Archive for ‘Interviews’

January 31, 2017

Chase & Status Interview

Chase & Status have been bringing us great British music for years now combining drum & bass, hip-hop, grime and much more, working with artists such as Maverick Sabre, Frisco, Novelist and Liam Bailey to bring their unique sound to the forefront of the UK scene. I spoke to Saul, one-half of the production duo, about the drum & bass scene, dodgy outfit choices, grime and more.

Saul, can you first tell us where you’re love for Drum & Bass stemmed?

It was in 1994 at a dance I guess. It was kind of like a ball where you go dressed up in a suit as a kid and try and kiss girls. I was like 13. It was somewhere in the West End and in the middle of all the crap being played, someone snuck in Shy FX’s ‘Original Nutta’ and everything changed and I stopped kissing whatever girl I was in the corner with. That changed my life, after that I discovered jungle, heard about Blackmarket Records. Life changed for me. I re-connected with it in about 1997, but it’s been a long, long relationship

There was a tweet the other day saying “Have I just seen another crime of mixing sports brands together? This has to stop”. What’s been your worst public fashion moment?

It’s hard to say you know. I guess if you look at some of our early press shots you’ll see a couple of guys wearing oversized jeans that weren’t well cut, with not very flattering hair cuts. One of my worst times was not that long ago about 5-6 years ago and my now wife told me I looked absolutely disgraceful at the time. I was wearing badly fitted, too long shorts that weren’t really shorts, they’re the worst, are they shorts are they trousers? When you don’t know you shouldn’t be wearing them (laughs). Fundamentally to be fair I live in tracksuits, I love them and I always have and I’ve been berated for them many a time, now 2016 everyone is wearing them. I’ve been collecting Moschino since I was a kid, loud, vintage, I’ve got 1,200 pieces, I’ve been wearing that non-stop too. A few years ago I was wearing it people said I looked mad, and now it’s the hottest thing to wear; crazy, vintage and the whole wavy garms movement.

You performed recently on Jools Holland with Liam Bailey, Tom Grennan and an exclusive with Bugzy Malone. These artists are quite different showing your versatility, is this something key to C&S music?

Yes, versatility is definitely something that is important to us. When our careers started in the drum & bass scene in the early 2000s, we were known for not making one style. We made liquid drum & bass, hard drum & bass, jungle, reggae and half time. As our careers have blossomed, and we’ve always done this since we first started making music, now we’ve got lots of outlets to release it, we make music from across the board from hip-hop to dubstep, to jungle, to grime to drum & bass, we just make dance music generally. Having different strengths and versatility is what makes it more exciting in the studio, it makes not every song sound the same, and it keeps the inspiration going. In terms of artists, we like working with people that sound like no one else. When we first started working with Maverick Sabre, no one sounded like that, no one sounds like Tempa T and no one will ever. That’s the exciting stuff we love doing, working with people who sound like nothing else.

Your music can’t be pinpointed to a particular genre anymore; it’s just original, British music. Where do you draw your influences from and how do you and Will start making a track together?

Influences come from everywhere; if you’re watching a TV show it can spark an idea. If you listen to an old song you can sample the vocal from that and muck around with it and the next thing you know you’ve got an idea there. If you feeling blue, if your feeling happy. It’s hard for me to pinpoint it as it comes from absolutely everywhere. In terms of making music together, we often start things on our own and bring them together and finish them off. We’re both pretty similar though, we both start with drums and we both like to get a groove going. Our favourite part of any tune is drums and bass. If we’ve got a nice groove going on the drums and a nice bassline line that’s what we basically what we wanna hear. Lots of tunes, be it drum & bass tunes or even an old funk tune, the effects of the tune where everything drops out and it’s just the beats and the bass rolling, that’s always been our favourite part of a record.

Now festival season is done, what do Chase & Status normally get up to in the winter months?

We still DJ, it never stops for us. In the summer it’s the festivals with the bands, on the weekend we got two shows, and the weekend after, that’s the way it normally goes for us. The end of the year we’re going Australia and New Zealand, it’s non-stop. We’re always making music be it at our home studio or the studio together, or on the road, we always have a laptop at hand. Come rain or shine we’re always making beats. We’re putting the finishing touches to our fourth album at the minute, then we’re on the road so it’s non-stop.

You’ve always had a heavy grime influence as well working with Novelist on NRG, Roll Deep on Top Shotta, Kano on Against All Odds, the London Bars series, Sun City with Jammer and more. What other grime artists would you love to work with and why?

It depends. Something all artists share from me to Frisco to Tom Greenan to Liam Bailey to Plan B is that passion and that drive to do something and that unique moment in the studio, everyone shares is. When Frisco came in and said chorus to funny, I knew we got something here. When Liam sent over the demo for his verse for ‘Blind Faith’ we knew wow this is something here. You get the same feeling with them all. It depends how they attack the project, some people sit there and write, pad and pen, quite quiet. Some people don’t write anything like Giggs, he just goes straight in the booth and freestyles. Everyone has their wild time in the studio, I think Liam Bailey has to be No.1 when it comes to wildness in the studio.

We’d love to work with loads of other grime artists, we’ve been fortunate enough to work with most of them. There’s a couple of big names we’ve worked with, but the songs haven’t been finished and are just sitting on the hard drive, so they will see the light of day someday. We’ve produced something for CasIsDead, he’s one of my favourite artists. Been in with Flowdan, Ghetts, and P Money. The grime scene is something real close to our hearts and we’ve been passionate about it for a long time.

Grime seems to be doing really well at the moment and gaining commercial recognition. What do you think it will take for this to happen with the drum & bass scene and do you think it will happen?

You may or may not like the songs, but the biggest songs over the past couple of years have been drum & bass songs wth Rudimental and Sigma.

