In this politically charged time, FOREIGN BEGGARS call for a ‘MATRIARCHY’ with their final album. After announcing they are to split, the album (produced by Seemore Beats) sees the seminal electronic/rap crew revisit a more hip hop-driven sound, harking back to the sounds and inspiration of their early days. We catch up with them to find out more.
Why the title ‘Matriarchy’?
Matriarchy represents an energy/ paradigm shift that we feel the world needs moving away from the patriarchy and the combative toxic masculinity that has shaped society for generations. We worship greed, financial success, plagued with violence and lack empathy which are at the core of many of the world’s ills. The feminine energy also represents the nurturing of the self both physically and mentally and is a step in the direction of nature that so many of us are now completely disconnected from.
Who designed the cover?
Incredible Kurdish — British artist called Tishk Barzanji
The album features many guest stars and reads like a who’s who of UK music, was this a conscious decision in light of your split and this album being the finale?
Not necessarily, there are quite a few rappers on there that have been inspirational and close contemporaries in the scene that we hadn’t worked with before who we’ve always wanted to and the time was right. MysDiggi we’ve known for 20 years and I’ve always looked up to as a rapper and person, Blak Twang is one of the first rappers to really break ground for UK rap Music and was the hardest in the country when he was most active, nothing short of legendary status. To have a track with him and one of the newer pioneers Jehst was a total life achievement situation for me. Similar to the God DRS, and both Jammer and Flowdan. The album was a much more soulful affair so lso gave us the opportunity to work with a lot of other incredible artists such as Greentea Peng, ADMT, Hamdan al Abri from Dubai, Liam Bailey & Bess Cavendish that we otherwise may not have been able to collab with, and lest we forget the beautiful force of nature that is Maverick Sabre.
Who are ‘Seemore Beats’?
Seamore beats are actually a power production duo made up of Ed Thomas who’s written for Stomrzy, Jorja Smth, Chase and status to name a few & Toby Davies, Bass and producer for Gentleman’s Dub Club, also known as Landlord & Planas, one of the founding members of Ranking Records.
The Lead single ‘Young Kings & Queens’ featuring ‘Maverick Sabre’ and ‘Mali Hayes’, is the track anti austerity?
The track has anti-austerity undertones, I think everything we say and do is anti-austerity and about the empowerment of people. I think you’d actually have to be a delusional, indoctrinated or uninformed person to think austerity has any place in society. We actually chose to focus on the uplifting and empowerment of the youth and future generations to live their dreams and believe in their self-worth.
The video was shot around Manchester by ‘Tarnish Vision’, who is ‘Tarnish Vision’?
Tarnish Vision are a production Duo consisting of Big Ben & DRS.
Matriarchy marks more Hip Hop driven sound, harking back to the sounds and inspiration of your early days, why a move away from the dubstep and DnB which arguably became your trademark?
Essentially, we never moved away from Hip Hop, we released a few dubstep songs, maybe 10 that broke ground and got really massive but have always been a rap got. Take a listen to our last album 2 2 Karma and you will see that. The Uprising album that we released on Mau5trap had a more distinct electronic edge, but you will see that it’s a rap album as well so I’d refute that statement.
Some tracks on the album still show a Dance music influence, when creating the tracks, did you have dancefloors in mind?
No not at all, I had originally wanted to call the album Morning Music [The rebirth] as I actually wanted to make an album to enjoy and listen to in the morning as opposed to dark and night time like much of our output from the last 10 years.
‘Forget Dem’ features ‘Jammer’ and ‘Flowdan’, is a very powerful cut on the album, in fact it reminds me of ‘Palm of my hand’ from 2012, could you tell me about the production of this track? The rave horns are a nice touch.
Thank you, that’s a really interesting choice, I’d say it’s much more reminiscent of Dengft Alix P & Flowdan. This track was actually produced about 5⁄6 years ago and has been on my hard drive since. We just wanted to drop one naughty banger on the album and this one was perfect.
‘3 AM’ featuring ‘Bess Cavendish’, is a soulful meditation on modern life how did this track come about?
Once again, just having these incredible beats inspired us. E’s verse is more on that flex, but my verse is really about a certain place you reach in addiction and a call for help if anything, but remains positive and I do find light at the end of the tunnel.
‘Glow’ features ‘Greentea Peng’ and is a mellower affair, tell us more about this collaboration…
Greentea Peng is one of the most interesting pure, unaffected and beautiful artists to come out of the UK in the last God knows how long. She is an uncompromising force of nature who is about to embark on the most beautiful career and does it completely on her own terms. She is also a really humble and strong person who inspires me with everything she does.
‘I read that ‘Orifice Vulgatron’ and ‘Dag’ met whilst playing in Grunge and Metal bands, what are the links between these genres and Hip Hop?
Music is Music family, in the 90’s pop music was Wu Tang, Pearl Jam, Pantera, Mobb Deep, portishead, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, The Prodigy. We were lucky, the common thread in these are all movements that come out of oppression energetic, rebellious and empowering. We were young teenagers in a very conservative environment and these things were our saviors.
‘Know The Vibe’ features ‘Jehst’ and ‘Blak Twang’ what was it like having two legendary figures of UK Hip Hop on one track?
This is an absolute dream come true for me. Both Absolute dons and masters of their craft from different generations that shaped Foreign Beggars, this was nothing short of an Honour.
Who are ‘Nerm’ and ‘D‑code’ from ‘Shiva Soundsystem’?
Nerm is a legend in the dnb & Asian Underground movements that I met raving in 1999⁄200. He started Shiva soundsystem which was a group, label and a living breathing underground music movement that brought hundreds and hundreds of Asian and other kids together and showed there was a place for the alternative Asian in both Asian & general underground culture.
Will your label ‘Dented Records’ be continuing?
Sadly Not, Dented records was a labour of love and passion and we decided to wind down operations after the great distribution crash in 2008.
What can we expect from you guys as solo artists in the future?
We have a lot of awesome stuff in the bag and all will be revealed very soon, please keep your eyes on the following profiles.
@pav.4n @elliott_yorke @vulgatron @nonamesfbs
Throughout your journey as Foreign Beggars, are there any artists you have come across that you think more people need to be listening to?
100% Potent Funk Records, Kuedo, Pengshui, Sonnyjim, Juganaut, Jammz to name a few
Could you each pick one track by any artist that has been very important to you?
Mud Family — Itchy Town
‘Matriachy’ is out now with vinyl copies also available online. Listen here.
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