talk music, beliefs, inspirations and more.

In terms of UK hip hop, what do you think about the scene here and the support?

In terms of growth, its come further than it ever has throughout the history of the urban music so to speak. A lot of artists are crossing over overseas and getting collaborations with US artists so it’s definitely grown. A lot of people from all over the world have started to recognise what were doing here. I still believe there isn’t much exposure for a certain type of style here in the hip hop scene. More artists need to be exposed who are doing different things, not all artists do grime, not all artists do dubstep, there’s artists who just speak pure organic hip hop, and I feel the scene needs to support that just a little bit more.

Your music has contained influences and elements from a variety of different individuals and belief systems, including Islamic Supreme Mathematics, David Icke, Malachi Z.York and many others. With such a diverse set of influences, how do you form a cohesive philosophy, and how does this translate into an easily understandable and relevant message in your music?

My music stems from what I do, my life and certain things that I’ve been taught. It comes from all kinds of things taught, from all kind of philosophers from different backgrounds and religions. I’m coming from anything that’s worth exposing to the world. If it makes sense to me I’ll put it in my music. In terms of deciphering, if I make it a bit more accessible lyrically, make it a bit more basic, maybe people will like it a bit more. I know it’s hard to hear what I’m saying at times when the flows a bit rapid and my vocabulary ranges a bit out of the norm. The only way to make it more understandable is to break it down, use more wordplay and more familiar flow.

You are known by both Melanin 9 and the shorter M9. You have previously stated that Melanin 9 represents your identity as a black man, and that the 9 represents you and your people and the journey and struggles of black people as a whole. This is a highly thought provoking choice of name, and yet M9 also stands for a popular handgun. How do you deal with this disconnect and do you ever worry that it sometimes misrepresents you as an individual and an artist?

At first I thought a lot of people would associate me with a handgun and I tried a lot in every single interview to make sure people understood what the M and the 9 meant. At first I was using M9 a lot and I was getting that perception, so I started using Melanin 9 properly, which is why the album is coming out under the proper name. I was getting a little bit of ignorance, but not really now as I’ve built up in my career, people seem to know what it means now. I think people address me as Melanin 9 aka M9 that’s my stage name.

You have done a lot with Triple Darkness. As a group of socially aware and outspoken lyricists, to what extent do you all agree on the messages you want to put out, and how did you find such like-minded artists?

I did a few things with them back in the day; I’m trying to do my own stuff at this point. Like-minded people came from certain places I used to go, hang out. I’d just meet certain guys round my way, people my age, we all rapped the way we rapped and liked a certain type of music, that’s how we found those who were like us. That’s how we built and got collaborations, it all stems from the music, we all like the same kind of things, that why we all rap alike and share the same thoughts.

It seems fortunate that you have been able to work with producers such as Chemo and Beat Butcha in the past, and their beats have added a lot to your music. How important is it to find producers who you work well with, and what do you look for when looking for beats to write over?

Just if it sounds nice. I like nice kicks and snares just like anyone else who makes hip hop would. Nice soul samples, jazz, something smooth is always good to roll with and is the approach I like to go for. I do a lot of searching online, there’s a lot of great producers out there. I’ve found a lot of good producers on Soundcloud, a lot contact me as well on social network and I’m always checking them.

What happens in the future if your current ideologies and beliefs change? What does that mean for the validity of the music you are making now?

My ideologies and beliefs are always growing it always evolves. I don’t limit my perceptions to one thing, I’m always learning, everyday I’m learning something new so that will never happen. I’m always adapting and looking at things differently, always researching. My beliefs are always growing, I don’t believe in one thing, I take whatever makes sense to me and I learn from it. I don’t stick to one religion, I believe in spirituality.

Your soon to be released album is titled ‘Magna Carta’. If you were to create a ‘great charter’ that would apply to the UK hip hop world, and its fans, industry and record labels, what key points would be in it?

Whatever I stand for freedom, spirituality, learning to grow, to read, to explore, to be creative, always try and work on your craft, believe in yourself, be you, be real. Be all the things that would be in the charter, that’s what I stand for.

Can you talk us through the inspiration and the reason behind the name?

I’ve done about 4 mixtapes and a lot of people thought the last releases were albums. A lot of magazines marketed it like it was an album. This is my first album, its all original beats from producers that I like. I wanted to make it the best out of all the other releases so I put a lot of effort into it and it took roughly about a year and a half to make. Hip hop inspired me, the purest form of it, all the people I looked up to when I was young, all new comers like Jay Electronica. I’m always a student of hip hop, so I’m always studying artists and what there doing, and what’s going on in the scene. ILife inspired me, knowledge inspired me, growth inspired me, my people around me inspired me, my daughter inspired me, just life.

