SBTV‘s Ash Houghton spoke with Jammer to get the scoop on all of the Lord of the Mics 4 hype, whether or not he’s really down with battling Snakeyman and when to expect a new project from himself and Boy Better Know…
So, Lord of the Mics 4,is just around the corner! In regards to the format, has much changed this time round?
It’s the same format really, but the venue’s changed.
So it’s wasn’t filmed in the dungeon? Can you tell us a bit about the new location?
Nope, the dungeon’s being reconditioned at the moment. If you think of the location we filmed the Skepta vs. Devilman battle, it’s a location like that. It’s still got that dungeon-ey vibe, it’s still edgy and closed off, it’s good, man.
There’s a lot of up-and-comers for this year’s Lord of the mics, so, who would you say are the ones to really look out for?
Boy, I would say don’t underestimate K Dot. Fangol also really surprised me and, of course, you’ve got Discarda and Jaykae; those guys surprised me.
Is the filming completely finished now then? If not, is there any chance of having a Jammer vs. Snakeyman battle any time soon? [Laughs]
The filming’s finished now but, yeah, I wanna do it. Everyone needs to get on Twitter and Tweet him; he’s running scared. You know what it was, though? He underestimated me, but when he heard my Hype Session I think he realised I wasn’t a light job. But I wanna do it, man.
The demand to see the Lord of the Mics battles is huge, how did you manage to stay on top of the people ripping the battles and uploading them to YouTube when it was released last year?
Obviously we had a few things in place to deal with it. But, most importantly, we had the support of the fans, so every time something was getting [illegally] uploaded to YouTube, [the fans] were letting us know and we were able to take them down. We also had a few other people who knew how to have the stuff removed so, along with the help of the supporters, we were able to keep on top of it.
Aside from Lord of the Mics, when can we expect a new Jammer album or project?
Basically, I’m doing a new mix CD called Living The Dream, which should be finished by Christmas and possibly released before New Year, or the start of 2013. I’m also gonna be releasing a solo album next year, and then there’s the Boy Better Know album that we’re working on as well, so, yeah, that’s what I’m up to at the moment really.
So, what’s the latest with the Boy Better Know album then – is it finally going to come to fruition?
Yeah, definitely. We just won the Red Bull Culture Clash, so we’ve got that under our belt now, and obviously with the success of Wiley’s singles [and his most recent track with] JME and Skepta, Can You Hear Me?, we just want to utilise the hype from everything to go into the album. It’s all about keeping the momentum going.
Sounds good! Finally then, when can we expect to see Lord of the Mics 4 in the shops?
Lord of the Mics 4 will be in stores and online from December 10th!
Interview by Ash Houghton
Soundtrack To The Struggle Album Launch…
Last Tuesday (November 8th) Lowkey’s stage show rocked up at one of Southampton’s most intimate and prestigious venues for hip hop: The Soul Cellar, to celebrate the release of his sophomore album, Soundtrack To The Struggle (check out SBTV’s review of the album here). The classic event was organised by Raygun Youth Events and Score Promotions and helped raise over £500 for charity on the night. With the line-up stacked with up and coming acts such as; Tenchoo, Joe G, Crazy Haze, Awaté and Logic. Those in attendance were treated to great value for money.
The support acts provided a perfect warm-up with hype beats and some on-point crowd control. By the time the main event rolled around, the crowd were more than ready.
Lowkey performed a blazing set, coming out to his latest album’s title-track, Soundtrack To The Struggle, before rifling through crowd pleasing freestyles including The Warning, his acclaimed Fire in the Booth freestyle, as well as the legendary, Alphabet Assassin. However, it wasn’t just a show full of freestyles, far from it. Lowkey performed some already classic tracks from Soundtrack To The Struggle including the anthemic, My Soul (highlight of the night), Voices of the Voiceless, Hand On Your Gun and of course, Cradle of Civilisation. Contrary to the views of some of the rapper’s critics, not only was there no controversy, fighting, or alcohol swilling on stage, but the event was rammed with positivity from all concerned, the crowd included.
After the show, Lowkey took some time out to answer a couple of questions for the SBTV viewers, check out what he had to say:
With the success of Soundtrack To The Struggle, there must be lots of major label interest at the moment, right? In previous interviews you expressed that you wouldn’t consider signing with a major label, so I wonder would you consider signing with a label such as XL for instance, relatively large in size, yet more well-known for providing a platform for artists to flourish with their own creativity with acts such as Giggs, Dizzee Rascal etc?
“Yeah man, I’d definitely consider signing with a label like XL, I feel mine and Giggs struggle is similar as we’ve both been marginalised in many ways, so that would make sense.”
With your activism, music and everything else you’re involved with, how do you find time to record and write?
“To be honest with you, I rarely find time to record. It got to the point with this album where, so many of the songs were already on the album that were out and gaining a good response, that really I needed to put it out. I don’t actually write as I travel either, I try to make the album exactly how I’d like it.”
In ‘Everything’ I Am you rhyme “Don’t relegate me below, or elevate me above to you,” how do you balance promoting your music, without glorifying yourself?
“To be honest, I don’t actively promote myself. I don’t even have a press release, it all just happens naturally.”
Soundtrack To The Struggle is available online from iTunes HERE.
Grab the physical edition of the album HERE.
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After recently releasing his single, Hoods Up, which features some of the UK’s finest MCs; one of the scene’s most sought after producers Teddy Music chats with SBTV‘s Ash Houghton to talk everything from ‘Commercial Grime’ to Jay-Z on a grime beat…
Hi Teddy! So, what’s new with you?
