When I think of West London, Notting Hill, The Westway and the iconic Hammersmith Apollo encapsulate my headspace quicker than a posse of boozed up footballers spotting a kebab shop post-Mayfair nightclub. All three landmarks are synonymous with the rich musical history of Blighty. From reggae and dub soundsystem culture at the forthcoming carnival; punk rock legends The Clash name-dropping the “new-age” yellow brick road in their song “London’s Burning” and hosting sell-out tour dates to some of the world’s biggest names. For SamueL, the journey to reach such an audio ascendency is still in it’s infancy but the homegrown hip-hop infused MC remains resolute and ready to step up to the M.I.C.
Wat U Sayin recently spoke to the young blood on the battle of being a white rapper,his debut mixtape Pleasant Surprise and resisting the temptation of rhyming with an American twang.
Introduce yourself to the people and feed them with a starter on how you started out.
Sup, my artist and birth name is SamueL and I’m a spitter from West London just trying to put my heart into my art. I started as just being a fan of Hip-Hop, and not just one style, like conscious backpacker stuff or ignant thugged outish, I like a dose of pretty much any sub-genre of Hip-Hop that you can think of, as long as the music is authentic and done well I’m good with it. I still feel like a fan just trying to make the music I love. I’m very fond of a good conceptual solid album and that’s what I set out to do with my first project ‘Pleasant Surprise’, I just wanted to get my debut ‘baby’ out the way and take it from there. Unfortunately there’s no sexy story why I started out, just the pure love I have for the expression.
Which record or musical moment inspired you to take your craft more seriously?
Hmmmmm, I’ve always had a passion for lyrics and words and had the dream of becoming an artist like the ones I admire, but I didn’t have a whole lot of self-belief. I don’t really like to admit and bring race into it but being a British white boy whose favourite rappers, bar the man Marshall Mathers, were predominantly black Americans, I didn’t initially feel like I had it in me to make music with such soul and style as they did. It really took a certain person to come into my life and change my way of thinking for me to get my art off it’s arse and believe in myself, and I will always appreciate them for that.
I’ve been listening to your first mixtape, Pleasant Surprise for the last few weeks now and it’s promising to have another homegrown artist making his way. The title striked me from the off mind. Is it linked to the old saying ‘Never judge a book by its cover’, as some wouldn’t see you as a rapper in the ‘Conventional’ sense?
First off, thanks for giving the project a proper thorough listen, it’s tough to get people to give your album a chance when most folk these days are just looking for a single they can bump for a week until the next hot track drops. I guess the title does refer to that saying, and that probably relates to my last answer, but mainly, by the point I renamed the project to that title, I had gotten over the fact that I’m not the traditional ‘rapper’ looks-wise and had become quietly confident that what we were working on was going to be of a certain level. A level that I don’t think even my friends and family thought I was capable of, which is why I felt ‘Pleasant Surprise’ was such a suitable title. The project wasn’t meant to be mind-blowing, overly innovative stuff, but just good music that would be an enjoyable pleasant listen. Not many people around me even knew that I rapped so that was where the ‘surprise’ came in, I’m just glad that I made damn sure it was a ‘pleasant’ one!
SamueL – BANGER! (Prod. by JZA)
There seems to be a heavy Boom-Bap, 90’s Rap element on the mixtape with the samples and your laidback but potent punchline flow. Was there a conscious element to retain a British feel with the lyrical content or did you want the tape to be accessible as possible?
All I did was try to make music that was to my personal taste, and I’d safely assume the fact that I’m really into so-called ‘old school’ Hip-Hop is why the project has that feel to it, but I wanted to keep it real and that meant repping my home when it came to the substance of the spitting, which is why I don’t shy away from using our slang and sayings, or allow my accent to stray and sound like I’m from the States. There was no conscious effort to be accessible to anyone in particular, more like be accessible to everyone by just trying to produce ‘good’ timeless music that really shows mine and the producers’ love for it. It’s a shame that there haven’t been more Hip-Hop artists from the UK that I could say have influenced me so far because I am actually very proud of where I’m from and I do want that to shine through.
SamueL – Sweet Rapport (Prod. by JZA)
Support the rising MC via the links below and till later…stay F.L.Y
Following the conclusion of the innovative and visually inspiring #TBCP which received support from BBC Radio 1 and 1XTRA DJ Charlie Sloth, the man like Rax didn’t find some decommissioned underground bunker to hibernate in until September. He got back on his grind to complete a new mixtape in the space of three weeks,no Blue Peter “here’s one I made earlier nonsense” this shit is frrrrrresh.
