Tag: interview

25 Facts About Mega Ran – RNDM

• September 19, 2015
Mega Ran - RNDM

Mega Ran – RNDM

DOWNLOAD | Rndm – Mega Ran

We have another excellent feature from Mega Ran, with an exclusive 25 Facts about his most recent album “RNDM”. Please support Mega Ran by downloading RNDM from the iTunes link listed above.

1. The original title was “Wouldn’t Miss It For The World.” I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t know if I’ve told why. I originally used to be a gospel rapper, and the album I was working on back then, maybe 2004 or so, had that title. The concept was that no matter how great things became, or what material posessions I’d have, I wouldn’t miss my shot at eternity for anything or anyone.

2. The Introduction Changed Four Times. I went to a Tech N9ne show for the first time in 2013, and that’s when I got my original idea for an intro. At the end of the show, Tech rapped some sort of pledge, or motto to the crowd, and they all knew the words. I later learned that this motto appears on every Tech album. I wanted my new album to start with a pledge of allegiance of sorts, that I would rap at each show at the beginning. The pledge I wrote was a spoken word poem with no music under it, and while I thought it was dope, it ultimately wasn’t me. I’m not a huge fan of acapellas at shows (no disrespect to anyone that does it, some make it work REALLY well), but I decided to go in a different direction, which was then a HARD rap intro with a beat by DiBia$e. I later scrapped that as well, but it may resurface. I played a show in Japan with a band in late 2014, and they love piano out there. I then decided that I wanted a piano track. I asked 2 great pianists for tracks, but ultimately I decided to contact Michiru Yamane, award-winning composer, and asked her to compose based on my words and feelings, and when I heard it, this current intro just flew out of my pen.

3. The original track listing was over 30 songs. I liked them all, and considered releasing RNDM as a double album. I didn’t wind up doing that. But some of those songs will surface in the next few years I think.

4. “The Meeting” was supposed to have a sequel. I originally planned for “The Meeting” to be two separate songs, where Random would come back and be supportive of Mega Ran’s transformation. I didn’t feel like it needed to end, so to speak, they could agree to disagree.

Mega Ran

Mega Ran

5. One track is lost forever. I had to cut a track I LOVED from this album, called “Wouldn’t Miss It For The World (sound familiar?)” all because of a producer not being able to get me the multi-track stems of his beat. He told me his computer had crashed, and that he was about to get kicked out of his home if he didn’t have $200 for rent… I felt for him and I gave him the money and he not only didn’t get me the beat, he stopped returning my calls and emails altogether. What a dweeb. That’s a lot of the reason the album title changed.

6. “Introvert Bars” was supposed to be longer. I had an entire song around it but it wasn’t as fun as the beginning was. So I re-did it several times, and then in sequencing, I accidentally realized it sounded perfect right before “Your Favorite Song.”

7. The album took 3, maybe 4 years to complete. I released “Losses” with Joell and MURS in 2013, but didn’t put it out until 2014, which is still a year ahead of the album. Infinite Lives was also released a year before the release date. And related to that…

8. “Believe” is seven years old. When we lived together, DJ DN3 and I just recorded tracks. A lot of music was made then. Most of it has been released, but one thing that never got out was an album called “The House Project,” that he made with our housemates. I appeared on a few tracks and the final track was “Believe.” I loved the song, but since the album never came out, it sat and sat. I asked DN3 if I could use it on this album, but I wanted to beef it up since it was so old. I looked around for organ players, and then got hit up by Packy of the band “I Fight Dragons” who knocked it out of the park. I had no idea he had so much soul.

9. “The Meeting’s concept was born in an interview. About a year ago, an interviewer asked me, “are you ever gonna make one of those ‘split personality songs’ where you talk to yourself? I laughed it off and said “nah, not likely.” I then went home and watched the play “The Meeting” about Martin Luther King meeting Malcolm X. And then I wrote “The Meeting.”

10. The female vocalist on “Laughin At Ya (That’s Crazy)” is from Fiverr. That’s right. I hired a vocalist from India to give me some vocals for the song that I written and she did the job. Originally her vocals were to be placeholders for another singer, but that singer cancelled her session and I was heading on the road, so the $5 vocals stuck. She asked not to be credited by name. That’s Crazy.

