What about Lewis Parker? He’s selling units over there, on tour with Massive Attack…
Shy: Yeah well I’ll tell you how that works right. Massive Attack’s manager manages Trevor – The Underdog – who basically has his thumb really high in Lewis’s arse. So anything that Trevor tells Lewis to do, he’s going to jump on any Massive Attack tour he can do. So it’s a nice little click ’cause they’re in the pocket of the manager too.
D: I mean I don’t care if Lewis sells units in the states, Big Kwam sells in Japan and the states, Phoebe 1 whatever, I don’t give a fuck, not ’cause I don’t like them but because they sound like Americans selling to Americans. You’re selling sand to the Arabs.
You think Lewis Parker sounds American?
Sp: No doubt
D: Yeah Lewis tries very hard not to – but at the end of the day, I mean I’ve known Lewis for a very long time, but I’ve spoken to him about that and he says ‘yeah that’s the way I like it with my music’. I mean I get on with Lewis, Chris [Spyce] don’t, I get on with him I think he’s cool, but I’d never work with him, ’cause of the ties he’s got.
Sp: with that accent shit you do what you got to do y’get me.
D: we haven’t got a lot of time for that y’know…
Sp: I mean we’ve been on tour with Cypress Hill, Group Home and we get on stage and rip them out of the water man.
D: But we weren’t hanging out with them and being like ‘yo man smoke some blunts man’. Funny thing was the only time you hear us talking American on that tour was when we were taking the piss out of them. They were shit scared of us then – they’ve never come across anything like that before – they couldn’t get with it. They hear about football hooligans and think nothing of it, but when they hear us singing football songs and getting pissed and getting a bit stupid n’ that they’re like ‘yeah right, yeah right, ha ha ‘.
Shy: Yeah singing the national anthem out the top of the tour bus in Paris.
D: Yeah we had like a festival on one side, a brothel on the other and we were out the top ‘Rule Britannia…’ and they were standing there like ‘what the fuck??’.
Shy: It’s a different mentality. Unfortunately some people here have what we call a New York state of mind, where they really think they’re out there. They watch MTV till 5 in the morning when they see like Meth and Jay-Z and they wake up and open the curtains and they don’t see Battersea Power station, they see the New York skyline. They’re still in MTV land.
D: Until people see you on TV, they don’t see you at all. I take my little girl to school, and Virgin used to send limos to pick us up – I mean we ain’t going to say no are we! – so they’d pull up with the windows blacked out and all that, and everyone though I was a dealer. Then when we went on tour with Cypress Hill the teachers & other parents asked my girl ‘where’s your daddy gone’, and she says ‘oh he’s gone away – he’s gone on holiday’. So they took that to mean I was on holiday at Her Majesty’s Pleasure basically. But then she told them I was on tour with a band, they saw us on the black music awards and then they’re like ‘ohhh I saw you on teevee’
Sp: Yeah, I mean our videos never got daytime play on the TV except One Shot a couple of times.
D: We went over to Paris which was a right laugh…
To promote the Operation Overlord compilation?
D: Yeah – so when we got on the bus, there was quite a lot of animosity between people for stuff we’ve said. Well that I’ve said really. So there was Funky DL there and my seat was something like 3CA, and his was 3CB, but by the end of it we all got on cool. But the funny thing was that amongst all of us – there was us, Blak Twang and some others, and DL was the only one who didn’t rap in English – he was rapping American. But when we did the radio stuff he switched his accent totally – he had to really, he’d’ve stood out if he hadn’t – and he was fuckin good rapping with a London accent. But then it was totally gone. I said to him ‘why don’t you do that all the time’ and he was like ‘ah that ain’t my thing’. I mean I can’t tell a man what to do, so good luck to him.
It’s a shame, people like him they’ve got skills, they’ve got good production behind them and they don’t represent where they’re from.
D: Yeah that’s your opinion and that’s the opinion of people in this room.
Shy: But there are more people in this industry who think that the way ahead is just to rap yank. I mean how many British singers sing with English accents? They all say ‘dannce’ except Chris de Burgh who says ‘I want to daarrrrnce with somebody’. Then there’s Scary Spice with her ‘alraaht chuck’ (in appalling Yorkshire accent) and Catatonia like ‘rrroadrrrage’ (in equally bad Welsh accent!). But generally it’s been happening for years with all different kinds of music, and in the end you can get away with it singing. But rapping no way. It just doesn’t come off right.
