After winning the BMA’s 2018 for best music producer there was little backlash especially from the people within the music scene I love so much. Felt like silence to be honest.
That hurt to be honest because I went into a open genre catogary armed using only tools made up of a drum machine / sampler a turntable a mixer and bunch of records that Ive been collecting since a child. I went into an arena where we already know this Genre HIP HOP has a bastardised name. It’s had its day and really doesn’t get respect it truly deserves.
There was 6 music industry judges that carefully looked at all the canditates and chose me to win. This was the first time in the UK that an unkown not popular but dedicated to this Genre Hip Hop in its purest form ever won a award like this. Still for people in the scene not good enough. In saying that it was a few very real cats that stood from a distance and understood what this meant, Chuck D and A.G from DITC being the first to reach out wish me the best and congratulated me.
They saw what it was and how I saw it and if you read back my posts from before and the language I used this was a win for us a win for Hip Hop music and for all those practice and really believe in it. For those that have speant a lifetime digging in the crates. Yet whole experience could have been missed if it wasn’t for someone nominating me the award.
Finesse said to me him self sat in the Holiday Inn Hotel Pritt ‘people just don’t see what you do even though its out there, they don’t want to do the work to see how much you put into it because the hours you put in, it’s a wake up call to others that they are not putting it in, so its easier not to acknowledge it’.
Taking that on board I delivered the Power of Now by the Diceman not just produced by me but also executivly produced by me. If you really understand this culture, I was a B-Boy to start. If you are not going to give it up Im going to take it. You only have to buy the power of now and look at the book and see the pics of where I came from to give you an idea of what sort of person I am beneath.
Months later a film awards was announced the Birmingham Film Festival, an international festival in its 3rd year. I close friend suggested I should submit my film who knows. So I went to the site and followed the instructions and submitted two films, Firstly my film ‘Memories Of Paul C Revisted’ and my baby ‘Looking for the Perfect Beat’. For months I heard nothing not knowing at all that over 800 films from local, British and International film makers were submitted. All of which had to be watched and reviewed and carefully selected. I know my films are both over 2 hours long, so its not difficult to tell that they organisers had their work cut out.
Come Sept 30th 2018 I got the notification that both of my films were selected in the category of best Documentary. The film festival will begin the week 20th of November.
This whole period though was me concentrating on the Power of Now and also 4Orce’s album Setting Standards 2.
For those who know me, Film is my thing. I’ve invested my life into this. To tell the stories of the artists that inspired and shaped the way I am. Not just their music but their character influenced me. Those like Jazzy Jay, Ultras, A.Gee Large Professor, Finesse, Diamond,Minnie,Mr Walt, P.E Casanova Rud and BBLOU just to name a few are some of the best examples of this art and beyond the finished piece their world and dedication to their craft is matched by no others. Diamond is great example just to say he has reverted to his childhood passion for Djing and cutting breaks and at almost 50 is out there touring doing and sharing his passion for his music and its clear that he is one of the best examples of this artform. It’s this that I wanted to show, the passion and drive behind the music, hence my first major film was titled ‘THE MEN & THEIR MUSIC’.
When I started making films I was influenced by the Artful Dodger for his film ‘Get the Message’ I was also influenced by Kilo who captured B-Boying and Graff and the elements of hip hop that captivated me.
My first films I used VHS tapes and cheap cameras that were falling apart. As a child my father was one of the first people in the area to get a camera, he always since a child was fascinated by them, so when video came out he got one so that we could document family functions and prayers. I was that 8 year old who had stand in the corner of a room for hours on end ontop of a chair filming while strapped to huge Battery back not made from plastic but metal as big as any old vhs video recorder.
I’ve always loved film and as student my major was a film in which I took thousands of photographs and sequenced them into a movie shooting each shot using a cine camera and trigger creating an animation that I scored to the music of the Beastie Boys.
So embarking on these films, the turning point for me was when I started on Men and Their Music. Things became very serious. I built friendships in the states and trust amongst the artists. Friendships that I have to this day. Working on that film was a struggle as it took so long because of the lack of funds available to me I was working a job at £160 week. I had a family that really should of come first.
