Jasmine’s Juice – Do You Know About South London Gone Global Super Producers Sons Of Sonix?


How did SOS meet?

Mikey – We met at a local church at the age of 13/14. My family left a church that a grew up at playing drums to join another church where Moses was playing keys. Since then, playing in church together, we developed a passion for music production individually. We would check out each others work and give advise then we thought at one point – two heads are better than one – and formed SOS.

What was it like growing up in South London?

Mikey – Loved growing up in South London. Its such a diverse community with the likes of African, Caribbean and Asian cultures. South can be quite gritty but I’m glad of what it made me become. So many influences from the Nigerian roots in Peckham to the Jamaican love of Brixton.
Mo – South will always be home. The different cultures have aided to where we are now. It was never easy growing up there with it being so gritty and rough but I wouldn’t trade growing up there for anything.

When did you start producing?

Mikey – I started producing in year 7. I remember my music teacher showing the class this software called Cubase and how you could basically build your own song – I thought that this was the best thing ever! Growing up i used to listen to music thinking ” who made this has the best job ever” Now i had been given the tools too. So i used to re create my favourite songs then create original material for hours after school. Since then i haven’t looked back.
Mo – It began for me in year 10. My teacher showed me about this programming software where you could make beats and record vocals. I was so hooked , I couldn’t believe this was possible lol. Those early moments always remind me of how it all began!

When did you get your first break?

Mikey – Our first break came in LA – We worked on this kid called Deon Young on a record called “Party Life” ft French Montana. It happened all so fast – One min we were making the record in a writing session, to his AnR passing by the studio saying ” This instrumental is crazy send it to me by tomorrow morning to play in my Label meeting” , to eventually getting the vocals to French Montana sent to us.
You have an impressive CV. and you are both 25. You’ve worked with the likes of Wretch, Mel C, Stormzy (Took Trey out for now ) and Ariana Grande to name a few. How did this all happen at such young ages?

Mikey – Honestly hardwork and determination. Fortunately for us, our big mentor by the name of Harmony Samuels has taught us about the game and how to basically get your name and music out there. By working with him in LA on Ariana Grande’s first album “Yours Truly”, we were exposed to the tricks and trades of the music industry and business – returning to the UK with plan and goal – to work with a diverse range of artist, delivering great, real music every time! With consistency and the grace of God, we are where we are today – with that impressive CV.


Let’s talk about the Wretch album. Congrats! Has it exceeded all your expectations?

Mo – Growing over life! For me it’s done more than exceeded my expectation. It’s always about reaching the masses and making sure that your music touches someone. I believe we achieved that with this album. Wretch was honest and true. He took people on a journey and I know that everyone related to one track or the other. So yes it’s definitely surpassed expectation.

What are your favourite tracks on the album?


Mo – Has to be pressure and something!

Your track record shows that you are very versatile and can create many different styles of sounds. But how would you describe your sound?

Mo – Our sound can’t be described or associated with one genre. I would say we’re known for specific instruments. Like a bass line or particular drum sound/mix or even a constant/reoccurring synth. That’s how I would describe it.

How did you manage to secure a spice Girl to jump on a track with you?

Mikey – We recently signed our first deal with Peer Music in LA and we didnt know she was also signed to Peer Music. One thing led to another and the label placed us both in a session – She is amazing spirit – such a great heart and we’re so happy to be apart of such a dope project. Her comeback is going to be amazing!

As producers who do you look up to? Who do you aspire to be like?

Mikey – Quincy Jones is my Blueprint lol for what he has done for Popular Music alone, he is the greatest to do it – plus he produced Human Nature by Michael Jackson – the greatest produced song ever lol But im inspired by all the greats – Timberland , Rodney Jerkins, Max Martin etc.

Mo – Like Mike said Quincy jones has always been the inspiration and forefront for us. Pushed the boundary and worked and made the biggest pop star time. Doesn’t get better than that. However there are other greats who have contributed to inspiring me. Pharrell, Timbaland etc
We noticed that you have spent a lot of time in LA- what projects where you working on out there?
Mo – There’s a few projects coming from states side. We don’t want to jinx anything yet but there will be some known names attached to our beats and will be on the air waves very soon.

What do you prefer America or the UK?

Mikey – America lol simple

Mo – Easy answer. I do love UK but America is more accepting in terms of different genres! So yeah America

Nigerian Jollof or Ghana Jollof?

Mikey – Nigerian – Never understood the basmati movement lol but i have had a few Ghanaian Jollof that has done me well lol i was impressed. But yeah, Nigerian all the way – Shout out to all of my long grain brothers and sisters lol

You both have Nigerian roots. Do you like the Afrobeats sound? If so, who would you like to work with?

Mo – Our African roots has definitely contributed to our sound. The big drums and cross rhythms are a big part of our production. Afrobeats is really coming through in the uk. Think it’s great for Africa. I would for sure like to work with wiz kid. I Think his creativity is out of this world. That would be fun.

What’s coming up next? What should we look out for?

Mo- We have Stormzy album coming which we have a few records on. We also have Mel c album dropping in October and some other serious record states side. So keep your eyes and ears peeled for what’s to come!

Jasmine’s Juice- Hip Hop World News! Friday 30 September, BBC4 9PM!

If you are a hip hop lover, a music lover or simply an opened minded curious bystander, you won’t want to miss Hip Hop World News on BBC4 this evening at 9pm.

We are led on a journey by UK rapper Rodney P who takes us to meet key influencers and legends from the hip hop genre. From music stars, to hip hop activists to DJ’s and journalists, it’s a group that love and champion the culture but aren’t afraid to acknowledge its conflicting narratives and issues.

A godfather of the culture- Russell Simmons– who founded Def Jam Records and later Phat Farm clothing and laid the blueprint for younger hip hop multi hyphenates talks about Police brutality ‘’It’s been happening to black people in America for 400 years! Now we have iPhones now we have documentation. And they’re like ‘oh my God how’s that happening’. It’s been happening to black people in America for 400 years. The abuse of people of colour is an American phenomenon’’.
Another nugget of gold from Russell was his defence of hip hop culture being a materialistic world. ‘’No, materialism?, all they say is they want the shit that Americans are selling. The stuff that is high-end and aspirational equals the American Dream. That’s what hip-hop says they want. A lot of Hip Hop says that. Some people are not that interested in it. But certainly, wanting a Rolls Royce or some obnoxious car, big house, every American talks about that. They’re looking at Donald Trump like he’s a genius here. Nobody more obsessed with money and talking about how wealthy they are and buying stuff they don’t need than Donald Trump. I wouldn’t put that on hip-hop. I’d put that on the American psyche, and its affect on hip-hop, is that expression’’.

It’s awe inspiring to watch Rakim – arguably one of the greatest MC’s to touch the mic – reveal that how hip hop saved his life and talk about his influences ‘’I came up on Cold Crush Four, Grandmaster Caz, Furious Five, Melle Mel, Treacherous Three, Kool Moe D that was my favourite MCs!’’

Its also touching to see our presenter Rodney get emotional during one particularly poignant moment as he realises the impact that a name that he is about to meet has had on his own life.

Rodney sets up the show with passion telling us ‘’I love Hip Hop. I love everything it stands for. I love its art, its beauty and its power And I love its ability to transform people’s lives. People like me. Hip Hop has given me the tools to see the world in new ways and a powerful language to express it
But I know that from the outside some people see the culture I represent as shallow, brash and even violent. The Hip Hop I know gives a voice to the voiceless. It’s a place where the disenfranchised feel heard and stories that you may not hear in the mainstream. I want to show you what the world looks like when it is seen through the lens of Hip Hop. And I’m going on a journey to meet some of the stars and key players who have helped to shape that view’’

The show reflects the many ways in which how Hip-hop empowers and educates and even influences at the highest levels. Hip-hop activist Kevin Powell suggests ‘’when you look at the ascension of Barack Obama, there were elements of hip-hop that helped to get him elected for sure!’’

UK rapper Ty explains why the culture has made him see the world from a different perspective ‘’Hip Hop taught me to look for the extra narrative in anything, so when I look at the news, I look for the extra narrative, I look for what I’m not being told as well what I am being told’’.

Hip Hop World News covers difficult issues too – like the treatment of women and scantily dressed females that are associated with the genre. UK rapper Estelle admits ‘’ It’s misogynistic as hell. I always felt like I don’t have to be out here arse naked – you’re gonna pay attention to my words, if you need something to look at well then, I look fresh. So, look at that.’’

Public Enemy legend Chuck D reminisces about his early years ‘’We knew what we were doing when we did it, I mean of course, we grew up in the 60s we didn’t grow up in the 70s, growing up in the 60’s you know, from assassinations to Vietnam war, we seen impact. We saw the impact of the resistance against that, we saw the fight for civil rights, what we didn’t know is what was on the other end of the message, until we travelled there. So, when we first came over to the UK, it was like okay you know, they’re not getting enough of who they are and let’s talk about the similarities with all us, and let’s talk about things that they don’t know about us here, as well as talking about… so it was really a message to everyone saying that um, we’re connected. Hip Hop culture is the thing that ties us together as human beings because of our similarities, and not societal differences. This is where culture and governments are diametrically opposed. You know, governments wanna control people, culture wants to be able to free them’’.

American author, filmmaker, rapper, and professor at Morgan State University, (one of the youngest professors at the college) MK Assante explained ‘’We got kids in the hood in Baltimore, Chicago and Philly, they look at the police the same way the little Iraqi kids look at the American soldiers. As an outside force occupying the community!’’.

The wonderfully articulate Kevin Powell left me with the most food for thought and articulated my culture beautifully ‘’Hip Hop is as important as Shakespeare, I would even argue that it’s probably more important than Shakespeare at this point, and I love Shakespeare!’’.