T: I’ve got the new single out, it’s called Hoods Up and features Ruff Sqwad, Ghetts, Roachee and Stutta. I’ve also got the remix out as well, which features Lil Nasty, Double S, Lady Leshurr, Scrufizzer, Dot Rotten and Tre Mission. They’re all on fire right now and a lot of TV stations are supporting the track, too. You can get the EP on iTunes and it features all of the tracks and the instrumental.
You’ve also got an instrumental project out too, right?
T: Yeah, Selectah Vol. 1, it was a quick instrumental CD that I felt like putting out there for the people because I haven’t had a chance to fit in any instrumental releases lately, so I kinda did that in a whole week’s promo, kind of thing. So yeah, I just put that out there for the people, and people are really showing me love, I’m likin’ it. I think with the instrumental project, we’re not looking to generate massive sales, we kind of want it to be a thing that’s there – so if you want it, you can have it.
Is it true you started off as an MC?
T: Yeah, that was ages ago! Around secondary school I was more-time on the MCing thing and then later on, around 14-15, I started the DJing thing and I enjoyed that a lot more. So I quit the MCing, started buying more and more vinyl, just kept it moving and here I am today, Rinse FM.
Have you still got bars? [Laughs]
T: Hmmm..no! [Laughs] no, don’t kill me like this..no, I don’t have any bars. [Laughs]
Not many producers can get Ruff Sqwad, Ghetts, Roachee, Stutta etc on one track – how did Hoods Up come about?
T: At first I think I just wanted Dirty [Ruff Sqwad] to be on it, but obviously, it’s normal for an MC to be very long when getting back to a producer about a beat, so I was just playing it to the mandem and saying “What do you think of this tune?’ and they were getting all excited and saying ‘This tune is sick, let’s all jump on it.’ So from there, everyone who came in to the studio, I’d be like “Yeah, I’ve got a tune for you.” And then one day Ghetts was in the studio and I was playing the beat, so I was just like “Ghetts, why don’t you get a quick verse on it?” He was feeling it, so that’s how he got his place on the track. So that’s how it kind of generated, whoever was in the studio got a part on the track, really.
Teddy Music – Hoods Up Ft. Ruff Sqwad, Ghetts, Roachee & Stutta:
Was it the same process for the remix, then?
T: No, for the remix I reached out to the majority of artists – some didn’t get back to me – but some got back to me, so, it kind of generated from there. But, most of the people I asked for the feature got involved, so that was a good look.
Teddy Music – Hoods Up (Remix) Ft. Lil’ Nasty, Double S, Lady Leshurr, Scrufizzer, Dot Rotten and Tre Mission:
What inspired the the Lil Jon sample on the track?
T: Erm, do you know what.. I could be flicking through sounds and have an idea for something, but sometimes when I hear something, an idea just sparks in my mind. So I heard the Lil Jon “Put your hoods up, put your hoods up,” and thought this can run. So, I saved it as an empty project with just the sample in it, and the minute I went back to it I gained ideas and thought “Yeah, I can do something with this.” So I started repeating the sample and then put a little drum-kit behind it and thought you know what; this could go a bit old-school garage-y, retro kind of style. So I kept it like that, because I was about to go and put some melodies and whatnot in it, but I thought it doesn’t need melodies; it needs to stay as a simple beat, for the artists to just elaborate themselves and go in on it.
Who do you think had the craziest verse on the track? (includng the remix)?
T: Ermm…I would say; in the first one it’s out of Roachee and Slix. The remix would be out of Double S and ‘Lil Nasty.
As well as producing full-time, you’re at university too, right? How do you prioritise your career and education?
T: Yeah, I’m at university studying Music Industry Management. So yeah, I go to lectures, go to seminars and then come home and make beats. But, I still save time to chill and go out with my friends. For me, it’s about balance so I just try to balance everything out.
In a recent interview you mentioned you planned to make ‘Commercial Grime,’ what did you mean by that?
T: Yeah, well it’s about an agreement, really. A lot of the media don’t understand grime, and for your track to get played on radio you need to have a certain hook or whatever. It’s hard to explain, but I’ve got a new track with Scorcher coming — I can’t reveal much about it yet — but it’s hard and when that drops you’ll know what I mean about commercial grime.
If you could take an artist from a completely different genre (than grime) and put them on one of your beats, who would it be and why?
T: I don’t know actually, that’s a hard one. Probably someone like Jay-Z. A lot of Watch The Throne sounded really underground to me, so probably someone like him.
Is there anyone from the scene you’re yet to get the chance to work with?
T: I’d like to work with Chip, I think that would be sick. I’d also like to work with Tinie [Tempah] – we did a track a while back, just before he blew up, but obviously once he got signed and whatnot a lot of tracks must have gotten lost.
What are your thoughts on Chip’s situation in the states?
T: I think it’s good, he’s being real to himself at the end of the day and in order for people to see you being consistently the same, you have to be true to yourself.
So, what do the next twelve months have in store for Teddy Music?
T: A few more singles, my next single — which will be dropping pretty soon — is going to take you on a bit of a journey and I think lots of people are going to be able to relate to it, so look out for that.
Great! Any last words?
T: Yeah man, I just want to thank everyone for supporting! Hoods Up is out now and you can catch me on Rinse FM playing the best in grime on Wednesday nights – 1am-3am.
The Hoods Up EP is available to download now from iTunes – featuring the original track, remixes and the instrumental.
You can also download Selectah Volume 1 now on iTunes, too.
Interview by Ash Houghton