I just accepted my journey would take longer to make sure that my family obligations were also taken care off. What I didn’t see was that the whole of my marriage I never took a holiday or even a weekend vacation away my life time was making these films. 14 years later it cost me my marriage. I thought I was a great husband never argued with my wife but she had become depressed and was battling issues I never saw the signs. When she left it crippled me as I was doing all this for her to give a better life, but it didn’t happen quick enough.
All that time I was married and even before I met Jen I had gone for funding for my film and was refused. Im my fathers son and no body is going to tell me I can’t do something. If there is a problem we don’t run from it we deal with it. That’s what I did I went and got a factory job brought my own equipment and paid for my films my self.
I was in a very dark place it was friends like Jazzy Jay who honestly came to my rescue. Who came over and offered to support me and help me get my life on track. Sparkii, A.Gee, Johnny Juice, Dex, Supreme, Breakbeat Lou, King Of Chill, Big Gordon TR who would talk to my mother who here had to deal with me. It was my friends here Jay King, Casz, Kevin and Indy, Andy who stuck by me and got me through this period.
This lead to me completing my film about Paul C and embark on my film LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT BEAT.
There are two versions of the film about Paul C the first version I made to souly to get the attention of Large Professor, there are 1000s of miles between us and in the past I had made some mistakes, this version was to show him that there was more to me, that where I the place I come from is a place of deep integrity. We talked and shot all the scenes that made the film ‘Memories of Paul C Revisited’.
The film looking for the perfect beat began in 2013. My divorce proceedings had just began. In one ear Im hearing from her and her solicitor I’m gonna destroy, im going to take everything, right down to your pension. I couldn’t afford a solicitor my self and decided Id fight and rep my self in court. Thanks to my cousins Tish and Bubbly and Nat that advised me and guided me. On the other side I saw this time as my time. Im free and this window is an opportunity to show the world what I can do. I sold prints of Graffiti I had done years before to raise the money to go to the states as I was depending on my job to fund my divorce.
Prior to leaving for the states my oldest bro Inder got throat Cancer and every weekend was spent going to London by bus to sit with him. Andy Higgs would come to the hospital to have meetings with me in Hammersmith hotel lobby to plan how we was going to organize our selves for this trip. Inder was waiting his surgery.
Alongside 4orce and Andy we went to NYC to start shooting this film. Every day was a 7am start and would normally get back in maybe 3am where they would sleep and my job was to recharge batteries and download all the footage. I never slept in a bed I would be found asleep in a chair at the kitchen table with my head in the laptop. The day I was leaving for Canada with Mikey D to go see K-Cut I received a call from my cousin telling me that Inder Condition took a turn. Andy and 4orce was with me. I called my parents to see what I should do, they said finish your job. I left for Canada.
When we returned to the UK, a week after returning Inder passed. His last words to me, was ‘you’re a great guy it should never happened to you’.
I returned to my house and carried on my film.
Between 2013 and 2018 I returned to the states every year to continue filming by myself. Operating 2 cameras and sound by myself. Jazzy and his family put a roof over my head.
By early 2015 I had already a rough of the film. One person that would always check on me was my friend Mark B who I met through Damian Wilkes in the early 90s. He had moved to Germany and occasionally we would catch up on Viber. In 2015 we talked before I was set out to go to NYC to shoot more footage. He was excited I was excited he had started to make music again and I was going to NYC to show my rough version to Marley Marl and others. He played me his music and I gave him a link to my movie. We would do these viber video calls drinking beers pushing each other. That time we planned for him to spend Christmas together at my house with my family. My parents know Mark and when his father passed on he talked to my mother for some comfort.
The last time I spoke to Mark was just before I left for NYC he had watched my film and loved it. He was motivated. Returning from NYC weeks later after returning I was alerted by Marks Friends that he had gone missing. Boxing day 2015 I was informed of his passing.
When people say wheres your film pritt they have no idea what your dealing with behind closed doors. You work so hard with very little support apart from the artists taking part and handful of people outside that really don’t have the power to help but are there to push you. Working in Manufacturing doesn’t do much for your soul, but it puts a roof over my head. I’ve never worked with funding or sponsorship available to me, I only know hard work. My father could give me no advise this is different world all he knows is to be tough. He was put to work age 5. When life gets hard you got to take it on the chip and fuck it.
So I changed over the years, I just become more brutal. When I did RIP, Supreme and Curoc really wasn’t feeling my idea, but I pushed them and told them that’s what im gonna do. Look how that turned out.
