And The Winner Is...
As the completion of the album draws ever near, I started to do some research into getting a release schedule together. I mean, the last music I "officially" put out was quite a significant amount of time ago on a independent of which I was never part of the mechanics. This meant all dealings with PR, pluggers and promo was out of reach on my part, not that I minded at the time, but now I find myself in a position where that knowledge would come in very handy.
So aswell as scouring Google's vast basement of information, I started to ask people around me for advice and opinions, which is when I spoke to a good mate of mine, Dave. After discussing music as we tend to do the majority of the time, he had informed me of a poll on which he'd stumbled upon, where the American public had been asked the names of the top ten worst rappers.
Now I don't agree with shit like this to be honest and I don't usually pay much attention, but this got me thinking. As coming in at number eight on this countdown of inverted geniuses was...(insert fanfare)... UK rap!!!???
What the actual fuck!? That's a huge sweeping statement isn't it? Not one artist of merit in UK hip hop, eh? Fuck that. That's nonsense. As like anywhere in the world, there are good artists and bad ones in ALL genres. Including the birthplace of rap.
Lost In Translation
When I'd stopped throwing my toys out the pram and defiantly disagreeing with them poll wankers, I started to think... Possibly the delivery is lost in translation? What are they not getting? Maybe the music the UK artists are creating needs a little bit more consideration to develop our own sound. It makes sense surely?
I've always had very strong feelings on this and it has always worked against me. A lot of people thought I was trying to make "hip hop" music and getting it wrong. They completely missed the point about relativity and drawing from your surroundings. It won't be the first (or last) time I've heard someone say "It don't sound like hip hop though!" - Good! That means the hip hop you're using as reference - which was created in America, doesn't draw the same connotations as something created in Preston... Halle-fuckin-lujah. As you were soldier...
I have always felt like a fraud when I composed a beat that sounded like it could of been made in downtown Harlem. So I don't. The dialect and tone of my voice just ain't supposed to be sitting on that. Culturally we've agreed on that story and I ain't in it. Imagine a song played on a ukulele, sung in the style of George Formby with the voice of Luther Vandross. Although probably well written and pitch perfect, it would be hard to remove that ingrained narrative and location of the original sound. It would reek of what it was. A novelty. A tribute.
Your Ball, Your Court
Instead, I try to use my influences, locality and experiences to create something new. Something that's relatable to me. Something that creates an image of Northern England not Western Connecticut. Something that identifies with the people I share this corner of the world with. With that, danger and excitement come in equal measure - its uncharted territory. But why have Stu Lang when you can have Wu Tang? Tell Stu to push forth his ship of discovery with sails emblazoned with the idols of Morrissey and 4 Hero! Christen that fucker with a bottle of lager and name it HMS We Shall See.
The hardest part of adopting this attitude is you're making it up as you go along, but alas, the easiest part is you're making this up as you go along!!! Your ball, your court. We have to push it forward though surely? Or what the fuck is the point? It doesn't have to make sense to anybody but you. If it comes over and people get it, great, but if not at least you can stand by that reflection of self and state your claim.
I'm confident in my ability to realise the ideas I generate in the direction I choose. This ain't arrogance, it's just knowing that I'm coming from a place of honesty, self discovery and a belief in pushing forward. Whether people like it or not, it don't matter, because I believe wholeheartedly in the music I make and where it's heading.
Look, I ain't here to change the game, I'm here to start a new one.
The album Rip Eat Prescription will be out soon!