#LostCultureMeets is back and with one of our biggest sit down interviews to date. For those that don’t know, Scorcher is a UK, scratch that, London rapper [hes proud of his roots!] who since breaking though in 2006 alongside fellow Movement members Mercston, Wretch 32, Devlin and Ghetts, has worked with everyone in the UK scene from Wiley to Bashy, Ed Sheeran to Tinie Tempah. But over this decade, Scorcher has looked further afield, having a go at acting and becoming a reguar face on TV and film. Fresh off the back of his latest release ‘99 Riddim‘, we caught up with the North London resident to talk everything from driving illegally on video shoots to his thoughts on the current grime landscape. Forever entertaining and full of knowledge, Scorcher joins #LostCultureMeets to get into it…
With the recent news of Donald Trump becoming President and the events of Brexit, a lot of people have written off 2016. What is your opinion on the whole situation and do you think people should be optimistic?
“I’d write off this year, it’s November, it’s pretty much done. You know what’s mad? It was only a year/9 months ago, that this whole Trump stuff was just a joke. Now he’s President of the United States by a landslide? I’m not too heavily into politics but one of the things I took from it was, hate is a much more outgoing emotion than love. Love is really internal but hate is something people express much more. I was debating this earlier, I said “seeing the Trump stuff made me realise that hate is more powerful than love” and my friend said “Nah, if you’re motivated by hate over love then you’re a fool”. And I started to think about it and that’s true, I’m more motivated by love but hate is something much more outgoing that people project, but they’re quite happy to love quietly and keep that to themselves”.
So are you happy with the whole Trump situation?
“I’m just going with it. I don’t have a clue. The only good thing is, Trump will only be about for four years”.
Being part of the grime scene for 10 years plus, what do you think are the main changes you’ve seen within the scene?
“Funnily enough, the main way I look at things now is, it’s all come full circle. There was loads of changes and it all reverted back on itself. One of the main changes, and it’s funny for me is, people dont know how to hold a mic anymore. It seems like an odd thing to say but I look at people now and before the MCs had to go do pirate radio and now its all nice, you go to 1Xtra or Rinse, places like that and the mics are nice. Then, when you come to performing live and you gotta actually hold it, they’re holding it out far and spraining their necks. It’s mad! It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in the game. You know what though, there’s nothing wrong with that. We didn’t know how to either, you learn. It comes.
“But one of the proper things I’ve noticed is, the power is coming back to the artist’s hands. When grime was in its roots, the power was the artists’ and the producers to put out vinyls and all that, and as you get more successful, more hands get involved. Now, its come full circle and people put out what they want to put out because the outlets are more within reach, you can get your record on iTunes, Soundcloud. We don’t need you because we can do it ourselves and that’s really dope!”
A lot of OG grime MCs including Ghetts and Wiley have taken to the NFTR platform to discuss long standing questions and speculation. Have you ever been approached and if so, what would you most want to speak about?
“Yeah [I have been approached] and I would, maybe. I’m not really a chitty chatty person, the problem for me with that type of thing is, I would do a NFTR because Posty, Duane Jones, Chams, they’re all people I have proper conversations with anyway about proper things so on that side it would be cool”.
Have you watched any of the other NFTRs and were you surprised by anything that was said?
“Sometimes people say stuff and you think rah that’s not true. Do you know how bad it is like ‘oh, so that’s what that person was thinking’, the talking ting isn’t my ting. I just wanna make music, make art and let that do the talking for me. Why would you wanna listen to me talk?”
“Also, one thing is, I really don’t like interviews where people have no interest in me or what I’m into. It’s a waste of time. ‘How did you get your name?’ and that kind of stuff. I’m really into what I’m into, I really like making music and art its serious to me and that’s where I’m at”.
100% Grime is like the soundtrack of the streets. For me it’s the purest form of music here. It doesn’t have to meet certain restrictions, it’s pure. Raw, emotionally charged music. People are just getting back to doing what they want to do and it isn’t about playing a game. People are owning the game themselves.
