RI Exclusive: RIZZLE KICKS Interview with RAP IRELAND

Rizzle Kicks are living the dream. At just 19, the duo from Brighton have been lighting up the pop charts with their upbeat, Hip-Hop infused tracks. Stopping off in Ireland to celebrate Mother’s Day, the “Mama Do the Hump” stars discuss their thoughts on Irish rappers, their support of Arsenal FC and why they feel they are as Hip-Hop as De La Soul.

WORDS: Kev Storrs   PHOTOS: Paul Bkay

Kev Storrs: So you just touched down in Dublin this morning (18th March)…

Harley: Yeah, 9am flight…

Kev Storrs: You didn’t get to experience Paddy’s Day in Dublin then…

Harley: No, unfortunately not. We had a few drinks last night in a friend’s pub, he had a thing on for Patrick’s Day but that was about it. We had an early flight so we stepped out early.

Kev Storrs: Well you can have round 2 tonight then…

Jordan: Will people here be going out tonight on a Sunday? We thought everyone would still be hanging from last night!

Harley: Yeah we expected to walk into Dublin and see dead bodies littered in the streets!

Kev Storrs: You probably only missed that by a couple of hours! Right, let’s get right into it, we have a few of our own questions and then a few from fans…

Jordan: That’s cool, let’s do it…

Kev Storrs: There have been comparisons to real pure Hip-Hop, like De la Soul, Tribe, Pharcyde etc, but if you were to listen to your more successful hits, they are certainly more pop influenced. How would you describe the music yourself?

Jordan: Well, like I think we would describe ourselves as having taking influence from the artists you have mentioned, especially in the mentality. The content and vibe that we want to give out is similar to the vibe that was given out by those acts back then. With Hip-Hop at the moment the trend is to talk about fucking bullshit, money, fast cars, all that. I mean, you can speak about that but not all the time. I think in the nineties it was all a little bit more credible because you had the likes of NWA and Public Enemy and they were just fucked off with everything. I think I’d actually prefer that than what is being talked about today. So then when De La Soul and a Tribe Called Quest came out they had their own sound. And, I mean, De La Soul had a No.3 you know what I mean?

And I mean to be honest, if you talk about us being a little more pop or commercial, then yeah when you talk about the Fugees or the Pharcyde that’s on point. However with De La Soul, I think they could have had an interview like this and been asked a similar question about, say, why they were more pop than Sugar Hill Gang.

Kev Storrs: So you have that very clear base of influence there from the old school acts, but how do you go from that to where you are with your own sound. Who has influenced the more commercial side of your music?

Jordan: Well I think firstly we take influence from the artists you mentioned. But you see we don’t make our own music. We write our own lyrics, but we don’t make the music. So we tend to work with likeminded producers. We’ll listen to what they have and start dropping some verses and it starts from there.

Kev Storrs: Do you have a regular producer or who do you prefer to use? You’ve worked with producers from Foreign Beggars right?

Jordan: Oh yeah, we were on that label.

Harley: Our main producer has worked a lot with Foreign Beggars…

Jordan: Just to go back to what we were discussing before. One thing I find interesting is that when we are asked about Hip-Hop and the format we make music to. I think a lot of it has to do with the hook and the chorus. For “Down with the Trumpets” I actually wrote that chorus when I was 16. That was a time when we would have been considered “underground”. And I’ve always thought that the chorus is so important, because that’s the part you always end up loving in a song. Like, don’t get me wrong; I’ve got my fair few tracks that are just pure rap, but at the end of the day the tracks you remember are the ones with hooks. Like even with Wu Tang, they have so many classics and even for me some of the most memorable moments are the comical elements, like the intros “I’m going to rip your fucking tongue out…” (mimicking Wu Tang), but regardless of that their biggest song is always going to be “Gravel Pit”, because of that verse, people who might not necessarily like all their tunes still always sing (singing) “Check out my Graaavel Pit”.

Kev Storrs: You mentioned there how you have tried your hand at just pure straight rapping. In fact, did you battle at one stage?

Jordan: I did one battle.

Kev Storrs: How did that go for you?

Jordan: I won. It was almost a unanimous decision. 4-1, but then the other judge said he would have changed his mind if he watched it back.

Kev Storrs: And do you keep up with the battles at the moment?

Jordan: Yeah, all of them. Don’t Flop is a really good look…

Kev Storrs: I was speaking to Nugget a few weeks back and he mentioned that you had given him a shout out in a recent interview…

Jordan: Yeah with… the DJ, what’s his name…

Kev Storrs: DJ Mo-K…

Jordan: Yeah Mo-K that’s the one. Yeah, Nugget actually judged the battle I was in and voted for me, so we’re safe!

Kev Storrs: Have you checked out his latest battle with O’Shea?

Jordan: No? Oh!! That’s on a different channel though isn’t it?

Kev Storrs: Yeah, on DFITV, the Irish version of it…

Jordan: Yeah, that’s what spun me out, they actually made a different league from it. What happened there?

Kev Storrs: I think it was just down to having more control over the exposure, the scheduling of videos etc. As far as I know Eurgh and Redzer are still cool. It just worked out better to have a separate league.

Jordan: Ohhh. Okay that makes sense. I’m going to check that out tonight – who won?

Kev Storrs: Nugget won it.

