Tag Archives: London

Mr. SaySo – Kyza

Kyza performing at London’s End Of The Weak event complete with live band.

Live Review – Wu-Tang Clan

WU-TANG CLAN LIVE: WEDNESDAY 16.07.08: SHEPHERDS BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON

 

After over fifteen years of performing together, it seems Staten Island’s mighty Wu-Tang Clan still cannot get to the stage on time. As the crew’s scheduled arrival of 9pm rolled by, the warm-up DJ’s steady assurances that “Wu-Tang will be on shortly” soon started to sound hollow. By the time it reached 10pm the London crowd’s previously hearty chants of “Wu-Tang! Wu-Tang!” had given way to scattered boos, whilst said DJ’s selection of party-rocking cuts from the likes of Snoop, KRS-One and Onyx was quickly losing its entertainment value. But just as things looked like they could go seriously wrong, Wu’s DJ took his place behind the turntables, a bespectacled RZA sauntered into view followed by various crew members, and an explosive rendition of ‘Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit’ immediately transformed the previously restless audience into a sea of hand-waving Shaolin soldiers.

Initially there seemed to be some confusion amongst the members of the Clan who had managed to reach the stage, which included Inspectah Deck, a temporarily mic-less GZA and Raekwon. But where were U-God and Ghostface? Method Man obviously wanted to know the whereabouts of his Wu brothers as well if his shouts of “Where the f**k ni**as at?” were anything to go by. To begin with it seemed as if Meth’s constant walking on and off to find the missing Clansmen was pure pantomime until he forcibly kicked the side of the stage before being taken aside by RZA who, with one arm draped around the lanky rapper’s shoulder, appeared to offer some calming words to the Ticallion Stallion. Soon after, U-God and an unusually low-key Toney Starks made their entrance and slipped straight into position as the crew proceeded to rip through a steady stream of classic hip-hop moments (with Method Man’s right-hand homie Street Life also present to offer some assistance).

Choosing to focus mainly on their earlier material, the Clan rocked first album highlights such as ‘Bring Da Ruckus’ and ‘Protect Ya Neck’, whilst peppering their set with solo project joints like Method Man’s ‘Bring The Pain’, GZA’s ‘Duel Of The Iron Mic’ and Rae’s eye-candy anthem ‘Ice Cream’. Performing such timeless cuts not only took the crowd down memory lane, but also seemed to remind Wu themselves of their humble origins, with each member attacking their verses with fervour as if they were once again new artists attempting to convert non-believers.

Perhaps it was the apparent tensions between the crew at the beginning of the show, or the rough-and-ready way in which the Clan blasted through their playlist, but there was an unpredictable vibe in the air that gave the performance a definite sense of energy. Whilst some longstanding artists often seem as though they’re just going through the motions onstage, this felt like a rowdy free-for all, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

With most of the crew keeping audience interaction to a relative minimum, it was Method Man who took it upon himself to ensure the crowd was entertained beyond the music. His constant stage-diving and crowd-surfing seemed to take the weed-loving wordsmith a step closer to a broken leg every time he launched himself off the stage, but it had the desired effect on those close enough to play a part in hoisting Meth in the air as he continued to rhyme. It was also Johnny Blaze who led the audience in the night’s obligatory tribute to Ol’ Dirty Bastard.

An hour or so after the Clan hit the stage, it was all over. Although some concertgoers no doubt felt the crew could have done more if not for their late arrival, at the end of the day, what we’d seen was one of hip-hop’s greatest groups giving lively performances of some of hip-hop’s greatest songs. Moreover, whilst talk might be in the air nowadays of Wu-Tang’s relevance to the average rap consumer, it seems the Clan will always have a home on the stage and a solid base of loyal fans that will pay to see them.

