The Godfather Of UK Hip Hop
Mr P, as always a pleasure. A big weekend around the UK with the Bank Holiday. Where were you at?
Yeah a massive weekend. I was out and about checking places out, I was down at the Carnival which was great.”
Well welcome back to the DMC World. I never thought I’d be hooking up with the Godfather of UK Hip Hop on the back of a new Touch & Go car system enabling drivers inside a Toyota Yaris to Googe search where to find the nearest car parking space, cheapest fuel or receive a text. So what was your first ever car you drove and had you passed your test?
“Ha. It was a Honda Prelude, I hadn’t passed my test, it was bought though – I don’t do middle of the night jobs!”
Tell us your thoughts on major stars endorsing commercial products. Some people swerve giving their name for major paydays, some like footballers, think hey, we’ve got maybe 15 years to cash in so why not – what are your thoughts on getting involved with Toyota – was the fact that Jonas and Francois who were behind the famed Madonna and Timberlake ‘4 Minutes Film’ a factor?
“I have no problem at all endorsing products as long as I am cool with the actual product. If I can stand behind that product and put my name to it knowing I am not selling out, then that’s fine. I am sponsored by Addict Clothing, Puma was behind me in the past, and yes, it did make it easier when I learnt that Jonas and Francois were on board, but I had already signed up by then.”
Okay then, what’s the best freebie you’ve ever received?
“I presented an award at the MOBO’s one year and was invited into the ‘goodie bag room.’ That was special. I grabbed some JBL speakers, a nice watch, nice earpeices some fine jewellery. They are around the house somewhere!”
You always when asked questions like ‘what do you think of the current state of UK Hip Hop? quite defiantly state that good music is good music no matter what genre a journalist sticks it in – so what sort of artists are you into at the moment?
“I am listening to a lot of old skool Hip Hop at the moment. However, Nottingham as a city is firing at the moment. There’s a band out there called R.A.F. – three amazing MCs, just straight Hip Hop – Scorsese, Juggernaut and Vandal. There’s also The Peoples Army which is a collective of emcee’s and DJs who are doing a lot of good social minded stuff at the moment. But I’m not locked into any one person, I’m listening to everything.”
2011 a good year for you, a new multiple album deal signed with Tru Thoughts – what’s the latest there? What are the plans – collabs / time scale etc?
“It’s a good look for me! It’s made my life easier. The project name is ‘Sleeping Giants’, it’s a different tempo from grime, more mash up Hip Hop, more high energy to be honest. I’ve already handed it in to the label. The next album after that will be all based around the London Posse’s ‘Gangster Chronicle’, I’ve still got all of the original two inch reels, all the vocals, some of it never released, some remixes on there. Nothing commercial, just hard underground music, Hip Hop, Drum n’ Bass, Dub – all the fields.”
So let’s go back to your teenage years – who were you listening to back then before Mick Jones came a calling? Did you have an artist and song that perhaps you have never revealed to the world before that you loved?
“Yes. Leo Sayer ‘When I Need You’.”
Wow, we are the same age, mine was Spandau Ballet ‘True’…
“You were way behind me Dan, every time a tingle with my song.”
So what other styles of music…?
“Well obviously the early days of hip hop and also reggae which was my foundation of the love of music, reggae was always being played around the family home growing up.”
You performed at the DMC World Finals in 2003 with Skitz at The Brixton Academy – do you still follow our competiton…?
“Not as much these days. I can see how it has evolved and fair play to everybody. Back in the day though, the contestants were putting on more of a show, it was more rhythmic. Nowadays it is so technical. We had the UK Finalists on our hip hop show on Radio 1-Xtra about four years ago and were amazed that none of them were really listening to hip hop, it was all electro and all of electronic music in general.”
DMC’s World Final Organiser Sally McLintock bumped into you last year at the festival Shambhala where you were camping next to each other – what has been the best festival you have ever rocked?
“The Barbados Music Festival.”
“Dan, it’s in Barbados.”
Fair point. You have performed with some of the biggest artists in the Hip Hop/R&B world including Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and Mos Def. Truthfully, do you ever get nervous before picking up the mic and going on stage with people like this?
“Always, but to a manageable and exciting degree. Today I can’t wait to step onto the stage but back in the day when I was with The London Posse, I used to walk onto the stage backwards – I was that nervous. I used to rap to the DJ and not the crowd!”
Who are your big mates in the Hip Hop world?
Skitz obviously. DJ Son from Hard Noise/Son of Noise. Joe Buhdha. DJ Biznizz and DJ Mek out in Dublin.”
Has there ever been an occasion though when even you got starstruck?
“Well the most recent was at the Forum T&C when I was on with EPMD. I’d seen them before but had never connected with them one on one, they were my favourites back in the day. The first album was unbelievable. It was heaven meeting them.”
What country, other than hopefully the UK, always gives you the best reception?
“Everywhere. We always put on a good show, people are always glad to see you and see that we have made the effort to get there. We have been doing a lot of shows in France with The Dub Pistols which are always amazing. Down in Australia and New Zealand they always show up.”
What’s on your ryder?
“Simple. Two bottles of JD, ice and coca-cola.”
Check out the new Rodney P radio show on BANG FM 103.6fm, Fridays – 1-3am. Massive.
The Toyota Yaris campaign sees Rodney take the lead in a high profile state-of-the-art pop video inspired ad campaign fusing music video with animation to create a series of radical new-look, pop-video-style ads. The slots have been written and art directed by Rob Potts and Andy Jex from Saatchi & Saatchi and directed by film music visionaries Jonas and Francois, the duo behind the famed Madonna & Justin Timberlake ‘4 Minutes’ film as well as pop videos for the likes of Kanye West. The first of three adverts that Rodney raps in humours a character called ‘Gadget Guy’ which highlights Toyota’s new Touch & Go System.