Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hyper Meets Tinchy Stryder

Striding through the underground scene, Tinchy Stryder has a lorryload of collaborations and mixtapes that towers his small frame. He's about to follow mentors Dizzee Rascal and Wiley into the world of chart success. B&S meets the star in the hood... (A version of this interview featured in B&S Magazine)

How did you get into spiting?
Back in the day, before Ruff Sqwad even had the name, my brother used to have decks. I used to listen to Heartless Crew and a few others, I gradually started writing my own lyrics, making tapes and it all started from there.

Who did you listen to when you were growing up?
Heartless Crew, Pay as you go, even Jay-Z, I have older brothers so anything they listened to I’d listen to too.

Did they influence you at all with your music?
Back then, I wanted to do what they were doing, but now you just do what you do. They still obviously have an influence on me because they know what they do and say for example, Jay-Z. When he’s rapping he’s arrogant so I see that and pick up on it and do my own little take on it.

Pirate radio used to be necessary for emcees to become recognised. Now these days radio stations don’t seem to be as important in the process. Why do you think this is?
Those days were live though! It was a little hype everyone listening to pirate radio
But now there are hardly any stations left. More people do videos, mixtapes are regularly out, and so artists have found other ways of being heard.

How did you meet Dizzee & Wiley?
Dizzee’s from my area so we used to roll with him and Wiley used to do his music thing with Rascal. Wiley must have heard one track through him, Tingz In Boots, he rang me about doing a tune and it all went from there.

Do you think you would have had the status you have now, if it wasn’t for your involvement with them?
I might have had the status but it just might have taken a bit longer. They helped to speed up the process, because obviously they were the main players so once you’re seen with them you’re important but then you have to follow it up. Otherwise if you’re not doing anything or not making good music then it doesn’t work out.

You featured on plenty of mixtapes and Albums, Who’s been your favourite person to work with?
Working with Ruff Sqwad, because we are all friends and it’s like the vibe is just there. It’s not like work, we do music anyway.

If you could be successful in the mainstream, just by yourself or be with Ruff Sqwad and have the exposure you have now. What would you choice?
It's business, so you have to get yourself right, obviously if things do work out then I’d bring as many of the crew through as is humanly possible.

JME has serious, Skepta has GO ON DEN and Wiley has ESKIIII BOYYY… whats your signature one line flow!?
“I’m Back You Know” Vs “Yeah, Let me see your Gun Fingers”

Breakaway is out on single now, How did you come about with the concept?
Davinche showed me the beat and as soon as I heard the beat that’s what I felt like writing about, breaking away from the streets. So I wrote the verses first, then Davinche wrote the chorus and got one of his vocal singers, Fonda, for the Chorus.

Before takeover, were you approached by any other labels?
When I rolled with Wiley, we done bare tunes and we would take them to labels and they would show loads of interest but nothing comes of it. Although when I did Underground, a couple of labels did approach me including Ministry but nothing ever went through.

Why did Takeover appeal to you more than the others?
I like the way it’s an independent and I’m the only artist, who gets their full focus. When we met up and I listened to their vision, it was the same that I wanted to achieve. They put all their energy in to my projects and with other labels it’s not like that. When the bigger labels get involved, there’s more pressure because there’s way more money involved so they need to make more money back.

What advice you give to talented artists in the grime scene?
Don’t rush into it, people think signing a record deal is the hard work but that’s the easy part. Stay focused.

Why did you choose to release Breakaway as your first single?
Breakaway is a track that most people can relate to, either breaking away from the streets or choosing love over something. It’s there to build my profile and if I do, do well chart wise it’s a bonus.

If you weren't doing music, what do you think you’d be doing?
Playing football, I used to play for Wimbledon Pro team but then I just stopped because the training just got too much. By that time this all came about I was doing my GCSE’s so I had to choice education over it. I do regret it sometimes though, they get stupid money.

What do you think about grime artists making hiphop?
If that’s what you choice to do then do it, Some of them artists sound good rapping. If you don’t sound good on Hiphop then I don’t see the point in doing it. Know what crowd your trying to hit otherwise you’ll get caught between the two scenes you’ll end up know where.

Who is your favourite Grime artist at the moment?
Ruff Sqwad, Skepta and Chipmunk.

What’s holding grime back?
People at the top who have come from Grime, like Kano, Dizzee and Wiley need to start coming together and doing tracks. Everyone seems to try and go off and do their own thing but they all come from the same place, they used to be on the same radio sets. Outside of the Underground scene, Grime is hardly known, we need to take it seriously ourselves and push it, then hopefully few years down the line it should pay off. The talents there, but it’s got a lot to do with money and investment. If there’s more small labels like Takeover that are there to push artists and invest then it can’t go wrong.


A version of this featured in Blues and Soul Magazine.

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I'm tired of them rap neeks walking round in their akademik suits, Yankee hats with the flat peeks.
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