Ryan Proctor

Swift It Major Interview (Originally Printed In Hip-Hop Connection 224 / The Game Cover / July 2008)

“I’ve read so many articles that have labelled me as only being a Jump Off battle finalist, but I want people to know that I’ve got something to say in my music as well. I’ve never really looked at myself as a battle emcee, I just dived head first into the Jump Off thing to see if I could get through. But if the battle rapper tag helps me get recognised, then so be it.”

Initially inspired to start writing his own rhymes after hearing UK hip-hop collective 57th Dynasty, north west London’s Swift It Major has spent the last five years or so on a mission to standout from the crowd. His virtually unrivalled (if unplanned) success at the capital’s premier open mic event might have led many to view Swift as nothing more than a punchline pugilist, but that’s a first impression the forthright rapper is hoping to shake with his recently released debut album, ‘A Park Bench Drama’, a boisterous mix of wit, humour and personal opinion that covers a variety of topics, not least the impact of the MySpace generation on an increasingly fragile domestic rap scene.

“People are trying to get into this thing sideways,” states Major, with a nod to his 2007 single ‘X Factor’. “Artists today want everything to be quick and easy, which is never going to work, man. They just want to see their video on Channel U and get their fifteen minutes of fame, but they’re not putting any thought or planning into what they’re doing. Do you know how many times I’ve seen a video and thought, ‘This tune is alright, let me go and buy this shit’. But do you think you can find it as a single? Do you think there’s even a single or album coming out? It don’t make no sense, man. We’re never going to build an industry that way.”

Gripes about the music business aside, Swift is also keen to deal with more serious issues, namely the rising level of violent crime occurring on Britain’s streets and the apparent lack of urgency amongst politicians to address the situation. “I think the government really needs to start looking at the root causes of crime in the UK instead of just locking people up and thinking that will solve the problem,” he offers. “But that said, a lot of families need to start showing their kids the right way to go as far as things like education are concerned, because if the government isn’t going to help our communities, then we need to start helping ourselves.”

Swift’s balanced, realistic worldview also extends to his own career aspirations. “All I can do is push ‘A Park Bench Drama’ as much as I can,” he says matter-of-factly. “If the people call for another album, then I’ll do another album. If not, then at least I know I put everything I had into this one.”

Ryan Proctor

Bonus Clip: 2007 Swift It Major interview on London’s now defunct pirate Hip-Hop station Itch FM.

New Joint – Jo’Leon Davenue

Jo’Leon Davenue – “Frustrated” ( Mobetta : Union / 2008 )

Taken from the London artist’s “Something Special” mix-CD.

 

Triple Darkness Interview (Originally Printed In Hip-Hop Connection 221 / Pete Rock Cover / April 2008)

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“The whole essence of the group is about coming with the illest lyricism, but combining that with some knowledge as well. I’m hoping that when people start to get into what we’re talking about, it might help them change their ways spiritually, mentally and physically.” Over a decade since Mobb Deep first told us about a war going on outside no man is safe from, gruff east London emcee Cyrus Malachi is reminding HHC that the struggle still continues on the frontlines today, but Triple Darkness are here to make a difference.

Originally a duo, the “vision” of Triple Darkness began in 2003 when Hackney homeboys Cyrus and Nasheron started rhyming together, but it wasn’t until 2005 when Malachi returned home from a brief jail stint that the pair really started to take their musical aspirations seriously. Hooking-up with talented producers Beat Butcha and Chemo, the twosome also added M9 to their ranks, with the west London rapper having recently achieved some solo notoriety by releasing his own gritty but thought-provoking material.

“We are a conscious group,” says Cyrus when asked about the trio’s multi-layered references to everything from stopping gun crime on British streets to ancient Egyptian history and the Illuminati. “But conscious rap comes with its own stereotypes and can be very predictable. So we’ve tried to use everything we’ve seen growing-up around poverty and depravity to show people they need knowledge of self to survive in this world. I’m not afraid to speak out about issues I see affecting the black community.”