Kevin ‘’To understand hip-hop, you have to understand the civil rights movement. Doctor King was killed in 1968, well a year before, someone named Clive Campbell came from Jamaica in the west indies, to New York to the Bronx. Kool Herc, one of the founding fathers of hip-hop. Dr King was talking about a poor people’s campaign at the end of his life. Who created Hip Hop? Poor African Americans, poor West Indians, poor Latinos in a place called the Bronx, New York. And so in a lot of ways Hip Hop, was a response to the failures of the civil rights movement, people moving away from what Dr King was urging people to do, pay attention to poverty, we gotta deal with poverty. And so when you think about Hip Hop… Its very essence is a social commentary, it doesn’t matter what the lyrics say. You got two turntables and microphone, some spray paint and magic markers, some sneakers, some cardboard. linoleum. That’s nothing, these are poor people taking what they had, and creating something out of that. So the very act of doing that is revolutionary!’’.

Jasmine’s Juice – London’s KSI – Rapper To Global Vlogging Superstar To Hollywood, The New Hip Hop Takeover.


This decade has seen the rise of the YouTubers in a way that no one could have ever predicted. The digital world takeover is sprinting ahead and leaving the naysayers behind.
Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

This week I witnessed something in London, that reminded me of a few years ago, when record labels and old skool music industry stalwarts wafted away the internet streaming threats with disdain, claiming that music fans would always prioritize sound quality and chart play lists. A few years on, musicians have showed that the Internet has changed their world, given everyone an equal playing field and changed the game forever.


This week millions of film fans across the world watched a film premiere live on Facebook. The actual premiere was at London’s O2 dome where throngs of teen female fans were screaming in earnest for their hero’s. Pop stars? Film stars? Models? No. The rise of the teen geek was cemented. Hysterical fans were screaming for YouTube stars, who most of us had really never heard of. All except one. This star name has been bouncing around media and music circles for months now. KSI.


Olajide Olatunji, commonly known as KSI or ‘’JJ’’, is the most watched individual online in the UK. You will be hard pushed to find a 14-24 year old male in Britain who doesn’t watch his videos. Known for his FIFA, football, music and comedy content on YouTube, KSI has already amassed over 15,000,000 subscribers on his 2 channels and over 2.5 billion video views. Growing at 500,000 new subscribers across his 2 channels and 130 million views every month, plus with over 2 million Twitter and 2 million Facebook fans, he is a modern day Social Media superstar.
Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

In the recent US Entertainment Magazine ‘Variety’ survey of popularity and influence amongst US teens, KSI positioned first above all stars of Hollywood, Sports and Music (http://t.co/JuLP3GH1te). Recently signed to Island records, KSI’s January 2016 released debut EP ‘Keep Up’ (feat. UK music star JME) topped the UK iTunes albums chart, charted at no. 13 in the UK official Albums chart and debuted in the top 10 on iTunes in 25 other territories including the U.S. Having completed two headline sold out London shows, KSI has, to date 130k followers on Spotify (with 21 million streams), 2.6 million followers on Instagram and 2.2 million Facebook likes.

Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

Along with his YouTube content, he has also broken into the music industry, with his single ‘Lamborghini’ reaching NO 30 in the UK charts in April 2015. As of June 2016, his YouTube channel has had over 14 million subscribers and 2.6 billions views. Pretty impressive numbers for a young man virtually unknown by mainstream old-fashioned media. That’s some strong marketing pull.


Earlier this year, after being signed to Island Records/Universal Music (a gamer signed to a record deal!), KSI took the lead with his new App launch.

At the time he told me “My App’s sick. “I can’t believe it’s finally here. Seriously, I just want to share what I make directly to my fans, and this App is going to make it so easy for me. I’m going to be shouting all about it as soon as it’s out and you can expect so much stuff to be in there – more videos, more photos, and loads of live streams, directly to your pocket. This is for everyone who has supported me over the years – thanks so much for being a part of what I do. See you in the App!”

Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

Since then, YouTube phenomenon KSI is the most viewed in the UK, has over 2.5 Billion video views and over 15m subscribers over his two channels – an audience built through viral content, online gaming and savvy brand partnerships. In launching this App, KSI further proves he is at the forefront of next generation media moguls.

The App is ‘one spot for all things KSI’ right at the cutting edge of smartphone tech it delivers unparalleled direct-to-fan access, connecting him with his millions of fans. I tried. Didn’t understand the attraction, but then its not for me. My generation is the audience that looks on in amusement. But don’t sleep on this genre of youth pop culture, it’s blown up under the radar and can only get bigger.

KSI and his team know what they’re doing. The app features real-time live streaming, brand new music, exclusive videos, audio and images, fan chats/Q&As, App-commerce, pre-sale and tour ticketing, special competitions, App-only merchandise, friending and messaging, a meme generator, social media aggregation and more.


So after dominating the web space and then app charts, KSI was approached to make and star in his own movie alongside fellow Vlogger/actor Caspar Lee. Caspar Lee is a South African self-started YouTube star with over 6 millions YouTube subscribers. Caspar like KSI is HUGE. MEGA. He has his own clothing line, is a musician and released a book this year written by him and his mum!

The two boys have come so far and are a perfect example of the self-made millennial, like Justin Bieber, They started in their bedrooms and now are the most well known YouTubers in the world, with millions of subscribers, billions of views on their channels, and hugely successful careers including record deals, book launches, clothing lines and now a Hollywood Movie.

Not only is KSI one of the most influential YouTubers in the UK, but he’s also been rated as the 5th Highest Earning YouTube star by Forbes, with a net worth of $4.5m.


This week KSI made his much anticipated feature-film debut alongside Caspar Lee in laugh-out-loud, chaotic comedy LAID IN AMERICA.

Duncan (KSI) and Jack (Caspar Lee) are exchange students with just one night left in the United States and one final chance to lose their virginity with the girls of their dreams.

To accomplish their goal, they must get into the school-bully’s house party that night but they haven’t made the list. The two friends hatch an elaborate and desperate plan which takes them on an unexpected adventure, navigating a mine-field of problems from gun-wielding gangsters to deviant drug lords. Their friendship is tested as they blunder through the night in a bid to fulfil their fantasies before their flights back home.

Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

LAID IN AMERICA has a full on tech geek star cast and crew set up. This #SQUAD rolls hard and heavy. The film is directed by Sam Milman and Peter Vass (Bad Weather Films), produced by Max Gottlieb (The Fun Group) and executive produced by Adam Margules (Angry Adam Productions). Alongside KSI (13.6m YouTube subscribers) and Caspar Lee (6.5m YouTube subscribers) the film features an all-star cast including digital stars Josh Leyva (1.6m YouTube subscribers), Bobby Lee (150k YouTube subscribers), Madison Iseman (184k Instagram subscribers) and Bart Baker (8.2m YouTube subscribers) .

The movie is not an example of cinematic glory. Its not Spielberg or Tarantino or even Eddie The Eagle levels. It’s a techie 2016 version of American Pie meets Mean Girls meets The In Betweeners. Its crass and vulgar in the way most teenagers love. It is to teenagers today what Porky’s was to my peers and I in the eighties. (The desperate tale of high school’ers trying to lose their virginity surpasses all generations and cultures). Like an Ali G/ Borat politically incorrect, trying to be outrageous classic but not as cleverly written, the film is full of cultural ethnic stereotypes.

Even though its not going to scare Hollywood just yet, this hilarious and outrageous comedy that’s the perfect mix of sex, stupidity and fun for its millennial audience, shows that the power of movie making, big screen audience numbers and most importantly, cinema revenue streams, aren’t all in the hands of the old masters. Like the music industry, the movie industry should watch its back. Who Moved My Cheese is not just a book by Dr Spencer Johnson. It’s the new millennial method of changing the world. And KSI and his #Squad are leading the movement.

Photo Courtesy – James Gillham.

LAID IN AMERICA is released on DVD and Blu-ray™ with Ultraviolet, and Digital Download on 26th September 2016.

#LaidinAmerica –
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LaidinAmerica/?fref=ts
Twitter https://twitter.com/laidinamerica?lang=en-gb
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/laidinamerica/?hl=en



UK rapper Wretch32’s new album, Growing Over Life, was long awaited by his fans and took a whole new serious route than his usual offerings. The BET Award winner’s 12 new tracks juxtapose social commentary, thoughtful bars and powerful insights throughout and gained a top five UK chart position. Not that Wretch cares about awards and chart numbers ‘’ I never feel pressure for chart success. I feel more pressure to do a good Fire In The Booth’. Wretch’s latest album tackles subjects relevant to youth globally, like challenging relationships, parenthood, police brutality and celebration of life.


I sat down for an exclusive chat with one of the most important voices from the UK hip hop scene today.



Growing Over Life clearly shows you’ve had a serious, mature, tough journey through these last few years with adult responsibilities being a priority. I myself watched you and your loved ones bury a close friend earlier this year. How tough have the demons and life been this time around and how have you dealt with them?

The affect that my good friend music industry figure Richard Antwi’s death had on me….it was big… I always sent records to Richard for feedback. When I sent him a track called “intro” he loved it. Told me I was a beast and I should attempt America. The conversation carried on. Then that phone chat ended. Less than a week afterwards he passed away. That was the last thing he said to me. He was like my older brother. Without him I don’t know if this could’ve ever been possible. He taught us so much. That’s why I named my intro track “Antwi” in honour of him.


I’m one of those peeps that take things in my stride and have learnt to be thick skinned and expect nothing from anyone. It’s easier if you don’t have expectations and then you can’t be disappointed. I learnt that I’m more comfortable being emotional this album. I used to think it wasn’t manly to cry but now I don’t care. When I recorded “6 words” I cried. No one spoke in the studio. Boys being boys. It’s sick when it’s like that.