Those aren’t songs you’d hear in a drum & bass rave though…

You won’t hear those in my sets either though. I respect those artists and wish them all the best, but that doesn’t for me represent the drum & bass scene, you’re correct. ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’ by DJ Hazard they put a vocal on it and it got playlisted on Radio 1. Do I think I’m going to start hearing the new Noisa tune or DJ Pleasure single or most of the underground D&B tracks in my record box, on daytime radio? No, I don’t think so. I think the drum & bass scene is bless. We’re all out from people like me to Andy C to Sub Focus are all playing absolutely everywhere, Grooverider, DJ Hype. I came back from a festival in Czech Republic recently and there were 25,000 kids strictly raving to drum & bass on the main stage. The whole festival is drum & bass; I mean it’s massive. People couldn’t be busier, Andy C couldn’t be busier, and that’s a testament to how well the scene prevails and is strong.

The underground scene will never get that success. The reason grime get’s that success is because it’s a song; it’s got a chorus, it’s got a verse, it’s got a face to interact with. An underground tune in drum & bass has got sick drums, sick bass, it doesn’t really have anything to connect to take it any further, and that’s not a problem.

Underground drum & bass has had a fantastic year; Ram Records has had a great year, I’ve heard a lot of talent and a great school of music on their from the commercial end to the underground, they have always been leaders in that field. Doc Scott has got some wicked stuff on 31 Records. Some of my favourite records this year have been Spy’s remix of Congo’s Natty’s ‘Junglist’ – one of the favourites in my bag – and Lenzman’s remix of ‘Children Of Zeus’.

Any new releases we can expect from the MTA label?

There’s a brand new EP from an artist called 991 which we’re very excited about; it’s the ‘Dim Sum’ EP. It’s got four absolute crackers on there that we’ve been smashing. Dimension has got another single coming out soon, he’s really making some big waves.

We’re nearly finishing up the year, what’s your highlight been from 2016?

My personal highlight was the birth of my daughter in March. It’s been a great year for us and we were blessed to headline Wireless Festival on the Saturday. It was real special. We premiered our latest single ‘All Goes Wrong’ with Tom Grennan at Wireless and it was the first time it had been heard anywhere by anyone, and it got an amazing reaction. That’s what it’s all about. Taking a tune you’re nervous about or lose faith in, and you see it get such a reaction, it’s such a special moment.

*published on 5th Dec on The 405

November 17, 2016

Sneakbo Interview

Sneakbo was one of the first artists in the UK responsible for mixing Afrobeat with Rap, which is an impressive feat. A lot of artists are now following suit, building upon the increasingly interesting platform that Sneakbo has helped create.

After 6 years of being independent, paving the way and kicking down doors for UK Rap, he’s now signed to Virgin EMI and in an even better position to become bigger than ever. He’s not had an easy life, but Sneakbo is a fighter, and his passion for music has kept him going. I caught up with the intriguing artist to find out more.

You say music saved your life. Can you tell us how?

Before music I was just out and about. When I found music it kept me focused and I didn’t get into much trouble, and I was just doing what I love and I’m getting paid for it. I know what I’m doing now and I’m doing good things.

Let’s talk about you being signed to Virgin EMI recently. Tell us the story behind it, how did it happen?

I’ve been independent for 6 years and I think it was March or April that I signed my first actual deal with Virgin EMI. It was through my manager that played them 3 singles that I had and they liked it and they signed me. We were in talks for a month before I signed the deal. Other labels were in touch, but my heart was with Virgin.

Being home to Krept & Konan and Lethal Bizzle, as well, do you feel like you’re in safe hands with the label?

Definitely. I’ve seen what they can do and it made me more confident.

Do you feel you’ve done all you could independently or was there something else behind the move?

I wouldn’t say I’ve done all I can independently, but I felt like this was the right time to get back in and see what I do with these singles, what a label can do with these singles. It wasn’t really that I can do all I can independently, it was more to see what I can do with major backing,

Do you feel in this day and age that you can be totally independent throughout all your career or do you feel we still need labels?

I believe you can do it both ways, it just depends on the artist and the team they have behind them. You can do it both ways, if you’ve got a good team you can do it independently.

You’ve smashed it independently for around 6 years gaining Top 40 singles such as ‘Zim Zimma,’ where do you see yourself going from here on?

Hopefully bigger and better results. Hopefully higher chart positions, bigger shows, better video qualities. I just feel like everything should be better. When I was independent I was doing everything that the label is doing, right now I’m not sitting back, but a lot of things are getting done that I’m not doing. There’s a major difference.

Your style is very unique, mixing Afrobeat with Rap, do you see any other artists now being influenced from your style and how do you feel seeing this?

I see loads of artists doing it now, especially the newcomers. I’m happy and it shows I’m doing something right and what I’m doing people are following it. I don’t feel they are copying or nothing like that. I’m definitely proud. At first I can’t lie, I used to feel funny when I heard a song, and I thought nah this person is copying my style. Now that people are mentioning it to me, you feel proud that people are following your style, and I’m happy people can see that. It makes me feel better. I rate J Hus, I rate Timbo, I rate Mologo.

How do you make sure your sound is always different and distinct?

I’m just focused on making bangers and hits. I’m not fussed if anyone goes with that style, I’m just focused on myself, the wave, the jetski wave.

What’s your opinion on the UK Rap scene now?

I’m proud of it. I’m happy because it’s changed a lot. 4-5 years ago you would have had to make a certain type of music to get loads of radio play, but now they accept us for our music and what we like making. It’s changed a lot.

How would you compare it to when you first started out?

A lot more underground and unsigned artists are doing a lot more shows. Before you had to be signed to kind of be doing well and doing good shows, but now you can go on Link Up TV and drop a hot song and you can do well.

How has being from Brixton influenced your style of music?

Being from Brixton I grew up with loads of Jamaicans, I’m Nigerian, but in Brixton there’s loads of Jamaicans, and when I go to the clubs and that and they used to play bashment, bashment, bashment, that’s what made me love it and start jumping on it. My new single ‘Too Cool’ it’s on a bashment track called ‘Bookshelf Riddim’ that came about from me listening to bashment from young.