Jordan: Really?? Fuck! Nugget’s a cool dude man. Did O’Shea fuck it up?

Kev Storrs: Nah it was really even from both sides!

Jordan: Shit, I really need to check that out…

Kev Storrs: If we were to set it up, would you be interested in recording with Nugget or any other Irish acts?

Jordan: Irish acts? Well, yeah we’d be down for that. Like, the Irish Hip-Hop scene is not something I know a whole lot about, my only real connection would be through checking out the battles. But I would never be against that; I’ve seen him and a few others on Twitter so I could hit him up through that.

Kev Storrs: One thing I’ve been discussing with a few different international acts recently is this whole DIY style of working. You are definitely part of this self-made generation who have used online media as a way of promoting yourself. What was the strategy, or was there a plan for success?

Harley: Well with the online stuff, you’re right it was very much DIY. I mean, how we started out really, once we decided the kind of music and sound that we wanted to go for, was that we had 4 demos up there and we had a video, which kicked off on Youtube. Then we had a website where we had things that we liked, things we designed and all the information about us and the like. With the online though, I wish to an extent that we could go back to the olden days where music was passed on through the grapevine, and spread naturally like that.

Jordan: More money back then..

Harley: More money?

Jordan: Yeah…

Kev Storrs: Maybe because these days there are just so many artists trying to get heard?

Jordan: Yeah that’s true it can reach a level of saturation. But it’s a good thing, I don’t know if we ever would have made it without the internet.

Harley: I think with online stuff it’s like a snowball effect isn’t it?

Kev Storrs: Well I guess it’s because once you make it you have the fans, the followers, people sharing your music.. It’s naturally going to grow.

Jordan: Yeah and that means the artists now are bigger than they ever were before. I mean big artists today are fucking massive!

Harley: Totally, I mean once you get more people on Twitter more people retweet, more people sign up to your Facebook, more people share your music. Definitely a snowball effect with the online and social networking sites. But it’s amazing, it’s genius and definitely a big part of our plan.

Jordan: Actually even when we uploaded “Down with the Trumpets” to Youtube it was never like this is going to make us famous, it was just like this is our first video..

Kev Storrs: And so it took on a life of it’s own?

Jordan: It got seen by the right people.

Kev Storrs: Right let’s get in to some fan questions. The first one is from Lorna Spaine. The question is: if you could only make songs about one topic, for the rest of your career, what would it be?

Jordan: Interesting question man!

Harley: Very interesting question..

Jordan: One topic for the rest of your life? Umm… Life. Is that cheeky?

Harley: That’s cheeky, it sounds a bit cheeky.. Maybe like about a night out?

Jordan: I don’t know. I like talking about things that have happened in life though. I suppose more recently I have been able to write about things like girls and relationships more. I think, if I had to write about one thing for the rest of my life I’d think ahead and say love, thinking that, as I grow older that’s going to be the only thing that really matters.

Kev Storrs: Next question, which we already have the answer to, when are you playing a Dublin gig next? Trinity Ball next month right?

Harley: Yeah

Kev Storrs: Question here; You’re from Brighton and you support Arsenal…

Jordan: Yeah, well no; we’re from London, we were born in North London. We say we’re from Brighton coz we’ve lived there from age 10 to 19, but spent our growing years in London.

Kev Storrs: Well yeah, because to finish the question, this guy is accusing you of glory-hunting by supporting Arsenal and being from Brighton…

Jordan: Glory hunting?? Well not for like 8 years!

Harley: We’ve supported them from zero to now..

Jordan: So there!

Kev Storrs: Next one; who found you and got you to where you are today?

Jordan: Emmmmmm… No-one!

Kev Storrs: You did it all yourself?

Jordan: Yeah. A lot of people have been really amazing in giving us the right pushes along the way. Like my auntie, my step cousin who hooked me up with the right people and studios and that. All those things, so many people have helped along the way. And our management more recently obviously!

Kev Storrs: Jacob Hawthorne asking here why you have lost your grime touch? And that he is rather upset!

Jordan: Grime!? I don’t think I ever was grime.. (looking bewildered..)

Kev Storrs: From Andy Byrne: What was the toughest gig you ever had to play?

Jordan: Oh we had some private party in Mayfair…

Harley: Oh god… (buries head in hands)

Jordan: All these rich kids…

Harley: Let’s just say they weren’t feeling it…

Kev Storrs: So back to the regular questions to finish up… What can we expect for the coming year?

Jordan: Back in the studio. We’ve already been working on our second album, it’s exciting man. We don’t know when it will be out but we’re really hoping to release the music soon. Then keeping legs on Stereotypical (current album), doing the festivals and that…

Kev Storrs: It should be a big summer for you then…

Jordan: Oh yeah, that’s the thing I was thinking the other day is that, our album was released in the winter but a lot of our songs are summery. So I’m hoping that our album, will be naturally bigger in the summer because a lot of the songs are like suited to that. Like nearly all of those songs were written in the summer and had summer in mind. It’s like they were all released in the dark and now that it’s coming to the light they’ll have another life. Guess we should start writing something for next winter…

Rap Ireland would like to thank Universal Music and Rizzle Kicks for taking the time to sit down with RapIreland.com. Rizzle Kicks’ Stereotypical album is in stores now and the group play Dublin in April & November 2012. 

Comments are closed.