Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 32

October 16, 2008

I didn't go to the MOBOs last night, mainly because hardly any of the winning acts ever bother to turn up, the vast majority of popular UK urban music is terrible and the whole event always looks like a total cringe fest on TV. Oh, and I didn't have a ticket.

Anyway, the big news from the night is that Chipmunk unexpectedly won Best Newcomer. I was pretty non-plussed about this until I saw a video of his shock and glee at winning, which momentarily brought some warmth to my cold, cold heart. After "the jump" read an interview I did with Chipmunk last year.

When did you start MCing?
When I was 14, in year 9 [at school]. Everyone on the estate had a lyric so I thought, you know what, I might as well have one as well. I went to the youth clubs and started practicing and that... and from there to here.

How did you first get noticed by Wiley?
He bought my mixtape – the second one called Whatever The Weather Volume 2. I think Maniac supplied him with one and he liked the stuff. My contact details were inside the CD so he just rang me and said we needed to do some work.

Are you signed to his Eskibeat label or is that project not really happening any more?
Yeah, we're still working together but that is still in the process... it's more of a production label at the moment. Everyone's more doing their own thing, like I got my own CD out – I put it out under Alwayz Recordings. They've been helping me a lot recently.

What do you think of the MC talent in north London?
I think we're the best, like, not even being biased, yeah. Like, content wise we started it, man. Now, everyone's trying to jump on the ship, you feel me. Nah man, I think we're the best, obviously. Check the scene right now, apart from the people who have gone through the door already, the next people to go through the door I do believe are going to be from north London. You've got Skepta doing it right now, JME's doing his thing, I'm doing my thing, you've got Frisco doing his thing, Wretch and Scorcher... they key elements of the scene right now are coming from north London.

How did you do in your GCSEs?
I got four Bs and five As. I done very well. Out of all honesty I didn't really revise that much. You know what it is, people don't really listen in class. The teachers tell you the answers in class so I don't really see how you can go wrong. Just listen and you'll be alright at the end of it I think.

What's your favourite subject?
At the moment, my favourite subject has gotta be accounting – learning to manage your own money and what goes on in banks and stuff. If anything takes off majorly, I'd like to know that I can manage my own money instead of having my own accountant take money for managing your money. I'm not really about that.

What do you see as the future of grime?
I see me, Griminal, Ice Kid, Maniac running the scene. If you're not affiliated with us, it's gonna be pretty hard for you.

When you started MCing at 14, who did you listen to and look up to?
I was listening to Meridian – like Skepta, JME, Big H, Bossman were all doing their thing, as well as Roll Deep. I was first in a team called Shoddy Crew and we had a set of Heat FM and we was after Roll Deep so when Roll Deep was leaving they used to say, "Yeah, keep it locked for Shoddy Crew," so we had mad listeners, we had a mad fanbase. Some of us were garabge, like, I was garabage at the start, I can't even lie.

You seem to be on Tim Westwood's radio show a lot. How did he first hear about you?
Wiley took me and Ice up there and we destroyed it and from there he invited me up again to come and promote my mixtape and then he got a new show on 1Xtra and he invited me on that as well.

What do you think of Westwood?
He's a cool guy, man, he's a cool guy. A lot of people disrespect and talk rubbish about him, but like Skepta said, as soon as their CD drops they wanna phone him and that. I respect what he's doing because he's helping the UK. As much as he plays his hip-hop and loves his hip-hop, he actually helps the UK. I like Westwood, definitely.

It appears that the grime scene has just discovered T-Pain and therefore the Auto-Tune. Both Chipmunk's new single, "Beast", and Wiley's new song for his Eskibeat label, "She's Glowing", are saturated in vocal effects. Loads of grime MCs either seem to be ripping off Mavado or T-Pain at the moment. It's as if no one is able to muster up any originality.

For originality and excitement at the moment it doesn't get much better than Marcus Nasty's DJ sets. Marcus now has a weekly show on Rinse FM following his outstanding show back-to-back with his brother, Mak 10, a few weeks back, which you can get below.

Download: Marcus Nasty and Mak 10 on Rinse FM

Prancehall’s Bass Odyssey, Part 32