Man Of Met – Pac Poster (prod. Pharoahe Rocher) [Interview]

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Dense, gritty, unpolished

  • Tell us a few things about your new work Pac Poster.

The title comes from a 2pac poster I used to have in my room when I was a kid, as mentioned in the song. The song itself is sort of about comparing yourself to contemporaries and legends in a field, and the exasperation those comparisons can lead to. I had originally written the verse to a much softer piano beat, but it didn’t really fit. While assembling this project with the work of Pharoahe Rocher, I realized one of the beats he gave me was a perfect fit for the verse.

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

Nas is my favorite rapper. The whole ‘favorite lyricist’ thing is always dependent on mood, so I’ll say THESE DAYS it’s probably Roc Marciano. Favorite producer, it’s the same thing. Dependent on mood. Right now, I’m really feeling Hudson Mohawke.

  • What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?

Hip-hop in my opinion symbolizes the working class, the underdog, the oppressed. It’s the music of people told they didn’t deserve anything more than what their rulers had allowed for them. I think that also plays a lot into why hip-hop has such a preoccupation with authenticity.

  • Very cool artwork. Who is the brain behind it?

If we wanna get technical, the REAL brain behind the cover was Ron Lim, the legendary penciller behind many classic Marvel stories, including Thanos Quest. I shamelessly co-opted the imagery of The Gardener’s death from that story. Its personal significance and relevance to this project, especially to songs like Snowflake, should be apparent to anyone familiar with the source material. I relayed the idea to zonekidd, a very talented graphic designer I met through Instagram, and they provided the finished product.

  • What would you change in the music industry?

Introduce more diversity in messaging. The problem isn’t that there are songs about bitches and drugs on the radio, the problem is that there’s virtually ONLY songs about bitches and drugs on the radio.

Bigger picture, I would work to repeal the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

  • Future plans?

Flowers By Force at the end of March, More Vibe Than Voice at the end of April, and a half dozen other projects throughout the year.

  • Thank you!

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V – No Church On Sunday [interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

HELL in DIGITAL FORMAT (lol).. Sike naw.. In 3 words – Revolutionary, Melanated and Unapologetic..

Tell us a few things about your song “No Church On Sunday”. What is the main idea behind it?

#NCOS is a revelation.. Truth and reconciliation.. Divinely designed for our time and generation.. The main idea

What does hip hop symbolize in your opinion?

It used to be culture.. Now it’s a weapon.. One that we created but no longer control.. The opps have been monetizing and manipulating off of it for long time but all tides change and this is the wave right here – 40M..

How Important are political statements by music artists? Can music have an impact on politics?

Depends on the artist and what they have to say.. Entertainers are now cultural and generational leaders, not necessarily the voices OF the people but moreso voices FOR the culture with millions of followers.. If they use a certain word, their followers will too.. If they wear certain clothes, then their followers will too so its only logical to think that the same applies to politics.. I can write a book on all that but to keep it brief, Donald Trump didn’t use his last act in office to “pardon” Lil’ Wayne and Kodak because he’s a fan or because he “sympathized” with them.. Just think about that..

For which lyric you are most proud of?

(lol) To keep it a k, I am proud of all of them.. But as far as #NCOS, the most important takeaway for my people would be – “still today, still today – you’re still a slave to your religious ways.. Meanwhile crackers sin away and give a f* if n**s really feel a way..”

Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

I don’t actually have a favorite rapper but we’re heavy on the drill vibes as you can see and we support any of our people pushing the culture forward, especially on some revolutionary s***.. Favorite lyricist would have to be Bob Marley and my favorite producers right now are Saint Cardona and Sammy Samples obviously (lol)..

Any future plan?

Yeah, organize my people and initiate the first successful revolution of “Blacks” in modern history.. In the meantime, we have a series of singles we’ll be releasing over the next year leading up to a mixtape in 2022.. It’s going to be crazy too, Big 40M s***!

Thank you!

Facebook/Instagram

Valhalla Kid – There’s Good Days and Bad Days [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Sad lefty boi

What is the main topic of your lyrics?

