Just in time for the second instalment of his Kick, Snare and An Idea series, I managed to get the impeccable wordsmith himself for a short conversation on his new project, music in the UK and a whole lot more.
1. 5 albums deep, it’s been a long time coming. What would you say was your biggest struggle in getting to where you are now?
4 Albums, 2 EP’s LOL I don’t consider it a struggle to make music or be around for longer than two seconds, it’s a blessing….
2. Correct me if I’m wrong here, I still see a huge disparaging difference between the hip-hop scene UK compared to the States. Is it an outcome of lack of state side exposure for UK rap artists or major record labels not showing interest in UK hip-hop? What challenges do you think UK hip-hop artists (using yourself as a prime example) always have to overcome to gain some ground.
I think always viewing things from a perspective of what’s happening in the States, to what’s happening here, is wrong. I put away that microscope years ago, and here’s what’s happened: I am a member of the European and worldwide hip hop community. My records and collaborations reflect that. The UK is a part of the world movement. It’s how I look on it, it’s how I move in life. Ain’t nothing disparaging about being a part of a movement of music, once you recalibrate what success means to you.
3 Being one of the few London MCs that still stayed true to their roots whilst keeping the sound fresh. How do you straddle the challenges that come with the ever changing hip hop landscape (sound-wise especially)?
The main challenge that any artist faces in music, is working out why you do it and who you do it for. Do you want to be a part of a machine, or stand apart from the machine? I choose to stand apart from the pop machine, major labels, etc, etc. I’m not against getting a deal, but I ain’t running around looking for a major to sign me, never really been my forte. I want to make real music and make people feel good and feel hopeful. Be yourself, know yourself and be proud of yourself.
4. You are often out spoken and vocal on many issues via the numerous social media outlets. I myself had a Facebook tete-a-tete with you some years ago and rarely do you see that type of friendly banter (although I still favour Be over Electric Circus). Do you feel social media has ultimately brought the “artist” closer to the fans and vice versa?
Social media has definitely opened the doors for more honest dialogue. I think it can and has levelled the playing fields to a degree, but artists have to use it. I think a lot of artists – new and upcoming – do not understand that social media is not the real street. Just because someone has a pop at you online, means you must bring out all the weapons? No! It’s your job to be available for people to say what they like. I don’t always like it when folks get feisty, but I control myself (for the most part), because I’ve been blessed to be in a job where people have shown me that my life means something other than what it means to me personally. I represent a lot of folks of different backgrounds through what I do musically, so I have to continue on this path. Commenting socially is important, no matter how shocked people get, if you’re gonna be my friend, do you know what? The world I live in, is different from yours sometimes, don’t expect me to tone it down on your behalf….LOL
5 Kick, Snare and an Idea. What inspired you to record this ep? Were there any records you were vibing to, to get a frame of reference for this project?
Kick Snare And An Idea is like a mini logo in words for what a lot of people are doing privately or publicly in their own spaces – making music. In this digital age, I wanted to highlight that term and place a project within the title to give it context.
6 Besides rapping, you do spoken word poetry, will we ever get a full spoken word project from you?
7 What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Too many memorable moments to mention but the last Jazz Café party, with Supa Dupa Fly and Ty Music presents, featuring Mystro, BREIS, Pumpkin and Native Sun was a good memory, for sure, but I have moments every year, every month, that keep me humble.
8 If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
If someone would give me the freedom to just make music 24 /7, with no other financial worries and with no dictations or restraints, I believe I could be involved in some amazing moments for British music. There’s so much we can do – but it’s always with the clock ticking. My network is crazy, anything can happen musically…anything.
9 What did your family do to encourage you and is there anyone else in your family into music?
Family wise I wasn’t encouraged, I was discouraged from making music, which made me fight harder. My Mum eventually got that her son had a special affixing Ty with music, but that came much later. If I had that same support when I was younger, I could have been doing amazing things, but, it is what it is!
10 What are your current fixations?
Current fixations? I don’t understand
11 What was the last LP/cassette/CD/eight track you bought with your own money?
I buy things with my own money all the time. Mostly second records from charity shops – I love digging for records…absolutely love it.
12 Any secret collaborations in the works?
Secret collaborations wouldn’t be secret if I told you I know I want to do something with Arrested Development again. I really feel that family of folks. I don’t think cities or countries when it comes to collaborations it’s always about the song.
13 Last words for the audience tuning in
Kick Snare And An Idea is available on limited edition vinyl, it was important to me to make that happen, so I pushed for it. They won’t be around forever, so if you like vinyl, grabbit!