 What are your plans musically for after the New Year?

I want to drop a new mixtape. I’m working with quite a big guy from LA an artist. Next year you’ll see an album with me and him and a mixtape from me.

Published Nov 24th 2012

April 14, 2013

Lay Z Brings Us Lobster [Interview]

Lay Z is a grime MC affiliated with BBK. He has recently just dropped his Lobster EP which is 9 tracks deep and features Scratchy from Roll Deep, P Money, Footsie from Newham Generals and more. Shireen from Flavour talks to him about the EP, how he met BBK and started to make music with them, Lord of the Mics and what other projects are in the pipeline.

For those who don’t know about you tell us how you got into music and became affiliated with BBK?

I always knew JME and I always knew Shorty because they went to my school even though they’re older than me I knew them as bredrins. Skepta went to my school but he was a lot older than me, when he was in Year 11 I was in Year 7. As me and Frisco got closer he brought me round them lot, because I already knew them we already had a friendship anyways aside from music. That’s how we started and got close, we just did more together as bredrins and then the music came into it. We made tunes together, went studio more. I’m not in Boy Better Know, there’s 7 MC’s in Boy Better Know, that’s the frontline. I’m the Boy Better Know family, that’s my family.

As a group how do BBK function and work together?

The Boy Better Know album I’m going to be on there. When it comes to the Boy Better Know Frontline there’s 7 MC’s, then there’s producers, I’m in the family. When it comes to stage shows I’ll be there, videos I’m there. It’s difficult to explain, it seems like I’m in it.

As a whole how well do you think the grime scene is doing and what do you think about the current state of it?

I think it’s good, it’s more professional now, its more business minded. It’s not really just about I just want to get my tune out now, I just want to make a tune and just let everyone hear it on the radio, it’s actually I just want to make a tune and make money out of it. How can I get it playlisted? How can I get it on TV? Before it wasn’t really looked at like an avenue I can live off. It wasn’t a scene I could make a career out of it, it was more I’m having fun with it, its giving me a little bit of money. There’s elements that’s been taken out because everyone is trying to be so professional. The rowdiness of it has gone; people actually care too much about what other people are going to think. Before grime was a thing where I’m doing it how I want do it, if you don’t like it you don’t like it. I think the way it’s developing it’s got its positives and negatives. Its growing to a wider scale now, it’s more accepted overall, but at the same time there’s elements missing because of that now.

Your new EP is out ‘Lobster’ why did you decide to call it this and tell us about the tracks on there?

I went to a restaurant one time and there was a lobster dish there, and the lobster was about £150 and I was thinking all these people talk about yea they can buy this and that but they can’t even afford the lobster when they go out. I put that in a bar something like ‘Every other guy wants to act like they’re balling, but they can’t go Pétrus and order the lobster’, when I sprayed that bar in Rinse one time with all of the mandem, they all went crazy, Shorty, JME, Skepta. Then all of the supporters went mad, I kind of got known for that bar. I thought let me call my EP that. The third track is ‘Come Around’ the single that I’ve just done featuring JME and Shorty. I’ve got a tune called ‘Outside Ting’ which is a bit controversial, but for those that know just know it’s obviously a bar from Lord Of The Mics 3. ‘Highlife’ is my favourite personal tune produced by Skepta and it’s got a guy called Matt Devenport singing, that’s what I’m banking on to be my proper single.

You seem to have a lot of features on the EP, who do you decide who to work with?

I decide to work with people simply if I rate you. I wont work with you if I don’t personally rate you. I’ve got a tune called ‘Another MC Gone’ which is the last track it features Scratchy from Roll Deep, P Money and Kozzie, all three of those MC’s I rate. I like MC’s that are not big headed and gassed over themselves. Footsie is a legend to me so when I had the chance to do a tune with him I jumped at it because it’s a dream come true. Them guys Footsie, D Double, JME, and Skepta they’re all inspirations for me growing up trying to write my lyrics.

After the EP I’ve heard you’ve got a lot coming out with your brother Solo 45, can you tell us more about this.

Solo he’s got his own project coming out ‘Phantom Addition’, me and him we’ve got a tune coming out that’s going to be on that, which is a very big tune. We’ve got another tune after that a single coming out hopefully next year. All I can say is it’s going to be massive, it’s going to cross the borders, it features another artist from Roll Deep and its got a signer on the hook.

