If you take hip-hop from afar and don’t look too deeply you may be under the impression that the art form has given way to nothing but crass commercialization. But really, that’s an illusion. There are people making great hip-hop all over the world. In every city there are cats going about the art of hip-hop the right way, imbibing their music with respect for the form, the trail-blazers from the past.
I don’t think of London as a hotbed of hip-hop but somewhere in that concrete jungle OthaSoul are making the goods – Real, gritty, honest hip-hop without shtick or pretension. Their recently release album, The Remedy, is one of the finest, smoothest pieces of art you’re going to put in your ears this year and definitely not something you should be sleeping on. The album is city hip-hop in the most classic sense of the word. I’ve never been to London, but it sounds how I imagine the city feels – heavy breath holding up a pulsing heart, tense and relaxed at once, straddling light and dark. Listen to it, cop it, spread it around because it’s important stuff and music that every hip-hop fan should be introduced to.
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1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money? Do you still listen to it? Favourite track?
Louis VI: I think it was Nirvana... either that or Quality by Talib Kweli but I think it was Nirvana. 'Come As You Are' was a tuuuuune.
Dozer: Real talks… I got Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield on CD when i was like 10. I don’t know why, I just saw that shit in Virgin Megastore, took it home and listened to it like the weird ass kid I was. It’s actually kinda tragic, cos I didn’t really get into hip hop til the MP3 age had kicked off. So I was getting everything from my boys and just downloading shit. Common was my favourite artist at the time, so me and my homie ran out to go get Universal Mind Control on CD when it came out. Got home, listened to it once, never listened to that piece of shit ever again. Mad disappointing!
2. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
Louis VI: Neil deGrasse Tyson would be too jokes! We would get deep into the physics of space and my mind would be blown but shit, every time he dropped one of this melodramatic statements I would be on the floor creasing!
Dozer: I would go do some shit with Roc Marciano. Make some fucked beats. Ride around Long Island in the whip rapping bout nothing!
3. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing hip-hop as a genre?
Louis VI: Money. Because most of it goes to those that have no respect for it. That and been being stush with clearing samples, I mean shit! Let people make new music fam! You learnt and were inspired by musicians before you, let the ball roll on bitch!
Dozer: Money… You can’t just churn out success like you could in the 90’s and early 00’s. Honestly, I get it… People want to belong more. We’re all basic bitches. Hip-hop is so many things. It is both simple and complex which means that it’s gonna branch off into sub-genres and that just blurs everything. There is a lack of unity within hip-hop now. So the combo fucks everything up.
4. When is the last time you did something for the first time?
Louis VI: First time I decided to do something for the last time. That's actually real, have some bad character traits I'm tryna address recently.
Dozer: Ite…so I got this thing about not killing bugs. I’ve probably stood on them by accident but never on purpose. I’ll either leave the fuckers or try and take em outside. But my girl be trippin' when she see one, straight hysteria, leaves the room immediately. So I gotta be all brave and tell her I killed it and that its in the trash but most of the time I just let it go. Last week she didn’t leave the room whilst I was ‘killing’ this little spider and I’m thinking to my self “shit I gotta kill this one”. I squashed that shit with tissue, said a lil prayer and dropped him in the bin. I’m just hoping his kids weren’t watching!
5. Can you think of a movie that had an effect on the way you saw the world? What was it about the movie that got you?
Louis VI: Probably Ashley Walter's first proper film Bullet Boy, that was a crazy film. It was so unfair. It was so real. So many films Hollywood-ise endings but this film was just like the life I saw going on outside my window.
Dozer: Apocalypto… It’s crazy to think that a bunch of people who believe in something different from you can just come and kidnap your ass to sacrifice you in the hope that their crops will grow again. Like DAMN! It’s got the perfect mix of pain and hope. It is a bit ‘Hollywood’ in parts but it opened my eyes to the atrocities that have happened in the past and present between borders and religions. Like colonialism was fucked but they wouldn’t let you make a movie about that shit cos it would expose everyone at the top.
6. GUEST QUESTION today comes courtesy of Weird Party...Where do you hide the cookies?
Louis VI: Why would I be hiding them? They in two places at one time according to Quantum Physics so we both eating, G!
Dozer: In the veggie box of the fridge. Ain’t no one in my house looking in there EVER!