Although it would be easy to write off some of the more esoteric content heard on TD’s debut album ‘Anathema’ as the result of too much time spent listening to Killah Priest and Tragedy Khadafi, the group share a genuine thirst for any information that can help them make sense of the “paradoxical” modern world we live in, even if that sometimes means entering the shadowy area of conspiracy theories and unseen global powers. “When I started reading up on the reasons behind certain historic events and different secret societies it just blew me away,” says M9. “It all started to come together like a jigsaw for me and I realised that the whole idea of the New World Order is something that’s very serious. It’s such a big part of my life that it’s only natural it would also be a big part of my rhymes.”

Nasheron, meanwhile, has concerns closer to home, such as the influence of today’s popular thugged-out hip-hop on the younger generation. “It romanticises a certain lifestyle without showing the full reality of it,” begins the passionate lyricist. “I’ve yet to see someone live that street life and it be all rosy. There’s always a price to pay. These kids today doing all sorts of madness, it’s like their mental growth has been stunted because of this sh*t.”

“‘Anathema’ deals with the muck and the mire,” states Cyrus in a parting reference to the group’s unapologetically hardcore project. “But the underlying theme is that we need to rise up out of the social conditions we find ourselves in.”

Ryan Proctor

Triple Darkness – “Anathema” (Higher Heights / 2008)

UK Raiders – Kashmere / Jehst

Kashmere hits the promo trail early (with a little help from Jehst) for his forthcoming album “Raiders Of The Lost Archives”.

Guard Ya Grill – Lil’ Wayne

This has to be the most creative response I’ve seen to Lil’ Wayne being bottled while onstage in London earlier this week – it must be good because I really don’t consider myself a Weezy fan at all and I’ve still posted it!

Bonus footage for anybody who hasn’t seen one of the million YouTube clips of the incident itself.

New Joint – Akala

Akala – “Comedy Tragedy History” ( Illa State / 2008 )

Ghost Interview (Originally Posted On UKHH.Com Feb 27th 2008)

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If you spend more time than is probably healthy reading Hip-Hop-related interviews on the internet, you’ll already know that you could bet your collection of rare rap singles on the likelihood of your favourite emcee, deejay and / or producer using at least one or more of the stock phrases that nowadays appear to be industry-standard responses during said Q&As. You’ll hear MC Kill-A-Man talking about how he’s “keeping it real”, DJ Radio Payola will insist his show is all about “what the streets want”, and Mr. I’ve-Only-Been-Making-Beats-Since-I-Got-A-MySpace-Page will tell you how his forthcoming album is sure to “take the game to the next level”. However, in all honesty, once the overzealous statements and hyperbole have subsided and it’s time to walk the walk and not just talk the talk, few individuals are actually able to deliver what they’ve promised.

All of which puts one of the UK’s finest producers, Ghost, in a bit of a tricky position. As you’ll be able to tell after reading the interview below, 2008 is all about progression and moving up a creative gear as far as the London-based beat junkie is concerned. Not content with resting on his laurels following the release of his impressive 2006 debut long-player “Seldom Seen Often Heard”, Ghost has been back in the lab working not just on new music, but also on new directions in which to take his sound. But will the finished product back up his claims of sonic elevation?

With three full-length projects in the pipeline, Ghost is determined to cover a lot of musical ground over the coming months. First, there’s the Invisible Inc set, a collaborative effort with lyrical allies Kashmere and Verb T that Ghost promises will be “something different”. Then there’s the Lingua Franca album with female vocalist Devorah, a release that fans of Ghost’s traditional Hip-Hop sound might not have seen coming, but that the producer says was all about “challenging” himself. Last but certainly not least, there’s the official solo follow-up to “Seldom Seen…”, yet judging by Ghost’s description of the album, even that might not be exactly what’s expected from him.

So the individual responsible for some of the best homegrown Hip-Hop in recent times has definitely set himself some high-standards to live up to, let alone exceed. But unlike those who litter their interviews with empty promises of quality product, Ghost’s previous musical track record and sincere respect for his craft indicates that, in this instance, actions are likely to speak louder than words.

