BMA Best Producer 2018

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3 weeks ago I learned I had been nominated for the title, Best Music Producer 2018.  The newly launched Birmingham Music Awards (BMA’s) Is the Brain child of Dean Williams and Jo Jeffries who was in the group Atomic Kitten.  Alongside their partners they saw and exercised on their vision of creating an celebratory event that recognized musical and associated talents past, present and future.

Birmingham is the second Largest city in the UK but far too often gets overlooked, it was the home of Black Sabbath, Led Zeplin,  Napalm Death, Duran Duran, Ocean Color Scene, The Streets, UB40 and many more bands and artists too many too mention.  A very working class city that was rich in  Reggae culture, metal, punk, Soul, Jazz scene and later a Thriving hip hop scene. Today it boasts as the capital of Grime Music with some of its top artists hailing from the city that gave you the industrial revolution.

I had no idea what the BMA event was about and weather to even take it seriously until I was directed to the website and read about the people involved.  Although I make music,  produce and make records, shoot photography,  create artwork and video’s I’ve never felt a part of the ‘industry’  I just do what I do because it needs to be done.   Although I have been doing this since a child I really came into the scene as the music industry changed.  Many labels folded and the record deals were not there, the teams of people who worked behind the scenes to make a artist successful were not there to turn too.

This opened the doors to people like myself who of a creative nature, who have the passion and drive to help turn projects into something MORE.

I really pride myself on my art and more so my integrity.  I don’t swing to the left or the right, I’m all about Grass roots hip hop.  2 turntables a mixer, drum machine and a bunch of records. I’m not trying to re-invent the wheel.  I see it one way and that is its either a good or bad record and i’m only about good records.

So when this event came I didn’t know how to take it, I thought just go along and enjoy the evenings proceedings and have the experience.  Hip Hop in the city although it exists is often pushed in the furthest and darkest corner and often misunderstood and underrepresented.  Not on this night.

For my 20+ years Ive worked independently without sponsors on the projects I like to be involved in, through hard work determination passion and skill i’ve attracted the attention and time from some of piers. Which has allowed me to work with the some of the greatest artists who fall under the banner of hip hop.  I’m not alone there are many alike me but often we are forgotten.

So the day comes May 5th.  I arrive at the event alone for 5pm.  As I arrive Duran Durans John Taylor arrives and is sat at the table in front of me.  I just sit there enjoying a few drinks just watching the industry mingle.

Quickly this venue fills up and a buzz with artists.  They open the doors to ceremony and I decide to just sit at the back.  By then I did met someone I knew and that was Adam Regan owner of the Hare & hound located in Kings Heath.

It started to dawn on me that this is big thing.  Mid point of the event they announced  the producer category.  As the name were read out there was applauds for all respectively but when name was mentioned it was ghost town.  I’m pretty glad now that I sat the back.  The winner is, they named me..I didn’t clock at first and Adam said it you, go and have your moment.  Walking through the middle to the front to get to the stage my mind was blank.  I remember UB40 who were sat at the side of the stage were really happy for me and blessed me with some high fives.

On the stage didn’t know what to say but I remember I felt like I had to mention some of the acts Ive had the privilege to work with just so that those in the crowd could at least digest that I’m here and I have done something.

Returning to my seat it started to sink in, that Ive been living in a bubble, Ive never been part of group or a collective but still i’ve stayed loyal to this city.  My relationships were based on individual basis’s.  A lady from Sky came to me and asked had I really done these projects had I really worked on the project with Common.  I said its there you can buy it, its got my name on it.  It dawned on me that some of things I talked about to people in the passed were true.  In this bubble of hip hop community its more often the people within it that are killing the scene and stifling genuine talent and halting growth.

I remembered a conversation I had with then Zulu Queen Incheye where I pointed out hip hop won’t be saved by the people within it, we live this and do it everyday it will take just as did when Malcolm McLaren exposed it to the world someone from the outside looking at it and unearthing to the world outside it the energy and creativity from those who are true to this artform.

