Posts tagged ‘M9’

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

January 4, 2013

MTV The Wrap Up – UK Rap Rundown: The 2012 Round Up

It’s been a good year, especially for UK rap – we have seen it grow and reach some great heights. I have only been writing The Wrap Up’s UK Rap Rundown for six months, starting in July when I reported for you from L.A for the BET Awards. Now that it’s the last UK Rap Rundown of 2012, I guess I should do what everyone else is doing and give you guys a wrap up of the year. But I’m not going to do that; I’m going to give you some of my personal highlights – you may or may not agree, but this is what is what caught my attention and went down for me…

A female that has really impressed me this year is Shystie; from working with Azealia Banks to her videos and mixtape ‘Gold Dust 2’. This lady has really been putting in the work, proving even though she’s been in it for a while she’s still strong and here to stay.

South London’s windy music duo Ard Adz and Sho Shallow really caught my eye this year. Releasing their ‘P.U.S.H’ mixtape, putting out many videos and also being nominated for MTV’s Unsigned for 2013, these two are destined for big things.

Genesis Elijah has also had an outstanding year. Being a more established name in the game and one many look up to, he just keeps evolving and getting better. He released a few mixtapes such as ‘I Ain’t Even Charging Bruv 2’ and ‘An Emcees Worst Enemy’ – a standout track for me was ‘Underground King’.

Let’s look at some other mixtapes that deserve a mention. K. Koke’s ‘Pure Koke 3’ is the last in the ‘Pure Koke’ series which started with Vol 1 in 2010. Vol 3 saw a mixture of new and old tracks, with a standout track for me being ‘I’m Nice’. We also have the ‘I Ain’t Perfect’ album to look forward to from Koke next year.

Political Peak’s ‘Dreams 2 Reality’ caused quite a stir when it was released. He also put out many visuals to some of the tracks, including ‘Times Have Changed’, ‘Tables Have Turnt’ and ‘Tears In The Rain’.

Dru Blu has had a good year, releasing his street album ‘ This Is Don Strapzy’ and recently releasing a mixtape ‘Best Of Dru Blu’ – along with a flurry of videos and tracks to keep us entertained throughout the year.

Margate rapper Mic Righteous is definitely destined for big things in 2013. At the beginning of the year he released his second mixtape ‘Kampain’ which thoroughly impressed me. He also had the infamous beef with Tim Westwood, releasing a diss track to him called ‘Sack City’.  Look out for the ‘Open Mic’ EP, coming early next year.

‘Wretchercise’ was definitely a big one this year, with Wretch 32 being many people’s favourite rapper. He definitely showed us why he was worthy of this title, as he gave us a first class 17-track deep tape.

Ratlin’s ‘Crown Me’ mixtape which was released in December and had a heavy buzz; with a solid two years in the game, Ratlin has quickly cemented his position in the UK rap game. Squeeks ‘Call Me Squeeko’ caught my attention from the beginning till the end, with ‘I Got You’ being my favourite track refixing The Weeknd’s ‘Rolling Stone’.

Melanin 9 aka M9’s album ‘Magna Carta’ is one we can’t miss; the album is a firm favourite for UK hip-hop heads. Mystro’s ‘Mystrogen’ was a cleverly crafted, witty debut album from the emcee that reflected his full range of skills, including wordplay and social commentary.

Blade Brown’s ‘Bags & Boxes 2’ made it high in the iTunes charts, as an independent artist this showed Blade’s progression and for me, he became the king of UK trap. Skepta’s ‘Blacklisted’ is another one we can’t miss out, with standout tracks ‘Ace Hood Flow’ and ‘Castles’.

There we go guys – my personal highlights of the year. Unfortunately I couldn’t mention all of them, but regardless I hope you have enjoyed my updates in UK rap for the past six months. Happy New Year – I’ll see you on the other side!

November 13, 2012

Skooled By Melanin 9 (M9) [Bars] – S1.EP2

SBTV releases the second episode of the first in it’s series of the Skooled By Series. For the second one they bring you Melanin 9, check it out.

September 11, 2012

MTV Wrap UP: The UK Rap Rundown [News]

I’m back after a week’s holiday in the beautiful country of Croatia for Outlook Festival, where I caught Akala’s set and the Don’t Flop Battle alongside much more. I had no technology out there, which was wonderful, thus missing my last week’s rap column. I’m back now and here to fill you with this week’s happenings in the wonderful world of rap…

Whilst I was away a new Rapper Tag UK came out. Rapper Tag has been going on for just under a year and is an online cypher that started off with Mystro. You get a wide array of the UK’s finest spitting their bars before tagging another deserving rapper to join in.

Dubbledge tagged Iron Brayd for the latest one, who at the end appears to tag in North London’s M9 aka Melanin 9… watch out for his Rapper Tag video.

Political Peak released his video for ‘Tears In The Rain’ featuring Exo who sings the hook. The track is taken from his forthcoming mixtape ‘Dreams To Reality’, which is set to drop on September 29. You can catch Political Peak supporting the Maybach Music tour on Wednesday.

Ratlin and Squeeks joined forces for their new video ‘Not Gonna Change’ featuring singer Karina, bringing us into their world and discussing the past and present. True Tiger released their EP ‘Eye Of The Tiger Vol 2’ with one noticeable track for me called ‘Even In Death’, which hears Mic Righteous spitting over the producers beat.

Rap City recently released a video from their ‘Lost Files’ series. ‘Not Guilty’ comes from Joe Black’s ‘Realionaire’ mixtape which came out last year. We should be seeing Joe’s ‘Realionaire 2’ soon as he recently tweeted:, “NO MORE TWEETS UNTIL #REALIONAIRE2 IS READY.”

The multi-talented artist/radio presenter/battle rapper Mr 13 brought us a video release called ‘Kick Back Part 2’, which was shot at the 2012 Nottinghill Carnival and comes from his recent EP ‘Pain Is Inevitable, Suffering Is Optional’.

I was at the USG clothing shoot on last week with SquingyLeftyK. Koke and Exo for their new merchandise collaboration with Avit Clothing. Squingy was also shooting parts of his music video to the track ‘Deeper’ from his ‘Wrighty’s 1st Son Part 2’ mixtape. Watch out for the music video to ‘Deeper’ coming soon!

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, head down to Peterborough for the Boombap Hip-Hop Festival, which takes place between the 14-16 September and features artists such as Kyza SmirnoffDabblaPhi-Life Cypher and Jehst.

Until next time!