11. “Mackerel Sky” is the result of listening to too much Aesop Rock. I listened to 3 people during the making of this album: Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan and Aesop Rock. I was determined to make a few songs on this album that wouldn’t be immediately decipherable upon first listen. Mackerel and Promised Land are those songs. I wrote Mackerel Sky specifically for the purpose of breaking it down in depth, one day down the line. Turns out it was a banging track. Ironically, AF THE NAYSAYER originally used this beat as a remix for Aesop’s “None Shall Pass.” I heard it at a show and asked him about it, and boom.

12. The Meeting was re-recorded the most times, maybe 5. I usually record stuff once to get it down, then again at the big studio, but this one didn’t have the right amount of emotion on it the first few takes, so I had to do it again, and then again, and again.

13. Joell Ortiz probably doesn’t like me. I asked him to send me a CLEAN verse for this album and though his verse is mostly clean, he uses 2 of the 7 words you can’t say on radio or TV. I asked him to redo his verse and he refused, and even got a little offended. He didn’t want his verse edited, but eventually agreed to it…I think.

14. MURS’ verse on “Losses” took less than 12 hours. If there’s one chance I wish I could get back it’s that one. I dig my verse a lot, but I feel like he had it down and murdered that one. He got me that verse within the same day and it was REALLY impressive.

15. Someone stole the beat for “Your Favorite Song.” Tunesmith (the producer) told me that he sent out a beat tape with that track on it to several other MCs and one young guy from Cali just rapped on the beat and put it on his soundcloud without even talking to him. It’s rappers like that guy that give us a bad name. You probably will never hear it, but if you do, you know the story now.

Mega Ran

Mega Ran

16. I’ve never met 4 of the producers on the album. Al Maccio, Tunesmith and PR Beats and Marcus Banks are just dope beatmakers who sent me tracks that they’d made with me in mind… they worked. I’d always dreamed of being an artist that producers name beats after, like “Mega Ran-Type Beat”

17. Me and Wordburglar think alike. So on Wordburglar’s new album, I appear on a track called “Warp Formula” which is all about space travel, and he appears on my album on Space Defense Team, all about space travelling bounty hunters.

18. Kool Keith was a dream to work with. I sent him the song with my verses and hook on it and he immediately agreed to hop on and even made suggestions on the song direction, which was awesome. A dream to be able to bounce ideas off of a legendary MC.

19. Matt Weiss did a LOT on this album. He mixed the entire record, played some bass on Miss Communication, did background vocals on several tracks and more. I can’t say enough about his talent level and how much he leveled up this record.

20. Laughin At Ya was a joke. It was supposed to be a skit, but became a whole song. I wrote it so fast that I just didn’t think it deserved to be a part of the album. But it was entertaining and had a sound that I had never experimented with before. So we kept it.

21. Alternate Endings is inspired by the Professor Layton x Phoenix Wright game. In that game, in an alternate world, Layton meets Phoenix Wright, who is a baker, and not a lawyer. So that inspired me to make a song in which someone would meet me in my alternate life. I used to want to be a dentist. It’s true. Up until my sophomore year of college, I was determined to be a dental hygenist. Then I failed biology and decided to change course.

22. Rushmore was a hard song to write. My original plan was to rap each verse in an attempt to impersonate each artist that I was talking about, but I decided not to, though I felt I had done a good job with the voices and flow of each. But I thought that would sound too tongue-in-cheek, when it wasn’t a funny song at all.

23. “Revisions” probably ensures I’ll never teach again. I let out a lot of serious behind-the-curtain stuff that teachers and administrators know, but no one says. I started writing this while I was still teaching, so maybe mid 2011.

24. “The Promised Land” is my career in a nutshell. It works on a number of levels, but it initially was written to be a parallel of my relationship with nerdcore. I feel like I helped knock down a wall that encouraged people of color to be themselves and embrace their nerdiness, but once the wall was down, everyone tried to repeat the same formula and it became overcrowded, to the point where I felt like the outcast. If that wall were still up, I’d be protected, but without it, I’m exposed.