What’s a defining moment that changed your career and or life?

When I made ‘Touch Ah Button’, that’s when I started getting shows and that’s what started making the industry interested in me.

You’ve just dropped your first single ‘Too Cool (Right Here)’ since being signed, what was the process behind the track, and how has the reaction been?

The reaction so far has been great. It’s getting loads of radio play, the video is doing well. I’ve had a great reaction, all my fans have been messaging me good messages about it. The video was shot in LA. My manager set it up for Nyla to be on the song, but I knew about her for a long time, she had a big song called ‘Love Is Wicked.’

Any plans for an album?

Right now I’m working on the album, I’ve got a couple songs ready, so hopefully next year I’ll have the album finished and ready to drop. The next single will hopefully be next November time, it will be wavy, even better.

What’s next for Sneakbo?

I’ve got to plan the video for the next single. Lots more work.


July 6, 2016

Underdog Music: Clash Meets @OfficialAvelino [Interview]

When you’re preparing to speak to a highly skilled rapper, known for mind-blowing wordplay, you know that you’re in for a good conversation. As soon as I speak my first words with Avelino he is the same charismatic, laid-back, and intelligent person as he is in his lyrics.

A prominent name in UK Rap after co-signs from BBC Radio 1 DJ Semtex, Tinie Tempah, and one of the kings of lyricism himself; Wretch 32, Avelino has spent three years of releasing mixtapes’ from ‘Underdog Music’ to ‘Iconic Ambition’ and the recent joint mixtape with Wretch himself ‘Young Fire Old Flame’. He has recently taken his unorthodox approach to music one step further with the release of his debut EP ‘FYO’ which was executive produced by Odd Child’s Raf Riley.

“It’s mood driven,” he says of his unique style. “I go by how I feel at the time and I hope that reflects in the music. Very experimental, without deviating from myself. Original, I like to be the best version of me at that time.” Perhaps this is because he spent his time in the studio, refining his skills, or due to the fact he is respectful of other artists taking time to analyse them, “I watch the behavior of people I look up to. The one mistake people might make is thinking you know it all, we don’t, you can always feed off others. Pick up things, learn things, add something to your game.“

Beginning his career with a slew of freestyles, he dropped his second mixtape ‘Iconic Ambition’ in 2013. “It was a humble mixtape. We did it on minimal resources, me and my mates,” he says. “Still, with the title and with what we tried to do with the songs kind of indicated what we were reaching for.” His ‘Young Fire Old Flame,’ mixtape with Wretch 32, released at the end of last year, was a definite step forward. “It was a mixtape with one of the icons,” he reflects. “One of the people I look up to and idolize, and we actually worked together to make a mixtape which was almost like completing part of the checklist and an amazing feat for me personally.”

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The pair dropped a now legendary freestyle on Charlie Sloth’s ‘Fire In The Booth’ which demonstrates Avelino keeping up with his idol, both artists complimenting each other in an effortlessly natural way.

“When you hear someone speak with as much excellence as Wretch 32, you know whatever you record has to be your best moment at that time, because if not it’s going to be evident,” admits Avelino. “I don’t feel there were challenges. Now that’s not saying it was easy to work with Wretch 32, because he’s maybe the greatest lyricist we’ve ever had in the country.” Avelino definitely held his own and in the words of Stormzy “Can we take a minute to pay homage to Avelino for lyrically keeping up with Wretch 32.”

He has become known as a master of lyricism, especially with regards to his wordplay. It can be quite intense, but he has crafted his lyrics with such finesse that you can only admire the end result. “There can never be too much focus on wordplay and lyricism because that is what rap is all about,” he says. “Rap is an art form where you are directly speaking to someone. You want them to replay the tune, to listen to something that they didn’t catch. For me it adds to the excitement and the enjoyment and the appreciation. It’s why I take care of every single line that I think of.” This is apparent when listening to his music, the complexity of his lyrics demand rewinds and repetition to absorb, and yet his flow and production choices keep this from ever becoming a chore.

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Keep striving, keep working, keep trying to get better…

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From his work with Wretch, to signing with MMR (More Money Records), working closely with Labrinth and his Odd Child label, it’s clear that Avelino has nestled himself with like-minded artists, feeling at home with them, “They are creative people and I always try and take away as much as I can from them. Labrinth is one of the greatest musicians I’ve seen with my own two eyes, he’s phenomenal. He’ll go through like five songs in an hour and slap out numerous ideas, leaving you trying to keep up with him. You don’t know how to tell him slow down, because I’m not keeping up with that. You always try and incorporate certain things you’ve heard from him, or certain things he’s tried, certain principles he has, certain techniques he might use.“

For his debut EP ‘FYO (Fuck Your Opinion)’ it is really a time for the Young Fire to shine, “It’s my moment to really introduce myself, and to impose myself into the area that I’m going to be in for as long as possible which is rap,” he states. He delivers his easily recognisable laid-back flow with quick clever bars in a style that has become highly definitive. When asked about his approach to his signature style he offers, “The only thought process I had before making it was consciously choosing to work so closely with Raf Riley on it. I knew he was quite left and I was quite maybe in a different place but we met in the beautiful middle and the product was almost like a hybrid alternative but still hip-hop, it was still me.”

As grime continues to thrive, not only in the UK but extending worldwide, it can sometimes feel like UK rap doesn’t get the credit it deserves in the shadow of it’s 140bpm brother, yet this isn’t something that phases the young North Londoner. “They are two different art forms and we shouldn’t be competing with grime. Let them win. Rap can win as well. I don’t want to do that whole, is that getting more recognition and how does that make rap feel, let them win and we can win as well, everyone can eat. There is enough for everyone. As long as we never get ahead of ourselves and know that there is more to be done. Keep striving, keep working, keep trying to get better, keep trying to expand and we’ll be cool. We’ll be massive, UK will get more and more love.“

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Published on on 31.05.16

February 21, 2016

The 10 best mixtapes, according to @Bonkaz

Bonkaz showcases his steadfast love for hip-hop with a list of his favourite hip hop mixtapes..


