Interview Feature: Rag ‘n’ Bone Man

A little over two years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Rag ‘n’ Bone Man at The Joiners in Southampton. He was touring his latest EP, ‘Disfigured’, and was preparing for another sold out show.

As I walked to the venue I remember being very nervous, it was my first ever face-to-face interview and I was unsure what to expect. The interview time was arranged a few hours before the opening of the doors, so my first task was to figure out how to get in… After a few trial and errors I found a fire escape round the back and to the side, this was my opening. Rory and his team were in a meeting, discussing various subjects about the night ahead. After an awkward hello and a brief explanation of what the hell I was doing there, it was established that an interview had been scheduled… Rory abruptly came over with a beaming smile and introduced himself. All the nerves and built up tension that I had been feeling slowly eased away, as we entered into deep coversations about his roots in the hip-hop scene in Brighton with Rum Committee, attending open mics at Slipjam B and forming friendships with local MCs and DJs. Speaking fondly of his time in Brighton, he explained how he quickly became embedded in the hip-hop community,

“I used to go to Slipjam B, which was just like a monthly open mic in Brighton for rappers, you know you do whatever you want basically, the DJ would play a beat and I would freestyle over it, but I would sing as well, and that’s how I met everyone really, that little community, sort of hip-hop community, you know you get to know everybody really quick…”

The connections he made during this time were integral to kick-start his life as a musician, and from there he released a series of mixtapes and EP’s, with ‘Bluestown’ (2012) being the most significant of these, his staggering vocal capabilities and jazz, blues and hip-hop style stood out from anything else that was on the market at the time.

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Album Review: Faze Miyake – Faze Miyake

Faze Miyake steps into the spotlight on his self-titled debut album, bringing everything we love about his weekly Rinse FM shows and previous productions into one beautifully crafted body of work. Its woozy bass driven style of beats, twisting and turning from dubstep to grime, make for a chilling and sharp listen. Winter is coming and Faze Miyake will be your soundtrack.

Little Simz is one of the few rappers in the UK who currently could handle the beat on opener ‘The Nest’, its switch up in styles and wonky beat patterns displays Faze Miyake at his very best. Little Simz moves and adapts to the beat, as she impeccably varies her boisterous flow, boasting and flaunting her highly impressive rapping abilities. When second track ‘Burciaga’ kicks in with an equal amount of swirling body shuddering bass lines it’s clear a journey will commence. ‘Ice Cold’ and ‘Below Me’ show the versatility that Miyake offers; on the one hand you’ve got the frosty vocals of Inga Copeland layered over a truly chilling instrumental on ‘Ice Cold’, and then you’ve got the frenetic trap inspired ‘Below Me’, with Chicago rapper Sasha Go Hard featuring on the track. Instrumental song ‘Ocean Drive’ is placed in between the two contrasting styles and provides the perfect transition between the two.

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Album Review: The Underachievers – Cellar Door: Terminus Ut Exordium

According to many eminent scholars, authors and theorists of the English language, ‘cellar door’ is a phrase which is beautiful pure in terms of its sound – regardless of its meaning. It’s a weird juxtaposition then that the young and gritty rap duo The Underachievers, hailing from the urban outlaying of Flatbush, Brooklyn have decided to name their latest project after it. The frenetic rhymes, hazy and dark beats; that type of hit-you-in-the-face, hundred mile an hour flow. This is a gnarled and darkened beauty, one which someone may revel in a full moon on a clear, warm summer night, or appreciate the beauty of a graffiti-layered backstreet alley. The rhymes are hard hitting, the rappity-rap ganja-toking archaic style of MCing prominent on all tracks.

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Album Review: Ghetts – Rebel With a Cause

It’s been a couple of years since Ghetts has released any material, and when he announced that a new album was on its way last year, everyone knew that he had been cooking up something special, and after listening to the album several times already, it’s safe say that he has successfully produced one of the finest albums ever by a UK MC. In a recent interview with MTV, Ghetts explained what he wants listeners to take away from the album: “the substance – I want them to listen and relate to it, rather than it just be another CD to listen to.”

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Album Review: Rick Ross – Mastermind

The problem with Rick Ross is that he lacks any star qualities. His flow is good, his lyrical content is good, the beats are good, and that is how the album really plays out – it’s just good. There’s no wow factor where you might listen to a track and immediately have to rewind it and play it again, or a string of lyrical wordplay that makes you sit back and take notice. The album just goes by without any much thought or attention paid to it, like a background soundtrack to a long boring car journey on the M25. Innovation and creativeness isn’t exactly what Ross is about, but in terms of consistency the rapper can take all the plaudits, solidly delivering good album after good album, and Mastermind is no different to previous projects.

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Album Review: Kid Cudi – Satellite Flight: The Journey to Mother Moon

Floating around in space riding a unicycle with no care in the world, looking down at Earth with a beaming smile on my face. This is how Satellite Flight makes you feel. The beautiful synths and atmospheric melodies that play throughout the album are hugely captivating. It is these musical elements combined with Cudi’s iconic hums and distorted singing that really do create the feeling of floating through space on your way to the moon. This encapsulating feeling makes Satellite Flight one of the most intriguing and innovative albums of the 21st century.

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Album Review: ScHoolboy Q – Oxymoron

Dark, heavy bassed-out beats create the kind of atmosphere that you would expect after a glimpse of his album cover art, but behind this eerie feel and often chaotic flow, lies a deep, intellectual rapper who is ready to take the limelight.

Following in the footsteps of fellow TDE and Black Hippy member Kendrick Lamar, the album conveys a level of maturity and skill that has the accessibility and mainstream friendliness to propel him to the top. Q hasn’t lost any of his grit and darkness however from previous albums, instead combining this with the vision of Interscope, he has created a commercially viable rap album while still remaining true to his previous style. The tension that is brought about by these two conflicting aspirations works a treat. Whatever messed up compromises Q has had to make, it’s interesting to hear him break through these boundaries as he constantly explodes into different directions and concepts. Like Lamar, Q has been in the game for a while now slowly building a steady fan base and nurturing his style and technique, this all culminating in this album. The already rapturous reception it has received comes as no surprise, the hype around ‘Collard Greens’ and ‘Man of the Year’, both singles off the album released prior to it dropping, had already made the album highly anticipated, and all in all the LA native lives up to all these expectations and more.

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