25. “Mighty” was the impossible song, but we got it done. I got an email from Comcept while on the road with Storyville and Danimal this year, and they gave me a short deadline for a very intricate track… they wanted an EIGHT MINUTE song that included a voice clip from every high level backer. You’ll hear that version on the game when it comes out in 2016.

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25 Facts About Iron Braydz – Verbal sWARdz

• March 20, 2014 • Comments (2)

Iron Braydz

PREVIOUS | 25 Facts About Matt Maddox – Righteous Fury | 25 Facts About Imperial and Kinetik – Pencils Not Pistols

We’re gearing up for the release of Iron Braydz’s next project “Verbal sWARdz” on 14th April 2014. Here’s an exclusive “25 Facts About Iron Braydz – Verbal sWARdz” which is a great insight into the project. You’ll be able to download Verbal sWARdz from Braydz’s Official Bandcamp Page.

1. Verbal sWARdz has three tracks I already put out in the course of a few years that passed (Firey Read in 2011, Dobermans and Scorpion Sting).
2. Dobermans featuring Phat Kat has already got a video on my YouTube channel shot by Sinikle.
3. Firey Red featuring Sean Price got a lot of Coverage especially from 2dopeboys and NahRight.
4. Dobermans and Firey Red were both originally meant to go on the SLUGGA album which I haven’t recorded yet.
5. During the course of recording some more tracks for the EP, I, Phat Kat and Agor (producer of Dobermans) had agreed to do an EP together.
6. The verse on Verbal sWARdz (the title track) was originally written for the EP with Phat Kat and Agor.
7. Dedd wasn’t originally called that, realised I had lost my lyrics when I got on the train before going to Chemo’s to record and out of frustration I wrote Dredd before I got there.
8. All my beats were made on Reason 5 on my laptop with a pair of Zenheiser headphones.
9. Rambo was for a project called Chimera that was devised by fellow Triple Darkness member Solar Black. The line-up was Skiblah, Black Crypton, Solar Black and my self.
10. I ended up using it on the EP because everyone’s schedules were hectic.
11. Scorpion Sting was inspired by “the House of Flying Daggers” on Raekwon’s OB4CL 2.
12. My verse on Crowbar Head topper was influenced by how I felt when English Frank made the comment about the security guard being African. I know he apologised for what he said and done, however it still offended me at the time and I can sincerely say I have no issues with him.
13. The first part of my verse on Crowbar Head Topper was a true story, happened a long time ago.
14. The beat I created for Fiery Red was a remix of a beat Chemo made for me some years back.
15. The intro to V.S was taken from Thundering Mantis, one of my all time favourite classics. I also felt that part of the movie represents how I feel. It almost feels like the black community is being laughed at right now in the height of recent and current events to do with some of the racial tension that’s building up in London (and worldwide), but no many people seem to want to talk about it. Bryan Leungs outburst just before Scorpion Sting kicks in is the full representation of the project. An outburst of facts, feelings, perspectives and opinions.
16. Millennium was the most difficult lyric for me to write because of its intricacies and alignment of words. Plus I had the pleasurable pressure of making sure my verses were up to par with the big brother Po.
17. The artwork for V.S was done in 2010, but it was finalised last year.
18. Verbal sWARdz drops the exact same time Triple Darkness had made me an Official member 14.4.14.
19. Just before I finished recording the EP I had made a cameo in my first movie (Night Bus).
20. Crowbar Head Topper is also on Ray Vendetta and Solar Blacks releases.
21. My daughter stayed up with me while I finished making the beat for Scorpion Sting.
22. I wasn’t going to put the EP out at one point, because I was done with music for a while and it made no sense to me until Cyrus Malachi and M9 had words with me.
23. Jehst was present in my recording session and he lost his marbles when he’d heard the Rambo and Scorpion Sting instrumentals, He was also surprised when he found out I made them. That shit was funny as hell.
24. Dave Pyster who created my custom swords was also the inspiration for me choosing the title of the EP.
25. This project is dedicated to my good friend Natty and Ricky Bishop who both passed away due to police brutality.