Your also working on an EP with Frisco what’s going on with that?

Me and Fris started working on an EP about 6 months ago, we started a few tunes. The supporters have been asking for one for a very long time, so we thought lets do it. We didn’t want to rush it so were taking time with it, whenever it happens it happens. It’s definitely going to happen next year 100% it will be out.

Lord of the Mics is approaching, what clashes personally do you think will be interesting?

There’s JayKae and Discarda that clash is probably going to be the best clash on the DVD, I know them both there both funny. Blay vs., Fangol, Blay is a personal bredrin of mine, and I know he’s talented, he’s a very good MC so that’s going to be a good clash as well. Fangol’s good as well.

What do you think about the whole Jammer Snakeyman beef?

I think its funny; I wouldn’t even look at it as a beef. Jammer makes me laugh everyday, he’s just a character in the grime scene and that’s needed right now. I don’t know if Snakeyman is going to want to clash him, I don’t think he does. If it does happen its good if it doesn’t happen its even better, it would be peak for Snakeyman to be honest.

Are there any more projects after this that you can tell us about as a solo artist?

I’m going to be working on a free EP after the whole Lobster EP project is finished and give it as a free download. Its about time I give back to the supporters they deserve something. That’s going to be in mid 2013. At the end of 2013, I’ll give them a full mixtape because even though my EP was 9 tracks which is a lot it’s not enough for a mixtape. Then after I’ve done those two things I definitely think it will be time for my album.

Published on Nov 8th 2012

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April 14, 2013

Introducing: Charlee Drew [Interview]

Introducing Charlee Drew, a Leicester based artist who last week released his debut EP ‘You Did Me A Favour’.  Charlee started off singing cover songs and putting them onto his MySpace and YouTube pages building a strong fanbase and following, which lead Skepta to discover him. Last year he wrote, produced and sung on Skepta’s ‘Doin It Again’ album and musically directed his sold out tours. ‘You Did Me A Favour’ went straight into the Top 20 in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart based on pre-orders alone, and has been championed by 4Music and the BBC amongst others. Shireen spoke to Charlee about being from Leicester, Skepta, his EP and forthcoming album.

How would you describe your musical style?

That’s a difficult one, but I think it’s got an element of all sorts in there. It’s quite poppy, the vocals are r&b I’d say, but with a pop element to it.

You first joined a band when you were 14. What happened between then and now?

When I was in the band we toured all around the country and did lots of shows, but I got kind of fed up living in the back of a transit van. I just wanted to write music. I ended up leaving the band and just spending a lot of time in my studio writing. Skepta heard one of the tracks I had written and wanted to jump on it, so I ended up doing a track on his album last year. I went on to musically direct all of the tours that he did last year and played keys and sung on some of the live shows. We did Glastonbury, and Radio 1 Live Lounge and all sorts of stuff like that. I started work on an EP; and now were here with the EP and the single.

What was it like working with Skepta?

It was good. It was quite easy for me because he hadn’t done stuff with a band before so he was gassed to hear what we did with it. We took all the tracks he already had and made it live. He knows what he wants.

You’ve built a strong fanbase from your cover songs on YouTube. Did you ever think you would attract so many people?

I hoped, I definitely hoped I’d attract so many people, and I still hope that I attract more. You can’t get complacent. I’ve done my best.

Being from Leicester did you ever see a disadvantage or advantage to not growing up in the music hub of London?

I think a lot more people will say it’s a lot more difficult living in Leicester, and it is because you don’t know anybody. Then again, you’ve got social networks, you’ve got MySpace back in the day, you’ve got YouTube, Twitter, and so everything is at your fingertips. You can do it quite easily as long you keep your head in the game and know who you need to talk to and what you need to do. The only thing that holds you back is the transport costs, the fact the trains are a complete rip off.

What about the networking side of it, is it harder to meet other artists and people in the industry?

Definitely, but it does happen as things progress, as long as you know where you need to head you’re going to definitely meet people. I’ve probably got less friends in the industry than anybody that grew up in London, but at the same time it probably doesn’t hurt. You spend less time watching what your friends are doing and more time focusing on what you need to do.

You’re working on a track with another Leicester based artist Luke Bingham. How did you two meet and are you both singing on the track, or are you producing or writing for him?

Me and Luke didn’t even know each other, but were both from Leicester. He is on the same label as Skepta, so I know the guys at the label quite well and we thought we might as well hook up a session. I’ve written and produced a track for him, I think  he’s going to be using it as a single, but if not it will definitely be on the album.

Ed Sheeran and Sway have both praised your music, but who is the first celebrity to notice your talent?