It’s been a couple of years now since the release of “Seldom Seen Often Heard”. In hindsight are you happy with how the album was received and did it achieve what you hoped it would?

No on both counts (laughs). I was really happy to get the album out there and compared to a lot of other releases it did do really well and I’m thankful for that. But I guess what I look at is, had I done that album five years sooner maybe there would’ve been more sales because obviously the whole download thing has taken off and it’s affected everybody.

But looking back it’s all a learning experience and by putting the album out when I did it’s taught me a lot about how the industry works. So a lot of positive things came out of the album and I certainly don’t look back on it in a negative light, but it is disappointing when you know a project had the potential to do better than it did. Still, I can look back and say that I did it and not a lot of people even get that far.

I understand you’ve gained a pretty loyal fan base out in Japan.

Yeah, we got a licensing deal for the album out there. It was weird because I started noticing that people were picking up on the singles over there and they were selling really well. Then we had about three or four labels get in touch saying they wanted to put the album out. So Skeg at Breakin’ Bread hooked up whatever he hooked up and that was that really.

Obviously it’s extremely pleasing to know your music is being appreciated outside of the UK and going forward it looks like the Japanese thing will be an ongoing relationship, which is massive to me. They seem to have an amazing taste in music out there, and without wanting to sound like I’m bigging myself up too much, they seem to be into music that’s got some heart and soul in it, and that’s what I like to think I do.

The Japanese audience is very particular about what they want and I feel very lucky and privileged that my music is in demand out there. The next step is to try to get over there to do some shows and promotion.

Ghost ft. Abstract Rude – “Basic Instinct” (Breakin Bread / 2006)

Your recent single “It’s All Love” has introduced a slightly different side to Ghost than perhaps people have heard before – does the single represent something of a turning point for you as a producer?

In some ways, yes. With that single I wanted to do something a bit different because I’m not someone who can just continually do the same thing over and over again. I like to challenge myself and try new things. The a-side is a real party tune, which is something I’ve never done before. It’s not my regular thing because it’s quite happy and upbeat and very much dancefloor-orientated. The b-side, again, was me wanting to do something outside the box. I still think both tracks have a Ghost sound to them, but within slightly different styles of music than people are used to hearing from me.

It’s always difficult because the Hip-Hop crowd might listen to the single and say ‘What the f**k is he doing? Why isn’t he still doing straight-up Hip-Hop?’ I’m not trying to move away from doing Hip-Hop at all, but as a producer I want to be able to express myself musically and that sometimes means trying different things.

With that in mind, compared to the Hip-Hop scene you came up in, do you think there even is a UK Hip-Hop scene nowadays in the traditional sense of the term?

That’s a very good question (long pause). It’s hard to know what’s going on anymore, really. There doesn’t appear to be much of a structure left. I’ve actually been discussing this with a few people recently and I think the UK scene got to a good level a few years back and I can’t quite put my finger on what happened, but it feels like the ground just fell from beneath it. But that said, there are still artists out there making good British Hip-Hop whose aim is to keep pushing it, keep getting shows, and hopefully ride through the storm a little bit.

It is difficult though, because if you look at what’s happened to the majority of record shops just in London that supported Hip-Hop, the main ones have gone. It feels like the scene has dropped down a little bit. But sometimes that needs to happen so it can regroup, pick itself up and move forward again. But I don’t think the music media here in the UK has ever really taken British Hip-Hop seriously and it’s always been viewed as just a knock-off of the American stuff. Which is really disappointing because there are artists in the UK who’ve made some amazing music but have had to really struggle to get it heard. UK Hip-Hop has never really been in fashion.

Many people are of the opinion that there’s a real generation gap developing between those UK Hip-Hop acts who came up embracing the culture as well as the music, and those younger artists who grew-up with Hip-Hop being this huge money-making mainstream machine. What are your thoughts on that?

