In our exclus­ive inter­view with King 7ru, the acclaimed hip hop artist delves into the inspir­a­tion behind his 19th album, “Angel With a Dirty Face,” and his com­mit­ment to pay­ing homage to the golden era of hip hop. King 7ru sheds light on the raw, unfiltered inspir­a­tion drawn from his life exper­i­ences and the gritty real­ity of his sur­round­ings. He dis­cusses the album’s clas­sic hip hop sound, emphas­iz­ing the import­ance of deliv­er­ing power­ful lyr­ics in an era where mean­ing­ful con­tent seems to be scarce. The artist gives us insights into his song­writ­ing and pro­duc­tion pro­cess, reveal­ing the chal­lenges and high­lights that shaped the album’s cre­ation.

King 7ru also shares the album’s hard-hit­ting themes and mes­sages, explor­ing issues such as crime, drugs, single par­ent­hood, and the struggles of grow­ing up in his neigh­bor­hood. He dis­cusses col­lab­or­at­ing with hip hop legends and their unique con­tri­bu­tions to the pro­ject. The album’s title, “Angel With a Dirty Face,” holds per­son­al sig­ni­fic­ance for King 7ru as he reflects on his life and the judg­ments he’s faced.

The inter­view fur­ther delves into mem­or­able moments from the record­ing stu­dio and how the artist main­tains his cre­at­ive energy through­out a pro­lif­ic career. King 7ru high­lights spe­cif­ic tracks that tell com­pel­ling stor­ies and gives a glimpse into the evolving role of hip hop in the con­tem­por­ary music scene. He hopes that “Angel With a Dirty Face” will be a test­a­ment to real hip hop and serve as a remind­er of the gen­re’s roots.

Finally, King 7ru shares his future plans, which include more live shows, col­lab­or­a­tions, and a 20th album, show­cas­ing his unwaver­ing ded­ic­a­tion to spread­ing the mes­sage through his music. This inter­view offers a fas­cin­at­ing insight into the mind of a hip hop artist who con­tin­ues to make an impact with his authen­t­ic and unapo­lo­get­ic storytelling.

Can you tell us more about the inspir­a­tion behind your 19th album, “Angel With a Dirty Face” and why you decided to pay homage to the golden era of hip hop?

The inspir­a­tion comes from life and tak­ing in what hap­pens. Some­thing can hap­pen in someone’s life and they can pull tones of inspir­a­tion from that 1 moment. I just wanted to paint a pic­ture about the life that was hap­pen­ing around me and what has happened around me. I think most artist nowadays just talk for the sake of talk­ing they make trash music with no mes­sage and no decent bars, I wanted to bring bars back. I paid homage because it’s the right thing to do when mak­ing hip hop music. Can’t for­get the real ones in the game. They made some­thing that we can look back on, cher­ish and still try keep the flame alight.

In what ways does “Angel With a Dirty Face” reflect the clas­sic hip hop sound that you’re known for?

Just through the beats and bars there is a lot of hip hop artists nowadays claim­ing hip hop but don’t do that. I mainly tried to do it through bars on this album because I know a lot of beats on this album don’t reflect the good old days of hip hop but my bars speak for them­selves. I don’t think there is many hip hop artist com­ing with real bars like I am. Hip Hop is a mes­sage it’s a way of life, a reli­gion almost. If all you talk about is money, cars, jew­ellery and how many women you got what is the mes­sage. There ain’t one.

Can you share some insights into the song­writ­ing and pro­duc­tion pro­cess for this album? Were there any chal­lenges or high­lights dur­ing its cre­ation?

I would sit in a room with hardly any light in it and just think while listen­ing to beats.  Or some­times I’d be just chilling and lyr­ics would just start to pop into my head. The chal­lenges, I had an intro called soul m8 but I think I was too hon­est in it and I was told not to put it out. I would usu­ally not listen and put it out any­way but the per­son who asked me I highly love and respect so I listened. So drop­ping that from the album made me have to find a new intro I had to get a new beat and write again. Then the dis­trib­uter I use star­ted being stu­pid so that held the album back also. The pro­duc­tion I do all myself but I wait until I have all the songs I want recor­ded so I can just work on all them back to back.

You men­tioned that the lyr­ics on this album are “hard-hit­ting.” Could you elab­or­ate on some of the themes or mes­sages you explore in the lyr­ics?

I always keep it hon­est in my rhymes I speak about the truth and hard­ships around my bit and through Edin­burgh. My song “My City” paints a pic­ture of what it’s like here with the crime and drugs and all that, single moth­ers hav­ing a rough time rais­ing their kids. Also on my song “Here We Go” I try to have a sort of up beat song with real lyr­ics. Like what we seen as kids and watch­ing friends loose their par­ents to AIDS, watch­ing loved ones go to jail just nor­mal sh*t round here.

How did you go about select­ing the two hip hop legends fea­tured on the album, and what do they bring to the pro­ject?