Later at the after party I was still a little dumbfounded and asked how this happened.  I was told 7 music professionals looked at my body of work and story and all agreed I deserved this award.  Now 2 weeks later looking back at the event I can really say this was not just win for me or The 4orce who I must really credit for the project he worked so hard on Setting Standards, this was a win for Hip Hop Music and all those that dedicate their lives to it, endless searching through crates looking for the perfect beats and grooves, who practice on turntables all hours, programming and so forth.  It’s a win for the underdog.. I really appreciate those that hit me up from people I went to school with and grew up with that saw me doing this as a kid but also The Chuck D’s and A.Gs Breakbeat Lous, The Legion who reached out to me straight away who fully understood and saw it the way I say it.

When is it the last time that in the UK has a British hip hop artist with a traditional sound won a industry award covering all genres.  It goes to show that whatever we think, still people within the music industry can look at something pure and respect its artform and those who put their heart and soul into it.

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Pogo and Bunny Bread both told me to work this award and turn it into something.  Coming home to show my parents was the best thing, they understand my passion they have to deal with it, they are the ones who see their son working all hours for 25 years with very little in return. This meant more to them then it did to me.  They saw a professional acknowledgement.

I promise this I will be part not just of the Hip Hop scene but part of this fine cities music legacy.  I have that BBoy in me, the bar has been set, so take me on and beat me you have to be good and I take on and welcome any one that deserves this award.  I’m not going to make it easy for anyone..The original art form is in the building!

 

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A.G – Night of Fire video

Over a year ago A.G. from the legendary group DITC presented me with a challenge.   He had just finished this song that he felt I could be the right person to assemble a video for.  

He liked my work on the video ‘BLOW’  and wanted to see what  I could come up with for his new recording ‘Night of Fire’.  Giving me free range he asked me to interpritate the song and create something

Over and over I listened to it.   A.G is one of the best songwriters in Hip Hop.  He and O.C are among my favourites, maybe its the way he writes, I always felt on his latest material its about reading between the lines, what is he trying to say, what point is A.G making.  I felt the song was provoking and required some very proking images, some of them quite disturbing but for me where much needed.  I didn’t want to sugar coat anything and appreciate that A.G gives me 100% freedom to create on this.  I will say Blow was a joint effort, as once i presented the video he offered some input that I did take on and made changes.

Working along A.G for some while I’ve noticed there has been an evolution and growth in his art.  Speaking with him he is very conscious of the world around him and the fact that he does have great power in his writing, and that using the gift he’s been blessed with to put out music that speaks to world touching on some of the very uncomfortable realities which irrespective of one’s location, whether it be forest projects or Birmingham City UK, Somewhere in Poland, Burma or Bangladesh as example that he speaks to us all.

I like working with M.C’s like A.G and I’m very picky who I choose to work with, The music has to have substance otherwise I just don’t have anything to offer.  Subtitles has become a thing for me.  In this age of unprovoking songwriting and in my personal opinion an amateur level of rap, A.G and those like him who are very clever songwriters appeal to all ages, all races and I feel yes there are young people who are still looking for something with substance and thought-provoking.  So its become important to me to add subtitles so where ever you are in the world having the subtitles allows all to digest and decipher what A.G is saying.

I can remember presenting the video to A.G who had no idea or any inclining of what I was putting together.  I won’t repeat what he said to me, but his response let me know that I hit the mark.

If you are looking for an album of substance, your money will be well spent on THE TASTE OF AMBROSIA, order your copy here.

 

Record Store Day – Common, produced by No. I.D out now. Black Pegasus Records.

This project has been in the making for the last 6 months.  I have worked alongside Marc Davis owner and Founder of Black Pegasus Records for over a decade on a number of projects. 