It’s a weird situation. I grew-up on the culture of Hip-Hop and it taught me a helluva lot of things, but you don’t see that as much anymore. But you can’t necessarily blame the younger listeners coming up because that’s the type of Hip-Hop the media chucks at them. It’s a sad state of affairs, but I don’t think all hope is lost. I think the key is to try to embrace some of the newer sounds but keep the roots in Hip-Hop, which is partly what we’ve tried to do with the Invisible Inc project that’s coming out.

Ghost ft. Verb T, Kashmere & Asaviour – “Seldom Seen Often Heard” (Breakin Bread / 2006)

So how did the Invisible Inc project with Kashmere and Verb T come about? 

After I’d done “Seldom Seen Often Heard” I was sat down twiddling my thumbs thinking about what I was going to do next. “Seldom Seen…” was the culmination of years of me making music, so once I’d put that out I felt that I wanted to try and do something a bit different. The same can be said for Kashmere and Verb T as well in the sense that we’d all finished our respective albums and were looking to do something new. I’d kinda been playing around with some new sounds and I played them some of the music I’d been making and they both said ‘Yeah, we really like this.’

I’m trying to keep the production quite contemporary sounding but with some depth. A lot of the synth-based Hip-Hop stuff you hear can be very cheesy and simplified, but I wanted to use that sound for the Invisible Inc album but give it a Ghost feel, which is exactly what I’ve done. Everything on the album has been played and the only things I’ve sampled are the drums. It’s still very much a Hip-Hop album, but it’s us taking a fresh look at the music.

We’ve been out doing shows together for about three years now, so we’ve all got to know each other really well and have become close friends. We all sort of came up through the scene together at a similar time, and what became very apparent when we started talking about doing a project together was that we’d all reached the same point of wanting to do something different.

I went into this Invisible Inc project without feeling any pressure about what people expect from me. So I definitely felt freer putting this album together and the result of that is a project that I think will stand out from what everyone else is doing. I mean, we might put the album out and perhaps nobody will bite on it, but at least we can sit back and say we’ve recorded an album that doesn’t sound like anything anyone else has done in this country. That to me is a very important thing.

It almost sounds as if recording the Invisible Inc material has been a rejuvenating experience for you.

What I found was that when I was getting caught up in the business side of releasing music, it just took my enjoyment out of making music. It dragged me down so much that I started questioning why I was involved in doing what I was doing. The business definitely took the love out of it for me for a long time. But after I’d had a bit of a breather, went back, and started to think of fresh things to do I rediscovered my love for making music again. Of course, I’d love to make enough money to put food on my table and keep a roof over my head, but I’m not going out there thinking ‘I need to sell records’ anymore. It’s gone back to me just doing it because I love it.

How does the Lingua Franca project you have coming out differ from the Invisible Inc album?

I think the Lingua Franca project is going to be more appealing to some people than the Invisible Inc album will be. Basically it’s a bunch of tracks that I gave to Devorah to write to, and it’s a really nice soulful album. Again, I wanted to try something different and work with a singer on an entire album.

We’ve been busy over the last five months or so rehearsing with a band, so that when we go out to perform we can do all of the tunes live. So it’ll be a drummer, a guitar player, keyboardist, a bass player, and me twiddling about onstage with some knobs (laughs).

Again, it’s all about challenging myself, but still keeping the heart of Hip-Hop involved in the music. The album is a bit happier than anything I’ve done before, but I think that’s perhaps because I’m a happier person now. I think that both the Lingua Franca and Invisible Inc albums have a very positive feel to them. I have high hopes for both projects and they both sound very good.

So with Lingua Franca and Invisible Inc keeping you busy, when can we expect to see a new Ghost solo album?