I also learnt that a lot of what sells the record is excitement about it and driving promo. This time around I had a mix tape with (fellow rapper) Avelino and peeps have really been open to the lyricism in that. In the past I’ve put out the best song. Now it’s about the track where I’m rapping most. I also did a Fire In The Booth (BBC brand where rappers spit whole verses for radio), session then a song then a mix tape. Full on!

Also with my music, I’ve taken responsibly back with things like directing my videos and plotting campaigns because I’ve learnt more and understand my audience a lot more now. I now know I have to be consistent with my videos. I used director Matt Walker for my video ‘’Antwi’’ and a few others. He’s cool and gets it. They (directors) come to my house about ideas. They tell me what’s realistic because in my head it’s got to look like a Spielberg production. Its like when people ask if there will be a tour to accompany this album; It’s got to make financial sense. We have to have a good return. Often we can lose more than we can make. It’s usually my fault cos I’m a prick cos I want to add more stuff to my staging cos I like a big spectacle on stage. I want it to be memorable but in order to do that I lose money.

So with videos and tours ‎I used to believe that the director is best to do job, and the team know what’s best with tour’s, but I now know its also important to trust in my own ideas. I’m a writing specialist but as I learn I sit down and talk and be a lot more realistic.


You’re very known as a deep wordsmith – Growing Over Life is full of social commentary and slick wordplay, but so much new rap content these days is very weak on lyrics and new artists don’t seem to care about spending hours on clear lyrical content anymore. Do you as a current leader think that this matters for the culture? Can you talk about that?

Different people have different roles to play and different people think differently. If you were born in 1990, your favourite rapper may be Gucci Mane or Young Thug or Future, not Jay Z, so I think It’s dependent on what you’ve grown up with and been influenced by. Biggie, Nas, Jay were all rappers that used similes and metaphors that caught my ear and so that’s what I was influenced by so I guess it’s just about perspective. Both styles have a purpose. No one wants to hear serious songs like my ‘Antwi’ in a club or live lounge but there’s a place for it and vica versa.


Growing Over Life also touches on police brutality, which is both a huge issue in the U.S as well as in the UK. Recently the #blacklivesmovement seems to have been hijacked in the UK by middle-classed white protesters managing to shut down City Airport, with the environment and pollution as justification. In fact there was not one black face amongst the protesters, did this make any sense to you and does it worry you that by speaking up about political issues that it may impact your own music career?

What I do like is sometimes you need to create noise and become annoying to get your point across. The good child that’s quiet might not get all the opportunities. Sometimes our natural thought is to go to police station when e’re unhappy, but when these people go to disrupt the airport it’s annoying but then people want to listen and understand why they’ve been disrupted, so in turn they may wanna help sort it out. Its ironic, they don’t mind the ghetto being a mess but when its the M25 and airport its all up in the news. I do like that element.
Realistically for example, the government doesn’t care if 2000 people demonstrate in Tottenham but once it’s a national problem that’s disrupting everyone they pay attention.

‎Having said that, I do hope it’s coming from a sincere place with those white demonstrators. I didn’t have an issue with them not being black at all. I may go on a march about blocking sex offenders without having personally been affected by a sex offence, because as a parent I feel connected to the cause. So I guess they as humanity feel connected to our cause too. It’s the human empathetic connection. If they’re coming from a sincere place then I’m ok with it.


In last couple of years you’ve been more politically conscious. You even titled the second part of your record “Mark Duggan” after the young black man killed from your area. I know your gran and dad were really connected to the community and your uncle is an activist always fighting for justice. (Stafford Scott, who has written for The Guardian and co-founded the Broadwater Farm Defence Campaign in 1985). You’ve mentioned in the past that in your house there’s a poster of Winston Silcott. (One of the “Tottenham Three”, black men who were convicted in March 1987 for the murder of Polce Constable Blakelock on the night of 6 October 1985 during the Broadwater Farm Riot, in north London, despite not having been near the scene. All three convictions were quashed on 25 November 1991 after scientific tests suggested the men’s confessions had been fabricated) .So you’ve grown up around a family that’s really into politics.

With Mark Duggan, I wanted to speak for the people who lived here in my community. To me he’s not a news statistic or video clip. He’s someone I went to school with.
“Open conversation” is a track about me opening a page in my diary. These are my thoughts as a child. I mentioned Mark’s children at the end of the record.

I never worry about my political lyrics and I think it’s my duty to speak from the heart. When I do that it’s never wrong. We are all in a senior place now and more serious and so it’s important to speak on stuff. I’m looking at secondary schools for my son. Being a parent is a responsibility! I’m looking at routes to school. It all plays on in your head. Which schools are producing good consistent results….
I went through it all myself 16 years ago and here I am 16 years later thinking about it all again!



Maintaining a relationship whilst making music is a topic you cover on the latest album, and it’s a topic that a few other UK artists have made songs about this year. You’ve said that you haven’t been in a serious relationship in years and if you’re making a song about relationships you pick and choose several real life experiences to mix up on a track. Would it be fair to say that you have had to sacrifice love to focus on a successful career. What is the one thing you need a potential wifey to understand/do/get down with?

‎I do think I’ve sacrificed love for my career. I’m not selfish. A relationship is 50/50 with the time that you both commit. And when it comes to love I just don’t think I’m at that stage where I’m ready to give 100 percent. Its affected my relationships yes. I look for understanding in a woman. For example I can start a music session at noon and end at 6am. Who would understand that regularly? Taxi drivers have the same problem I imagine.


My era had a lot more R&B and soul to keep us all quite romantically minded. I get the impression youth nowadays are less romantic and more sexualized. How do you feel?

‎I think the energy of what’s around you growing up will affect your thought process and so music does affect ideas about life. If all the kids today are listening to tracks like ‘’These hoes ain’t loyal’ (Chris Brown) ’ instead of like back in the day we had ‘’ Let’s get married’’ (Jagged Edge), then one-night stands could be seen as priority to them instead of a long-lasting relationship.

Even though you’ve used female features on the album from names like Emeli Sandé, Laura Mvula and more, the grime and hip hop scene in the UK is very male dominated, where are the ladies and why are they not as prominent as the guys?

If I’m honest I think some of us are slightly biased. I’ll tell you why. Lady Leshurr and Lil Simz are sick. But as an MC you may have a concept about a certain song that you’re making and then a male MC comes to mind for a collaboration and maybe a female name only comes to mind on relationship themed tracks. Also, with us guys we are often circulating and sharing fans when we collaborate.
As well as that, with us guys I think we all support each other cos we’re fans of what we all do. My worst enemy could have a good song and I’ll tell them. We care about the scene and ourselves. There can’t only be one star – there has to be room for all of us. You know when Skepta’s doing a tour, we’ll all just jump in a van and go out and join him onstage and that way we’re sharing fans and that keeps it exciting cos we bump into each other at live shows all the time.


Is it this ‘sharing and circulating of fans’’ that’s been the top winning element of the UK grime scene making it without major record deal signings?

Record deals. It’s about building super deals. Signing to a mainstream label ‎helps financially cos you receive an advance and then you can just focus on the music. Now it’s about super teams and I understand radio, TV pluggers and press teams managers and A&R. Nowadays finances can come from anywhere but I know it’s a major factor to have a team on board that you’ve handpicked.
‎I’ve been fortunate cos with the label deal I’m in, I was able to bring my team to my label, but I had to go through both situations to understand them, so now when I speak to Stormzy I tell him ‘I found hurdles here and here’ and I talk about options that he can think about, so my experiences can be useful to others.

‎Nowadays we all collaborate with each other all the time like never before. It’s interesting, the other day I was talking to (singer) Shola Ama and I told her that I couldn’t believe that back in her era that she and Craig David didn’t have a song together?! I was a fan of both so we would’ve lapped that up. I couldn’t understand why was there no duet?


Hilary or Trump to lead the world next- One is hated, the other is more hated. Discuss?

Hhhmmm Hilary or Trump. I’m still following only God. However, If I had to pick from cancer and leukemia I’d pick Hilary.


This year’s MOBO Award’s is coming up – I know there was a disappointing year when people believed that you were snubbed when you’d had a big year – but awards shows and voting is always a minefield in itself. How do you look back on it now …with some perspective?

With the MOBO’S I learnt a valuable lesson. I have no feelings towards it any more. It put me off awards ceremonies for good as well as attending them. As artists we’re all naturally competitive. But in that scenario all you’re thinking is ‘’Did you really lose though?’’ After all It was just a moment. But you bought a suit and sat with your family and yes, I felt like I’d lost. So I’ve stopped attending so much stuff like that now, I don’t go the MOBO Awards.
I don’t know if I’d attend The Brits if I was nominated. I really didn’t like that feeling of all of us being pitted against each other. The bottom line is we are all winning now without mainstream stuff like that. We’re winning man!!!!


Your song All a Dream is one of my fave tracks on the album. What’s your biggest dream to achieve in your career, could American chart success be for you in the future?

‎My biggest dream to help people who are talented. I hear talent and I want that to be magnified. Whether my future involves me building a label? Being a mentor? Even watching my peer – fellow singer Shakka – at his live gig at Koko this past month, I felt teary and emotional. I recall calling him early on and keeping him motivated. His gig was sick! Being able to do my song Blackout with him and taking him to festivals has opened him up to so much more. So I’d love to get involved with mentoring talent like that more.

I wanna do it America, but at this stage in my life my son’s ten, my daughter’s five. They’re going through lots of change. Can I just leave for six months? I wouldn’t wanna waste their time and my time. The biggest problem with America is the audience out there understanding our style and lyrics and language. But having said that, when I was younger listening to Jay Z I decoded his words so really American peeps should now do that with us. Yeah, American recognition or from anywhere in the world is important. I’m never in the studio making music for just a few people!