Like the Ultra 45s here is another record for record store day.  As pure and grassroots as it comes.  Marc went to school with Common and No I.D, as children they shared their journey and love for music together.  Common went onto be Oscor winner artist and No I.D the C.E.O of Def Jam.  Marc held onto the demos they made so many years ago.  Common had forgot about them and was pretty amazed Marc had held onto them for so many years.

Knowing that Marc was on his own journey Common and No I.D embraced his ideas and vision and independence.  i remember getting the call where Marc left Common after a meeting in their home city of Chicago where Common gave him his blessing to put them out.  What ever you need, ill support the project.

Imeidatly we got to work.  My role then was to create the logo and artwork.  We came up with the name Seven Sense, a play on his original name and that the format would be 7 inch singles.  Marc asked me if i could revamp Commons original logo.  Create the label and cover.

As busy as Common is he promised he would be onboard and support Marc.  I admire that, Marc built and still is building his label himself, one record at a time.  Every record supported by the artsit.  This record marks a milestone.  Here are two artists Common and No I.D that never forgot where they come from , they returned to support thier old friend.  Black leaders supporting a Black eneterprise.

As Marc worked on the manufacture of the record my role was to guid him and help execute and deleiver a promo video.  Again praise to Common who whilst filming in L.A worked alongside us to deliver what we needed.

Cop your copy of real record store Gem, another holy Grail from Black Pegasus.  

Buy Here

TK MAX – Diggers, Looking for the Perfect Piece

2013 began my love for digging through the many TK Max Stores across the UK. I was on a mission to give my self a new look, before that i really didnt think too much about how i looked or what I wore. Maybe the many years spent going through record stores digging through crate after crate looking for them perfect beats, digging through the racks of clothes I find a great comparison. 

I enjoy going to there stores so much so its become an addiction over the years.  There is not a week that passes i do not go there to see what maybe in there. The hardest thing about going to the stores was be able to go there and not buy anything.  To have some control and some discipline over my finances.  The other thing was taking a gamble.  If I don’t have the funds this month, maybe the item will be there next, or it maybe an item that even though reduced might be out of my price bracket,  a month later I will get lucky to find it at a fraction of the cost.

As an artist and practitioner of hip hop culture.  inspired by fashion trends of the 70s and early 80s i loved the idea of being able to modernize an item to make them perfectly unique giving your self an identity turning something old into something new.  I lived that and still live that.  As a student years later they teach you in graphic design that everything goes round in circles that modern graphics came from Bauhaus and that over the years it just get modernized and tweaked over and over.

I would keep a scrap book of things that inspire me, today they call it Pinterest.  Ive been trained to think things through to look at the bigger picture and work towards making a difference.  Hip Hop gave me the competitiveness  from not just how i dressed  or looked, but how i carried my self.  I’m fueled and motivated.  What ever I do especially anything I create I have to be the best at it.  More importantly what I do can not be seen as jumping on the bandwagon, but leading the way, to be the innovator and creator, it has to be unique and against the odds.

I spent a life time looking for gems, today Im giving them back.  Creating pieces of art that fall inline with my life experiences passion and creations.  For many years ive been collecting film documenting stories of those that inspired me, my piers in Hip Hop music production, the DJ and producers who led they way when it came to digging for records, Making movies about there journeys at the same time running a record label putting our examples of their work.  Throughout all this Ive always  been into making my own outfits, modernizing  items and making them unique just as the kids did back in NYC some 40 years ago.

This lead me to create the Diggers brand.  A brand that represents people who have a passion for finding them perfect beats, grooves, records and now those who also love to dig for clothes.  TK Max is best store in the UK, that represents my mindset..So since 2013 I have been planting secret Diggers Items in stores over the UK, One off pieces with individual numbers call them pieces of art as i do.  Call it a game, or what you will but it was done first here.

Search hard dig through them racks to find a rare 1 off piece of art at a bargain price.  TK MAX gives you top brands at a bargain price, now if your luck you can find Real GOLD in Tk Max at bargain price.  A piece of art that comes from somewhere, that has a history that is in tune with with the stores ethos but with real hip hop culture from its early day may it be fashion or bombin it comes from there.

