10 Questions: Rye Shabby

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Rye Shabby – Image by Lewis Gant for Wordplay Magazine

From lacing lyrics over grime instrumentals and recording tracks by age 11, to working with Aboveground on his music videos and touring the UK with High Focus Records, Rye Shabby is an unashamedly new school rapper currently signed to UK hip-hop veteran Verb T’s music label; In The Balance Records. Earlier this year, Rye Shabby released his widely anticipated debut EP Arthur Lager, featuring illicit insights into alternative youth culture, alongside plenty of personal references lifted from Shabby’s own hedonistic perspectives. We caught up with Rye Shabby to let heads know more about his background as a rapper, as well as reveal deeper understandings into the Arthur Lager EP and also what Shabby has in store for the near future.


1. Rye Shabby, for those unaware, could you give heads an insight into your background as an artist?
My background as an artist is what you hear from the usual individual involved in music really. I started writing lyrics when I was around 10 and wanted to be Nas and Andre 3000, I would lock myself away until I thought I was good enough as I believe it’s so important to think you are the best before anyone else does. I made my first track when I was 11, I started on grime beats though because it was what my friends were listening to and spitting on at the time, then I moved onto slower tempos a few years later.

My cousin inspired me to rap. He was in a group back in the day called Alliance and I thought they were cool, so that made me put pen to paper for the first time. But my parents got me into music, my dad mainly, he showed me the soul and funk side of things whilst my mum introduced me to punk sounds. So fuck knows how they merged into what I make now, but yeah it’s cool.

2. You’re signed to In The Balance Records. When did you first meet Verb T?
I first met uncle Verb at a show we were both booked for in my hometown, he obviously realised I was amazingly talented at chatting shit and then he listened to my music and thought it was good, I guess. I’m not sure on the exact reason as to why he signed me, I would like to think it’s my versatility to spit on any tempo and my metaphorical ability. I’m basically a nutcase and think weird shit all the time and write it down, it tends to come out great and rhyme.

3. Have you had opportunities to work alongside the likes of Chillman and Moreone, either on stages or in studios?
Yeah I have worked with the other guys on the label, we have smashed a few shows through High Focus together as well. We also went through the festival season together which was a good experience to get to know each other and stuff. And to also get really fucked up and see who could handle it, I won that…obviously. Shouts to Chill though he was a mess. At the moment we are working on an In The Balance compilation album too, which is gonna be mental.

4. Arthur Lager – can you describe this project in a couple bitesize sentences?
I would describe Arthur Lager as carnage. It’s a look into my life and the youth culture in this country today. It’s very honest, I touch on everyday subjects using metaphors so the listener can even just take it how they hear it and it may relate in a different way to them, which I think is cool.

5. How is this project different to any UK hip-hop albums we’ve heard before?
It’s different because of the theme, it tells stories and paints a picture for the listener which will be different every time you listen to it because of how deep I get with the writing and the sounds of the beats. It’s aimed to put you in a trance and get lost within the place I put you in. On some lion, the witch and the wardrobe kind of shit.

Rye Shabby – Image by Lewis Gant for Wordplay Magazine

6. The project features 7 tracks, why did you decide to stop there?
I didn’t want to drag on the theme and the vibe, you hear it as a piece and then it leaves you in a place and stops there, I didn’t want to over complicate the mood. There are two bonus tracks which you can only hear by purchasing the physical copies though.

7. Can you let us know about the collaborations featured on Arthur Lager?
Yeah I worked with some different rappers on the project. It features Verb T which I thought was right, I didn’t want to get the other guys on the label on it though because I thought the listeners are just gonna expect that and it would look obvious, you’ve gotta wait for that shit. But I featured my young G’s Indigo Frequency on a bonus track, I have been working a lot with those guys a lot we have a project coming out too and my boy Relly Crise laces something on the project too. These are people I work with frequently and around all the time, I am fairly fussy with features, if it doesn’t suit the vibe I won’t use a feature just for the sake of getting them on the EP.

8. What are your favourite elements of the productions featured on the project?
I like different styles of beats used, that’s why I didn’t want to just use one producer I wanted a different mood on each song. Like, you have the dirty dark stuff mixed with the softer bits, in the future it might be different but for this project I definitely wanted to pick a handful of my favourite producers around me.

9. Have you got any visuals lined up to drop we should keep an eye out for?
I recently just filmed a video for the song Kate Moss with AboveGround, that was a crazy experience and involved lots of Hennessy and other substances. I enjoy working with AboveGround because of the eye for art, genius. But we basically filmed it in my friends house in Brixton, the message behind the theme of the video is if you don’t look after your girl someone else will.

10. Have you got any upcoming performances we should watch for?
I have loads of local shows coming up, but the main show I’m focusing on at the moment is the High Focus Jam Baxter launch which I am playing at in Brighton (Concorde 2) and that is on March 10th. Last time I played there I fell off a huge speaker mid set and carried on rapping whilst laying on the floor because I nearly broke my arm, so I will be staying away from those bastard things this time, still smashed it and crowd surfed a few times so it made up for the agony caused by me trying to do the cool rapper stuff which never works for me.

Rye Shabby, thanks for your time. Any final shoutouts?
No problem, it’s always a pleasure I could speak about myself all day long. Shout the Indigo Familia, shout out my cat Dillzy, shouts to my WaveyxTimes gang.

Arthur Larger is out now on In the Balance Records:
Stream – Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/0G0wPY…
Deezer – http://www.deezer.com/album/15192087
CD or Limited edition Casette – http://bit.ly/2jpWQYN
iTunes – http://apple.co/2jQvc3D
Bandcamp – http://bit.ly/2jPuPst

Interview by Evo

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