Mr West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was offically released last week to critical acclaim with Pitchfork giving it an unprecedented 10.0 rating and lauded it as a “masterpiece”. It’s probably fair to say it’s a leading contender for Album of the Year. One of many highlights on the LP includes the inspiring and anthemic like “All Of The Lights”. The track has been accompanied to a video charting the Rocky Balboa and Clubber Lang storyline in Rocky 3.
The video itself was only completed a few hours ago by French director Jonathan Barre who has directed videos for the likes of Something A La Mode, Chilly Gonzales and comedy series PALMASHOW. He’s definitely a talent that will be heard of more shortly on these isles and further beyond.
It’s Still 5am!
Check out more of his back catalogue on jonathanbarre.com
In the next installment of the “One To Watch” omnibus looking at the current state of underground music at home and abroad, I speak to Shawalin, a young MC & singer (also a Cambridge student) from London who talks about his inspiration for songwriting and having a preference for Antibacterial Gel.
Can you give us some background info for those who aren’t familiar with what you do?
I’m a 20-year-old rapper/singer from North-West London. I make a lot of light-hearted urban music but also do spoken word poetry.
Where did you get the name SHAWALIN from?
It’s a combination of “Shower” (slang meaning impressive/flash) and “Shaolin monk” (the ninja). When I was 15 made up the word Shawalin and people started calling me that.
What’s your earliest individual memory of music in a performing or listening capacity?
Music’s been in my life for as long as I can remember. My mum always used to sing to me and play records all day. Every day was a performance for me because I was always singing for girls in school and on the estate.
How did you get into Mcing?
I started songwriting when I was 13 and I tended to stand out, so writing rap lyrics was a natural transition for me. I was alternative in that I wanted to say something different to everyone else but two problems were that I was crap and had nothing substantial to say. When grime took off in 2005 I couldn’t stop writing so it didn’t take long for me to stop being crap.
What inspires you to write and sing songs in such a humorous manner?
Life is just hilarious, I’m sure everyone else goes through the same stuff as me but it’s all about perception and interpretation. My brain just makes everything funny to me so what I experience gets communicated in that way.
Were you surprised by the warm response ‘Dedicated’ and your mixtape ‘Memory Bank Vol.1’ received?
I was more reassured; I thought some of the stuff was a little left field and it was nice to see that grime fans could get involved with the joke songs like ‘Dedicated’. Especially people who had never heard me before, I was happy to see the YouTube comments where a lot of people who don’t know each other could just agree that the music was good. I worked hard on the mixtape and gave an honest representation of myself so the positive response felt like a pat on the back.
Red Hot Entertainment made the humorous ‘Junior Spesh’ a few years back. Do you think local chicken shops such as Sams and similar chains etc. play a key part of urban London life?
Yeah everyone knows about them. Chicken and bargains is a great way to bring poor people together. “Junior Junior Junior Spesh!!!”
A lot of the themes you talk about in your discography reflect an upbringing which many youths and older generations in London and other major urban centres have experienced. How important is it for you to use music as an outlet to tell your state of mind to people who haven’t been subjected to such a livelihood before?
To be honest it used to matter more to me in the past. I felt like no one was adequately representing the inner-city experience in a way that could be understood by someone from the outside looking in, so I wanted to be the spokesman in that respect. But now I’m questioning how useful that is; I’m sick of people in the hood crying out for attention and sympathy, I’d rather inspire change.
Bit of a generic question I’m gonna ask but do you think the Internet has provided you with a great platform to gain greater exposure toward your music?
If I could kiss the internet I would. Overall I’ve got over 90,000 views in the space of ten months. To an extent the internet is a level playing field for artists like me who don’t have friends in high places and any budding performer would be a fool not to utilise it.
Recently a number of high profile hip hop and rap artists have been giving away free music on a weekly basis i.e Kanye – G.O.O.D Fridays and Wu Tang – Wu Wednesdays . What’s your opinion on this means of marketing and would you consider releasing personal material so readily to the public?
I think it’s a necessary evil. More and more people have access to free music now and if artists aren’t prepared to accommodate for that budget-wise then a lot of avoidable losses will be made. I’ve been giving away free music for a while now; as an up-and-coming, the hardest bit is getting you to even listen to me. But it’s all good.
Any plans to release new mixtapes and material anytime soon?
Travelling to Uganda and starting university slowed me down a bit but I will be back with a bang next year (cliché, I know).
Are there any artists or producers out there you would like to collaborate with in the not too distant future?
I won’t name names but just know I am the most open-minded MC you will ever meet, if I contact you then I’m willing to work in a free capacity.