With a new wave of MCs coming through the scene, who do you think are the “ones to watch”?
“AJ Tracey, he’s dope. Izzy Gibbs is cold. They’re two for me, who I’m personally feeling. I just listen to them, the same way I liked whoever I liked before and I just thought ‘these man are cold’. I also really like, not on a grime ting but, Big6ix and T EDness, their whole movement. They’re not really grime but one of the sickest things about where we are now is, there’s not such a divide between genres, which is dope cos I’ve always been that way inclined. It’s slightly different cultures but we’re all coming from the same place. When you look at Novelist and Pharoah, their music is totally different”.
This year’s MOBO Awards received a largely negative review from fans, due to award mix-ups and overall presentation. This led to people saying that we should be looking to other award ceremonies, such as GRM’s Rated Awards for success. What do you think of both award shows and can both co-exist in years to come?
“I think there’s always room for more. We get so caught up in finding the negative that we don’t take in the big picture. Now we don’t have room for two awards, are you serious? Look how many acting awards there are! There’s loads of music and we’re genuinely asking if two awards is too much? Of course there’s fucking room, the more the merrier. The more we celebrate or achievements and what we’ve done the better. Why aren’t we celebrating? Another massive event and moment in time that passed with no incident. But me coming from where I came from, I wanna see more of my people doing well. I don’t want to see some woman playing the bongos. I just don’t care about that, it’s not that they don’t deserve to be there, I just like seeing my people doing well.”
Talking of award ceremonies, the BRITs have overhauled their whole voting system, including more voters from BME backgrounds. Do you think this will benefit the awards and who do you think needs to be recognised this year?
“That’s a bonkers question you know. I wonder who are they bringing in… cos to me, all of our stars are people who have had a massive year for instance Kano, Giggs, and Skepta, it seems crazy but I would imagine it would have to be people like that, which is mad. Giggs at the Brits would be sick. Just looking at the landscape of where we’re at now, it would have to be that or someone like Section Boyz who are still coming up but are still pushing the levels. It’s weird that they’ve never cared”.
“Intially, I went down to the Tank to get some beats and put together material for myself and we did a remix for Fabian Secon. They had a remix they put together and I said ‘rah this is dope’ and they asked if I wanted to jump on it and I said why not, did the record, and his people wanted to shoot a video for it so we did and just thought, this really works. Rocket is a cool guy and we got on well and just wanted to do some more and it was just like that. We did some stuff and I was thinking it would be dope if we had a collab project, I was thinking it, Rocket was thinking it, but T was the one who said it. Everyone was on the same page”.
Do you have plans to work with him in the future?
“Yeah I would. Definitely. Rocket is my guy. It’s nice to meet good people in music because not everyone is the same”.
Lets talk clashes. Over the years, you’ve battled Big Narstie on Lord of the Mics, clashed scorcher on Axe FM and turned down Roachee for LOTM. If you were called up for the newest LOTM, what would it take for you to be involved and who would you want to clash?
“I’m past it. It would have to be an insane amount of money because I’m genuinely past it. It’s not about the person, it’s never been about the person for me. You’ve gotta look at that video [the Axe FM clash] and understood how long that was. You’ve gotta take in how long mans been doing that for and look at your career now and it’s just not something I’m too interested in. You know what it is, now it’s different. Before clashing was sporadic and it would just happen, this whole contrived thing is so mad to me. At the same time, I enjoyed it, it was part of the culture we helped to create so big up everyone doing it, but it’s not for me”.
You’ve also proven yourself in the acting arena with roles in Channel 4’s Top Boy, The Intent and Offender. What made you give acting a go and are you currently working on anything?