For my last EP it was definitely a drive to convey an emotional/political rock bottom I had reached a few years back, as well as how difficult it felt to get out of it because of internal and external pessimisms.

How Important are political statements by music artists? Can music have an impact on politics?

Very. Everything is political, even a lack of politics is a passive affirmation of the status quo. So yeah, 100% if anyone has a platform and they do nothing with it they’re complicit in purely funding themselves. All art can have a political impact, but politics shouldn’t stop at art, material change is fundamental.

What would you change in the music industry?

It’s incredibly predatory. The mainstream face of music is run by execs who not only dip their toes in creative control, but abuse the artists in all kinds of ways and are protected by capital. All of that would need to go. The commercial aspect of the music industry does just as much to choke out the beauty of music as it does to source out talent, but much of that change can’t happen without systemic change, sadly.

Favorite UK Hiphop album of the past decade?

If we’re talking strict hip hop I still keep going back to Jam Baxter’s Touching Scenes regularly. If this were about grime tho, I’m yet to hear anything as colourful and wild as The Calm Before the Storm by Ghetts.

Best film you watched during the last year?

One film that really spoke to me recently was Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot.

One last thing we should know about you?

My music wouldn’t be possible without the help of 3 other amazing artists I regularly work with: LumbeRoss, Orange Bloom and OS Elliott.

Thank you!

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LumbeRoss – There Are Concentration Camps in Xinjiang [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Art pop rap.

Tell us a few things about your new track

So I was living in China for nearly two years and I returned back to the UK about two months ago. I loved my time there, but I feel a moral duty to speak out against the CCP’s persecution of Turkic minority groups. Because I’m a brown dude with a beard, people in China frequently mistook me for Muslim, which I’m kind of used to, but also sometimes mistook me for Uyghur. For the most part, people were nice, but I occasionally sensed animosity from police, taxi drivers, etc. On one occasion, a taxi driver took me to the police station instead of my home so they could question me, and another time a taxi driver called security on me when I asked to go to The Great Mosque in Xi’an. This was just a tiny glimpse into their suffering.

I wrote this track about a year ago, but I was too scared to release it then. Anonymous sources have previously informed me about cases where their friends have been taken to the concentration camps and tortured, so you can see I was rightfully scared to release it while I lived in China. All funds from this single go towards the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

How important are political statements by music artists? Can music have an impact on politics?

Political statements by artists are very important, as with most art. I feel like most young people nowadays, or maybe I’m just speaking about myself, become passionate about social causes because of art. My introduction to politics was probably System of a Down in my teenage years. Since then, I’ve been a vocal critic of the American prison industry, western imperialism and institutionalised racism. I’m not saying that Nas could release a track that would directly change the American constitution, but a song by him could start discussions that would make people more critical. I think that’s why visual art, music and films are heavily censored in China; good art can be a threat to the status quo.

Tell us something that you loved about China and something that you hated during the period of time you lived there.

Loved: the people. The kindness of the people there was unlike anything I’ve seen before. If you look lost or confused, like 4 or 5 people will come over to try and help you out. So different to the UK.
Hated: Privileged expats that came over to avoid political correctness in the west and to be creeps to local women. My city in China was, for whatever reason, filled with holocaust deniers and borderline sex offenders. I think many come over to Asian countries so they can spew their racist bullshit without repercussions and commit sexual assaults without being punished.

Favourite album of the past year?

Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now.

Favorite film ever?

Oof, difficult. Maybe The Handmaiden by Park Chan Wook.

One last thing we should know about you?

I’m in a political hip hop collective called Lowlives Collective! Check our stuff out if you want to get angry.

Thank you!

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RaneRaps – Step One [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words​

Uncompromising. Visceral. Vivacious.

What is the biggest challenge of being an independent artist today?

The “always on” content creation culture is an absolute nightmare! Building a following and creating platform-specific content across the many social media apps is a massive challenge. All for the sake of directing them to stream/buy your music! It seems that in orderto release a 3-minute song these days, you need to do everything but make good music. Launching a dance challenge, daily Tik Tok skits, and recording every moment for vlog content shouldn’t be a MUST for a song or artist to achieve some velocity. I find it grossly unsustainable and just flat out exhausting. It makes me feel like I’m not doing enough for mycareer because I’m not everywhere or everywhere all of the time.