Read a list of the best R&B and rap mixtapes, according to Bonkaz.

Bonkaz is part of a new generation of artists who came onto the scene with a DIY attitude towards their craft, allowing them to push boundaries and limits into a new sphere. Growing up when grime was birthed was influential to his own musical journey, and he spent his youth listening to artists such as Kano and Dizzee Rascal. This was pivotal to both his creativity and outlook on music, schooled by grime’s ingenious and inventive journey.

Growing up in Croydon, he watched artists such as Krept & Konan and his good friend Stormzy break boundaries in UK rap and grime. Bonkaz knew he could do it too: he had to use same mentality as them, but break his own boundaries in an individualised way.

Bonkaz’s sound cannot be defined: some of his tracks are undeniably grime, whereas some are rap. He is a creator of his own sound by refusing to be boxed into a genre. Bonkaz is becoming a brand, and these are the lessons he has picked up from grime and his peers along the way.

After gaining a rep via UK music platforms such as SBTV and Link Up TV – who showed early support to him – he signed to Danny Weed and DJ Target’s label Pitched Up, an imprint of Sony. He released We Run The Block on it as his first single, which was the track that propelled him into the limelight. Keeping the track off the internet for as long as possible and only performing it live was solely his idea – a brilliant marketing plan, and one that solidifies his rising status as a future visionary.

Last week saw him release ‘#MixtapeOfTheYear’, an 11-track project with only three features – Stormzy on And Dat and Blade Brown and Yxng Bane on Outside. The remainder of the tape is just purely him and his lyrical intellect. Naming it mixtape of the year in February just shows Bonkaz is confident when it comes to his ability, and that he’s just shut 2016 down with 11 months still on the clock.

In light of his new release, we asked Bonkaz to compile his favourite mixtapes and ranging from Chance The Rapper through to Giggs, the list showcases his steadfast love for hip-hop.

01. Chance The Rapper ‘Ten Day’

Bonkaz: “This was actually the first mixtape from Chance but the second one I heard. Apparently it’s called ‘Ten Day’ because he recorded it during a ten 10 suspension from school. Some of the best lyricism I’ve ever heard and very experimental. Chance is one of my favourite artists!”

02. Giggs & Dubz ‘Ard Bodied’

Bonkaz: “Completely dominated the UK rap scene for a long long time. So many fire tracks. A lot of them went on to be classics such as ‘Pain Is The Essence’. It was that project you play on the way to and from school!”

03. Rick Ross ‘Rich Forever’

Bonkaz: “Ross was on fire when this dropped, completely dominating the game. This mixtape is incredible, even better than a lot of albums. He had John Legend on the title track, and John Legend on a mixtape is a big deal!”

04. Nipsey Hussle ‘Mailbox Money’

Bonkaz: “This mixtape is full of super sick tracks! The release was super innovative also. He offered an option to download the tape for free, a pay what you like option and also a $1000 option. He sold all 100 of the $1000 options. Jay Z also bought a few as a way of commending his level of innovation.”

05. Lil Wayne ‘Drought 3’

Bonkaz: “Wayne was absolutely untouchable when this tape dropped. In terms of lyrics he couldn’t be beaten, this is around the time he started referring to himself as the best rapper alive (rightly so imo). He was also on just about every big R&B tune at the time.”

06. Drake ‘So Far Gone’

Bonkaz: “The first I ever heard from Drake. Super relatable and just completely genuine music. Every track felt so personal, very ambient music.”

07. Sza ‘Z’

Bonkaz: “Not sure if this was a mixtape or an EP but it was incredible. My first listen to Sza and she became the soundtrack of that summer. Such a great sound with thought provoking lyrics.”

08. PartyNextDoor ‘PartyNextDoor’

Bonkaz: “This was the soundtrack to the summer before I heard Sza. One of the originators of the sound that he brought. This mixtape changed a lot of things within the new R&B type stuff, great project.”

09. The Weeknd ‘House Of Balloons’

Bonkaz: “What a project! It was almost like a step by step guideline to anybody that was out getting drunk and being young at the time (as I was). Some of the most honest lyrics I’ve ever heard and a completely new and original sound. This along with ‘House Of Balloons’ and ‘Thursday’ were all combined to make Weeknds first album, ‘The Trilogy’.”

10. A2 ‘Once Too Many’

Bonkaz: “A2 was the first person I ever heard to bring that street R&B sound. Before I heard Bryson Tiller or PND. I personally believe he created it. A completely unskippable project, with great tracks from start to finish. Such an ambience, such relatable lyrics. This may be my pick of the bunch.”

‘Mixtape Of The Year’ is out now.

*Published on Dummy Mag 15.02.16

October 15, 2014

UKF Celebrate Their Fifth Anniversary [MTV Feature]

As UKF celebrate 5 years in the game, we look back at their rise to success and talk to the artists involved…

UKF are set to have a huge birthday bash tonight (Friday Oct 10), celebrating five years since the birth of the brand, and what an amazing five years it has been! The Wrap Up talk to some of the artists performing on the night to see what UKF means to them and the EDM scene in general.

TC and Brookes Brothers discuss their thoughts on electronic music culture, with TC telling me: “It’s really different in every country in the world. In the UK, the crowd seems really educated, even the underground stuff. It’s like for some reason people in the UK really know the tracks. A lot of other places have that too, but the UK seems to just have that on lock, especially in D&B.”

The Brookes Brothers comment on its changes. “It’s changed beyond recognition from when we were growing up but its as strong as it ever has been. There’s so much going on it’s ridiculous!”

With the charts set on fire with artists such as Chase & Status, WilkinsonDuke DumontDisclosure and more, Brookes Brothers praise these artists: “Disclosure sparked a lot of the interest in ‘deep house’ in the UK when they first started getting attention two or so years ago – they pretty much spawned a whole new scene”.