“It wasn’t even a set decision. I did the ‘Ransom‘ video with Bashy and Wretch32 and I remember that we went to the studio with nothing. It was mad because while we made the record we were talking about the visuals at the same time. That was my first acting thing, then the casting director from Top Boy saw a video I’d done for my track ‘Dark Knight‘ and reached out. Different things came my way after that. Other things came up as well, but they didn’t seem right for me”.
Are you selective with what you choose to be in?
“I try my best to, you might not get it right every time. Sometimes it isn’t quite how someone pitched it, but I try my best to be involved in projects I think are dope. If you get the feeling ‘this would be sick with or without me’ I wanna be over there”.
What are your fondest memories of acting?
“I’ve got some strong memories of acting but not necessarily fond. I’d never done stunts before Top Boy, well I’d done some illegal driving for Ransom [driving a van like a maniac while on ban and the police happened to be there] but when we did Top Boy, the scene where I got buried alive? They were talking me through what they wanted because obviously they weren’t really gonna bury me alive, and me who’s never really done acting said ‘yeah I’ll do that, easy’”.
“So they were figuring out how to do it and I said ‘why don’t we really go for it’ and I’m not an adrenaline junkie but I’m on trying things you know? So they gave me a tube and said ‘we’ll take it out in three’ and while I’m in there under all the stuff I thought… ‘why have I done this?’. They pull the tube out and the first take was perfect cos I was fucking rattled. And I was naked. Well, pants on. But I had 3 girls hugging me keeping me warm so, that was alright. It was kinda fond still”.
Talking of The Intent, a sequel has been mentioned. Have you got any more details and when do you think we can expect it?
“A sequel would be really good and something I would be interested in. One of the good things about The Intent was, it was a dope film with room to grow so it would be interesting to see where it goes”.
Your latest single ’99 Riddim’ features Mercston and Ghetts and is very reminiscent of classic grime anthems. Was that a conscious choice to bring back that nostalgic sound?
“You know what it was, the music I make so happens to be considered nostalgic and that’s cool. I made a beat for the first time in ages, I went to Scholars house the other day and made a grime beat and put it on Snapchat and when people woke up and saw it they started going mad. I posted it on Instagram today and my notifications were like BLING Ghetts, BLING Ghetts, BLING Ghetts, so I was saying to my manager ‘I think Ghetts wants the beat’ and he’s rang me straight away saying ‘Blud.’, I told him he could have it. It’s not about making music that is a type of thing, it just so happens we’re in a time now where us being us happens to be the ‘in’ thing. Making what to me is normal music like ‘99 Riddim‘, I did it because I like it not because it’s a ‘throwback’ track”.
Many people have asked for it so we have to do the same! Do you think that we could see a reunion of The Movement?
“I think we’re all in a space right now where we’re just working. At times, we can get twos and threes here and there but more than anything it’s just good that we’re still making music together in groups than putting out some crap project and feeling forced together on one track. But when it happens, it happens”.
The genre of grime has been getting co-signs from the likes of Chris Brown and Drake which have seen it exposed to a larger audience. What do you think of these co-signs and do you think they take away from grime?
“You can’t co-sign Grime! You can only bread it. You know why we don’t need co-sign? Because we are in a space where we can co-sign other people. If Grime is from here, you can’t co-sign it. Someone like Wiley would co-sign someone, but you can bread man and blow up the ting but imagine saying those same people co-signed a dancehall artist? You wouldn’t say that! That’s how I see it. Is it healthy? it’s appreciating it, in the world of social media and the net, people are finding more music and appreciating it”.
Whats the craziest experiences you’ve had with International fans?
“There was a time on my Instagram when I was getting all these likes and comments and I noticed they weren’t from England and I remember getting love from, Atlanta or wherever, but it would be strange seeing people posting themselves doing things but listening to your record. You look on their page and they’re in like, Sweden, its bonkers”.
What’s next for you, more singles? A full length project?
“At the moment I’m working towards a complete project, more records, music is the main thing. I’m enjoying it, people are enjoying it, I might start making more beats, they’re not worth that much right now so come get em for free”.
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