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eLZhi – The Recap

• December 3, 2013 • Comments (0)

eLZhi - The Recap

PREVIOUS | eLZhi – Can’t Lose

EXCLUSIVE | eLZhi Interview with HHKMag

The promotion for eLZhi’s “G.L.O.W” album is now in full effect, as around 10 minutes ago we were sent another snippet for the track “The Recap”. Throughout November and early December, eLZhi and the team have announced they have reached the $25k goal via Kickstarter to fund the forthcoming album “G.L.O.W” and “The Recap” is a 1:49 preview from the track which will feature on the album. Make sure you browse the HHKMag archives for the previous eLZhi leaks. However, you can listen to eLZhi – The Recap on the YouTube player below.

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Stephen Lynch Interview

• November 23, 2013 • Comments (0)

Stephen Lynch Interview

DOWNLOAD | Stephen Lynch – LION

During his U.K tour, HHKMag caught up with the “musician trapped in a comedians body” AKA Stephen Lynch. Following his memorable performance at the o2 Academy in Leeds, Stephen Lynch talks about his latest album “Lion” and his favourite track from the record. Stephen Lynch also discusses collaborations with Courtney Jaye and the reason he hasn’t worked with any high-profile musicians. Lastly, Stephen Lynch discusses plans for 2014 and gives a very special shoutout at the end of the interview.

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Apex Zero – The World We Exist In and Exclusive Interview

• September 15, 2013 • Comments (1)

Last month Apex Zero made his debut on HHK with the single “Meeting of the Continents” which features Hasan Salaam and Braydz. I’m delighted to premier the brand new single “The World We Live In” which is an exclusive for the website and will not be featured on the album. We also have an exclusive interview with Apex Zero who speaks about the forthcoming album “Reality Provoking Liberation” which is available from 28th October 2013. You can listen to “The World We Exist In” and read the Apex Zero interview below.

HHK: Thank you for speaking to HHK. Can we have an introduction to the readers please, a little bit about your history in hip hop?

Apex: My names Apex Zero, underground emcee and producer from Hounslow, West London. I represent 2 crews, First and Last aka The First and Last Pride and POZ – The Pantheonz of Zenn-la. I’ve been making and participating with Hip Hop music for about 10 years now – making mixtapes and travelling round the country performing and moving CDs at events and on road. When I was about 16 me and my brother OMeza Omniscient, who’s part of First and Last with me, got put in touch with a young producer who was just starting to get into making beats and recording – his name’s The Hoax, now part of Craze and Hoax – and we just spent every minute we could round at his writing and recording tracks, making sets, swapping beats and growing.

We spent a few years sharpening the swords and at the same time would hit the live scene, things like Deal Real, Speakers Corner, Oh! Bar – and started making a little name for ourselves in open mics. We put our tunes out there and people who got it showed a lot of love, and over a bit of time we just kept making stuff and performing alongside some bigger names, and made good connections with people – emcees, producers, musicians, artists, and just genuine Hip Hop heads. Being completely independent has always meant the scale has been relatively small, but those who know about us have always felt what we have to say and felt our style. Plus wherever we go a mosh pit starts! People either love or hate that so it helps to bring those who are feeling it towards us!

HHK: Understand you were originally involved in London’s garage scene. What got you turned onto hip hop?

Apex: I don’t think I can say I was involved in the scene! I was a yout’, proper young like 12, and my brother used to DJ, so there’d always be emcees and DJs rolling through my yard to make tapes, and I just wanted to get involved. So I started writing little rhymes with my friends and as time went on we’d just be rolling round the ends clashing next crews of yout’s and did 1 or 2 little shows, nothing big at all. But I’d been into Hip Hop before that. When I was just turning 10 or 11 I started breaking out of all the bullshit music my generation was force-fed and even then started to want to get into stuff that related more to my culture and my people – and in looking for that I found Hip Hop, or Hip Hop found me, and it hit me hard!