Far from spitting on popular instrumentals throughout like most compilations, this is his first official mixtape with original production (Lights Out,Yeah Man!) to name a few,bubblin’ freestyles (Oatmeal) and interludes inspired by the famous Oliver musical.
I’m yet to catch this brother perform but from what I heard he was buggin’ on stage with his band at ILUVLIVE on Monday and people forgot Tinchy was even there too (well the wee boy is a borrower)
Support hardworking homegrown talent and download the mixtape with original artwork here
Follow Rax on Twitter @RaxOfficial #THEPICKPOCKET
The man like Rax on Rax on Rax on (so on and so forth) dropped the visuals for the latest cut from the #TBCP. The instrumental taken from “The Bawss ” Rick Ross’ Rich Forever mixtape that dropped earlier this month (aye Jan is done already) sees the South London native call upon some assistance from fellow rising riders E.gle, Kazeem and The Manor‘s Danny Graft.
If you don’t know about the #TBCP…get to know here.
LDN stand up.
“I swear to you, if anyone steps on my crep…it’s Roast Beef…with all the trimmings”
The Rampant Rudegal-How To Keep Your Trainers Fresh in Hoodlum Clubs,N29,London
The first episode from Season 2 takes a behind the scenes look at the music video for the ‘Bluku Bluku’ single,an ostrich reluctant to rep the lyrical father and the Malmo mandem in Sweden.
Incessant grey skies; jet powered showers and crestfallen faces are fast becoming the archetype of a British summer (This was written before the impromptu heatwave) As I head down to the Hoxton Bar & Grill, ‘Has It Come To This’ is on loop in my mental Wurlitzer – a subconscious theme tune over Ringmaster Rupert’s corruptive circus. I digress.
Amidst the muffled chatter and dim scenery, lit sparsely by flickering candle lights in the damp air, a bulky ,yet, bouncy Saff’ Londoner brightens up the assembled congregation for this midweek service. Clad in a black quilted jacket; grey baseball cap and acoustic guitar, the adopted priest Josh Osho quickly kicks off proceedings on his first London night with the bubblin’ blues number ‘Ebenezer Hotel’ inspired by his time in a hostel of the same name. Uplifting and honest with a Southern tinge, the bassist’s slapping coupled with his approving facial expressions exemplify how infectious the twang is.
Backed by a more than capable band which also includes BBC 1xtra’s CJ Beatz, Osho raises the temperature further which is a feat in the unofficial sauna, he plays ‘Birthday’ and ‘S.O.S’ – both from his debut LP, L.I.F.E. I recall talking to him about singing the latter at a gig in Leeds where he supported Corinne Bailey Rae last year and the half-hearted crowd reception made him realise “how personal” his songs were to him. The resonance of the acoustic echoes brings the room into a hushed silence and Josh exposes his soul at it’s most vulnerable. In a word- Spine tingling.
Josh asks the masses whether they are Jay-Z fans and as you guess, it gets a rather animated response. CJ Beatz nods his head dutifully a la the Churchill dog and launches into a bouncing looped instrumental of Jay-Z and Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind. Yet, the lyrics which he layers atop of the beat are lost on me. I watch the avid Gooner bring the energy in this one performance than Arshavin in the whole of last season.
Osho then poses the question – “Who knows the name of that song?” He then lowers his mic into the crowd and a giddy superfan shouts “Tracey Chapman – Talkin’ Bout A Revolution” in such a swift fashion, she’d give Busta Rhymes a run for his wonga. He then closes the night with his forthcoming release ‘Redemption Days’ which features Ghostface Killah and it confirms a versatile performer whose humble persona should see him elevate for years to come.
Josh Osho recalls the passion of late pastmaster Lynden David Hall and sits comfortably amongst his peers Sampha and Javeon Mccarthy in bringing soulful UK talent to the forefront. On evidence of this live performance…long may it continue.
For more info on Mr Osho – follow him on Twitter @joshoshomusic
Watch out for my interview with Josh coming soon.
The man like Plastician drops another long-awaited mix in his now seminal Sounds That Speaks Volumes series. Sick selection and on point mixing is the order of the day. If your not a fan of wobble in your bass…you’ll learn to appreciate it as I did when he dropped and wheeled Flux’s I Can’t Stop about 6 times in Mungos Arena last year.Vodpod videos no longer available.
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