It’s already done. I didn’t do much else in 2007 but I did record a load of new music (laughs). What I will say about the new album is that it’s more instrumental than vocal this time around. It’s a step further than “Seldom Seen…”.

Sometimes people lose focus of what you can do as a producer when you work with a lot of different guest artists, so I wanted to show that there’s enough depth to my production for me to be able to handle tracks on my own.

If “Seldom Seen Often Heard” is the album that really put you on the map as a producer, what are you hoping the Invisible Inc and Lingua Franca projects will do for your career?

Firstly, I just hope they actually come out this year (laughs). I’m hoping that both projects will allow me to get out and do more live shows, as that’s something I love to do. But I really hope that after hearing both projects people will say ‘Sh*t! Ghost has got a few strings to his bow.’ I’d also like the haters to realise that good music can come out of the UK Hip-Hop scene and that we should be taken seriously. Plus, it would be nice to get some new fans and be able to expand on what we’ve already done.

Ryan Proctor

Coolin’ Out – The Cool Kids / DJ MK

Chicago’s Cool Kids in London last week on DJ MK’s Kiss FM rap show.

Good Lookin’ Out – Ty

UK Hip-Hop heavyweight Ty shows his humorous side at a recent photoshoot (the “Simpsons” quote is a classic). 

Steady Flowin’ – Bigz

London’s Bigz displaying the kind of breath control Big Pun would’ve been proud of on Tim Westwood’s 1Xtra radio show.

These Are The Breaks! – Mr. Thing / DJ MK

Mr. Thing deep in the mix promoting his new BBE compilation “Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing” on DJ MK’s Kiss FM rap show.

Street Promotion – Mike GLC

London’s Mike GLC stops off in Luton Town as part of his UK-wide effort to promote his album “The Whole Truth” – this dude works hard.

Lazy Boy Lyrics – Pyrelli

Pyrelli on London’s Kiss FM with Shortee Blitz.

Jam Session – Mary J. Blige

The Queen Of Hip-Hop Soul performs her recent single “Just Fine” at the BBC’s Maida Vale studios in London.

From The Corner – Chester P

UK freestyle legend Chester P breaks down the science behind his art.

Currency Exchange – Pound Sterling

London’s Pound Sterling on Tim Westwood’s 1Xtra radio show.

New Joint – Fliptrix

Fliptrix – “Skyline” ( Masonic Records / 2008 )

Taken from the recently released “Force Fed Imagery” album.

Pyrelli Interview (Originally Printed In Hip-Hop Connection Issue 219 / Wu-Tang Cover / January 2008)

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“Make no mistake about it; I’m a hip-hop dude, man. I don’t want anyone to confuse me with any grime or anything. I’m hip-hop through and through.” So begins HHC’s interview with current UK buzz artist Pyrelli, with the north London lyricist wasting no time in separating himself from the long line of sub-standard ‘artists’ who’ve jumped on the homegrown rap bandwagon in recent years, apparently thinking that wearing an oversized baseball cap and having a video on Channel U equates to possessing real talent. To hear the 24-year-old self-proclaimed Lazy Boy tell it, he’s just as bored and frustrated with the state of modern hip-hop as anyone. But with his new album ‘Vitamin A: A Twist Of Fate’, Pyrelli isn’t just talking about the UK scene needing something new, he’s taking action.

Raised amidst the bustle of Tottenham, Pyrelli’s love affair with hip-hop began early, with the pre-pubescent soon-to-be poet gravitating towards early-90s kiddie rappers close to his own age, namely Kris Kross, Illegal and Da Youngsta’s. It would be the release of Snoop’s infamous 1993 album ‘Doggystyle’, however, that would really set Pyrelli on his path to becoming a true microphone fiend. “I was ten when I heard ‘Doggystyle’ and I just thought ‘That’s the shit!’” he reflects. “I actually wrote down and learnt all of the lyrics to the whole album, from the intro to the last track.”

