Antix is a London based hip hop artist with a unique style, his sound is a revival of what has been lost in mainstream Hip-Hop for some time. His music proudly addresses challenging social issues and draws from everything from golden-era hip hop acts such as Nas and Wu Tang to World Music and Classical instruments. Shunning the bravado and materialism of so many of his contemporaries, Antix is a man with a message.
I Am Hip-Hop reporter Jonh Glynn catches up with Antix to talk about his career and his views on USA/UK mainstream and underground rap.
Q. Your new single, Smile, was released on May 5th, what was the motivation behind the track?
Anyone who makes music and is trying to forge a path in this industry knows what it can be like. It is a road full of rejection, deceit and despair. You are ignored,swindled and belittled constantly. You put your heart and soul into making music only for someone to listen to 4 seconds into the intro and say ”not my thing”. All this is not unique to just me… it happens to everyone. ‘Smile’ is an ode to those experiences. It is a song for every person going through the same thing. Look all those people in the eyes and just… smile.
Q. How would you compare the London rap scene with that of the US, primarily the East and West coasts?
The UK is an exciting place for music in general. Good US hip hop lives underground. The good majority of the rest of it is total crap. The UK mainstream hip hop scene is more grime based, with an influence of electronic. I think there are great artists on both sides of the ocean; we just need to give them a chance to breathe.
Q. You have been described as a sort of old-skool hip-hop revival artist, why do you think this is?
I think this is because the music is content-based first and foremost. A lot of current commercially successful music is trend or production based. I think back in the day people had something to say and weren’t afraid to put themselves on the line to do so. I fall into that category.
Q. Besides the UK, you grew up in Jordan, France & the US, how has this cultural immersion helped shape your musical perspective?
The UK shaped me as a person… I was born here and spent most of my formative years here. My travels to other countries were amazing and informative for so many reasons. I took from those times a sense of perspective and understanding. Being around people who are different from you makes you realise how much we are all just part of the same struggle, and how much we need to work to help each other out. Musically, the influence is endless. I grew up on Aznavour, Piaf, countless Arabic singers and every single type of western music you can imagine. I try to take little elements of all of these and inject them into what I do now.
Q. Your track ‘Hands Up’ made quite an impression in the US, is this the track you are most proud of?
Truth be told, the popularity of ‘Hands Up’ came way out of left field. I had no idea that people were listening to it until someone told me about it. People seem to really identify with the lyricism of it, and I guess that’s what this is all about. I am proud of every song I make, but the ultimate aim is to connect with the fans. Any track that does that makes me proud.
Q. Throughout your career, what rap artists have influenced/inspired you?
The influence of artists shifts and changes with time. When I was younger, I hung on every word of 2Pac, Eminem, and Outkast. Now I tend to admire musicianship more than anything else. I have a firm grasp on my own lyricism now and I don’t look to others for inspiration for that. I do, however, find myself hovering towards amazing vocalists, cellists, saxophonists etc. I am looking for people who can bring their passion into my songs through their instrument.
Q. Lastly, if you could collaborate with one artist, dead or alive, who would it
Ray Lamontagne. Man has the best voice ever.