He’s been rapping and emceeing for 10 years already and he’s only 24. But then listening to the M9’s deep and thoughtful new album ‘144,000’, where he sounds like he been around for centuries the depths of thought are that impressive on this album, its hardly surprising, as there’s a wealth of experience and lyrical depth and skill which pours out of the string laden and soul filled tracks. 10 years of growing up in the increasingly difficult and unforgiving – not to mention seemingly increasingly discriminatory – capital city, tied with his experience of the rap game and his pure love of hip hop, this is all embedded on ‘144,000’, and if anyone has heard him on last years Jonphonics album ‘Half Past Calm’ then they will know what a deep, dark talent M9 is. In fact it seems that in 2009 that theirs a few hip-hop emcees – in the UK – at least that are taking hip-hop to a deeper and more ‘serious’ level, and talking about the injustices and discrimination in this country and the struggle of being recognised, check out Black BritanYaa’s album ‘Windrush Vol.2’ also. And just taking their art to another level.
M9 doesn’t even call this album, ‘144,000’, his official album proper, saying that it’s just a project of tracks. Well given the evidence that this project of tracks has left us then its intriguing to see what M9 comes up with on his ‘official album proper’, as he continues to journey through the many layers of hip-hop, and the many years of experience that M9 has so far had and comes up with something that is truly unforgiving and deep, not to mention unforgettable.
How are you feeling about the new album ‘144,000’ coming out? Also what does ‘144,000’ mean?
It’s an exiting feeling knowing the world will finally see what you’ve stressing over for the past 6 months. The title comes from the selective number of people chosen in the last days spoken of in revelations.
What has the reaction been to the album so far?
I’m grateful for all honest opinions positive or negative, but I can say that there’s been more positive feedback than negative.
When did you make the album?
I started the project in January 08, but took a long pause due creative troubles. I didn’t know where I wanted to take the concept so it left me stranded. I had to take seat to reflect on what really inspires me in hip hop and how I wanted to be seen as an emcee.
How did you come up with the ideas of the album? Was there anything that you were trying to address, because there are some quite serious thought provoking themes and issues that come out of ‘144,000’, as well as some emotional stories and lyrics?
I took every track step by step. My intentions were to expose different parts of my abilities to the listeners, so for every track I wanted a particular theme. I think that was the mistake I made with my last release; I never built enough dimensions for the listener.
Who did you work with on the album producer wise?
I worked with beat butcha, chemo, and anatomy and Jon phonics
You worked with Jonphonics on his ‘Half Past Calm’ album how was that? And how did that come about?
I knew Jon a few months before the release of is album, we got a lot of unreleased songs and lost planet was one of them, so I figured lets throw that one on there.
Were there any influences on the music and sound of ‘144,000’? Was there anyone you were listening too in particular whilst making ‘144,000? Also was there any influences outside of music, like films etc?
I stay in my house a lot, I watch a lot of films and I listen to a whole lot of music mainly hip hop. With me it’s the little things that grab me. But when I was making this particular project I was heavily inspired by many underground emcees to many to mention but one of the main influences at that time was Bronze Nazareth, he’s a true master.
‘Childhood Wars’ is a really thought provoking track, can I ask what the song is about?
The song’s basically about things I did as a child, but the aim was to explain it as a real soldier’s memoir, as if a real soldier went through this situation and wrote it down for people to read and experience. The intention was to relate to everyone who was once a child and the games they played, coz I’m sure many can relate to what I’m talking bout in that track.
Is ‘144,000’ your first album?
I wouldn’t really call it my official album I see it more as project of tracks I put together. I don’t think I’ve developed enough as an artist to show the world what I really wanna do. I’m still actually working on that right now, there’s still a lot concepts I want to cover. But in terms of my first effort? Nah I’ve already put out an underground mixtape called hi fidelity which featured tracks from Chemo and Butcha and collabs with skriblah Dan Gogh from Terra Firma.
How did you first get into making music?
Ive been rapping from the age of 14 I’m now 24. I’ve been in many crews, seen many disputes due to creative differences I’ve learnt a lot just as an emcee. The first person who got me into rapping was my school friend Ty, we formed a crew and made an album that world will never know about. We used to attend many youth clubs and talent shows trying to get signed.
How did your group Triple Darkness get together?
Triple Darkness (originally known as the Heresy), formed through a number of collaborations I did with them when they were working on the first album Anathema. After Children of The Matrix was made we decided to consolidate talents and form a crew from the Heresy to Triple Darkness.
Do you have any tracks on ‘144,000’ that your particularly fond of?
I like ‘Ultramagnetic’ I bang that a lot, but to be honest I like every track on there for different reasons.
Is there anyone around at the moment that you like, in hip-hop and beyond?
I mean like I said out of all the new comers I like Bronze Nazareth but I mainly like a lot of old school underground emcees, Imma old school head for life, I don’t really listen to hip hop now, even on the underground level. To be honest I couldn’t tell you when last I heard a track that really touched me.
Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?
Nah not really anyone In the UK.
Do you enjoy performing live, and are you going to perform ‘144,000’ live and do a tour?
Performing live is a big experience and I learn new things every time I do it. Its still nerve racking, but if you get a receptive crowd it can be really enjoyable. In terms of a tour I’m actually working on that right now hopefully the idea will manifest.
Do you have plans for another album in terms of what direction to take the music and ideas in?
Many artists believe that when it’s time for a change it means they must switch their sound from hip hop to pop and call it a creative difference, but what those so called emcees fail to understand is that there’s limitless chambers within hip hop itself, there’s endless things to talk about to switch your style and still be hip hop. So my directions will change but will always be real hip hop.
What are your next plans?
Yeah I definitely wanna make another album when the time is right. I’m currently working on a few small projects just to keep the momentum going, but with the will of the most high and if hip hop allows me I’ll continue to contribute my offering to the rap world
The album 144,000 is out now, available from Suspect Packages and all other good places. Triple Darkness ‘Anathema’ is also well worth checking