Blak Twang has been a stalwart, fundamental force in hip hop in the UK since the early days of it’s development. Carving out a plethora of classic ranging from “Red Letters” all the way to the anthemic “Kik Off”, Taipanic has proven himself to stay relevant in the days of disposable artists. With a new single, a new album, and an even more ferocious candour, The Twangsta caught up with UKHH’s roving beatmaker The Last Skeptik to discuss matters further.
A few of the heads you use to collaborate with who have now shot to fame, have come through on this album. Was it difficult to get people like Sway and Estelle to guest?
No it wasn’t really hard!! It’s just a bit difficult to pin them down to get the track done just because of our busy schedules, but they were all up for it.
You’ve been releasing music for over 13 years, you probably have more of an insight on hip-hop music in this country than most. Why do you feel only a few have reached the higher echelons of success?
Well I’m still trying to figure it out myself, but one theory I’ve been going with lately is the ‘cornershop mentality theory’, where [the shop owner] doesn’t allow more than 2 school-kids in at a time, it seems like the same rule is applied to hiphop/grime artists trying to get a foot in the door of the industry.
“…despite majority of clubs being dominated by hiphop/grime we still do not get the deserved credit and rewards…”
That as well as a monopoly on nationwide exposure, where hiphop artists, despite the relative success of a few us are still relegated to specialist shows and spot plays here and there, despite majority of clubs being dominated by hiphop/grime we still do not get the deserved credit and rewards.
Was there a slew of interest from major labels after the MOBOs and coverage in The Source?
Yes after my first MOBO win there was a bit of interest from a couple of labels, but it was all just air!! I’m glad the way it’s panned out for me though so far.
The new album has a really different feel to it – with the grime and U.S hip-hop influences making it sound fresh. Was it a conscious decision to appeal to a different audience?
Not at all, I’m always at the clubs and I’m a big music fan so it’s only natural the new styles good or bad will inspire me, what we tried to do with this album was keep as close to my experiences as possible, musically and lyrically and show the growth but it is still essentially a very Rotton Sound, just fresher.
“…I’ve been blessed to remain relevant and still be in demand locally and globally…”
I’ve been blessed to remain relevant and still be in demand locally and globally from doing Sidewinder shows in Bristol to doing Wapi in East Africa.
Out of your vast catalogue of material, from remixes to features to album work, what is your personal favourite song from the Twang archive?
Wow!! Very difficult to choose from, but if I had to I’d probably pick ‘Surround Sound’ as one of my personal favourites, just because it summed up my mind state and environment accurately.
Blak Twang’s Champagne Lifestyle is released on Abstract Urban on August 25th 2008.
The new full length ‘Speaking From Xpercience’ is released September 8th 2008