Outlook Festival x Cazer – 2017 Line Up Announcement visuals

Outlook Festival is back! Now in their 10th year, the Croatian based festival situated in Fort Punta Christo has become a stalwart within the annual festival calendar for music lovers everywhere. 

2017 has an even crazier line up than normal, with headliners including (and far from limited to!):
– DJ Shadow
– Ghostface Killah
– Pharoah Monch
– Roots Manuva
– Loyle Carner
– Foreign Beggars 

and just about any other dope artist that you can think of!

As ever, the festival features a mixture of stages, arenas, beach and boat parties and the ampitheatre. If you’re unaware of the festival, check out the walk through video here (it says 2015 but the setup is the same!):

This year the festival is running from the 7th September – 10th September 2017. Coined as Europe’s largest celebration of Sound System culture, the emersive combination of Sun, Sea, and gigantic sound systems is truly hypnotic, offering vibes and good times for music fans across the board. Whether you’re into Dub, Breaks, Hip Hop, Reggae, Roots, House, Techno, Grime or more, this is a must-do for all festival enthusiasts.

To celebrate the line up be unveiled, Outlook joined forces with Cazer to create a creative and quirky graf visual, accompanied by a track by the ever fresh Children Of Zeus (who will also be performing at the festival):

Check out the artists involved in the billboard design here:
Cazer – www.instagram.com/cazerone/

After 10 years, Outlook know exactly how to run incredible, awe inspiring and life long memory creating festivals, which we would HIGHLY recommend you attend. You can find out more about the festival, and secure your place for just £20 here:

We’ll keep you posted with the festival over the coming months, but be sure to get your ticket fast to avoid disappointment!

Words by James “Vice beats” Kennaby


Nubiyan Twist + Sounds Of Harlowe + Worm Disco Club – Live at The Fleece, Bristol – 13-04-2017

Since their self titled debut in 2015, Nubiyan Twist, the powerhouse 10 piece London and Leeds based collective have been tearing up live shows across Europe. Their unique fusion of Dub, Funk, Soul, Jazz, Afro-beat and Hip Hop creates a truly extraordinary sound that is a must hear for fans of truly original, impactive and creative live music.

When I saw that Nubiyan Twist were on tour and gearing up for their new project, i was, as you can imagine, excited to see a group that we’ve been supporting since their first single released in 2014 (Figure Numatic) and they did not disappoint.

With the Worm Disco Club DJ’s holding down the good vibes and getting the crowd in the right mood for the evening the stage was set for Bristol based Sounds Of Harlowe, who in their own right have been doing some huge things of late. Their lead vocalist, Solomon OB is the reigning UK Slam Poetry champion, has been mentored by Kate Tempest, and is currently working on a solo album which is due to be released early 2018. The band are super tight and are great at getting a crowd hyped up and moving. Solomon was Wordplay Amplify Artist Of Month in 2016, and we’ve been keeping a close eye on Sounds Of Harlowe, who are set to make big waves this festival season.

Then it was time for the main event. Nubiyan started playing and immediately the crowd responded with a tangible rise in energy. The players level of musicality is incredible. Every member being of an incredibly high level, and every one seeming to be completely in the moment, enjoying themselves and not missing a note, well, if they did, they did it in style!

After a short instrumental piece, Nubiya stepped on stage and the crowd went crazy. She was completely emersed in the music, slowly moving, winding and grooving to the vibes and seemingly unaware of the jam packed venue. She began to sing, and from that point onwards the band created a constant wall of sound, fusing vibes and sounds from each members influences.

A really nice touch was Nubiya stating which of the band had written certain songs, and the authentic feeling continued when a few times the band went to play a track and Nubiya planned to do something different, and they just laughed it off, and interacted with the crowd. The set lasted for well over an hour, with certain more recognisable songs being tweaked and changed to expand the sound, allowing the band to enjoy their performance even more. Sometimes, seeing technical players won’t be all that enjoyable, but these guys kept everyone involved, jamming with each other and constantly looking to and interacting with the crowd.