Ultimately, I rather sharpen my songwriting, production, and other skills that translate intobecoming a master musician, not take on the role of content-creator for the sake of beating an algorithm.

What would be your dream performance venue?

I’d love to play a sold-out crowd in a massive arena like the Staples Center. While I do appreciate the intimacy of smaller venues, playing a large stage just feels right. And with my ego, I tell myself that I deserve it. I know I can make the world move.

In fact, I always picture my performance and the crowd reaction when I write songs. I grew up in the church and witnessed first-hand how “call and response” creates larger than life moments. Anyone who’s ever been to a RaneRaps show knows I leave it all on stage (even at risk of injury haha) for the sake of their enjoyment. The “I” becomes “we” when the crowd is singing back your lyrics, flailing about, and unapologetically letting loose to free their mind,body, and spirit.

And it’s the collective experience that fills me with joy. I love my life as is and derive happiness from simple things, but performing music reminds me how it feels to be alive and I chase that endorphin release continuously.

Why not achieve bliss on a large stage in front of thousands of fans? The more happiness I can impart on the world in this limited time that I’m allowed, the better.

You have already been featured in Spotify editorial playlists. Is Spotify the musicindustry’s new Gatekeepers?

Spotify is premier in breaking artists. It’s the nature of the game when so much of the industry is run by the algorithm, numbers, and playlisting. Granted you’re not guaranteed along career if you land on Rap Caviar but a Spotify cosign can create stars seemingly overnight. It’s the possibility of discoverability that keeps us musicians chasing success with playlists – most notably Spotify editorial playlists. And being discovered for one good song and following it up with another can take you from mom’s basement to label meetings and now the cover of that very playlist you were first discovered on. Slow growth (which most of us experience) is better than no growth but who could say no to ​accelerated​ growth? Sign me up and sign me up now!

Best Hip-Hop album ever?

A tough one indeed! I love so many albums for different reasons but I’ll go with OutKast’s “ATLiens”.

ATLiens caught my ear, from the instrumentals to the lyrics themselves. I spend a lot of time alone and the storytelling in their songs sounds like thoughts you’d have on a random Tuesday at 3:43pm. Oddly specific description I understand but my point is aside from late in the night, that’s probably when you’ll catch yourself reflecting on life and assessing all of the wins, conflicts, and more surrounding you at the time.While I don’t agree with all of thegroup’s stances on certain issues, I love their willingness to hold steadfast to their individualand collective identities, deliver tough love much like an older brother would, and vulnerably ponder life in front of us all as if they were thinking aloud.

A close second would be A Tribe Called Quest’s “The Low End Theory”. I listened to this album a lot in high school, but what made it special was the carpools to school with my younger brother. Our commute was at least 35 minutes each morning, so we had a lot of time to bond. It was magical trading lyrics with him to our favorite ATCQ songs. Seeing him happy and enjoying life made me cry tears of joy inside. Til this day he knows those songs just as well as he did then and I can hear him bumping them on occasion.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

Fun fact: I usually binge movies about every 5-6 weekends when I need to recharge creatively. However, I haven’t watched movies so much in quarantine, so the films I’m choosing from are a bit slim. The best film would have to be Sweeney Todd. Yes, I’m ​just now​ seeing it in 2020. But, I can explain! That movie traumatized me since I first saw the trailer. I love gore but as a kid, it was simply too much. Earlier this year I was speaking to a friend about it and she revealed that it’s in fact a musical of all things. In true RaneRaps fashion, I added it to My List on Netflix and put it off for another few weeks.

When I finally dug into it, I had the time of my life. The grim story drew me in and the aesthetic… *chefs kiss*. The building tension to Johnny Depp enacting revenge on LordTurpin was a tough one but my desires were finally met. And while it didn’t inspire a ​song(dear Lord, I hope I wouldn’t be role-playing a demon barber lol), it refreshed my creativity and allowed me to push onward in my quest to unite the world under this groove.