Memories of Paul C McKasty Revisited.

Some few years ago I made a film about the legendary Queens Producer and Engineer Paul C McKasty. Although his life was cut short his hands and ears worked on some of the most revered hip hop albums of all time.

He also mentored many including Organized Konfusion and most notably Large Professor. When I made the original film I put it out via my site to get the attention of some people who originally where very difficult to get hold of. Partly to schedule and also that Paul passing has left deep wholes in many peoples lives. I’m an outsider making a film about someone that passed on long before his time.

After seeing my film and how I told the story many came forward to contribute. In 2015 I met up with Large Professor in the UK and filmed a piece towards the project. DJ Cool V shot a piece him self and sent it to me, as did Phase from the group Phase and Rhythm not forgetting K Cut from Main Source who I able to shoot whilst on the Main Source Tour.

I had always intended to revise the film but as I was working on my new film my computer had no space to complete the film. I since purchased another mac to handle other projects, since I never went back to NYC this year I took the time off to work on my projects and deliver a film about a man who the world can benefit from knowing about his contribution to this wonderful world of music.

I would also like to thank Reno from the Paul C Movie project that offered to clean up the audio for me and also allowing me to use some of the pics from there Instagram Page.

Note this is a very low budget production that came about as I had accumulated so much footage over the years whilst working on my projects that I took to putting a film together.

Here is the revised version of the film, Memories of Paul C McKasty..Revisited. i would like to thank all those that supported the film Jim Slice for allowing me to use the footage from his film Skull Snaps.  Marc Davis, Lindley Farley and Casanova Rud  CJ Moore and Large Professor for their constant support.

Tha 4Orce pre release at the DISKERY

Over the last year i worked on Tha 4Orces album, what started out being a beat he had produced for a King of the beats Competition some years back transformed into a full album vinyl release. 

Over the years we put out two 45’s together, and this year we worked towards 4Orces a full Viynl release.  The project was lead by him and acted as support.  Turning the project into a Vinyl Package. 

Although the record is scheduled to go out in the post from the 18th, The oppoutunity arose to do an event in the UK’s Oldest Record Store THE DISKERY, which happens to be in Birmingham.  As I have used the spot for many of the King of the Beats events in the past we were given the opportunity to take over the shop and play records in there all day.  Sticking to the King of the beats tradition we dug out gems in the shop.  King of the Beats Crew, for the day, myself, tha 4Orce, my mentor DJ Sparra not forgetting Keith and Kev DeKosta who while we was on the turntables was steadily passing records  across that he found.

The Event also hosted the first opportunity to get a copy of the Album Setting Standards from the Artist him self Tha 4Orce. 

We would like to thank everyone that came out and supported the event and the lp.  The record is a limited edition and a totally grassroots project.  Get your copy here.

 

New LP Limited edition Marble only 350 pressed – Tha 4Orce – Setting Standards

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The Long awaited Ten track Limited Edition LP from UK Veteran Hip Hop Artist Tha 4orce featuring some of the UK’s most prolific M.C’s. From Confucius MC, Dubbledge, Cyclonious, Gee Bag, Poynt Blak, King Kashmere, Arise King David, Ray Vendetta and Lady Sanity.

The limited edition pressing features cover Photography from the legendary Normski and Lyric & Picture book containing Photography by Global Faction with cover art from The Artful Fro. White & Black Marble Wax. This Album is prime example of great British Hip Hop music.
Each vinyl release comes with a free full digital download of all 17 tracks including Jae Mann, Wan-Cee, Teach and Big Cakes.
Pre-order your copy here today, shipping begins December 18th. The first 50 purchases will also get a bonus 45, Musical Shot by Tha 4orce.

 

Order here Tha 4Orce – Setting Standards Limited Edition Marble Pressing.

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