I done a song with Mog years ago and I’ve always loved his style he is one of the best in hip hop hands down so hav­ing him on this album was just amaz­ing. And hav­ing Madhat McGore was just a must. He has done so much in the scene that hav­ing him on the album felt cor­rect. Mog brings that gritty hard sound like myself so togeth­er it was going to be class and me and Madhat always work well togeth­er and always bring good music.

What is the sig­ni­fic­ance of the album’s title, “Angel With a Dirty Face,” and how does it tie into the over­all concept of the album?

I feel like all my life people have judged me for look­ing a cer­tain way even fam­ily mem­bers say I’m that dodgy char­ac­ter of the fam­ily haha. But I feel like a good guy. I know I’ve done some stuff in my life that people would con­sider wrong or messed up but I’m still a good guy. So angel with a dirty face felt the per­fect choice. Maybe not a nice guy but good. So I’ve just spoke about my life on this album. The area I’m from cer­tain things hap­pen and those cer­tain things make people do cer­tain things. In the wild if a lion is attacked by a  jack­al the lion does what it can to sur­vive but at the same time you can’t say the lion is bad for doing what it does. It’s life.

Could you share a mem­or­able anec­dote or story from the record­ing stu­dio while work­ing on this album?

When I star­ted the hook for my song “Its west­er hailes” I stopped and phoned my girl­friend and said I wanna show you where I was raised so she picked me up and we drove round west­er hailes and I showed her all the spots that meant a lot to me and told her the stor­ies. She looked scared haha. After that I went straight back to stu­dio opened up a bottle of henny and cre­ated magic.

With 19 albums under your belt, how do you main­tain your cre­at­ive energy and enthu­si­asm for mak­ing music in the hip hop genre?

The love for hip hop and music in gen­er­al. It’s a deep pas­sion. I don’t think you loose or get bored when it’s some­thing that deep. A paint­er will always have some­thing to paint, I’m like a paint­er but I paint with words.

The album prom­ises a “jour­ney through your life” with movie-like storytelling. Can you high­light a spe­cif­ic track that stands out in this regard and share the story behind it?

My song “Here We Go” tells a story about when I was young­er the stuff I seen. It also tells a spe­cif­ic story about 2 men that approached me and my cous­in when we were very little and what they were hold­ing and talk­ing about but of course in the song I go into more detail. My oth­er song “My City” tell a story about well, my city. “ Anoth­er Love” tells a story about a so called girl­friend who just so happened to belong to any­one. “Deep­er” is a song about my men­tal health and what goes through my mind. But most of the songs are about grow­ing up and my sur­round­ings.

How do you see the role of hip hop evolving in the con­tem­por­ary music scene, and how does your new album con­trib­ute to this evol­u­tion?

I think the role of hip hop should always be to spread truth, be it your truth like your per­son­al truth or issues involving the state of the world, racism, poverty, injustice. Spread know­ledge and let the peoples voices be heard. I’ll always tell my story but for someone who can’t shout I’ll tell your story too. Hip hop should always spread the mes­sage.

Like Styles P said I ain’t mad sales are down 40% I’m mad because not spread­ing the mes­sage is up 60%. I think my new album is a taste of real hip hop. I’m a lyr­i­cists unlike some of the rap­pers you hear on radio and get­ting con­sidered to be great they can’t F with my music. Hip hop is for the streets I keep my sh*t under­ground.

What mes­sage or feel­ing do you hope listen­ers take away from “Angel With a Dirty Face” after exper­i­en­cing the entire album?

I hope people take away from it that real hip hop still exists and to under­stand I came up in a place notori­ous for its drugs, poverty, crime, death, dis­ease and instead of grabbing a needle like so many have I grabbed the mic.

Lastly, can you tell us about your future plans and any upcom­ing pro­jects or col­lab­or­a­tions in the world of hip hop?

My future plans involve more live shows. I’m going to New York to push my music next year so I hope that goes well. Also more col­labs and just stay mak­ing music, more of everything. Plus my 20th album.

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Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal

Edit­or / PR Con­sult­ant at No Bounds
Rishma Dhali­w­al has extens­ive exper­i­ence study­ing and work­ing in the music and media industry. Hav­ing writ­ten a thes­is on how Hip Hop acts as a social move­ment, she has spent years research­ing and con­nect­ing with artists who use the art form as a tool for bring­ing a voice to the voice­less. Cur­rently work­ing in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media know­ledge to I am Hip Hop and oth­er pro­jects by No Bounds.

About Rishma Dhaliwal

Rishma Dhaliwal
Rishma Dhaliwal has extensive experience studying and working in the music and media industry. Having written a thesis on how Hip Hop acts as a social movement, she has spent years researching and connecting with artists who use the art form as a tool for bringing a voice to the voiceless. Currently working in TV, Rishma brings her PR and media knowledge to I am Hip Hop and other projects by No Bounds.