Anything to do with the culture I just absorbed, I loved it. So all the time I was trying to get into garage I was listening to more Hip Hop music than anything else. It was just the attitude of us all at the time that garage was a UK thing and we should be reppin where we’re from, and I jumped on that. But garage was limited, it was purely for raves, nothing else. I needed something deeper than that. So while I was finding all this golden era Hip Hop, I heard heads like dead prez, and they spoke to me in a next way. From a young age I’ve been quite aware of the problems that face my people and our communities, but hearing dead prez and Wu, and Kweli, Immortal Technique and them began to give me reasons and explanations about things I was already living. They put me on to some of my biggest inspirations, like Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, and directed me towards ways of acting and thinking that was beyond the traps that we’re setup to fall into. And because Hip Hop had given me that, I’ve attempted to give that back through Hip Hop, it’s always been the best way I’ve had to express it.

HHK: Know you started out on the live scene and then recording as the duo First and Last. When did you start to think about putting together a solo project and why?

Apex: I’ve been wanting to do it for a while, it’s just that all my efforts had gone into building up the First and Last name and reputation. Then we put together the POZ with other brothers from the ends and that we’d met on the scene – The Aurahkel, Seepa, Le Hornet, Yellow King – and solo projects just kinda got pushed back.

But over the last few years, where certain problems and life issues have got in the way with some of the stuff we’d been working on –making Hip Hop doesn’t mean you’re out the struggle – I decided that there was a body of work there that I could use as a platform to build something that expressed what I’m seeing, feeling and thinking now. I’ve been working on the album for about 3 or 4 years now – writing, recording, mixing, tweaking it, adding to it, getting certain things prepared and stacking, and once it was looking close to being finished I put together my first solo project, the mixtape ‘The Pulse of the Awakening’.

That got me a really good response from people and from that I felt like I was in a better position to try and push the album a bit harder. But we’ve always worked communally and built a small community around us, from the very beginning, people helping each other out with projects and all aspects of producing music, and OMeza still been strongly involved in the album – providing bars and beats, plus helping with mixing and mastering, design, videos, everything, and so have other members of the family.

HHK: You’ve self produced much of the album. When you’re putting tracks together, do you have a specific subject matter in mind and produce a beat to match the mood to then spit over, or how does the writing process generally happen?

Apex: Most of the time when it comes to beats I don’t have anything in mind before. I’ll find a sample or play something in and then build around that. I don’t really make beats thinking about spitting over them, I make them as something in-themselves. Then after if I feel like one my beats matches a style I’m going for or something I’m working on or want to write about then it’ll get written for.

Sometimes if already got bars for a track or something recorded and I make a beat, I’ll spit some of those bars over it and sometimes it just works better. I think that a lot of the time, when bars have been written over one beat and you’ve created a certain rhythm or pattern based on that track, if you take those bars and put them on something else, that rhythm that you’ve found on the first track adds something different to the new one. You wouldn’t have been able to find that rhythm on the new one. I guess it kinda works on the same principle as sampling – I sample the rhythm that the first beats has given me and supply that over the second.

I think it’s important to see spitting lyrics like that – your flows are your instrument, it’s as important as a guitar solo on a Hendrix track or sax solo by Coltrane. You’ve gotta bring that same energy to the beats you’re spitting on. In terms of content, anyone who knows my music, especially my solo stuff, knows that most it has quite a specific content – anti-establishment, anti-imperialist, anti-oppression lyrics calling for unity, organisation and genuine movement to overthrow the causes of that oppression. I can, have and do write about other things, all kinds of aspects of life, but I feel like most of those aspect are effected by the circumstances created as a result of this suppression, so dealing with that, to me, especially on this album, is takes priority in terms of content.

HHK: What was the thought process behind working with Hasan Salaam and Braydz for “A Meeting of the Continents”?

Apex: The thought process was that these brothers are 2 of the illest emcees out there, I’ve got a connection with them, would they be on it!? And they both hooked me up with 2 deadly verses! I’ve known Braydz since I was 17, we were both performing at an event for a community organisation called AJAMU – A Just African Movement for Unity. He was performing as part of Blind Alphabetz and obviously destroyed the set and when we did our thing he showed us a lot of love. Being the kind of brother that Braydz is – humble, honest and straight up – he came up to us with no ego and was like ‘yeah you man are ill, keep going’.