The Rated Awards 2016- The Legends, The Winners, The New Era!


So- everyone who was anyone in the grime music/ UK urban music industry was at Camden’s Roundhouse last night for the second annual Rated Awards.


Big moments of the night included Tim Westwood picking up the GRM Legacy Award, Kano took home Best Album for ‘Made in the Manor’, Giggs bagged Artist Of The Year Award, Skepta won Best Video for his smash ‘Man (Gang)’​, Manny Norte noting that A.Dot ”gets crisser gal than the man dem’,and Big Narstie actually used the ”C” word onstage!


Last night history was made, with the second KA & GRM Daily Rated Awards, celebrating the very best of British urban music. The 1,700-person capacity venue, packed to the brim full of artists, industry players and fans alike.


Craig David, Krept & Konan, Skepta, DJ and producer Naughty Boy and Professor Green were all in attendance, bringing the grime scene into the spotlight in a welcome togetherness and celebration of how far British urban music has come.


The KA & GRM Daily Rated Awards is one of the only award ceremonies that lets the fans decide the winners. By giving the power back to the people it allows the real purveyors of the British urban music scene to be recognised. The awards, which launched last year, were founded by KA Drinks and GRM Daily.


English MC AJ Tracey picked up the Best Breakthrough award, with other early winners including Skepta winning Best Video for his smash ‘Man (Gang)’, Charlie Sloth announced as Best DJ for a second year, and Rude Kid collecting Producer Of The Year.


Mercury Prize shortlisted artist Kano took home Best Album for his monumental album ‘Made In The Manor’, whilst Giggs took home Best Artist. Abra Cadabra was also full of emotion as he swooped upBest Track for “Robbery Remix” featuring Krept & Konan.


Last night saw some high-energy performances with WSTRN making a return to the KA & GRM Daily Rated Awards stage, tearing it up with Youngs Teflon for ‘Best Friend’. We also saw Craig David & Big Narstie perform their hit single ‘When The Bassline Drops’ as well as performances from MoStack, MIst, Fredo, Abra Cadabra, Ray BLK, Donae’o, Big Tobz and Ghetts x Rude Kid.


BBC Radio 1Xtra presenter and A&R Director at Atlantic Records Twin B paid tribute to best friend, business partner, and UK music industry icon Richard Antwi, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Richard was responsible for helping establish the musical career of a number of British artists including Lethal Bizzle, Wretch 32 and Tinie Tempah.


Closing the night off was Artist Of The Year winner Giggs, who ran through a crazy set of old and new tracks. As he performed his latest single ‘Whippin Excursion’, the stage was invaded by fellow artists, including Kano, Skepta, Ghetts and GRM Daily’s Posty.


GRM Daily founder and CEO, Posty presented the final award of the night – arguably the biggest one – the GRM Legacy award, which highlights the achievements and influence within the British urban scene. The prestigious award went to DJ & presenter Tim Westwood, who throughout his career has championed the British urban music scene. Westwood is one of the most recognised urban UK DJ’s of the decade. He is regarded as the most influential figure in hip hop in Europe and as a pioneer of the UK scene.


Over the last three years KA Drinks has been helping to empower and elevate grime culture in the UK. From working with artists such as Ghetts, Lady Leshurr and Paigey Cakey in 2012, to supporting up-and-coming artists in their yearly ‘Get Rated’ competition. As co-founder of the Rated Awards KA has helped create a platform to celebrate the best of urban music, and is building a brand that will help to inspire the next generation of grime talent.


2016 has been another groundbreaking year for the British urban music scene and The KA & GRM Daily Rated Awards are here to highlight and commend this year’s high achievers. This year’s awards were broadcast exclusively on GRM Daily and ratedawards.com and hosted by Capital XTRA presenter Manny Norte and 1Xtra presenter Yasmin Evans. This year marked the second Rated Awards and the first year at the iconic Roundhouse.
The 2016 KA & GRM Daily Rated Award Winners



Best Breakthrough, In Association with Vevo AJ Tracey

Best Video Skepta – Man (Gang)

Best DJ Charlie Sloth

Producer Of The Year Rude Kid

Personality Of The Year Poet & Vuj

Best Mixtape 67- In Skengs We Trust

Best Track, In Association with BBC 1Xtra Abra Cadabra featuring Krept & Konan – Robbery Remix

Best Album Kano – Made In The Manor

Artist Of The Year Giggs

Get Rated Figure Flows

GRM Legacy Tim Westwood



Mikil Pane – Dear Diary

Donae’o – My Circle

Big Tobz – Uno My Style

Mo Stack – Liar

Mist – Karlas Black

Fredo – They Aint 100

Abra Cadabra – Robbery

Ray BLK – My Hood

WSTRN – Best Friend

Craig David – Mashup

Craig David & Big Narstie – When The Bassline Drops

Big Narstie – BDL Skank

Ghetts/Rude Kid – Mashup

Giggs – Mashup / Whippin Excursion





Giggs latest album ‘The Landlord’ shows that in less than a decade, he has grown into an artist that’s much more at home with his celebrity than he was in 2008 at his musical debut. A man much more comfortable with the pressures of leadership and knowing his place in the music scene (rap really needs this album!) also as a leader, musician, comedian, father, friend, family-man, lover and more.

He reveals he’s leant lessons about keeping his friendship circle small, (Whippin Excursion), keeping his personal life private, and like any true king emcee – warning off the pretenders, haters and wannabees.

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Yet whilst life has changed for the better, Giggs’ past experiences and memories still haunt his newer suburban dream-home lifestyle, as he highlights in the single The Blow Back; ‘’mans living that life, popped to the shop in pajamas…‘’just jumped outta bed, heard a knock from the gardeners, said no not today, what’s good, but you alarmed us’’.

On The Landlord Giggs lyrical flow can’t be pinned down. One minute he’s laidback, 2-step rhyming, spitting humour, the next he’s intense with high-pitched strained questions, then next dark ominous, eerie, foreboding stories as well as opening up – literally – about sex, love and relationships. This body of work has it all and really shows Giggs is learning, developing and growing as a street poet with authority faster than most. He’s certainly more fully rounded with extra poise in his many roles.

The intro is reminiscent of the classic Jay Z intro for Izzo (H.O.V.A) ‘’ Thanks for coming out tonight. You could’ve been anywhere in the world, but you’re here with me. I appreciate that’’. It also politely reminds us to ‘’stop assuming’’ we know about his life, his past and his mindset.

On The Landlord it feels like Giggs is having fun experimenting with his style and content without pressure of a record label breathing down his neck. A ‘’nothing too deep just let’s have some fun in the studio’’ vibe.

After a tumultuous start to our early music industry relationship a few years back, after which a chat over lunch and apologies were swapped, this past week Giggs and I shared an hour’s conversation, which I wish had been recorded for a podcast instead, as he was so entertaining and deep. Juggling his kids, new born baby sleeping patterns, literally holding the baby and cooing whilst chatting, he proved he was the perfect conversationalist, daddy and multi-tasker.

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Congrats on the Landlords nNo.2 album chart position…. Has it exceeded all your expectations?

Every time I’ve made an album I’ve thought its sick. If I’m really honest, it’s my fourth album and I think all the past should’ve done that well too. What’s really making me happy is people rolling in their cars to the music, it’s sick! The buzz out there, ‘its the hardest, its sick!’….-that means more than anything to hear all that and those comments have me buzzing, its mental!. This is why you do what you do. When you first write lyrics at home and you think you could do this, the first thing that you want is for people to say this is sick! You don’t think about riches and chart positions. So I’m happy.

My favourite tracks so far on the album are Lock Doh (featuring Donaeo) and The Best. However in JUST SWERVIN you sound emotional, which is nice because we see a different side to you. You sound vulnerable and reveal what it feels like to be low, lonely and losing friends. It’s important to highlight this realness in an age where young men under pressure are really suffering with mental health issues. Tell us about that, letting your harder persona take a back seat and being okay to open up about being just human?

I’ve always have vulnerable, emotional real shit. Its about balance. I like to always have two or three deep songs…I never write at all…. I just smoke, have a drink…the beat talks to me… there’s different ways of being lonely…when I had beef and madness years ago I felt alone. When people are trying to kill you, but at heart you’re a good person its lonely. I never asked to be a gang banger…I was actually a good kid…I used to work with disabled people a carer/support worker role…I looked after a brother for about a year….I was a Peckham boy from when I was 14. I didn’t get into that life to be a G, it was a necessity. We didn’t have money in the house. I didn’t want to bother my mum for money, like an impressionable kid thinks I thought ‘’if I steal my own shit I will make it easier on my mum…ut then other things came with that lifestyle, not just stealing clothes. I then got caught up in fighting other gangs, and then that becomes a part of your life. Then I tried to work, that’s how I became a carer cos my mum worked there. I was paying off my Punto car. Man would hate on me cos I had a car!?. People were tryna to kill me?, I don’t think I’m a superhero but I don’t fear anyone. I was going back n forth, then people were looking at me like a boss. I was like (the character) Knockout Ned in (the film) City of Gods.

I came out of jail in 2004 and saw Adulthood and the character in Adulthood was very similar to me, when he got out of jail and trying not to get into any trouble. the streets were worse than ever since I had been away and also I’m the oldest sibling, watching my brothers go through stuff too so its always been a lonely journey.

I’ve walked away from the streets now. I’m on another planet now. Now I see things completely differently. I just know you don’t have to go through certain things….I understand though that when you’re down there and younger, its different. If peeps can see Giggs from Peckham can make it then it’s closer to them to see there is another life choice out there too for them. It’s not like as being so far detached to success like someone like Jay Z.
The way I see things now is completely different, some of the people I used to be around still see things like that, so I’ve always been a loner.