What are you listening to at the moment and Is there anyone readers should look out for?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old school Ghetts just to fall back in love with grime (pause). Readers should watch out for this guy called Crisis, he’s talented, another one is D-Bo (best in the scene?) and of course my guys D.I and Manidi. Support UK music not for the sake of it but because it’s actually good.
Spurs or Arsenal?
LOL Spurs who? I don’t even watch football I just said that to piss my bredrin off.
Chicken Shop or the Colonel?
Colonel when I got money, Sam’s when I’m in the ends.
Breast or Wings?
Ask your girl.
Hand Wipes or Antibacterial Gel?
That gel is a lot you know I just used it 10 minutes ago.
When critics and fans alike acclaim an artist or producer for their back catalogue and sense of invention, we all christen artists with terms such as exemplary to describe their craft and others like a certain Gayfish (see South Park) reinforce their pompous nature via self assessment. It may sound like a tagline from Band Aid, Live Aid,
First Aid or Lemonade but Music is a medium which brings together people of an older and younger generation.
The main source of this is via current artists sampling unknown gems or timeless classics of yesteryear. I know the majority of people turn their noses up (it’s an expression but i’ve never seen anyone actually do it) when they hear an indie hit being ruined by a Popstar with the word “Sellout” immediately springing to mind for the original artist. (If someone offered you a s***load of money in royalities, would you take it or continue to feast on Cheerios and Acid Rain come Christmas Day?) There’s a link to a well written and informative article below on how counter culture to the mainstream is the main engine behind Capitalist society.
Nonetheless, Sampling however obvious or miniscule enables the novice listener to take notice beyond the MP3 and restore a sense of nostalgia which was previously exhibited when looking at sleeve notes on a physical entity back in the day. Enough rambling….here are a selection of recent songs and samples which have been used, and see whether you prefer the original or recycled product.
Kanye West – Dark Fantasy
Mike Oldfield – In Higher Places (this has been on repeat for the past week….supposedly it’s a man singing… after a couple of oestrogen injections were shot in the veins)
Nas & Damien Marley – Patience
Amadou & Mariam – Sabali
James Blake – CMYK
Aaliyah – Are You That Somebody?
Kelis – Caught Out There
Kingdom – Fogs
Beyonce – Sweet Dreams
D.O.K & Spyro – Missing Step
Everything But The Girl – Missing You
Major Lazer – Can’t Stop Now ( *in n-type voice* dis one’s a PERCY INGLE)
Nora Dean – Barbwire
The “$£llout” articlepiece: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/04/12/selling-out/
In a bit
Anyone who watched Sunderland’s surprise win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge yesterday may well have noticed a trademark goal celebration skank by Asamoah Gyan. However, he had a geriatic Dutchman alongside him whose moves were let’s say
shit imaginative. Have a Frank (Butchers) at the video I just found on YouTube.
“My little brother is running reckless these days….I tried speaking to him as an older brother but him and his bredwins are running around robbing people to buy Call of Duty. I’m like why you robbing people when you’ve got it at home like”
Rudeboy, A. Reformed (2010) The Gym
Don’t really need to elaborate further than watch.
With 5 goals in 14 appearances for new club Shakhtar which included scoring the winner against previous employers Arsenal last week, Mr Da Silva scored a contender for goal of the season against the mighty Kryvbas on Saturday night.
Ever heard of the term “You wait for one bus then two come along at once”? Well, this is most fitting for summer anthem ‘Slang Like This’ which was finally released last month (after months of airplay and downloading swag radio rips) and the ensuing music video appeared online last night. The single which features in-demand MC P Money is the first release for the True Tiger label following the announcement of a new deal on Virgin Records. P Money, a member of the O.Gz crew proclaims that the use of colloquialism in this track was inspired from going “to a lot of different areas to perform and one thing all different ethnic cultures can relate to is my slang”says the 22 year old from South East London.
The True Tiger collective have been one of the most prominent music labels in the dubstep scene since 2004, with a roster which features production talent from the likes of Kent-based Stenchman (with infamous mask in tow), Stanza, Sukh Knight, Scandelous Untd and Blue Bear.
The group also recently produced a highlight on Professor Green’s debut album ‘Jungle’ a ode to Hackney and other inner London locales in the concrete jungle with the video being coincidentally shot in N4 (cue onomatopoeic yelps)
To coincide with the ‘Slang Like This’ single release True Tiger and P Money are currently in the midst of a UK club tour (which is close to an end unfortunately) . The remaining dates of the True Tiger tour can be seen below:
MANCHESTER, SANKEYS FRIDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2010
ABERYSTWYTH, BAR 9, TUE 16TH NOVEMBER 2010
LONDON, FABRIC, FRIDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2010
For more information on the True Tiger fam check out this link