So since then we’ve been cool. He’s one of my favourite emcees – UK, US anywhere. Braydz knows Hasan anyway, but I met Hasan through DJ Snuff. I was giving Snuff a lift somewhere and he asked if I could help him pick Hasan up from the airport because he was bringing him over. I did it, and we got on, built a lot and him and Snuff hooked us up with some performances at a couple of his shows. Like Braydz he was bless, no ego, no front and said he was feeling us. He’s a properly deep brother, we did a lecture event together at the London School of Economics in 2011 and the depth of knowledge and oratory skill he has is incredible. Plus he’s obviously got crazy skills on the mic. ‘Prayers of a Sinner’ is one of the best tracks I’ve ever heard. He deserves all the success that he’s getting.

OMeza came up with the title for the track, it wasn’t really planned to be about anything specific. But being on what we’re all on, and with the direction of the album, the track became about different perspectives (based on our locations) on the same problem, the global repression that we all face. So seeing as we have these different perspectives based on living in the Babylon of New Jersey or the Babylon of London, and that we’re all of African descent in the diaspora, the track became a meeting of the experiences of multiple continents – and OMeza blessed it with its name based on that.

HHK: What can fans expect when they purchase “Reality Provoking Liberation”? And what gave you the influence for the title?

Apex: ‘Reality Provoking Liberation’ is a philosophy, a critical view of the circumstances we live in and a strategy for combating the reasons for those circumstances. I study the work of Frantz Fanon a lot, and through doing this I’ve been able to analyse the current situation of oppressed and exploited people through the perspective that his work gives. In ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ an analysis of the Algerian Revolution, Fanon says that revolution begins as infighting between colonised and oppressed people, due to the fact that we don’t feel like we can take our anger out on the source of this anger – the coloniser, the oppressor. Fanon says that over time, this infighting starts to become directed towards the coloniser through ‘random’ acts of violence against the colonists property and against them as individuals. Its only if this violence is organised correctly by people who are ‘politically’ or ‘revolutionary’ aware that it can become a genuine force towards a revolution.

In the UK, we’ve been fighting, maiming and killing each other for generations. It’s a tactic to keep us divided so that we damage ourselves instead of damaging the state – politics, business, the police – the forces that keeps us in a position to be exploited so that those who profit from this exploitation and are behind those forces can stay in power and stay rich. In recent years, events like the uprisings or ‘riots’ that we had in 2011 are evidence that this violence is moving away from each other and towards our common enemy – the state and its capitalist and imperialist nature and agenda. What I’m saying throughout this album is that we need to unify then organise in order to fight and over throw this oppressive force and give birth to something better.

We already have the power to do this – the uprisings were evidence of this. All the experiences of our lives as exploited people – doing criminal activity to survive, working jobs you hate to get by, grinding to support our families – all of these have given us skills that could be used to fight our oppressor and to fight and win our freedom – the creation of a better existence for us as a whole. In other words – our Reality has given us the tools to Provoke our Liberation. This is what I’m spitting about over Neo-Hardcore Hop Hop beats – Hardcore Hip Hop reborn in a new form – just as Neo Soul did with Soul or Nu Jazz did with Jazz.

HHK: Who have you worked with on the album? And are there any other MC’s or producers you’d like to work with in the future?

Apex: I’ve got features from OMeza Omniscient (First and Last POZ), Iron Braydz (Triple Darknes) and Hasan Salaam (Viper Records), but I’ve also got some incredible singing from Amy True (Caxton Press). She’s an amazing singer, she’s got so much feeling in her voice, and she can kill a mic with her bars too! I’ve got my man Seepa on there from POZ who smashed it on his verse and I’ve also got the deadly DJ crew Invincible Armour (Dizar, Jda Cutz, Iron Fingers and Downlow).

Those guys are too ill, some of the shit I’ve heard them do is on another level. I’ve also got Kyra, a singer from London who we’ve worked with for years. I think she has a similar tone of voice to Sade, she’s deep. Like you said I made most of the beats myself, but I’ve got some on there from my brother OMeziah (OMeza’s production name) and one from DJ Fortune, a talented producer from the ends that I’ve known for years. Plus OMeza and my brother The Aurahkel helped with all the recording and mixing processes too.

