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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