TC explains the growth of EDM: “There’s so much content. There’s also loads of access to software now that there’s so much exciting talent coming through. It’s a really exciting and creative time. Sometimes in the past I feel the scene has got a little bit stagnant, but right now there’s a freedom to be creative… it’s wicked.”

Brookes Brothers agree with TC, also discussing what they think the main factors are behind the growth. “The digital generation who grew up with the sounds of computer bleeps and video games are more open to electronic music than previous generations. The bigger radio stations and labels have been pushing it harder and harder over the last five years or so which has had that snowball effect and the perception of it in the mainstream has changed massively.”

This growth helps the genres of EDM such D&B, Dubstep and House, but 10 years ago you wouldn’t have seen it so often in the charts. But with pop tracks taking influence from the genres, it’s presence in mainstream music has been solidified.

Brookes Brothers agree. “Things come and go but House music has had its place in the charts and clubs for years in one form or the other – its the most accessible form of dance music and such a great template for pop records as well. Its good to see it back in the charts. People have a naturally huge appetite for that four to the floor beat at 120bpm.”

It’s evident through this discussion with TC and the Brookes Brothers that there has been an uplifting change in the electronic music world over the past five years and how much it has expanded. Not a day goes by on Facebook anymore when I don’t see a video of a people shuffling, which I would never have seen a few years ago.

UKF have definitely played a major part in this and TC says its to do with “Luke who runs the channel – he’s really into his music and I respect that.”

They have hit a such a wide fanbase through what they do, catering to many people through their events, channel, downloads and more, with Brookes Brothers saying “It definitely helped the music reach a new audience and grow globally, also it brought in a new younger audience who can’t get into clubs just yet.”

A big congratulations to the team and as UKF stated themselves, “Bring on the next five years!”

Published on MTV The Wrap Up on Friday 10th October –

February 5, 2014

MTV The Wrap Up: Big H (@BigHOfficial) [Interview]


The release of ‘Fire & Smoke’ was long awaited in the grime scene, but last month the album was released after a long hiatus from Big H. The Bloodline crew member is one of grime’s originators and helped lay the foundation young MCs walk on today. With this album release and his forthcoming clash with P Money on Lord Of The Mic 6The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner couldn’t wait to catch up with Big H to talk sending, grime’s pop tarts and much more.

The Wrap Up: You one of the originators of grime music and your flow has influenced many. Who in the grime world would you say you have influenced?

Big H: I’d say I have influenced everyone that has come into contact with making grime, whether it’s producers or MCs. If they say I haven’t influenced them or they don’t know of me then something’s not right. All the great people that have got somewhere generally have and picked up a bit of the style.

TWU: Prez T and yourself have some strong connections to Manchester. Are there any differences in the scene there compared to London?

Big H: Manchester, London… it’s all grime at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where it is; grime is grime wherever you make it. If you’re a crap MC in Birmingham you’re going to be rubbish in London – it isn’t going to change. Even if I were in Afghanistan I’d still be spitting grime. Manchester is just a place where I went to display my music.

TWU: You’ve got the Bloodline album coming out soon. Can you let us know a bit more about it?

Big H: I don’t know if there are going to be any features, but I do know that there is going to be a full Bloodline CD with me Bossman, Paper Pabs, Meridian Dan, Prez T, 9 Milli Major and anyone I forgot. It’s going to be a hard album; we took time to make it. I think it’s going to be the biggest grime album to come out from the main crew; Boy Better Know, Roll Deep or Bloodline. It was supposed to be coming out around spring, but it could be a summer album. I’m waiting on Pabz to press the button.

TWU: Bloodline as a whole is doing really well individually, from Merdian Dan’s ‘German Whip’ to your release; what’s the rest of the crew up to and where do you feel Bloodline’s position is in grime right now?

Big H: Bloodline is at the top of grime. Anyone I really associate with gets somewhere in their career. I’m not saying it to try and big myself up and all that; you can see with the whole Meridian thing, people went on to do big things. The same thing is happening with Bloodline now, people are doing big things. Meridian Dan is doing better, as an MC that was in the background to come to the forefront, it was because of people like me who believed they could get to that point. Same thing I did with Skepta… he was a DJ in the background at one time; with the right influence and push you can go forward.

TWU: You are known for making extremely bold, brash and overly confident statements. What makes you so confident, and what are the downsides of saying some of the things you have said or the bars you have written? Any regrets?

Big H: When I listen to my bars and other peoples, I feel that mine sound better. That confidence when you’re better than other people at MCing makes you confident when it comes to music. I don’t think my statements are bold or outlandish, I just think they’re facts. In a world of lies, facts stand out because there’s not many facts being said. [Laughs] You can call me the grime lord, I’m here to lay down the commandments. I give people what they want.

TWU: You used a phrase in an interview once saying ‘sweet sort of grime MC’s pop tarts’ – which artists would you apply this statement to?

Big H: Skepta, JME, Wiley and anyone that associates with them and is featured with them.

TWU: You’re clashing P Money in LOTM 6. How are you feeling about the clash and why do you feel now is the right time to be on LOTM?

Big H: I think it’s a great time for me to clash P Money and it’s good for me because I’m getting paid to do something that I like doing – pissing off MCs. P Money’s going to lose on the day. It’s like Tyson fighting Bruno, he’s Bruno and I’m Tyson [laughs]. I hope people will be entertained.

TWU: With two such big names, there is a high probability of one of you walking away worse for wear. Do you think that this clash could negatively affect either of you in your careers?

Big H: No I don’t think anyone’s career could be bent; it’s just music. I think it will boost his career; me chiefing him up will make him more popular… just like it made Manga and Scratchy and others more popular. P Money’s not a big MC, people keep saying to me ‘two big MC’s’… he’s not big. Me? I’m actually big; I created the foundation that he’s walking on today. He’s only just come around, he’s part of the new world order – I’m a grime lord. I’d give anyone a try; Jammer’s signing the cheque and he’s paying the right money, so it’s going to happen.  