Your song THE PROCESS narrates the story about many typical relationships: the meeting, the dating, the loving, the first arguments over jealously and ultimately the split or not to split annoyances. You’ve become quite the sex symbol lol.

(laughs) If you listen to The Process it starts with me seeing a girl, with good posture, I chat to her, I get a drink, that’s my girl, she passes the test, she’s cooking brekky, then my phone rings and someone calls and she’s like suspicious and questions ‘’who’s that?’. Then it’s your first argument, you might break up with her. It’s like a vicious circle, the same process each time. It’s the relationship processes from my perspective. A female should make a process reply / response….lol!

On your track THE BEST you feature Liverpool’s Aystar – how do you connect with up n coming new talent?

My son is like the A&R in my house, he’s like me.He’s 14, and he listens to whoevers got talent. I’m older, he is younger than me, I can’t keep up with what’s out there all the time, and my son keeps me up to date. I was listening to this Liverpool stuff thinking this accent is hot, then someone on twitter put me onto Aystar, and then I got him on the album. I shouted at him via twitter. I try and make everyone eat.

Your debut album –Walk in da Park- was 8 years ago- what have you learnt since then?

Mainly I learnt that business is business. I treat the music game the same as I treated the drug game years ago. I’m on point now. The music game is 60% easier than the drug game and I’m not ducking the police daily. I used to rise at 7am, bag up, take my son to school, and you’re paranoid the whole time. You find a trap house, bag up, come out, you’ve got all your food on you, and you got to meet people on time without being bait. In this here music game you’re using way less brainpower cos you’re not ducking the police all the time.

Having said that, although I’m a music star now, they still make me feel like a criminal. When I was first on Westwood’s show years ago, I took another young guy with music potential with me and the police ended up kicking off his mums door at home! I made him a part of SN1 to help start his music career. Then the next thing his mum was asking ‘’who’s this Giggs person!?’’. All I’ve done is try and do something positive to try and take him off the streets, but the way it looks is that when he was gang banging his door wasn’t coming off. Now he’s trying to do music his doors off. He then ended up in CAT D prison, he made a song whilst there, so I put him on the new SN1 mix tape. On his day visits outside prison he didn’t even come out and see family cos he was so dedicated to making his music tracks as it’s a new, different lifeline for him. But as he ‘’associated’’ with us, on his return they sent him back to a CAT C prison! They accused him of still being ‘gang affiliated’. They kicked him out of a CAT D into CAT C prison for associated with a music company?

It’s a struggle, so much misconception surrounds rap music. Your music has always portrayed the pain and grind stories of working class inner city youth, but now you’ve moved to the suburbs what’s inspiring your music?

The first song on the album with Stormzy (The Blow Back), the beat is as greasy as ever, but its not that dark n grimy, but I guess the delivery makes it sounds sinister…(recites and raps the track)…- I’m talking about what’s happening now…with my new life, my gardener…yes! I really have a gardener now! I couldn’t go to the shops in PJ’s before, in Peckham I had to be ready for war at all times. Now I’m peaceful. I’m happy to roll to my local shops in pj’s. I happy to rap about the good life and the struggle.

Do you tend to work with the same producers and mixers that you started out with…who’s Giggs dream studio team?

Dirty Saj, Dennis the engineer, Dukus the mixer, I’ve had the same team from early days, my Unit 10 man dem.

Speaking of your team, your manager Buck gets lots of name checks on the album and has been riding with you from day one. What do you think he saw in you that was a sure fire winner? And what’s the one moment that stands out for you working alongside each other?

With Buck its always a moment. The way he handles shit is great. I wonder if he’s done this in another life, cos he doesn’t just randomly jump at stuff. He’s careful and not driven just by money. When we had a PR he would say ‘I don’t want Giggs in the paper for no reason’. I know that he gets lot of his knowledge from Jay Z albums. Backin the days when it was D Block VS Rocafella , Buck used to Rocafella and I used to be D Block. Buck would say to me ‘you gotta listen to Jay Z more cos you two are THE SAME minded!’.

How much input do you have with your videos? Do you insist on a dark, grimy vibe?

When I make a song, I see the video in your head before the video treatments even come in.
I direct the whole thing. When I was at XL (record label), I would clash with them cos I would want one thing, they would want another. My peeps would approach me and say ‘your videos are shit man’. Take ‘’Look what the cat dragged in’’….it was a straight forward video. It’s meant to be funny. XL were saying it can’t be funny…you’re meant to be gangsta. So it came out shit. It was crap.

Wow, stereotypes that the rest of the world wants stars to live up to are ridiculous. Shortly after The Landlord was released you tweeted that you cant sleep cos you need to put on a London show and celebrate with your fans and you can’t – explain?

It’s the usual live shows problem for me in London. The police. What they think I’m about. Etc etc nothing’s changed there really.

The Landlord also includes stories about navigating the music industry. You have lived life as a music star both with and without a label. How much pressure is it being on a label and is it harder actually getting things done? Does your music then end up taking second place?

Yes, being at a label was pressure, as in; I didn’t wanna let people down and flop. It didn’t affect the music as such, but it affected the energy and energy is important. You need positive energy around you to make music. I mean, I brought a house from that deal so I was positive but stressed too. I’m a leader. I like things done the way I like it, so I realised that I cant be with a label. No disrespect to XL, I love them like family, but I learnt that you can’t mix business with pleasure. Since I’ve been doing my own thing I’ve been moving mad. The whole campaign around this album is just me, Buck, Trent and Raye. ….(Trenton and Raye between them have looked after a multitude of music legends from Goldie to Amy Winehouse)

What is it about your musical generation that has made things happen without record labels and big budgets?

We’ve been building the foundation for years. We built the house, we learnt, grew and watched and now its time to take it and live in it. A lot of man sold out, lets be honest (LAUGHS), but it helped the rest of us.

Some of your tracks have a slight west coast sound …how much do American sounds influence your music?

American sounds influence me but only in a sense that them man are going hard! Which means I gotta go hard. I think I’m the hardest! When I go in and hear American rap, I say Drake made a hard album so I gotta make a harder one. I always inspired by great music. In fact, I wish Skeptas ‘’It aint safe’’ track was mine! Skepta had 3 bangers all at the same time and I told him I’m coming!

Your songs use a lot of very UK Street slanguage. Should we have a Giggs Urban Dictionary so that international fans can understand everything you say?

The beauty of it is some of it is that you’re not meant to understand it all. It’s called a code for a reason; it’s your job as a listener or fan to decode it. That’s the fun part of it.

Your musical career has now seen you fly around the globe to perform live, what’s been your best, most breath-taking memory?

There are so many different memories from all over the world. I loved Nigeria, it wasn’t a show, it was a mansion party-like an old skool house party, runnin riddems, smoking, drinking, it was sick.


You’re known by all the other UK hip-hop and grime acts as the one that brings them together for socials. Have u always been the social organiser and party planner?

I’ve always been like that – we get the whole hood together and have BBQ’s etc. I like to say ‘lets all be one & celebrate life!’ Also I know a lot of man are going through what I’m going through, so its like a boys / mans club for the artists. Everyone has a big house but no-ones coming round. I’ll go to (Tinchy) Stryders house or Chips house. It’s fun.

Kano revealed that you all teased him about his Radio 1 Fire in the Booth (Charlie Sloth) so much that you all strong armed him into doing one…

LOLOL It was my dinner, he thought I set him up, but its all jokes…. But when he did it, its f***ing nine minutes long!…LOL us lot are always beefing….see Wretch, Kane , Ghetts , Skepta, they all think they’re the hardest, so its always jokes with us all throwing digs at each other. I was wearing a Christmas jumper for our get together last year!

You love to mingle, hang out, debate and are clearly very sociable, so then why is it, that you say that you are so miserable, and why do u like being known as the miserable one?

I’m always moaning. People say that about me, that’s why Kano and me get on so well, he’s a moany brother too!

As well as your other musical peers, DJ’s are the ones that are often the cornerstone of musical hip hop culture. Who are the DJ’s that you love and have championed you most? Do you have a favourite?

It’s not really a competition, Westwood has done what he’s done and Charlie and Semtex continue to do stuff. I was grateful when I was banned from the radio and Westwood did Cribs Sessions to accommodate me but Charlie’s Fire in the Booth is huge too….

What’s your earliest London memory?

As a kid, I knew it for window-shopping; Trocerdero in Piccadilly was the spot for getting girls phone numbers. That was my first memory of London.

What is The Landlord’s fave London spot to eat?

Can’t say or I wont be able to go there anymore.

1st London spot you visit when flying home off tour that you cant do without?

Ditto as per above.

Landlord’s run homes, but what if your reach was broader, what would you do if you were Mayor of London for the day?

I would put money put into youth clubs and into every hood area adventure playgrounds, where kids can go. I would also put lots of cameras and regular police patrols so that there’s no problems. I would pay for fun stuff for the kids to get involved with like games and studios. No one cares about the youth now.

Who do you call when you want to have fun?

My bredrin or my brothers.

If you were the landlord of south London, what would you promote about Peckham?

Even though it’s gentrified today its still sticky, it’s like spilling pineapple juice on the floor and then just wiping a tissue over it. It looks clean, but its not. Underneath the gentrification it’s still a jungle, I love Peckham and the people and I want more for them.

If there was one person you could say thank you to whom would it be and why?

God. He guides me all the time.

If there was one-person you could say sorry to whom would it be and why?

Loads of people. I’ve said sorry to you. LOL

The ladies love them some Giggs, but what’s the most romantic thing someone’s ever done for you?

Can’t say cos I don’t wanna start any trouble. I guess though in all seriousness, the most romantic thing is for someone to just be there.

Finally, Who’s your hero?

