Interview-Pioneer of The Month: Life MC (@lifemc)

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?Life MC i am hip hop magazine

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

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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.

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