777 is an up and coming emcee from Telford, West Midlands. Quietly honing his craft over the last three years and establishing a discography of appearances on various UK releases has acquired him underground recognition as one to watch. Working and performing alongside well known faces has enriched an already inexhaustable lyricist and helped to create the rounded artist we see today. As a former member of The Round Table and Non-Thespian (Dealmaker Records) and current member of newly formed hip hop duo Amass Hegemony with Beit Nun (Innit Records), 777 is a familiar voice across the East and West Midlands. With a solo collection ‘Septimal Vol 1’ now available Mr Phlo grabbed an intro to the man, his styles, thoughts and influences…
I think it’s fair to say your style slots in nicely as multi-syllabic but with the Rhyme Asylums and Conflix types out there, why should anyone be bothered about you? Convince me to invest!
Crikey! So quick to the jugular Mr Phlo. Well my style may be considered by many as multi-syllabic but I’m no longer one for endless battle raps and godly fantasy! Don’t get me wrong I certainly used to be, but that has merely been the method by which my style has evolved to where it is today……and today multisyllables are one string to an ever growing bow of styles.
Ah ha, so let’s talk about the album – Septimal – how many strings does that particular bow offer?
17 on this first release of mine. Although I would say it’s more of a demo cd than an album as it’s been made over three years and doesn’t have the purpose an album would. This is more me releasing everything good I’ve done to date and stop sitting on my material. It’s time to get heard at long last.
Ok, what’s held you back before? So many MCs flood the market with mixtapes, guest appearances, downloads etc just to build up some form of hype for the eventual fabled album release which, sadly, for so many guys never happens. Why did you choose this route?
I think there is a quality control issue in UK hip hop. I find myself trawling through endless mixtapes and free releases and losing touch with the artists behind them. Personally I won’t be ready to release an album for a couple of years yet because I think it’s important to offer a wholesome product that displays the best of you. There’s plenty of time prior to this to hone your sound and that’s all I’ve been doing until now.
So without the mixtapes it’s hard to build a name as the majority of shows suffer some form of disabling effect whether it’s sound or crowds. If you could change one thing about the scene as it stands, what would it be?
It would be the hunger. A successful scene can only be successful if its components (rappers, producers, promoters etc) are hungry; otherwise there is no thirst for the scene to evolve and hence no exterior interest. We all have a personal responsibility as components to be the best we can, otherwise we will always muse on the lack of success our scene sees for the most part.
Ok, back to Septimal…you mentioned earlier you’re no one trick pony and the album charts your progress in a way. What 3 tracks do you think best represent your journey?
I think they would be Sevenius, The Man and Introducing Ft Beit Nun. Sevenius is a multisyllable fest from three years ago simply for lyricism and it kicks off the cd as track 1. At track 5 there’s The Man which is about 18 months old and self produced. This was more about nailing a concept and delivering a true “song” rather than raw lyrics. This continued until the present day where I combine both. A good example of this is the most recent I’ve recorded on this cd; Introducing. This is all about character and self expression offering my true feelings and thoughts on this little scene of ours…
So what about 777 the man, how did you first get in to hip hop? Who are your influences?
Well I’m pushing on a bit now haha! I’ve been listening to hip hop for far longer than I’ve even thought about making it. I have to say the first artists that made me pick up a pen and a mic were Wu Tang Clan. The whole ethos of doing this off your own back and cutting out the middle men in music really appealed to me and offered a reason to even bother trying! More recently I’d much rather stick on an Immortal Technique release and here some realness spoken in tones that make you suck your own teeth.
Seen, a lot of older heads cite Wu as major influences. Does it bother you that tomorrows new school are just as likely to be picking acts such as Soulja Boy, 50 Cent as influences based on there marketability rather than raw ability?
Yeah that definitely bothers me as I don’t find those artists appealing in the slightest BUT, it would make me somewhat of a dinosaur if I didn’t take notice. Like it or not, hip hop has become corporate and you either adapt or get left behind resting on your laurels and ignoring evolution…..disturbing as it may be.
‘There’s a misconception that a movement in any direction is progression’ – Canibus.
One of my favourites right there……….movement in any direction is simply “doing and being”. Whether or not it’s progression is subjective surely! But that misconception probably stands yes haha.
haha, ok ok well do you see it as an artists responsibility to change the hip hop that sells and thusly preserve the heritage or do you think that’s just not possible, that the if the buying public bought rapping walruses then that’s what the major labels would actively promote?
Of course they would and financially they would be stupid not to. Music is business and they want to make as much money as they can. In terms of the heritage of hip hop I think that’s a bit too specific. Music evolves constantly and the definitions of what’s good and what isn’t are very different to what sells. At the end of the day I would rather make great music that people like than worry about the industry too much. Nor am I interested in holding up a hip hop flag like it’s a badge of honour to be adhered to and respected…..it’s just music.
Ok, back to 777 and Septimal then as I think we could talk about other stuff all night! What do you ultimately, and realistically, hope to achieve with the release?
Simple things really, it’s an announcement that I’m here and I’m serious. I also want to generate some interest for future releases so that they fall on more ears. I’m not hoping for a world number one here, just a step towards!
Ok, to wrap things up then any shout outs you want to give?
Yeah I’d like to shout out Beit Nun my partner in crime for the Amass Hegemony EP dropping later this year, Baron Samedi for his help over the years, Zaheer for always believing in me and Dan Bull for his assistance with this project. Also my Unstable Fabulist fam, watch for us this year! Finally, everyone involved in Septimal, thank you all!
777: Septimal Volume 1, a handpicked collection of his best demo tracks collected over the years featuring Beit Nun, Esyoube (Text Offenders), Sonny Jim, Redmaster, Respeck BA, Joe Kobi and Labal S is out now. Pick it up by paypal from his myspace
– Mr. Phlo