Any future plans?

My main plans for 2021: create more brand awareness with singles and release my debut album. My fan base knows ​exactly​ who I am: a wild man who happens to make wild music. I type this as I chant adlibs to myself… Anyways, the world at large (aka a large slice of theinternet) doesn’t know I exist. I want to change this by delivering singles that showcase myknack for catchy tunes that remain authentic to my life story. And when I’ve imprinted upon this larger audience great music and bring them into my world, I’ll deliver my debut album. Regardless, the album is coming Fall 2021 or earlier. And some may call me biased but thequality of music… it sounds like a greatest hits. I can’t wait!

Thank you!

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Happy Walters – Paid Vacation [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Real Raw Hip Hop

What is the biggest difference from being in the booth instead of being behind the boards?

thats a good question, when im behind the boards producing or writing its for someone else, its their song, their style, sound etc. When im in the booth im giving you my thoughts, feelings, basically giving you ME and its exciting cause you dont know how people are going to take it in and if they’re going to like it. Some people have told me they love my beats but love my music more and some fans have told me the opposite lol…

For which lyric you are most proud of?

I Aint Here To Change The Game Im Just Here To Play It

Best Hip Hop album ever?

Nas – Illmatic for me is the greatest hip hop album of all time, its also my go to for inspiration

What would you change in the music industry?

A lot! the industry now is like all the artists out right now, just follows the trends and goes where
the money is. One say someone is HOT and the next they’re gone and someone similar comes out next with one good song and is the next big thing until
they disappear and it just keeps going.

Favorite music related film?

my favorite music related film would actually be Jay-Z’s “Fade To Black” when i need inspiration i watch that, seeing him work in the studio is very inspiring, especially when you watch him and Kanye West work together.

Any future plans?

Yes!, i have a lot of music coming out in 2021 and i will be releasing more home concerts as well until venues open back up and i can hit the stage, i had to cancel a lot of shows here in minnesota and LA due to covid

Thank you!

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Jay Suttin x Jack Bashful – À La Carte [Interview]

Describe your sound in three words

Eclectic. Imaginative. Deliberate.

Boiled under lockdown in digital kitchens. Many people suggested that Lockdown could turn out to be one of the most creative times. What are your thoughts?

Yeah I think so, it’s been a great reset for a lot of creative people finally free to play and collaborate, hopefully once things go back to ‘normal’ everyone can remember to set aside a more proportionate slice of their time to their creative processes.

Is these days the impact of rap music on youths positive?

Overall, unfortunately no, I don’t think it is. It used to be when hip hop music was about bringing people together and being a creative outlet for those unattached to mainstream society and culture and while pockets of that do remain I think nowadays it’s a cartoonish parody of itself where style is everything, content is an afterthought and for any actually talented young people it can be very difficult to be heard over the noise of all these voices shouting so loudly with so little to say.

Do you think there is a true underground hip hop sound today?

I don’t think there’s any ‘one true underground sound’ There will always be people who want to bend rules and blend genres and create ‘new’ vibes and personally I think that in itself is the truest expression of hiphop; something which sonically is always evolving but at its core, it respects the values at the foundation of what hiphop is, or was. It can be crusty boombap or wavy bass driven drill but there should always be an artistic merit and creative worth and for me the lyrics should always evoke some kind of emotional reaction from the listener.

Best Hip Hop album ever?

Wouldn’t call anything a ‘best ever’ but I have a great nostalgic affiliation with the slim shady LP so I’ll go with that

Favorite music related film?

Again not a favourite but ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ is worth a watch, it tells the story of faded 70s musician Sixto Rodriguez who, unbeknownst to himself, was a household name in South Africa

Any future plans?

Stacks of new music and videos to come out of my label G A C K in the coming months, my own next album ‘Yodecahedron’ will be dropping early next year and pandemic depending a return to stages ASAP

Thank you!

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Slippery Trashmouf – What the Fuck [Interview]

  • Describe your sound in three words

From The Underpasses

  • Existential nihilism, drug dependency. Is rap one of the best forms of self therapy?

