Life MC doesn’t need an introduction for those who know about the UK’ s finest hip hop scene. Life MC’s raw talent reverberates around international audiences, performing at the Brit Awards, the freestyle machine makes all sort of crowds go wild while his following continues growing organically by the roots.
Our writer John Glynn catches up with him for an indep view on his career.
Q. Your debut album dropped over a decade ago, yet it still sounds so fresh and relevant, what is your secret?
[Laughs] There is no secret, my music just covers a lot of everyday life in general. Fashion and trends usually have an expiry date and I just think as my music is not based on fashion or trends and comes from the heart it has no real expiry date in terms of time and relevance.
Q. You are renowned for possessing a freestyling prowess, for you, who is the greatest freestyler operating today?
There are too many dope freestylers to call any one individual the greatest today, once you hit you zone correctly freestyle has no limit, when you mind opens a lot of mcs have the ability to reach very high levels of freestyle. I performed in Holland a few years ago opening up for KRS1 who had brought Supernatural. The morning after the show Supernatural approached me and said only a few posses the true powers of freestyle and said I was one of them and he said he didn’t know who was better me or him , of course you can imagine how honoured and humble I felt hearing that from one of the best I have ever heard, but no I don’t think I’m better than Supernatural by the way.
Q. Of all your five solo albums, which one are you most proud of and why?
I would most probably say its a toss up between Everyday Life and Gift of Life. Everyday Life because it was my first solo project and it was received so well, and Gift of Life as I think it is soo dope musically and I feel it is a very mature album lyrically. Also Gift Of Life because of the featured artists and what they brought to the album as before that all of my albums where just me, and I was really happy with all the tracks that had featured artists, it kind of brought another vibe to the albums sound.
Q. For you, what is the most important thing needed to thrive in the world of hip hop?
Skills, patience and a lot of drive and self belief along with originality, having your own sound and vibe instead of following the latest music trends. There are a lot more artists than when I first started releasing music so it is important to have something about your sound that can get noticed in the big sea of talented mcs that exist today.
Q. How would you describe the current state of hip hop, has it progressed or regressed in the last few years?
It depends what you class as Hip Hop, what I class as Hip Hop seems to be going deeper underground and further away from the mainstream listener so in that sense it has regressed. I’m not hating but if Chief Keef can get a 6 figure deal while the Chester Ps, High Focus, and Triple Darkness (plus many more) type of artists have to work so hard on such small budgets that restricts them from being heard by so many listeners who themselves are being restricted to what they hear, then I think although there is less reward for the artist their struggle fuels a lot of the passionate self expressive lyricism they create. Hip Hop is still a force but the educational aspect of the music and real self expression and positivity seem to be regressing from the mainstream at least.
Q. What was the first record you purchased, can you describe the first time you listened to it?
I think the first record I ever brought myself was Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam ( I wonder if I take you home). It was funny as I was so happy to have the track I climbed out my bedroom window onto my porch and started body popping. I could see my friend coming up the road towards my home with a record in a revolver bag. As he got to my garden he looked up and said “turn that shit off and put this on” when I took the record out the bag I started laughing as it was the same record I was playing, he didn’t even know the song.
Q. If you can have go a drink with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
It would most probably be Bob Marley for me as he really inspired me and made me feel proud when I was a kid. Any artist who can touch so many people around the globe and their name, music, and message is just as powerful and relevant today as when they were alive, means there was that extra something to their mind and spirit and I would love to talk to Bob for some insight into his true vibes as a man and as a musician.
Q. In all of your career, what one moment makes you most proud?
Thats a hard one as I have so many but years ago I toured Europe with Jazz fudge records as part of Philife Cypher and after a performance in Paris the crowd gave us a 20 minute ovation which brought a lump to my throat, we had to keep going back on stage until the crowd were satisfied that they had made it clear just how much they appreciated the performance, it was an incredible feeling. Also got to mention performing on the Brit Awards as that was an experience a lot of hip hop heads haven’t been given the chance to experience.
Q. Can you tell us an anecdote you had while working in the studio?
I seem to come across as a very serious straight faced non smiling individual to some, when in fact I love to laugh and joke it is part of who I am and when ever I am in the studio with Nappa we always end up laughing till we cry at the smallest of things sometimes, but to tell the truth my son was on a Life support machine at the time I was writing and recording so honestly there was no real funny moments as I had a lot of worry and pressure at the time, but things are looking up now so hopefully I will be having more fun soon in terms of recording.
Q. Do you have a message for any young aspiring artists
Really my message is in the music but I would say not to let outside influences change how you naturally think or feel and that fashion and trends will all be outlived by most of them, so don’t sell your soul or adjust your beliefs for the sake of money. There is too much importance being placed upon money and material possessions and we all know deep down these things are not the answer to happiness or spiritual enlightenment. There will always be cynics, critics and pier pressure but just believe in you and never lose sight of who you really are as an individual.
Interview By John Glynn