MJ Gets to Know Cuban Pete, England’s Famed Emcee of 30 Years @c75Designs

MJ here, your favor­ite Hip Hop Blog­ger! Tonight we will get to know England’s well-known and estab­lished record­ing artist, Cuban Pete. First and fore­most, thank you for con­nect­ing with me and tak­ing time out of the stu­dio for this inter­view.  Before we begin, I must share that in terms of travel I live through the artists that I inter­view.  With that being said, tell me what life is really like in England! I want to know sim­il­ar­it­ies, and dif­fer­ences of course with life­styles and the music scene. I’m also curi­ous what it was like for you grow­ing up in England.  Did you fas­cin­ate about the states, like most of us here fas­cin­ate about oth­er coun­tries?

CP: England’s dif­fer­ent. It’s not as extreme as Amer­ica. There’s always sim­il­ar­it­ies though. I feel things are becom­ing more “in your face” as people and soci­ety changes. A lot of kids are crazy con­fid­ent now because of this whole, every­one is a celebrity cul­ture we’re in.  People aren’t scared to make money by being stu­pid. They think all press is good press.

I can only talk about myself.  I did always look up to Amer­ica as the birth­place of Hip Hop, even though there is a great respect for the cul­ture over here from most fans. When I star­ted rhym­ing myself I was already involved long enough to know bet­ter than to try and copy the accent of it all. That’s been out­lawed in the UK for years now! Although you still get the odd rap­per, and more main­stream influ­enced who you would swear is from Atlanta but is actu­ally from Sun­der­land.  The ones caught up in the “stuntin and frontin” life­style.

A word to the US though; don’t listen to West­wood rid­ing the grime wave to stay “rel­ev­ant”. UK Hip Hop has been strong and unique for years before grime hit. Shouts to Hijack, Blade, Katch 22, Sil­ver Bul­let, Gun­shot, MC Mel­lo, Icepick, Lon­don Pos­se, Mud Fam, Task For­ce, and many oth­ers for pav­ing the way and car­ry­ing on tra­di­tion.

MJ:  It is refresh­ing to learn that you are part of the emcee crew, a true Mas­ter of Cere­mony.  You take pride in cre­at­ing music that gives pur­pose, and mean­ing.  Why is that key for you?  I mean there are end­less rap­pers who simply cre­ate music to make a quick, catchy hit.  What sep­ar­ates you from that lane?

CP: When I was grow­ing up it was about tal­ent and skills and for most heads those are the real mark­ers MCs are judged by. These “mumble­sexu­als” today can’t com­pare. When they decide they are fed up of being wack and try and step up their game lyr­ic­ally their fans will feel like idi­ots for lik­ing their wack stuff.

We all like hav­ing hits, and get­ting that recog­ni­tion. To appeal to the mass pub­lic can mean a dilu­tion. I think that’s changed some­what. It’s not so much a dilu­tion of the music these days, though obvi­ously jump­ing on the latest trend helps, but it’s also a dilu­tion of your­self. Doing any­thing and everything to stay “rel­ev­ant”. It’s about find­ing a bal­ance and being true to your­self.

MJ: Although you are “Old School” in a sense with your music, you do exude levels of unique­ness and ori­gin­al­ity so you are not boxed in or labeled as only cre­at­ing one type of sound or style.  So besides cap­tur­ing the essence of true Hip Hop, what else does your music offer to listen­ers? What can they expect from you as a record­ing artist?

CP: I say I’m Old School because I’ve been into this industry for around 30 years. I grew through the Golden Era and I have that invent­ive­ness and ori­gin­al­ity inside of me. But I’m still fairly new as a ser­i­ous record­ing artist. I’m work­ing with sev­er­al pro­du­cers on dif­fer­ent pro­jects that I want to have dif­fer­ent feels. I want to cre­ate music that people recog­nize through the sat­ur­a­tion of the mar­ket.

MJ:  You men­tion that style is essen­tial!  Elab­or­ate on that.

CP: I’m an artist. That trans­lates through the visu­al and the audio. As an artist, an ori­gin­al artist, you have to have style. Style that people recog­nize as you. It’s not about fit­ting in its about stand­ing out.

MJ:  Talk about the fans and appre­ci­ation for music.  I know the Hip Hop scene and cul­ture over­seas is incred­ible and intense!

CP: Any artists from the US who has trav­elled over­seas will tell you how the love for the cul­ture is great­er over here. The appre­ci­ation is great. The music really brings people togeth­er. Most of the back­bit­ing is just between the artists. Obvi­ously there’s people who’ll love a Lady Leshurr but not know who Craig G is but that’s par for the course. Not every­one who raps knows their his­tory but a lot of fans do. Don’t piss off a UK rap fan though (or even a UK rap­per) because you’ll be dead to them from that point on.