D: With the Internet and FedEx we can be anywhere in the world we can go to all sorts of places we didn’t get to with ‘Elementalz’. We can be world-wide in 24 hours. The UK scene can tap in to the Internet scene that’s going on, exploit it and with mail order get our tunes heard all over. They’re doing it already in the States, and although we’re two different scenes, all that’s separating us is a phone line. Phone calls are so cheap, it’s all going to be one market. Underground music already is just one market basically with the ‘net.
Thing is though, you’re only reaching a certain market – not the people with no computer or phone
D: True – not yet
Shy: But the thing is this technology and the number of people using it will increase incredibly over the next ten years or so. At first, only about 10% of households had VCRs, now all houses have TV, VCR, Playstation, mobile phone and the rest.
Sp: You can shop at Tesco’s over the Internet man. Thing is virtual technology is all right but how you get your shag on man? The flesh on flesh – that slapping sound?
D: yeah and y’mum taps in to do her shopping it’d be like ‘not in here mum’.
Shy: There’ll come a time, you’ll just log in to a concert – you won’t go to one. You’ll be there in your headset, you’ll be able to see 10,000 people all round you, the band’ll be able to see the crowd, but everyone’ll be sitting at home.
But that goes against hip-hop doesn’t it – doing it in the park y’know?
D: Yeah but that’ll never die. The fact that its lasted this long, I mean that will never change – that’s the real thing. A record company will never have that. They try, with Fatboy Slim and that, but as soon as they think they’ve pinned it down, it fucks off somewhere else. They’ll never be able to capture the essence of hip-hop.
Shy: That’s what record companies are about really isn’t it. Capturing a moment with a band, capture another one two years later. They don’t move though – they freeze that moment. They tried that with Texas – they tried to capture a moment of Wu Tang. Was that happening? Fuck no that wasn’t happening. That was shit.
On The Brotherhood’s audience:
D: It seems to be mostly white people and people outside London who listen to our stuff. We’re a pretty multi-racial band, and a lot of people can’t get with that. We couldn’t give a fuck about who’s in our crowd. We’d rather have every body, all colours, in our audience jamming together y’know. We ain’t a party band, but you can have a right laugh at our gigs.
When you look at our audience, introducing the band it’s like Spyce’s crowd is mostly women between 16-28, I’ve got like a mixture of them and blokes, and Shylock’s usually got young homosexuals aged 18-35 really. That’s the way it goes when you’re pretty.
D: There’s the white vinyl of ‘Hip-hop and rap’, we didn’t even get that. Well, we got one copy or something.
Shy: But what you really want is the white label of ‘Descendants of the Holocaust’. I’ve got about fifty of them and when we’re really famous I’m going to buck ’em aaht…(we later found that we at ukhh.com own a copy)
D: I’ve got like acetates of shit, and instrumental versions of the last album…
Shy: And I’ve got pictures of Dexter fuckin a sheep!
Who they’re listening to:
Shy: The Roots album that’s good. Just that at the moment.
D: I’m a bit behind really. I’ve been listening to the Pete Rock album a lot. And Method Man’s lyrics – the album’s not that brilliant but he makes me laugh. He just tacks ‘motherfucker’ on to the end of a verse for no apparent reason. Plus you miserable.
Sp: Eminem – that man’s rough man. Reminds me of Skinny Man. I liked that Mud Fam tune with Mark B.
D: Thing is with Tim right, back in the day he was the only one putting any money into the UK scene and promoting it, releasing peoples’ records and having faith, right. He’s done a lot for this scene. Now he’s going for himself basically. Whether you like him or not, that’s a different matter. He’s never dissed us, he plays our records, what more can we ask.
Shy: Thing is whatever, he’s on national radio, doing his thing, getting millions of listeners and they couldn’t take him off now. Most of the people complaining about not getting airplay on Westwood are too crap to be on there. I mean there’s a lot of shit out there you know. If he gets a Busta Rhymes exclusive one week, he’s going to bump The Brotherhood back a week isn’t he.