2018 two of my films were nominated, on the 23rd of November at 8pm they were screened at Millennium Point, the largest Screen in the UK. I posted a number of times on my social media the screening was on. Turning up to the event with my two closest friends Casz and Kev Dekosta sat in reasonable audience in which no people from the Hip Hop community turned up. I was later informed that Bobbito who screened his film had a sold out event to a film that I worked on and I was told he even shouted me out at the screening and asked where I was. Cats Like Bobbito know. Here in the UK I found like different.
First film was the Memories of Paul C. I was nervous as the quality of the film is so poor it was made from clips collected over almost 20 years. But the story captured the audience. I was watching peoples reactions and it was no what I expected. Then came Looking for the perfect beat. This is where I am now as a film maker. I was asked to do 20 min versions of the films as the festival had 300 films to screen. For some reason we don’t know 8 mins into the film it cut and the next film started TR LOVE was in mid sentence and it cut..There was a loud sigh in the audience the film had captivated them.. After 4 more great films where screened I was dying to the loo and as I was making my escape the events organizer Dean Williams called the film makers to the stage. I was not at all prepared for it. So I answered nervously some questions and could not wait to get of the stage.
I felt embarrassed Speaking to Kev and Casz im not going to let that happen tomorrow if I have to go up. Ive worked to hard and gave to much to fuck this up.
Saturday comes the Gala event was held at The Cube in Birmingham a suited affair. Ive never been to anything like this, the BMA’s you could wear what you wanted there was no dress code. Picking up Kev we into the City. Visiting Bourne and CO to get some dutch courage.
Arriving at the event we was seated to our table and watched as the ceremony began. Respect to all those who submitted, it is not easy making a film. I understand the work the time and energy that goes into making a film it terrible hard work and anybody that thinks otherwise isn’t making a good film, they are making youtube clips. I was sat in a room full of people who all work hard on their craft. A room full of international artists, actors, actresses the people who’s roles are vital in making a film what it is, including make up artists, stylists and musicians.
My Category came up and it was announced Looking for the perfect Beat is the winner. I had no speech prepared just one line in my head I kept saying to my self..’Getting up 4 am every day’. Yes I was nervous but I wanted to get across what its took me to get here, what ive lost how much its took out of me, even when people who should support your cause claiming to your friends you see, you can feel they don’t really support. That is through pure passion and determination Im here. I had to acknowledge all the artists that supported my work and took part in my films because they believed and still believe. This award was worth all the pain, its worth all the lack of support, shame on all those that could of supported me, but chose not too. For those that did support me this is our win. For TR LOVE, JAZZY, FINESSE,JOHNNY JUICE, MAIN SOURCE, DAMIAN, KEV, CASZ, KEITH, JAY, SPARKII, ANDY, 4ORCE, MALCOME, MOM and DAD and the many more who took part in this film, this is just the beinning!
For the next few hours you never to this day every heard so many people talking about Paul C and Hip Hop so much. People where asking me more about Paul and drum machines. The fist person that stopped me and wanted to talk to me was Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran who was there with his mother. He won an award for best original movie score. He said he totally got what I said and it hit spot with him. He told me about his beginnings are where he came from and how know one supported him and that everyone just thought and made him feel like it was just a dream but he carried on and made it real. Although I never met him before and there some years between us I do know the area hes from, there is nothing there for young people still to this day.
This year has been something. Recently my mother went through major hear surgery we thought this was it. But she came through and now is a period of long recovery I’m so blessed she got to see these rewards and acknowledgments for music and film because she seen me doing this and put with me doing this stuff since I a was child. She never wanted me to be a graff artist DJ breaking film maker, she wanted me to be a professional and have a family. But I believe god did give me a gift and a reason to be here, and I’m living it.
For those that never supported me or wished it was them, could you honestly say you put the hours in? since 96 no vacations no weekends away never sit on a beach and relax only doing this.
2018 say the outside world recognizing my work in music and film with 2 winning awards. I do apologize for sounding arrogant, im not Im angry and relieved about what its took to get here, I walk round everyday in pain but i got to my job i have to be here for others.
Thank you dearly to all those who supported from seeing my work at the fesitival will take time to follow my progress or even showcase my work. When it comes to this culture and art im as pure, honest hardworking as it gets.