For this month’s Levelheaded hip-hop section, we thought we’d switch
things up a bit and tell you about a new compilation series from
the Ultimate Dilemma label and Austin Wilde, creator of the Another
Late Night compilations.
They’ve launched their Badmeaningood series for what they describe
as “an attempt to get to the heart of what hip-hop means in the
21st century” and to do this they’ve brought on the UK producer/DJ
Skitz because of his excellent grasp on the history and diversity
of the music. Skitz has followed this music for years and his original
inspiration came from an 1987 trip to the U.S. when he saw KRS One
perform live. Since then he’s been working hard as a DJ and started
producing tracks in 1994.
Skitz released his acclaimed debut 12” in ‘96 on the Ronin label
and opened doors for his collaborator, Roots Manuva. This was only
the start of Skitz’s career. 1998 brought ‘Fingerprint of the Gods’
featuring stellar UK talent like Roots Manuva, Tony Vegas, Phi Life
Cypher, and Skeleton and was the only UK track in Hip-Hop Connection’s
top ten list. ‘Dedication’ won Best Single of the Year in the 2000
UK Hip Hop awards and the year 2000 saw the release of his debut
full-length ‘Countryman’. We asked him about the series, his latest
projects, and the state of the UK hip-hop scene.
Tell me a little about the concept behind the Badmeaningood
series and how you got involved with the project.
The concept is basically designed to show the influences and inspiration
behind many of today’s producers within the hip-hop scene. They
asked me and I jumped at the chance cos the idea of showing people
my musical background...the tunes that have made an impact on me
or changed my view about certain aspects of music. Specifically
I dealt with tracks that I felt pushed borders...rocked parties
or set production templates.
From some classic tunes to Donovan etc, the sound really branches
out. You could of selected any tunes out there. Why did you select
these particular tracks?
They are personal tunes to me also and represent different areas
or eras of my life.
I was thrilled to see you include Fu-Schnickens! They seem to
get overlooked a lot in the U.S. Their live shows were amazing but
I think they lost a few people with the Shaq collaborations....
Yeah they’re definitely innovative and meant a lot to me cos of
the strong reggae element.
Was there anything your were trying to accomplish specifically
with the mix?
Hopefully people just get a little insight into the life of Skitz...maybe
others can take the cloth out of their ears and realise that its
bigger than hip-hop. The mix just starts mellow takes you up and
then drops back down so it's a good listen...y'know if you're driving
or chilling or partying or fucking.
What other projects are you working on now?
Titan Sounds Lp, Tracks for Rodney Ps Lp, Radio show 'Original
Fever' for Ixtra , the next Titan Single, production for Eva Abraham...a
Folk singer/guitarist for City Rockers, production for Nice Nice
Records, collaboration with Dj Die/Rodney P/Dynamite/Tali for Full
Cycle/Wordplay, trying to get royalties owed to me, and looking
after my son.
I fee like the U.S. hip-hop scene gets exposure all over the
world which would make sense but the U.K. hip-hop scene really deserves
a lot more attention then it's getting stateside. Thoughts?
We've always been held back by the fact we speak the same language....now
we're standing stronger and prouder talking about our environment/culture/heritage
and the kids are getting behind their own. No longer do we look
to the Americans to inspire us. We have our own sound and diction
and history and its taken a while for us to realise that being true
to yourself makes you stronger and nothing can hold you back. We
just need some industry investment now....
What do you think of the U.S. scene now? It seems like the major
label are dominating the direction with the exception of the independent
Rapping by numbers....beats by template...nah...that’s a bit harsh
cos there is still loads that I love but just not enough innovators
or people breaking the mould. I mean rap music is popular music
Any plans on coming to the U.S. soon?
What drew you to hip-hop in the first place and what else are
you listening to now? I see you did some work for Roni Size.
I've always been inspired by revolutionary music. Punk/reggae/hip-hop
y'know they are all kick over the statues kinda music. That's why
it's a shame so many rappers talk shit about material bullshit...I
get bored of it all and wanna hear some heartfelt anger...some passion...some
hate ...some political PE kinda shit y'know. I listen to all music.
I go to a lot of D'n'B things and Full Cycle are like family.....raving
with them is more fun than with hip- hop kids who tend to be a
bit narrow minded and boring. In my car I listen to reggae...I like
garage...I can listen to folk/rock/or my son’s Linkin Park CDs.
If you get a certain message across in your production, what
would it be?
It should make you ribcage shake with the bassline and make your
booty wobble and uncontrollable headnodding. Oh yeah... not forgetting
fighting the power.
- The Blackbyrds - Wilford’s is Gone
- Donovan - Get thy Bearings
- Anthony Redrose and King Kong
- Afu Ra - D&D Soundclash feat. Cocoa Brovas & Jahdan
- Roots Manuva - Witness
- Fu-Schnickens - Ring The Alarm
- Slick Rick - Mona Lisa
- Wu-Tang Clan - Method Man
- King Just - Warrior’s Drum
- Talib Kweli & Hi Tek- Africa Dream
- A Tribe Called Quest- Check the Rhyme
- Black Sheep - Butt in the Meantime
- Goodie Mob - Cell Therapy
- Masta Ace Incorporated - Born To Roll
- Nitty Gritty - Hog in a Minty
- Kool and The Gang - SummerMadnes
If you missed last month's
LHHIPHOP, don't even trip.