There’s loads of the people I’d like to work with, way too many! All those legendary producers – the RZA, 4th Disciple, ?uestlove, DJ Premier, and the same with emcees, you know Dead Prez, Immortal Technique, the WU, Pharaoh Monch, Black Thought – it could go on for time! In the UK as well, I think Triple Darkness are sick, where I know Braydz I guess you could say I’m working with them already but all they’re members are deep. Plus the legends again – The Klashnekoff’s, Skinnyman’s – there’s too many people in the UK to say. Anyone who feels me and I feel them I’d love to work with. Especially some stuff outside of Hip Hop – I’d love to work with some metal bands. Start some even crazier mosh pits!

HHK: What’s your personal favourite track on the album, and why?

Apex: That’s like making me pick between my kids! Apex’s choice! It’s hard to do but I’m gonna say Obtain Bearing. It’s completely different to everything else on there. It’s based on one of my favourite pieces of music and it’s one of the few tunes I’ve made where I reflect on what I’m feeling on a more personal, introspective level. There’s a lot of feeling embodied in that track and I hope people will connect to that. Another one is Growth – its 7 minutes long! I think I did a good job with the production on that one still!

HHK: The UK Hip-Hop scene has grown considerably over the last few years. Why do you think that is?

Apex: I don’t think I agree. I think in some ways it’s grown, but in other ways it’s shrunk a bit. There’s a bigger online presence for the UK scene, but in terms of out in reality there isn’t as much, at least that I’m aware of. Yeah there’s a lot of people making tracks, but there always has been. When we were first getting involved there were open mics and events on nearly every day in London. And if there wasn’t there’d be somewhere else for you to go in the country – and you’d take a road trip.

I don’t think you can say that any more. Plus a lot of record stores are gone, and for me it’s those things that were the scene – HQ in Brixton, Deal Real, you know. But I might be biased – I’m talking mostly about London, plus I’ve been away for a minute getting all this album done and working on other things in my community and organising – so maybe I’m wrong. I hope I am wrong! It’s important to remember that the UK scene is bigger than London, a think a lot of us get on like it’s not sometimes. When I get back on it properly and get some shows around the UK, maybe I’ll see what you man are seeing. I hope that happens.

HHK: You’ve spent some time in Nottingham which is often undervalued when it comes to producing UK Hip-Hop talent. Are there any Northern-based MC’s who you listen to?

Apex: My Mum grew up in Nottingham and half my family still live there, so I’ve been in and around Nottingham my whole life even if just for short periods. There’s a lot of big musicians from there, not just in Hip Hop. The bigger ones are Scorzayzee , Endemic and Cappo and obviously Joe Buddha, and they’re all deep. But even look at Jake Bugg – it aint Hip Hop but he’s getting massive now and he’s from my nans estate in Clifton far as I know. That’s good for the city – when someone with real talent makes a success of themselves.

I haven’t spent that much time up there in the last few years but I bet there’s nuff heavy emcees and producers up there coming up that I’m sleeping on. I’m looking to get a few shows up there sorted after the launch so hopefully I’ll find out. Other Northern Hip Hop heads I’m feeling are Jack Flash and his band, he killed the EOW world finals a few years back, and obviously MD7 have been repping it for the UK from day.

HHK: Where can fans buy the album on October 28th?

Apex: Best place to get it from will be from the Bandcamp link on our website – www.firstandlastpride.co.uk. Digital and CD copies’ll be available, plus if all goes to plan some vinyl for the purists – and for me! We try to keep everything as independent and as direct as possible, but we’ll try get it to record stores too, the ones that are left.

HHK: Any final shoutouts you’d like to make?

Apex: Yeah just to all my brothers and sister who helped make the album – they’ve all been mentioned! One love to everyone on the UK scene and all Hip Hop heads worldwide – we’re family. To everyone who’s struggling across the globe – we have the tools to fix the problem, we just got to use them together – unify, organise, revolt.