TWU: You’ve promised some big collaborations in 2014, so what can we look forward to from you this year?

Big H: I’ve got another project being released half way through the year that I’m going to be announcing in the next month or so… I’m just finalizing everything. There will be a lot of names on there that I’ve never collaborated with before.

You can get ‘Fire & Smoke’ via iTunes



January 23, 2014

MTV The Wrap Up: Fekky (@FekkyOfficial) [Interview]

Fekky could be called a newcomer in the game, having only started out around two years ago. A newcomer he may be, but he is one a lot of people are talking about, and I’m not the only one who is excited to see his moves this year. He has toured the country doing a vast amount of shows with no manager or booking agent – impressive! I heard talk of an upcoming collaboration with Fekky and a very big artist, so The Wrap Up had to talk to him and get the lowdown on this, along with a deeper look into Fekky himself.

The Wrap Up: Can you tell The Wrap Up readers where you started and where you are now?

Fekky: I started about two and a half years ago; I was having a little fun with it with a couple of friends. I did a track and after that I did a video, then I took a little break and came back with ‘Ring Ring Trap’. When I dropped that it went crazy on the streets; it did about 100,000 views in a couple of days. After doing my ‘Fire In The Booth’ people knew I meant business. Since then, I’ve done a lot of shows which is my strong point; I think I’ve done the most out of everyone in the rap scene. Every weekend I’m everywhere; Birmingham, Wales, Manchester, Liverpool. I did the Wiley and Skepta tour aswell which was crazy.

TWU: G FrSH told you not to rap when you turned to him for advice. Do you feel like you’ve proved him wrong from what you’ve achieved already?

Fekky: I wouldn’t say I proved him wrong… when he said it, he was genuinely honest. What I’ve learnt in the game is that everyone has their own journey. I couldn’t give advice to a next man because everyone is different. G FrSH was coming from where he was coming from. He meant the music game is not easy; you can’t easily catch a buzz, it’s expensive and it’s a gamble. He was saying if I want to do it I have to be prepared, because it’s going to be hard.

TWU: You’ve got a couple of adlibs that you’re well known for. How did they came around?

Fekky: [Laughs] I’ve got ‘Bu Bu Bang!’ I was recording ‘Shine On’ and the engineer stopped the track and we were talking, I was just standing there and it came out randomly. When I said it the whole room started laughing, so I was like ‘that’s alright’ and kept it.

TWU: UK rap is doing really well at the moment, especially in South London where you’re from. How do you think it could progress further?

Fekky: A lot of artists need to start thinking of their careers as business models and how they’re going to make a living out of what they’re doing. When you become an artist you gain fans so it’s hard to think ‘Oh, I’m going to work in Tescos now,’ because you don’t want your fans to see you working there. When money is in a scene, people grow and it will become better. I think my strong point is that you can play most of my songs in a club. A lot of the songs that are played in clubs are by Drake and Rick Ross… we don’t really get played in clubs; it’s a market that we’ve not really tapped into.

TWU: You previously said you’d release a mixtape called ‘My Name Is Fekky You Div’. What’s happening with it?

Fekky: The mixtape is almost finished, [laughs] but I’m not sure if I’m going to keep the title. I think it was just a thing in the moment! I’m in the studio this week working on the mixtape and it’s almost done, it will be coming out soon.

TWU: You’ve previously said people need to work together more in the UK scene for it to benefit. Who else in the UK would you collaborate with?

Fekky: I believe in ‘moments’ – I don’t like forcing things. A lot of the stuff I’ve done is natural. If I worked with someone it wouldn’t be what people would expect from me. I’d like to work with The Streets.

TWU: You’ve got an exciting track dropping soon with Dizzee Rascal. How did this come around and what was it like working with him?

Fekky: I made a track and I hollered at him on Twitter; we weren’t even following each other. At first he wasn’t quite sure… he was going through what he was going through. I managed to get the track to him somehow. I was sitting down with my family and I looked at my email and he’d sent me the verse. We linked up and chilled; he’s cool and he’s got a passion for the music. It’s good to be around people that have done it and I’m always asking him questions and trying to learn from him. The track is dropping real soon and you’re going to love it. I feel like it’s going to be a moment! It’s crazy, it’s got energy.

November 27, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: P Money [Interview]

South London’s P Money has definitely earned his stripes as one of the most gifted MC’s of this generation. The early 20-something OGz member is known for his fast, skippy flow and crazy energy he brings to a track and on stage. He’s not one dimensional either, coming from grime you can also hear him spitting on dubstep beats and r&b. Growing up (like most grime MC’s) on pirate radio, he soon became a well-known figure after hits like ‘Ho’, ‘Slang Like This’ and touring with Magnetic ManThe Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner catches up with him to talk about his forthcoming shows.

TWU: What do you think makes you different from other MC’s?

PM: Being an MC means it’s easy to just write lyrics, but it’s not easy for everyone else to be able to relate to you. Even down to things such as not using the ‘n’ word and things like that, I think that’s what separates me. A lot of people don’t take that into consideration and realise things like that do actually matter. The moment you say certain things you limit yourself – that is something I never wanted to do.

TWU: Do you think your lyrics reflects your personality? When you write or spit is there another persona that comes out?

PM: The only other persona that comes out is the loudness. If you were around me, I’m always quiet and I analyze stuff. I’m fine sitting down with a few friends watching something, I don’t speak – I’m fine just watching the TV. People who know me and hear my music are like “OMG who is this person? Your loud, you’re speaking.” I think that’s the only difference. When you listen to my lyrics its 100% me – the kind of sarcasm, funny jokes I make… everyone knows that’s who I am.

TWU: ‘Sweet Shop’ and ‘Slang Like This’ were tracks that were perhaps the ones that got you noticed. What are your personal favourite tracks?

PM: My personal favourite would probably be ‘Family’ with Ed Sheeran. He is one of the best people I’ve ever worked with. He broke a different side out of me. He brought a whole different flow, a whole different way of creating a song; I’d never done a track like that before. It means a lot to me because it’s a true story about a car crash I had a few years ago and it’s pretty deep. When I released the track I got feedback from people that had accidents before or knew people that had been in accidents, so it was good to know I related to them and touched them.