I don’t really look at life like that. (BUT WHEN PUSHED HE SAYS…)…. But Wiley can be a hero, cos when I was on the street and stuff, he would be on me to pursue this music career. I would be ‘’who’s this weirdo who keeps ringing me?”, in my world back then, people didn’t do that, he just wanted to help me and that’s I why I try and help a lot of youths’’

What Giggs manager Buck says about his relationship with Giggs.

Giggs and I went school together, he was in my older brothers year, so it’s a family thing…. what I saw in him was his obsession for hard work, he loves music, he moved prisons just so he could send me music.

I think the thing he’s learnt most over the past few years is to be comfortable with who he was naturally, initially he was reluctant to be himself, he’s always been a joker, a giggler, family man, cracking jokes, he’s actually a really nice guy and means no one harm.
That’s why I was able to reach out to you in your MTV days when you both had that misunderstanding cos I could see your and his point of view, it was all just miscommunication!

In his XL- record label era, Giggs felt under pressure, to not let people down who had pumped money into him…
Towards end of the label deal, we were always independent, but there were more & more people to get stuff ticked off with and run past. There were numerous opinions and they were all confusing, that way it becomes more about radio plugging, dj’s etc
This time we returned to what we started off with- Walk in the park style – it’s just about his music! Now what he’s doing is the same thing as when he first started.

This time around cos there was no pressure, we didn’t even think about chart numbers as long as the people enjoy it, we were happy.

I’m not even surprised by any of this success. He speaks to the youth and older audience with his soulful hooks, so there are no types of fan that surprises me now, I’ve seen people from every single walk of life recite his lyrics and get excited by seeing him.

He’s done so many live shows around the world, I think maybe he enjoyed the Nigeria live gig most, I feel like he felt like he was at home away from home, they were very welcoming, there was no bullshit, he felt it culturally and it was endearing for him.

Giggs likes to congregate and laugh with people, I’d hate to always stop off at his south London home, cos you’d be there for another 4 hours, talking, laughing, debating, he loves bringing people together and seeing people win, that’s why he does songs with the youngsters of today.

When it comes to future Non-musical projects, I reckon he could go down the comic books n marvel superhero’s path somehow…

The beautiful thing about working with him is that you can see progression in him, and the people that he’s around.

I just want him to achieve everything he wants to achieve, I’m just happy to see him win.

British Hip Hop Royalty Speak About Why Hip Hop History Matters. #TheGetDown.

So everyone who loves hip hop culture was aware that last week Netflix released The Get Down, an slightly fictionalised, entertaining, informative look at the early years around the birth of hip hop. A look at how the first seeds were planted in the multi billion-dollar industry we know it to be today, nearly four decades later.



Hip hop grew out of a the crumbling ghettos of a then bankrupt New York, at a time when the American economy was taking a battering due to shock oil prices, at a time also when the disco and funk music era was starting to feel stale. Young black and Latino men were looking for something fresh, and they found it.

On the eve of the Get Down’s release, we spoke to some UK hip hop royalty that were around in those early days, living and breathing the London scene, to ask what hip hop culture means to them.


DJ Billy Biznizz began by defining ‘the get down’ for the young ones. ‘‘The get down is the part of the record that is the most funkiest, and as a DJ you try to keep the get down continuous so it sounds like a loop. You play it from one turntable to the next turntable and the b-boys just all get down!’’


Cookie – a female rapper from the eighties hip hop collective Cookie Crew (now a Senior Manager at globally renowned The Orchard music company), stated ‘’hip hop is our religion, its an energy, its our movement, and its something that just keeps me going! For most of us from that era, its something we lived and breathed, to this day we live and breath it cos its been a foundation for the careers we have all gone on to have now. ’’

Billy ‘’a lot of people forget that we were so young in those days, most of us only 14, 15, 16, and hip hop culture taught us how to live our lives in a good and respectful manner, things like the b boy battles were so you didn’t have to go out and fight someone, you can just have a dance-off and the winner is the winner and still be cool afterwards. You didn’t have to be violent towards others, it taught us how to be respectful towards others and learning about your culture, your heritage and where you came from. Those things were really important and as youngsters hip hop culture taught us all those things’’.

MC Rodney P , who started out in the eighties as a member of the renowned London Posse, and still continues a successful career as a solo star today, explained how the British youth first became aware of the culture ‘’it was when Malcolm McLaren’s video ‘buffalo girls’ came out. Once we saw that we had more of an understanding of what it looked like, what graffiti looked like, how the people dressed, how they danced, and that’s when it really grabbed a hold here’’

Rodney continued ‘’there were places like Covent Garden where we all used to be where the real energy for London’s scene was. Covent Garden was almost like Switzerland, like neutral territory and our mecca, everyone gathered there from all over London to celebrate this new culture’’.

Most hip hop heads from those days also cite recalling the moment, when a young Jeffrey Daniels from the band Shalimar, performed by himself as his fellow band mates didn’t turn up to be, on British music show Top of the Pops(name checked years later by Jay Z ‘’ Came from the bottom the bottom, to the “Top of the Pops“). That inspired many young British kids, as well as, it seems, young Americans back then like Michael Jackson.

However Rodney wasn’t happy about the path the culture took in future years. ‘‘Obviously today a lot of hip hop culture has been dragged apart, so the culture’s not represented in the same way as ‘rap music’. You know rap music is known as hip hop, but hip hop is a culture’’.

Billy feels positive about the reforming of the cornerstones of hip hop though. ‘’I think people are trying to bring the elements back as they’ve seen that the fragmentation, doesn’t allow hip hop to live the way its supposed to be so they’re trying to de-fragment it and bring everything back together’’.

Rodney P broke it down ‘’I think what happened with hip hop is that, as the audience changed, the music changed, so when hip hop was still young and it was mostly young, black and Hispanic inner city kids listening to the music, the artists were making music geared towards that audience, and it was much more positive and much more uplifting. But as the audiences changed and it became more about young white kids from the suburbs, who became the dominant buying audience for hip hop music, suddenly the artists are making music geared towards them, so its less positive and more about the ‘so called negative aspects of black culture’. Black culture is 360 degrees, not just one thing, and that’s the problem I have with hip hop. We see such a narrow view of the black experience and it IS the black experience even though everyone is involved in hip hop- it still represents a black experience. So with the changing audience it all changed, as the audience became more cooperate, the corporations were prepared to sell change and that for me is a problem cos it disrespects the culture’’.

Of course, aside from rapping and DJ’ing, which are much more prominent globally, other elements of the culture include break dancing and graffiti, foundation basics which UK graffiti legend Artful Dodger and one time break-dancer (now Artistic Director of Breakin Convention), Jonzi D feel that new younger artists have left behind.



Artful Dodger spells it out ‘’the main separation came when rap music- as it became known to a lot of people- started to make money, that’s when the real separation came. B boying got relegated, as you can’t easily package that. With rap, you can make a record and promote the artist, so you have a commodity. You have a piece of merchandise, which can sell. So when the big money came into it, that’s when the change happened. And one thing I’ve always said when it comes to different aspects of hip hop is its not so much where its going, but who’s going to take it there. And if the younger generation are going to be the next generation to be the guardians and overseers of it then they have to be informed’’.

Jonzi D remembers how he fell in love with break dancing. ‘‘It was on a show on BBC2 called Arena in the eighties. All I saw was people moving rapidly on the floor and at school the next day, that’s all anyone could talk about as we tried to do it and the great thing is its now bigger than its ever been, people are literally breaking boundaries with their bodies!’’

With all the Get Down promo, one of its exec producers, the legend that is Grandmaster Flash, complained that the younger generation are happy to eat from the hip hop cake, but aren’t aware of the ingredients that it took to make it. Rodney P agreed saying ‘’I don’t think the younger generation will get it the same as us, we lived it!’’



We put this to young UK hip hop outfit The Age of L.U.N.A who last year supported Public Enemy live on tour in the UK , and told us ‘’its true that everyone now is eating from the hip hop cake cos it changed culture as we know it now, but I don’t think that people entirely care, but its important to research and see where what you are doing came from. I think our generation are picking up the nostalgic feeling of all four elements again. Dancing and graffiti too. Kool Herc was the guy that took the bridge section from James Brown, and played it on two turntables. Then one day he thought of spitting lyrics over the break beat ‘’come on everyone lets get down’ type of stuff, and then the rapping part was created too’’.

Whilst L.U.N.A seem to know more about the history than expected, and live for acts like Outkast, Lauryn Hill and Jay Z, they agree that hip hop culture can still be seen by many as a negative thing. ‘‘People may see it as a negative art form, but it’s a misconception because rap music has always been a representation of what was going on in life and society, and there’s harsh things that go on in the world but rap was one of the first types of music that was talking about these harsh times . But its important that we hear these words from people that we can relate to. I can relate to Biggie, I can relate to TuPac cos they came from a place that we can understand, a place of struggle, but with our music, we just wanna make people dance again’’.

The Get Down has faced some controversy though. Some are questioning whether director Baz Luhrmann has sufficient hip hop credentials but the UK key influencers seemed to love it citing things like ‘’ He has clearly done his research; it looked on point to me. There are some really nice small authentic hip hop references from the early days there. The acting, scenes and narrative looked great’’.

Jonzi D informed us ‘’I know a guy called Willie from the Bronx who worked on this with Baz, and he revealed that Baz let everyone else tell and write their own authentic story. Baz just simply put his style of directing to it’’.

Artful Dodger closed with ‘’Basically if something needs to spread, germinate and grow, then you’ve got to appreciate the facilities that are getting it out there. As long as it’s done with creativity, passion and integrity, as I have heard this has been done, then I’m all for it!’’

The Get Down: the view from Britain’s Hip Hop scene – 11 minute extended version. Channel 4 News.

