Nottingham City Representative…
Ahead of our June 4th show with UK heavyweights Cappo & Styly Cee, Doctor Zoots compiled some questions to put to the Ambassador of the Midlands.
“You deal with a lot of existentialism in your lyrics, do you read much philosophy and which philosophers do you rate as the go to people for good guidance on life?”
I haven’t read up on many philosophers, but I read a lot of autobiographies from sportsmen and musicians such as Quincy Jones, Alex Ferguson, Russell Simmons, and George Best.
I’d say Archimedes, Plato, Confucius and Sun Tzu were ill philosophers; Nas is up there with the philosophy too.
“Your last album (Genghis) was produced entirely by yourself and seemed almost personal, making a much more progressive approach to hip hop than your previous output. Was this something you had wanted to do/ worked towards for a while or was it just the culmination of a natural progression for you as an individual? And do you think you could have made the same record, achieving the same personal vision with somebody else at the boards?”
Genghis is my Opus, meaning that from start to finish I had a point to prove to myself that I could produce and write an entire album on my own. I feel it was one of my greatest achievements during my musical career and it encompasses so many emotions for me when I hear it cus I went through so much during its process. I don’t think the same record would have been made if anyone else was on the boards but maybe the lyricism would have stayed the same way because that album is me telling the whole truth. I had a lot of things to say and many bridges to cross with that album and it definitely served its purpose. After releasing Genghis I can see music in a different way and I can move on from needing to prove my point and now start the process of leaving my musical legacy.
“you’re one of the hardest working m.c.’s in the game in this country and certainly one of the most individual yet you still seem pretty slept on, do you think it’s that very individuality that works against you? I.e. depth of lyrics, reference points, purity of vision, lack of compromise, accent?
All of the above, I seem to have that characteristic that won’t back down or sell out. My lyrics will never be commercially acceptable no matter how hard I try, It’s just not in me to water the process down, although in my next project I am gonna try to see if I can create a wider fan base for my music. I feel like I’m entitled to try and gain some monetary success, I recently read Jay Z ‘uncoded’, he spoke about how the greatest lyricists not only can be respected on street level, they can also become a commercial success at the same time. On being slept on, that’s just how some people in the industry deal with me, I don’t think they can box me In with the rest of the UK, I always made it a point that I am Hip Hop. I have done this thing from scratch and I release my product far from what anybody is doing over here. I stay separated so I don’t get mentioned by those who don’t understand me.
"Nottingham’s hip hop scene has been fresh and vibrant ever since the culture came to these shores with sick m.c.’s, d.j.’s and writers by the bucket load, all of whom seem to understand the philosophy of the culture and hold the belief that progression should be done bottom up with those foundations never forgotten, how much do you think how hip hop is lived in notts has informed and shaped you as an artist and how important do you think it is that hip hop as a culture stays true to its origins?”
I owe a lot to Nott’s City for shaping me and developing my craft, there is a lot of new MC’s building their careers In the right way again and Its good to see they have respect for how I do my music.
I listen to all kinds of music and use it all as a catalyst to create the best music I can. There are a lot of characters in Nott’s I have paid my dues with and I still work with, but I am most influenced by the US and how the culture has changed and kept moving spanning 30 years or so. It’s a privilege to have been living in a time that has seen hip-hop influence everything I do.
“You have a very strong roster on Son with C-Mone, Def Tex, Wordsmith, D.P.F. and yourselves amongst others, all very talented, individual artists not from London, has this been a conscious decision or is it just how it’s turned out?”
Al at son records would have to answer that one I think cus its his decision on who he releases, I feel that I am very different from the artists on Son, in how I work and my ethics on music, so Its testament to Al at Son for being able to release so much variety from the artists on his label.
“Do you personally think hip hop’s best days are behind it? And if so, do you think those that claim to love it could and should do more to ensure it’s continued survival in being more pro-active and supporting of those that are doing their thing?”
Hip hop is at a point now where it’s a giant beast in the Industry and there are so many people making a living from it, it’s bound to change shape and move in different directions. I feel like people shouldn’t be too worried that the music isn’t pure and do their own thing. The realness always shines through, the Industry is big enough to make us all some money. It’s at a level playing field, hard work and determination will pay off if you stick at it.
“How satisfied do you feel looking around the u.k. at the obvious wealth of talent British hip hop has and compare that with the increasingly niche market that it’s producing records for? Do you feel its better that hip hop in the U.K. is a participation sport or would it be healthier with a sea of spectators making it a viable living as it still seems to be in U.S.?”
I can’t speak for Hip Hop over here because I don’t really listen to much that is getting released, I think the UK is doing well and I definitely have some of the best supporters cus they always ask me for the classics when we come to the shows!
The UK is a small country but it has always been a giant in the world. I think the key is to use the knowledge you acquire in this country then spread it out through different markets across the world; people definitely want to hear the music we are making over.
“In these days of hip hop’s apparent demise, what is it, that you as a daily practitioner, think that people are talking about when they say 'hip hop’s dead’?”
Maybe the best way to describe how I feel about it is that we are living in the 5th season, we have been through all the changes a genre can take. Hip hop now is way different from what it once was, but remember Hip Hop began with taking drums solo’s from vinyl and placing them back to back until the crowd went crazy. Back then the biggest Hip Hop artists were wearing Stetsons and feathered Indian war chief headsets with alien space suites. You can’t fuck with that!
“Where does Paul Adey end and cappo begin?”
Maybe Paul Adey only begins when I’m on stage and halfway through spitting the bars to 'Winning spirit'…
“Are you ever tempted to pick up a can these days?”
I’m definitely back on the drawing; I missed it so I’m back on the drawing as you can see from the new Fallout album cover!
“Finally, Any shout outs?”
Legendary Dj Styly Cee, 1st Blood empire, double visionary, Master of light, the Bronx river rap zoids, Al @ son and Holdin’ Court!
Face book/ Grand imperial Cappo
Photo: rpn photos