HHK: Thanks for speaking with HHK!

Thanks for the opportunity to, and for the support. Respect.

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ethemadassassin – 80’s and 90’s and Exclusive Interview

• August 20, 2013 • Comments (12)


As HHK previously reported, ethemadassassin is getting ready to drop his upcoming album “Soul on Fire” on 17th September 2013. I’m delighted to premier a single from the album titled 80’s and 90’s which is the second leak from the project. The single has been produced by UK’s “Sci Fi Stu” and ethemadassassin speaks about what many will consider the golden era. ethemadassassin has also answered some questions as part of an exclusive interview which speaks about the upcoming album, his personal favourite tracks, and his upbringing and roots. You can listen to ethemadassassin – 80’s and 90’s and read the exclusive interview below.

HHK: Firstly can the HHKMag readers have an introduction please?

E: Peace, my name is ethemadassassin, pronounced “e the madassassin,” all lower cases, no spaces, fix your faces…I’m one half of the duo Veteran Assassins, one-fourth of the crew known as Circle Of Steel, one-seventh of the clique known as The Ninth Floor, and one-sixth of the collective known as Team Bastard, and I’m 100 percent me…

HHK: We understand you started performing during what’s commonly known as the Golden Era of hip hop. How did you start out in terms of getting shows & being involved in the rap battle scene, and how did you put together your first recordings in these days?

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DLTLLY – RA the Rugged Man Interview

• May 25, 2013 • Comments (5)


True school Hip-Hop movement DLTLLY (Dont Let the Label Label You) have recently presented a brand new feature which is an exclusive “RA the Rugged Man” interview and recap of his live performance during his UK tour. DLTLLY ask Rugged Man about the new album “Legends Never Die” specifically the creative process and which tracks he spent more time on. Rugged Man goes on to answer questions about the music industry and more. Feel free to browse the HHK archives for previous DLTLLY work including a feature with Stig of the Dump and more. You can watch DLTLLY – RA the Rugged Man Interview on the youtube player below.

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This Is Hip Hop and Spread Love Present KRS ONE and Immortal Technique in Manchester

• May 20, 2013 • Comments (3)
KRS ONE and Immortal Technique in Manchester

KRS ONE and Immortal Technique in Manchester

Ticket Link | http://bit.ly/10fPaY8

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hip-Hop, legendary rappers KRS ONE and Immortal Technique will be sharing the stage for a one-off double headline show in Manchester. This Is Hip Hop and Spread Love Present two of the biggest artists to have blessed us with countless classic material, and fans will have the opportunity to see them live at The Ritz on Thursday 13th June. Tickets start at £20.00 and are available at £30.00 for the VIP section from the link listed above. Look out for the HHKMag coverage of the event as always., and you can watch the previous HHKMag interview with Immortal Technique and Poison Pen below.

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Nardwuar vs Joey Badass

• March 18, 2013 • Comments (0)
Joey Badass

Joey Badass

Here is the latest video from Nardwuar who interviews Joey Badass and the Pro Era crew in a new feature that went live today. Nardwuar in typical fashion asks a series of questions and presents the Pro Era crew with a series of gifts (MF Doom) and gets a great response from the crew. You can visit Nardwuar’s Official YouTube Channel for previous interviews, however you can watch Nardwuar vs Joey Badass on the YouTube player below.

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Raekwon – Die Tonight

• January 19, 2013 • Comments (0)
Raekwon - Lost Jewlry

Raekwon – Lost Jewlry

Raekwon – Lost Jewlry | Raekwon Interview

Following the release of Raekwon’s “Lost Jewlry” EP, I wanted to share track five from the record titled “Die Tonight”. Production credits go to Frank G who also produced the track “Lead Season” and featured alongside a list of well established and upcoming producers on the EP. Lost Jewrly has been made available as a free download through Complex Mag who premiered the release. HHK fans will remember the interview I conducted last year which can be watched on the youtube link above, however you can view the artwork and download link for Raekwon – Lost Jewlry above, and you can listen to Raekwon – Die Tonight on the soundcloud player below.

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