TWU: We have LOTM5 coming up. What MC’s do you think this year should clash, and what do you think of the ones already in the pipeline?

PM: I think the Maxsta and Lil Nasty clash will be a good one; they’re both from similar backgrounds, been in the game from young, they both have been around the same kind of people. They’re both grime at heart and they both go hard. I definitely think more of the bigger MC’s should get involved and come back and do it just for the fun of it. Even if they’re two friends. It’s got to a point where clashing is starting to become hostile again; it got to a point where it wasn’t, one week you would hear Ghetts and Wiley then Ghetts and Skepta on radio. It was never hostile, it was all entertainment and excitement, but now because no one really knows each other because it’s not just London based, they have no form of friendship so it can turn hostile. If the MC’s that are more established and know each other come back and do something for the fun of it, it will bring back the fun side to it again and it can go further.

TWU: You tweeted Jammer in regards to clashing Big H saying ‘Let’s do it, let’s talk business.’ What happened?

PM: Big H said he will clash anyone and someone said P Money and he can’t back down, because he said anyone. He tweeted ‘yea I’ll do it’ I said ‘cool let’s do it’. He’s been around a long time – you could say he has a legendary status. In terms of it definitely happening I’m not entirely sure, I think it will, it just might not happen on this one… it might happen on the next one.

TWU: Dot Rotten called out Jammer. What’s your take on this? What do you also think of this statement? He said ‘Insects – (the grime scene’s like a flea circus)’

PM: I think that statement is nothing but disrespectful. You can’t diss something that made you, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like the people in it there, it’s a part of what made you. Everybody has your old CD’s, your old mixtapes and vinyl releases of ‘Bazooka’ when you were producing grime tracks that made you. You weren’t Dot Rotten, you started out as Young Dot so it’s disrespectful to do that. If I started doing rap now and went and dissed grime, it’s disrespectful, that’s what made me and got me where I am now. It’s just rude.

In terms of him calling out Jammer I’m not sure, I think they may have a personal thing… I’m not sure. I think he’s trying to say Jammer’s the host but he’s never clashed. I know he had his thing with Snakeyman but that was all fun and games. Snakeyman doesn’t take music as his thing – clashing isn’t his thing. Normally when you look at rap battles the host is not an MC or a rapper, he’s literally a host. So I think what Dot is trying to say is ‘you can’t be just the host because you tried to clash Snakeyman.’

TWU: You’ve also got your headline shows coming up. How are you feeling about these?

PM: You can expect to hear my EP live along with one or two tracks off my album. The first track I start with is the intro off my album. I’m going to be there early, not sitting backstage… I’m going to be out there; if people want to talk to me, they can. I’m giving people free t-shirts, I’m going to have conversations… I like talking to my fans. That’s normal, I think that’s how it should be. I’m not some alien.

You can get P’s ‘Round The Clock’ EP now.

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September 23, 2013

Lunar C Talks Good Times and Dead Brain Cells, Yorkshire Talent and Bold Twitter Statements [Interview]

Lunar C is well known for his battling days with the coveted Don’t Flop where although he only did 6 battles he won all of them leaving undefeated. Following on from the release of his 2012 mixtape ‘SewerSideSex’, he is back to show a more deep and personal side to him with his new EP ‘Good Times and Dead Brain Cells’.

You are due to release your EP ‘Good Times and Dead Brain Cells’ in a few weeks. Tell us how you have far you have come from the 2012 release of ‘Sewer Side Sex’ and how this shows your development as an artist.

It’s come a long way, there’s a lot more deep, personal stuff on there. I just think overall it’s a lot more better, a lot more personal, the things I talk about and the subjects I touch on and the concepts. There’s a good mix of stuff, I reckon it’s an all round improvement on my other material.

Can you go into more detail the personal subject matters you talk about?

There’s a track called ‘Good Times and Dead Brain Cells’ it’s a loose concept about life and embodies what I mean when I say good times and dead brain cells. It explains what the concept is talking about; you kind of have to listen to it to know what I mean. There’s another one on there called ‘Contradict’ which is about how I contradict myself a lot, and how I look at things differently when I’m in different moods. It shows how I’m a bit egotistical and self depreciative at the same time, all the things about my personality that contradict each other.

Do you find it hard delving into your personal life and exposing yourself?

It’s new to me I’ve never really done that, especially with battles and stuff I usually keep things like that close to my chest so I don’t give anyone any ammo. It’s not the most natural thing to me in the world but I definitely enjoy it.

Your working with a lot of really strong upcoming artists such as Mic Righteous and Scrufizzer, what other collaborations can we see on the EP?

There’s not a lot of MC’s on the EP. I got them two on the track because they’re my favourite two new UK rappers at the moment. Other than that I’ve just got Orifice Vulgatron from Foreign Beggars who I’ve been a fan of since I was young with Pete Cannon and Wizard on production.

Was there any decision to not choose more established artists?

I did try and get one other artist on there who is kind of big but the collab didn’t happen, so I’m not going to lie and say I purposely didn’t try and get big artists on there. It was never the intention to have big names on it in the first place. It’s more about who sounds good on the track.

Not many names come to mind when I think of MCs from Bradford. Has your initial success inspired more of a scene in Yorkshire, and is there anyone from your neck of the woods you think we should look out for?

There’s kind of a movement going on up north in West Yorkshire everyone called it WY, they have t-shirts like the Yankees one but instead of NY it’s WY, a lot of people are pushing that. There’s quite a few artists doing their thing like Chief Wiggs, Minus, people in my crew Fly Tippers. DS Fam who have been doing there things for a long time. Craze Nott have got a new project coming out which should be amazing. Everybody also look out for Jack Flash he’s going to be doing some massive stuff soon.