Nah, honestly the best form of therapy for me has been various meditative/mental exercises? Rap has been a very good way to vent my problems and i suppose elements of it like gigs and making music with friends are very therapuetic. Honestly i’m still tryna find a therapist/get some medication and im still chain smoking spliffs, though i will say it definitely helped me stop doing psychedelics at every available opportunity. Life’s becoming a bit of a trip innit.

  • How do you relate to the Scotland music scene?

It’s a love/hate relationship honestly.
There’s a lot of garbage, there’s a lot of people who think that because they’ve had a rough background they deserve more attention despite not having the skills/actual mindset to achieve it.
I think that focusing too much on the ‘scottish’ element can really stop your reach, my second largest listener base according to spotify artists is london. Its less about relating to the scene and more about finding individuals that you relate to/relate with you I guess.

  • Favorite hip hop album of the past decade?

Uuuhh damn okay that’s a hard one tbh.
The livi boy in me says LIV 3 by LIV (check it on bandcamp its a love letter to Scotland’s rap scene) cause it was the first tape i was ever on that wasn’t mine and my first time really working properly with other artists, Spawn Zero and Barz Fury (whos last solo albums both also could have taken that spot)

On a non hometeam vibe, Babau by Tzusan, or maybe idk CLBRKS last double tape? Sniff also just dropped a banger? I don’t really listen to a lot of music tbh aha.

  • Do you have an artist that you would describe as a hidden gem that we should know about?

Okay i’m definitely cheating but Sleep’s Cousin and Spacepope kinda sound the same vocally so i have a theory they’re the same person. Kaput by Sleep’s Cousin pulls me outta panic attacks, Celladwella by Spacepope makes me wanna cause em to other people.

  • This is your first E.P. Any future plans?

Goddamn do I?

Nah I do aha, lots actually:Postulated Substance Abuse is my next tape, just waiting on final masters from Barz who’s also featuring along with Spawn and entirely produced by Hypnokid (its kinda lofi kinda meditative kinda acidrap)
Theres a collab tape with Dimwitted and Franky coming together, follow @speaksleazy on Instagram cause i cant really say much right now its all in beta phases but we are working on something that will hopefully help bridge the gap between ‘scottish hiphop’ and the ‘uk hiphop scene’ cause somebody bloody has to.

Other than that I’ve just dropped three singles and a feature on Mackenzies last album and one on Spacepope’s last e.p. too, Spawn says i did a feature for his next tape but apparently i was out my face cause i cant remember recording it at all but he says its good and i trust him.

  • Favorite music related film?

Uuuuhhh… I don’t really watch films tbh.
Can I just say the What The Fuck music video on youtube cause all i have in my noggin as far as films go is The Bad Batch and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas and i was waaaay too baked to remember the soundtracks (except white rabbit in the bath obvs)

Thank you!

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Israel Nke – Dream State [Interview]

  • Describe your sound in three words

Soulful, storytelling, rap.

  • Is there a happy memory from your prison experience you would like to share with us?

The fact that i was able to do an exam( A Level Maths) and got an A grade, I was stoked because i put the work in then got the results.

  • What are the top three things that need to change in prison?

The food, more intense Education and More visiting time.

  • Best Hip Hop album ever?

Get rich or die trying

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer?

Kendrick Lamar, Jcole and am not sure

  • Do you have an artist that you would describe as a hidden gem that we should know about?

Sorry not sure

  • What would you change in the music industry?

Sexualisation and racism.

  • Any future plans? 

My future plan is to use my sound to wave.

Follow Israel Nke
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Samad Savage – Don’t [Interview]

  • Please Introduce yourself

SKOODWIDIT, I’m Samad Savage, repping Montclair, Jersey.

  • Describe your sound in 3 words

Impactful, thought-provoking and energetic

  • Favourite rapper, lyricist and producer

Lupe Fiasco, Big Pun and Chuck Sutton

  • Best Hip Hop album ever

The Cool

  • Top Hidden Gem Artist

Rapsody

  • Future plans

I plan on changing the world or sparking the mind that does

Follow Samad Savage
Instagram