It’s got to be Skepta. I’ve got him to thank for a lot like the breakthrough into the actual industry. He found me on MySpace maybe 4 years ago, and the tracks I was doing. He was the one that brought me through, he took me to his video, and we started working on some stuff, and that was my first step into the London music scene.

You’re a writer, producer and singer. Which one of these do you believe to be your strongest asset and which one will you concentrate on the most?

I think singing is probably my strongest asset. I spend more time singing than I do anything else, but obviously I want to write, I enjoy writing so much and I want to be able to write for other people, and I’m writing stuff for my own album. I want to be able to produce stuff because I need to vent. I want to focus on all of them but singing is the main focus.

You have your first release out at the moment ‘You Did Me A Favour’, can you talk us through what the tracks about and what kind of reactions you have been getting from the release?

It’s been a great reaction so far. I’ve had loads of people jumping on like 4Music, BBC, and so many people have jumped on it’s been great. The track is about a messy break up, but it’s one of those situations I think everybody has been in. They’ve been in a relationship and they think it’s great at the time, but then they come out of it and realise it’s not all that great at all. The whole concept is ‘You Did Me A Favour’ thank you for making us not be together anymore because I got out lightly.

Was it written with anyone in mind or drawing upon a personal experience in your past?

I think every song has to draw upon some personal experience to get the feeling and to get other people to relate to it. Everything has got some personal experience there.

You’ve begun working on your album. What can we expect from it?

More of the same. The whole idea of the ‘You Did Me A Favour’ EP was to kind of give people a taste of what kind of sound and what to expect from me as an artist.

What’s been the pinnacle achievement of your career so far and what do you hope to achieve with your music?

Doing Radio 1 Live Lounge was my favourite experience so far. There was 5 million people listening, and it’s the only time I’ve ever been mildly nervous before. It was the strangest feeling because you couldn’t see the 5 million people. Obviously I was there singing and playing piano, and I was being me, but it wasn’t for me. My goal right now is to get back into the Live Lounge, but do it for me.  I hope to achieve all that can be achieved.

Apart from the album, is there anything before that being released?             

I think there will be another single and a tour before the end of the year, and then the album will follow in early 2013. I won’t stop putting stuff out, whether it’s a single or a free download, there will be lots more stuff before the end of the year.

Published 25th Sep 2012

April 14, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: UK Rap Rundown [News]

There were quite a few video and track releases last week. Let’s start with Political Peak, whose buzz has been massive already this year. ‘Get Lean’ is his latest video and the visuals are really slick, which sees Peak walking round South London rapping. This is only the beginning for the young rapper and shows off his ability…

People’s Army representative Logic asks a lot of questions in ‘Question Everything’, a song that made me re-evaluate a lot of things in life that we just accept as the truth. It’s a very deep track from the conscious rapper who makes us realise we are not as smart as we think sometimes.

MashTown’s Margs compares himself to football player ‘Rooney’ in his new track, showing off some of his skills on the pitch in the video too. It’s a clever track which sees him using skillful lyricism.

Carns Hill, one of UK rap’s finest producers, brought out the second installment to ‘OT’ – ‘OT2’. He released the video to the intro which sees Blade BrownYoungs Teflon and Mental K spitting some real life street bars in this hustler’s anthem. You can get the 18 track mixtape ‘OT2’ from iTunes now.

Rapper Fuze had some fantastic news last week after his track ‘Too Much Swagger’ dropped featuring Sneakbo, which is an extremely catchy track that would fit perfectly in a club. He then signed to Alwayz Recordings, the independent label responsible for some of the UK’s biggest talents such as Wretch 32 and Chip. I can guarantee there will be much more to expect from this rising rapper.

Rap duo Krept & Konan released with the video to their track ‘Numb (I Can’t Feel My Face)’ produced by Rymez (‘Heatwave’). This is definitely going to do well as a summer club anthem.

Ratlin’s ‘Crown Me’ mixtape was one that got a lot of people talking. ‘Back On My Bulls**t’ is one of the strongest tracks on the tape and Ratlin released the video featuring a hook from singer Vee.

Mic Righteous gave an outstanding and passionate performance on SB.TV’s new #3rdDegree series, and Mic is the first one on there. The Margate rapper stuns with this performance, but it’s no surprise as he always does.

S.A.S Mega and Mayhem along with two thirds of EurogangBigz and Skrilla Kid Villain took to Tim Westwood’s crib and absolutely killed the freestyle session. I think this is one of the best I have seen this year…

Published on 8th April 2013