A lot of rappers in the battling scene stay there and don’t really make ‘tracks’. Did you always know that you weren’t going to stay on that scene forever?

It was always the plan, I did music before battling so it was always just a thing where it was just to get me some hype for my music. I was always aware of the fact that battlers always get caught in the loop of just having to battle until they fall off and they become irrelevant and never really do anything with the hype that they have gained. I always wanted to do what Eminem and Professor Green have done; they actually used the hype for their music and actually got somewhere. They didn’t get eaten up by the battle scene and that’s what I aimed for.

That’s what propelled you into the limelight and got you recognition so will you ever return?

I don’t think I will ever return I’m grateful for what it’s done, but I always saw it for what it was. Myself and the people that run it Eurgh, we always had a clear understanding of why I was there, I was always there to promote my music. Admittedly I only wanted to do one battle but I ended up doing 6 because there was a demand for it..

You said this statement on Twitter “I can’t lie theres MC’s I rate but cant listen to coz I think they are a b*****d”. Is there anyone in particular this applies to for you especially in the UK. Don’t you think there music is more important then their personality or do you think artists have to have image, personality and music?

Yes but I don’t want to say there name and give them promo because there a b*****d. I think people took what I said on Twitter a bit too personal. I don’t have to personally no or like someone to rate their music, that’s not what I was saying at all. I just think there are some artists who have a really s**t attitude towards what they are doing, and when that shines through in your music and your actually talking with that perspective in your music it just ruins it for me. Dudes who are clearly from a rough place who have been doing grime music and rapping about guns and knives for years but now there an established artist, they don’t need to still be proving that that’s who they are. It’s not positive for anyone, there’s a time and place to talk about violent stuff, I’m all for that I do it myself, if deep down that’s all your trying to promote and prove to people your some road guy, it’s a s**t attitude to have, that just makes me hate some artists. 

You’ve always come out with some quite funny stuff on Twitter, does this ever get you hate, what kind of reaction do you get?

I think most people no I don’t take myself too seriously and I’m winding people up. Some people do take what I say seriously though. I said something like “real rappers take heroin” and I’ve been getting questions about whether I take heroin. I put the worst things up sometimes just to make people talk and it works. Real rappers don’t take heroin by the way!

Apart from yourself who in the UK hip hop/rap scene do you think deserves to blow and why?

Jack Flash he’s been doing a lot of stuff that people aren’t taking notice of, but I think soon they will. Mic Righteous, Scrufizzer. I rate Remus he’s Farma G’s son, Chester P’s nephew, there UK hip hop legends. Now he’s a bit older he’s doing his own thing, I reckon he will be one of the sickest artists. I’ve done a track with Remus and the Rascals on their EP so look out for that.

 *Published on SBTV on 18th September 2013.
September 2, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up: DJ Muggs [Interview]

DJ Muggs makes up one fourth of Cypress Hill – the groundbreaking Latino quartet and one of raps most successful collectives hailing from America’s West Coast. He is a true hip-hop legend and visionary, known for mixing different sounds to create innovative music – and his latest album ‘Bass For Your Face’ is no different. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner talks to him about mixing the British born dubstep sound with hip-hop whilst featuring a UK grime legend and some exciting US rappers…

“Everyone was trying to copy Dr Dre and that West Coast sound. We pretty much did the opposite of that and did our own thing. You didn’t have to copy him to make a ‘West Coast’ sound – make your own style and sound! You can still be from the West Coast but stop following suit; bring something fresh to the table.

“I’ve been a fan of electronic music since day one. I started off playing techno in Detroit… back then it was all gangsters; the crowds were all pretty much Latino and black all the gang bangers were pop locking to it. Now I DJ a lot, and I always look for new music to put in my sets.  I play a lot of electronic festivals around the world; I wanted to make more music to play in my sets so I made this record [‘Bass For Your Face’].

“I wanted to make it with an underground hip-hop spirit. Bring some of these hip-hop kids, open their ears and give them a different sound. A lot of rock kids back in the day didn’t like hip-hop but they liked Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, they liked Run DMC… I wanted to open their minds to different sounds.

“I wanted to get more underground MC’s like Roc Marciano. The song I did with Dizzee [Rascal] – I wanted it to sound like an 80’s West Coast hip-hop record. I have a friend called Bun B who is friends with Dizzee, and Dizzee was in LA and he said ‘I want you to get in the studio’. So he came through and we recorded about four songs; Dizzee asked me what I was working on so I played him a record aBun Bnd he said ‘I want to get on there’. I said ‘word, get on it,’ so he jumped on it.

Danny Brown is another MC on the album and one of my favourite’s out here right now. I didn’t want a full song, just some words from him. Chuck D’s been a favourite of mine for years; that song has more of a rock edge to it, so I wanted him on that and we worked on it together.

“I have been coming to the UK since the 90’s, and I’ve spent months out there at a time. I used to go see Goldie and the Metalheadz all the time; I did some remixes for them. From the jungle days to drum and bass, 2 step days, garage days… for all that stuff, I’ve been over there. Last time I was there I went to a couple of grime shows – I love the energy. I was out there with the guys from No Hats No Hoods.

“When I first started hearing dubstep in about 2007, I was like ‘what is this?’ – it worked with hip-hop. What I noticed about dubstep was hip-hop heads liked it. A lot of them didn’t like jungle and drum & bass because of the tempos. They liked this because it reminded them of early electronic music… The culture is changing out here [in LA] too. A lot of hip-hop kids couldn’t mess with it because it was real funny – everyone had glow sticks and vaporizers over their mouths. Finally, there is a type of electronic music that the hip-hop and rock kids can get into, and not only the dance crowd.

“What made me take notice of dubstep were the early Rusko records, the early Benga and Skream records and all those early Loefah records. Loefah had me when I first heard him – I was like ‘what the f**k is that?’ Loefah’s s**t was banging. I would love to work with anyone of them guys. Anything that inspires me to make more music and try new sounds and styles – that’s what it’s all about.”

*Published 22nd May 2013