The Get Down: the view from Britain’s Hip Hop scene – 11 minute extended version.
Channel 4 News

Watch British hip hop royalty Rodney P, Jonzi D, Artful Dodger, Cookie and Billy Biznizz as well as new young hip hop band Age of L.U.N.A, talk about what hip hop culture means to them, in my Channel 4 News feature around the Netflix new TV mini-series #TheGetDown.

Jasmine’s Juice – The Story Of The Birth Of Hip-Hop Documented Perfectly In ‘ The Get Down ‘.



The Get Down is Netflix new TV series that is an educational, informative and entertaining look at hip hop history. A glorious championing and romantic look at life and pop culture that shaped the hip-hop genre, with young love, ambition and fashion at it’s heart.


GD JD_pp

At the start of my interview with pre-eminent hip-hop historian Nelson George who wrote The Get Down, and actor Jaden Smith who plays a character in the new Netflix series, I get an annoying interruption with the hotel room door banging just as I ask my first question. The clock is ticking away on my short junket time with the two men and yet here’s an interruption eating into my precious time!. Luckily, for me, its Jaden’s dad, a one mister Will Smith, apologising for barging in on us but, as he humbly explained, he’s just off a plane in London and wanted to hug his son. An interruption I didn’t mind. At all.

Will bantered with son Jaden for a minute, so as any journo would do, I took the opportunity to slip him a quick informal question too and we were off, with Jaden ribbing daddy for rocking a crop top many moons ago as the Fresh Prince, but in equal measures was clearly as proud as punch of his pops, and spoke about dealing with public life as Will’s son, with grace.

Jaden ‘’he had a crop top in the fresh prince…lol!’’

Will ‘’yeah ok! We had a lil bit of the conservation, about a half crop top….

Jaden ‘’my dad released his first record 30 years ago!’’

Will ‘’we lived it. Jaden was calling me from the set. Kurtis (Blow) is here!!!’’

(Will leaves. Jaden explains the way he deals with internet trolls)

Jaden – I really DON’T think about the public and media pressure, as you just saw I have a normal dad that just walked in here. No one’s perfect, I don’t think I’m living up to that much. I just do what I like to do. It’s things like this that make me proud of the things that I am doing, as this is going to affect culture for years and years to come. So the things that people say, it’s like ‘I’m so glad you took time to write a lil message about me on the Internet! I feel like anyone that takes time out of their life to talk about me is part of the Jaden Smith brand already, people who already say things about me are already my biggest supporters!’’

Boom! Great training from his pops who was once upon a time the biggest actor on the planet in the eighties.

will smith
Will in that cropped top.

Have you noticed that everything eighties has been back for a minute and not letting up? Hi top hairstyles, rah rah skirts, leggings, vinyl records, cassette players, adidas gazelles.
There’s not just a nostalgia for past fashion but also eighties hip-hop stars and their stories. NWA, hip-hop reunion tours by Bad Boy and every R&B act from Boyz II Men to Backstreet.

Stories and films around the black communities historical experience have been numerous this past decade with biopic stories for Mandela, Selma, NWA, 12 Years a Slave, Roots and many more. However annoyingly for many, these stories were often about specific people and focused on their stories of overcoming oppression. No wonder Snoop threw his toys out of the pram at yet another huge Hollywood remake of Roots.

But this week a new kids in town and it goes by the name The Get Down and its one story Snoop’s sure to love. The series is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco taking in the Bronx tenements, the SoHo art scene, CBGB, Studio 54 and the just-built World Trade Centre.

It’s an exciting, panoramic look at the scene around the south Bronx and the birth of hip-hop and its early characters, some real, some fictional. It’s a lightly fictionalised story of the time just before hip-hop that led to its birth. A time when disco was the thing and how it segued into this thing we now know as rap.

Rap historian Nelson George told me parts of the storyline like a crew name and a much-coveted record had to be invented. For example ‘’Shaolin and the Pucusa record doesn’t exist, so we used these fictional things that were actually based on real conversations. We sat with Kurtis Blow, Kool Moe Dee, Herc, Flash and a lot of breakers, graf artists and out of their life experiences we created this’’.



The show is named after an old funk term for the section of a record that makes people dance. “You don’t know what the fucking get down is?”. So naturally, there is a lot of dancing, and it’s infectious!

That dance that the kids do nowadays at all the parties is to the candy song aka a basic electric slide style dance performed to the song Candy by the soul funk band Cameo. You know the one. Its roots are entrenched in disco, a million other versions of the electric slide and two-step dances from back then, and the eighties resurgence movement doesn’t just stop there. The second cornerstone pillar of the hip-hop genre- graffiti- is hot again too.

In the same way we eighties kids were brought up on Breakdance and Beatstreet films, (I wonder if todays millennial generation have even heard of these classics) I know The Get Down will resonate with youth today.

Remember the scenes in Beatsteet where the graffiti artists will stay up all night spraying the trains, only to wait up all day the next day just for a glimpse of one passing by on a bridge with their name tag on it for their moment of euphoria? And the train would be cleaned and the artwork gone within hours. All that passion and work by the graf sprayers knowing the train will be washed off with no longevity? Imagine today’s kids bothering with that? Put up and gone in a second. Was graf the eighties version of Snapchat?


The Get Down Director Baz Lurhmaan brings the hot, acrid, hostile, broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped, dying. mind blowing scenes of the time to life with eye popped colours, swooping crane shots and stunts akin to kung fu movies. It’s like watching a music video on steroids. Not totally surprising when you consider that like many directors before him, Australian Luhrmann came to movies via pop videos. Remember his classic Wear Sunscreen’’?


Baz brought huge, mesmerising spectacle when he directed Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby and Romeo & Juliet and The Get Down also has all his traditional hallmarks. Apparently Luhrmann first had the idea for the show 10 years ago so a decade of love, research and passion has gone into this. The series is based around the summer of 1979 when “Rapper’s Delight” appeared, and by the start of 1980, three hip-hop records had reached the top 50. The rest of the story is told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed their city, and the world…forever.



The Get Down has scenes that include high-paced action, rip -oaring comedy; matrix style martial arts juxtaposed with massive music tracks and high school love story vibes. The episodes encompass every genre that you love to love. Fight action, parkour action, comedy, stunts, SFX and a booming panoramic soundtrack.

Like many kids in the seventies and eighties who came up on hip-hop culture it wasn’t the rappers that drew us in first. Yes, we learnt line for line lyrics from Rappers Delight, electro classics and more but it was the breakdancing and DJ’s that initially caught our hearts. We learnt to body pop and breakdance and everyone knew someone who was a DJ, break-dancer or spray painter.

Everyone in the eighties was a kung fu and superhero fan and no one more so than hip hop music lovers. Kung-Fu films introduced a racially charged America to see beyond black and white. Rap stars and fans picked names that reflected this. Grandmaster Flash, Kool Herc, DJ Red Alert, Furious Five, Wu Tang Clan. As for B-boys and B-girls, so much of their quest for mastery, dedication to the battle, and strategy in combat was rooted in the martial arts. The windmill, the Wu tang, the swipe, the battle uprock, freezes, air flares and more.


The Get Down characters are immediately engaging and accessible, all wearing the bright, lurid colours that were the fashion back then. The outfits are in your face spangle, lycra sequins, platforms, feather coats, pimptastic, disco fab works of art. Converse and Puma kicks with knee high socks, basic tee shirts and afros. In fact, the props master must’ve had a nigh impossible yet fun task of sourcing outfits.

The Get Down brings back all the nostalgia for hip-hop lovers in the early days. Remember before cheap flights and the world being connected via the Internet? If anyone you knew was flying out of London to New York they would be laden down with trainer and music orders from all their friends?

Remember when our parents kept the plastic protective layer on our sofas for years? Well we hip-hop lovers did that with our sneakers. Whitener and shoe cleaning brushes were as important to us as toothpaste and toothbrushes. Much to the anger of our mums who would periodically yell ‘’get those trainers out of my sink!’’ Even in 2016 you’ll be hard pressed to find a hip-hop-head in a festival ruining his sneakers with mud without the aid of a grocery store bag. It’s the total polar opposite of Indie kids love their kicks so battered that their soles are flapping off. Hip-hop kids want our sneakers box fresh.

For The Get Down series, name brands like Puma, Converse, and Pro-Keds, agreed to remanufacture the seventies styles especially for the show, some of the sneakers that costume designer Catherine Martin calls “the foundation of the era’s style.” And the franchise is already making commercial gains as I’m told the vintage-model sneakers will be rereleased onto the general market later this year.

Remember when everyone wore a branded tracksuit like Sergio Tacchini or Kappa and had their ‘’street names’’ printed on the back?
Remember when we accessorised our own designer tracksuits and denim jackets with our ‘’street tags’’ on the rear? I had Minnie Minx after The Beano character for years on my back. Back then you would pay Graf artists to paint designs on denim jackets. We wanted our name in graf, our area in graf, some of us even had our bedroom walls graffed up. Amazingly, In The Get Down, one of the most famous graffiti writers of the era, New York’s Lady Pink, personalised clothing for the characters.


Luhrmann says he wanted to approach the early days of hip-hop through a group of characters, rather than following the biography of a single real-life participant. Most of the cast are unknown rising talent, plucked out of obscurity, which is beautiful as nothing distracts from the narrative of the series, the story of hip-hop or the rag tag group of teenagers running wild in the streets of the Bronx in the late 70’s.

Several founding fathers of hip-hop are mentioned and played in the show by younger actors. In fact, at the screening Grandmaster Flash played a set for us before we watched the first episode and told us that he and some of his early peers had served as advisors for the time, and their stories make it as authentic as you can get. He had us laughing as he recalled that they even had to school the actors on how they used and held the microphone back then, totally unlike the nineties rappers.