MJ: Can you tell us what’s hot right now with Cuban Pete?  Also what can we look for­ward to in the new year?

CP: I’m work­ing on my pro­mo­tion more, to get my work out there. I’ve just star­ted a new web­site, www.nomadsstreetteam.com, with another tal­en­ted artist on the FNBG Records roster called Just Write. Were try­ing to make it the next this­is50!  And I’ve still got my www.c75live.com site of course.

I’m going to keep the singles and videos com­ing as well as my “Renais­sance Man” mix­tape, fol­lowed by my “Cap­it­al C Cap­it­al P” album, and my col­lab­or­a­tion album “When War­ri­ors Come Out to Plaaaaayyy”.

I also have the “Live Test’ ep with OneMike (T.E.S.T Squad), an as yet untitled pro­ject with NY pro­du­cer B.Dvine www.bdvinemusic.com. I have sev­er­al Gor­il­la Army pro­jects and a joint album with the head of the army D.Original Mr.Blue www.hoodiswatching.com. Also in the works is an album called “A War Goin On Out­side” with DJ WIZ (Wu Coali­tion DJ). That should keep me busy…

I design cloth­ing and mer­chand­ise for Krumbsnatcha’s label Mind Power Enter­tain­ment at www.mindpowerwear.bigcartel.com, and Gor­il­la Army at www.gorillagearshop.bigcartel.com. I’ll be put­ting togeth­er some­thing with OneMike called Kings Ransom. Me and Mike have been work­ing togeth­er for a while now. He’s part of my C75 Live Crew and I’m part of his T.E.S.T. Squad.

I also have my hands full with my design work doing art cov­ers, fly­ers, etc.

MJ:  Lyr­ics or beats? As an artist do you have the opin­ion that one out­weighs the oth­er?

CP: You can use either to make a dope track but the best tracks use both. But I came in the game lov­ing lyr­ics and word­play, which is why I emcee instead of mak­ing beats I guess.  Although I’d love an MPC.

MJ:  Let’s talk col­lab­or­a­tions.  Who is on your list to share the stage or stu­dio time with?

CP: Tragedy Khadafi is a pos­sib­il­ity right now. Red­man and Meth­od Man would be a dream. I don’t really think about it like that though. Most of my col­lab­or­a­tions have come about through talk­ing and vibing, or a trade of skills like art­work for a verse. It’s been a mutu­al organ­ic thing, as opposed to me pur­su­ing or out­right pay­ing someone.

MJ:  You have worked with many major artists, some of my top favor­ites such as Pace­won, Blaq Poet, and Krumb­snatcha!  Did they share any words of wis­dom, or drop any jew­els on becom­ing suc­cess­ful in the music industry?

CP: Those guys have done it all so yeah I pick up things, like I do from most people I work with. But the main thing I get from col­lab­or­a­tions is that feel­ing of com­pet­i­tion. Prov­ing I can hang or be bet­ter than who I’m on the track with. My col­lab­or­a­tion album will be crazy!

MJ:  Let’s play the 3 game so read­ers can get to know you a little bet­ter.  Who is in your top 3 per­son­al playl­ist? What 3 places would you like to tour? Who are 3 influ­ences, per­son­ally and music­ally?

CP:  3?   I had an 160GB IPod and filled it! My favor­ite album ever is “ill­mat­ic”. I have a best of M.O.P. I put togeth­er, and a best col­lab­or­a­tion ever playl­ist. I can’t get it down to 3 artists, you’re crazy, lol!

Tour­ing would be Amer­ica, Brazil, and… I’ve heard Ger­many is live out there with the fans.

Per­son­al influ­ences come and go. Her­oes are human and let you down.  Music­ally though I’d say Red­man, Wu-Tang as a col­lect­ive, and the third is prob­ably a D.I.T.C. or B.C.C. type col­lect­ive. Only three is hard after 30 years.

MJ: As we wrap up, is there any­thing else you would like the world to know about your­self?

CP:  I’m here to cut through the bullsh*t! You might not hear about me every day on these Hip Hop gos­sip sites but I will still be here in front or behind the scenes mak­ing moves. The race is not a sprint, the game is long.

MJ: Thank you again for tak­ing time out for MJ! I wish you much con­tin­ued suc­cess, salute!

Fol­low MJ @MJsHipHopConnex
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MJ Savino

MJ Savino

MJ is Hip Hop Blog­ger, Pub­li­cist, Book­ing Agent, Act­iv­ist, but fan first and fore­most. “Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the cul­ture”!

About MJ Savino

MJ Savino
MJ is Hip Hop Blogger, Publicist, Booking Agent, Activist, but fan first and foremost. "Hip Hop saved my life, it is only right I give back to the culture"!