It would take almost a decade of practice before the wider UK rap community heard Pyrelli’s distinctive style, with the MC first being introduced to the masses as a member of the One collective. An eleven-man British Wu-Tang of sorts that also counted recent noise-makers Mr Ti2bs and Sway as members, One released their relatively well-received album ‘Onederful World’ in 2002. “I believe that we were a great group,” offers Pyrelli when asked about his time with the talented yet short-lived crew. “But now with the benefit of hindsight I believe that we each could’ve cranked up our input and put out more songs. We took criticisms to heart and I don’t think we had enough confidence in ourselves at that time to weather those blows when we got them.”

Pyrelli views his decision to step outside the security of a group situation and go solo as one of his greatest personal challenges. But it appears to have been paying off. With the charismatic MC able to fully flex his creative muscle and take his music in whichever directions he chooses, releases such as ‘Tha Organ G’ have seen comparisons made between his own multi-layered flow and the wordplay of rap greats such as Ghostface Killah and Pharoahe Monch. High praise indeed for someone still seen by most as a new kid on the block, but do such compliments put unnecessary pressure on an artist yet to fully carve out his own musical identity? “Those comparisons mean a lot to me,” begins Pyrelli, clearly both humbled and excited to hear his name mentioned alongside such lyrical giants. “To be honest, I would never have said that myself, but if that’s how people feel then it’s all good. But I definitely don’t take those comparisons lightly. When I’m writing I put myself under tremendous pressure anyway. I know the type of hip-hop I like to listen to so I’m always trying to make music of that quality. I’m my own worst critic, so I’m not leaving the studio until those verses are right. If there’s a word out of place I’ve gotta redo it.”

It’s clear from speaking to Pyrelli that his passion for music extends far beyond just ensuring his own material is up-to-par. During the course of the conversation he breaks down the staying power of Biggie’s ‘Ready To Die’, speaks enthusiastically about the talents of Houston gangsta-rap OG Scarface, and marvels at the apparently effortless genre-hopping achieved by reggae legends Sly & Robbie when they worked with soul diva Gwen Guthrie on an 80s album the rapper recently found in his mother’s vinyl collection. It’s this same passion for sonic perfection that also sparks Pyrelli’s less than favourable comments about the wannabe wordsmiths who might consider themselves his competition. “People are not actually cultured in this art form,” he states, with the same fervour usually reserved for the responses of golden-age cats being asked their opinions on the hip-hop of today. “A lot of people are saying they’re rapping, but they don’t really understand the depth of this music. To me, that’s the key. I speak to guys and they’re like ‘I’ve been rapping for two years and I’m ready to do my album.’ I’m like, ‘Yo! I’ve been doing this shit since 1994, man’. But some of these guys today just don’t get it. I believe you need to have a real understanding of this art form, pay those dues, learn the craft, and make sure this is something that you really want to be a part of and that it’s something you love.”

Ultimately, it’s Pyrelli’s ability to blend the sincerity of his old soul with the thoughts of a young mind that could see him succeed where others have failed, by bridging the gap between today’s MySpace generation who might only know him from his ‘Up Your Speed’ collaboration with Sway, and those older heads who want to hear some substance and genuine verbal skill. The diverse ‘Vitamin A’ definitely covers all the bases without ever sounding disjointed, offering the youthful energy of today’s current UK urban scene (‘Introvert Me’), playful humour (‘Fashionably Late’), commercial viability (‘Caravan Of Love’), and intelligent social commentary (‘Know No Other Way’).

“I understand my position and I believe it’s a unique one,” Pyrelli offers in parting. “I’ve kinda got some of the old-school mentality with new-school capabilities and it’s about me making the correlation between the two and bringing both of those elements through in my music. So with this album I’m really just trying to get the awareness up so that people understand who this Pyrelli guy actually is.”

Ryan Proctor

Pyrelli – “Introvert Me” (All City / 2007)

Pyrelli – “Caribbean Love” (All City / 2007)