Jaden Smith co-signed this point by telling me

‘‘ I learnt so much more about hip-hop during this experience. I learned about how people rapped back then, its one thing to think you know how to rap or spray, but then you rap and spray with Herc or Lady Pink so it’s a whole new experience. Working with Rahiem and Flash, learning about Kool Herc, …with all these things you always hear just about New York, New York, but not specifically about the Bronx, and even then the south Bronx. I have a newfound respect for it, and awareness and an understanding. I don’t think todays trap kids don’t not respect the movement, but they just don’t understand it’’.


Jaden has been doing press rounds for the series. His part is by no means one of the main characters, but he jumped at the chance to be involved.

Jaden- ”what attracted me was the ensemble cast and the diversity that the show had and I knew it would impact culture in a crazy crazy way because of how visionary Baz is and with what he was trying to tackle was very important to me as well, I wanted to be a part of it, it just sounded great, music, dance, art, the origins of hip hop, the death of disco. It sounded epic!’’

Asked if he had to audition for the part Jaden stutters ‘

’I pretty much did audition for it, but it was over the phone and just a conversation with Baz to see how involved with it I could be and how passionate I was about it. It was like a passion audition’’

. (lol. Parental privilege!)

Grandmaster Flash is an associate producer, and if you’ve been in the industry long enough to hear the stories of how difficult he can be to work with, then you know he was only going to take part if his star and reputation as a founder in the genre was to be honoured correctly. At the London screening he told us ‘’so many people only want to know about the cake, but no one wants to know about the ingredients’’. That quote there says it all. He speaks for most of his peers from the era I imagine. The founders who laid the path but got no financial compensate for it, only for future generations to live the high-roller life whilst many of the forefathers today live meagrely.

I cannot imagine the heat and diplomacy the writer and friend of the forefather’s of hip hop, Nelson George, must’ve had to deal with when it came to the old skool legendary names. Who’s story would be told? Who would get a name check? That’s a whole United Nations level of diplomacy and potential for hip-hop beef if ever there were one.

Nelson revealed

’ when we first met with Baz, the main characters that came were Shaolin and Mylene, but as we met more people it developed, Dizzee’s character wasn’t in it at the start. Rah Rah and Boo-Boo was created to service the storyline of graffiti…. almost all of the old skool artists thought that their story should be the story, but the wisest decision Baz made, was to NOT make it about one character’s story because then you felt locked into their story, but its about scope, there was a lot going on”.




The sound track for The Get Down is a mix of period hits and new tracks: Luhrmann enlisted artists such as Nas to write in the style of the time, and even many of the series’ disco “hits” are new. Nas. Always respected and underrated. This is his Empire / Timberland moment. Nelson is clear that hip-hop cultures impact on the planet has been vast.

Nelson –

”the most important thing is that when you look at hip hop has given to the world , rhyming, dj’ing, graff, breaking…you go anywhere in the world where u go where there are people that are young, angry and disenfranchised, that could be in Prague, Brazil, Columbia, Tokyo, Korea. This form has been embraced by people all over the globe as a way to say the things that can’t get said otherwise, and so no mater what happens in The States as a commercial thing, as a folk expression, nothing’s like this, cos any kid can get on the mic and rhyme, breakdance or graf , I’ve seen amazing pieces in Zurich Rio, …’’

It can’t be denied that hip-hop has shown the world much. Exposed stories, built empires, some say it even helped elect a black president. So then it brings about the question; with the reemergence of the #blacklivesmatter movement and the globalisation of hip-hop culture – a genre – arguably founded upon the experiences of young, disenfranchised black men, why are black male lives still seemingly worthless?

Nelson –

‘hip hop was created by more than just the African American as well as Latinos and more, and that cannot be underestimated and that’s very important to say. There’s a part of hip-hop, an ultra masculine, hyper bombastic depiction of life, that’s sometimes has got out of control, and then affects how people react to us. So there is an element of that in it. But what other vehicle has ever been there for a mass audience to hear the unbridled thoughts of these men and women?
We have great literature like Toni Morrison, we have great filmmakers, but boom, here we have boom, a guy can go into a room and express himself, boom! it goes across the globe, that’s never been done and black people have never had that kind of access. I think there’s negativity in individual things about it, but I think overall its impact on the globe has been positive’’.

With Netflix slowly taking over the world in more than 140 countries, this story is going to feed the current and past hip hop generations and fill our appetite. We have eaten, and continue to eat from the hip-hop cake and now we will know exactly what it took to make it.

The Get Down premiers August 12th on Netflix

Jasmine’s Juice – Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood – #TheEnd.


Noel Clarke, the British mutlihyphenate (actor, producer, director, writer), has singlehandedly done more for the British working class youth to get into acting and film careers than anyone I can think of.

With his hood trilogy films Kidulthood (2006), Adulthood (2008) and Brotherhood (2016), he has given a platform to new British names and faces that simply wouldn’t have had a big break in TV or film without these platforms.

His ‘’Hood franchise’’ kicked off multiple copycat style films, but none that matched the quality and commercial success of his original blueprints. (Adulthood grossed £1,203,319 at the UK Box Office during its opening weekend, ranking above The Incredible Hulk, Indiana Jones and The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and Sex and the City!).


In the same way that John Singleton’s directorial debut Boyz In The Hood and Poetic Justice juxtaposed early stars from American music and acting like Ice Cube, Nia Long, Angela Basset, and Janet Jackson, Tupac and Q Tip, Noel Clarke has authentically amalgamated British musicians with drama to document inner city life in London over a decade.

The final of the hood films – Brotherhood – written and directed by Noel is released on August 29th across the UK and includes a supporting cast of Steven Cree, Olivia Chenery, Tonia Sotiropoulou, Nick Nevern, Adjoa Andoh, Arnold Oceng, Fredi ‘Kruga’ Nwaka and Ashley Thomas.

Brotherhood Unit Stills
Clarke has been championing up n coming music acts on his film soundtracks for years. In fact the film soundtrack is as much a buzz and highlight as the film itself. The soundtracks perfectly encapsulate the era each of his films was made. In fact, simply examining each films narrative and soundtrack trajectory over the years, is a microcosm of inner-city life in many of the UK’s hoods of its time.

In 2006 and 2008 Kidulthood and Adulthood showcased early work from names like Femi Oyeniran and Jamie Winstone as well as Aml Ameen and Arnold Oceng, the latter two who now both enjoy successful American TV and Hollywood film work. (The Good Lie, The Butler, Beyond The Lights, Harrys Law).

Both early films also gave a platform to music acts like Bashy, Ghetts, J2K, Plan B, Sway, Dizzee Rascal, Tinchy Stryder, Chipmunk, Lethal B, Kate Nash, Wiley and more.

The timing for the upcoming Brotherhood couldn’t be more perfect, after a year in which grime and UK hip hop have been at their all time high across the globe. This film showcases grime music and UK hip-hop acts like Stormzy, Krept and Konan, Giggs, Jamie Joseph, Genisis Elijah, J Hus, Nines, Shystie, Asher D, WSTRN and Chip amongst others as well as older more established names like singer Laura Mvula and rapper Ty.
Release date for the album will be 26th August.

This new movie see’s, a now highly anticipated, cameo by grime music’s current prince Stormzy who gets a double whammy by not only acting but also being on the soundtrack.

As if all that isn’t enough screen shine on non screen faces, Noel also brings normal kids that don’t have a stage school background or an important mummy and daddy who work in film onto his sets, as he did with my intern Harry who was a runner on the new movie.

His narratives always provide an authentic London landscape that used to be (and often still is) denied by middle class folk living in policed postcodes like Hampstead and Knightsbridge.

His adidas clad characters come from all walks of life with unique struggles and experiences.

Noel’s character Sam Peel is now all grown up, no longer the protagonist and simply trying to stay on the good,clean, family-man path, but like so many others, he is dragged back into an unwanted situation. What is it this time that will make Sam Peel put on again, the iconic hoodie? What happens that makes Sam, who wants a peaceful legal way of life, get yanked back into an environment that just wont let him out of its clutches?


As you’d expect from the themes and motifs that the hood films have already set in stone, there is violence and sex and vulgar slanguage. But look beyond these for the powerful stories and reasons before quickly judging. (Frankly there’s more violence in every cowboy western we see but that’s a whole nother matter). These scenes aren’t heightened or glamorised for a film audience; they aren’t just about inner city life on West London streets, they are a reality happening in every town amongst our young people; grown ups simply don’t want to believe it.

However, ensuring the naked scenes aren’t just the female actresses titillating the audience, there are naked men too and as ever,Noel, who always makes a point to show off his bottom, does so, with aplomb.
Noel is a master at writing and eight years later, Brotherhood shows just how far he has come in developing and hooking an audience into full, meaty narratives. His characters are tragic hero’s and heroines, capable of being frighteningly violent whilst frightened, and throw out hilarious comedic one liners in the midst of tragic scenes.

Produced via his Unstoppable Entertainment and Maggie Monteith’s Carpalla Films, In Brotherhood Noel has also managed to highlight and comment on social and political areas that affect youth and society without being clichéd. A powerful monologue mid film says all that many would want to voice and applaud its raw honesty. Comments on social discord, young people and the police, class differences, racism, and loyalty amongst friends. Even though it’s been eight years since the last instalment of this story, its narrative and commentary is now more relevant than ever.

Of all the hood films this one takes you on a huge roller-coaster of an emotional journey, empathising with every character and holding your hand to your mouth in shock as much as you will clutch your belly laughing.

Most impressively, the film’s beautiful yet gritty scenes were all shot in just 24 days!

I predict it will go down in UK cinema as a classic, award winning piece of cinematography.

August 29TH