A highlight was the bands arguably best known song, Work House which sounded incredible. For any fans of live horn sections, the combination of Tenor, Alto, Soprano Sax and Trumpet was incomparable.

The band are currently on their Dance Inna London Tour, and on that tip, be sure to check out their brand new single in anticipation for their new project later this year on Wormfood Records.

Words by James “Vice beats” Kennaby


Yo! – Homeboy Sandman, Kyza, Westside Gunn, NxWorries, Split Prophets, Jay Prince, Avelino + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. There’s been plenty of big releases over the extended weekend and hopefully you’ve found the time to indulge. We might all have to head back to normality today but fear not; we’re here to hook you up with a fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Homeboy Sandman – Bamboo

Kyza – Miverione Vol.2

Logic ft Damian Lemar Hudson – Black Spiderman

Westside Gunn ft Mach Hommy & Keisha Plum – Easter Gunday 2

Split Prophets – The Samadee Remixes

NxWorries – Scared Money

Jay Prince ft Avelino – Peace Of Mind

Abstract Rude & DJ Vadim – The Owl’s Cry

Masego – Navajo

Elz – July (Freestyle)

Kuartz – Shurikens

Avelino – F64

Phat Kat & DJ Dister – The S.O.S Project

Travis Scott ft Kendrick Lamar – Goosebumps

Petrelli Brothers – Ghost Diaries

Blay Vision ft JME – Gone Mad

Rageouz – Limbo

Ghetts – Regulate (1Xtra Live Lounge)

Flo – Mirrors

Kojey Radical x Rebecca Ferguson – Forbidden

Denzel Curry ft NELL & Twelve’Len – Goodnight

Cherée – For Me

Noname – Tiny Desk Concert


Leaf Dog – Dyslexic Disciple (Album Review)

Tomorrow finally sees the hotly anticipated release of Leaf Dog’s Dyslexic Disciple, his second full length solo offering. A practiced artist knows how to take time over a project and Dyslexic Disciple is a prime example of this. Leaf’s last album From A Scarecrow’s Perspective was released back in 2011 and this time around he takes us on a new journey but still with that distinctive, passionate and familiar voice. From cussing out the arrogance he abhors (Big Egos) to nostalgia and love offered to his life (Today), Leaf Dog always brings honesty and realness in his bars.

But what really gives him the edge as an artist is the fact that he knows what he likes when it comes to the production side-of things. Partly self-produced, alongside link ups with regular contributors, the likes of Naive and Illinformed, Leafy’s beat selections are laden with soulful vocals and sun-drenched piano and drum samples. Songs like It’s On You and Good Times were made to be blasted on a sunny day; arms swinging, heads nodding and smiles beaming. The ever-growing legion of diehard High Focus fans are bound to be frothing at the mouth over the monster posse-cut The Legacy, whilst we’re equally as proud of Leafy for his staggering list of collaborative artists (Kool Keith anyone?)

No need to just take our word for it; pre-order your physical of Dyslexic Disciple from the HF website or if you’re on the digital tip, place your early orders here. If that’s not enough, catch Leaf Dog launching the album at Electric Brixton along with the entire HF roster (and some special guests) this Sunday.

Sophie Macaroni


Yo! – Evidence, DANGERDOOM, Cappo, Mothership Connection, AZ, Frank Ocean, Moreone + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Evidence – Throw It All Away

DANGERDOOM ft Black Thought & Vinny Price – Mad Nice

Cappo ft Juga-Naut – 15-10

Mothership Connection – This Train Goes To Junkleberry Junction

AZ ft Raekwon & Prodigy – Save Them

Apex Zero – 21st Century Enslavement

Ray Vendetta x Tesla’s Ghost – Spinal Sword

Frank Ocean ft Jay Z & Tyler The Creator – Biking

Jam Baxter – Just Us

AG & John Robinson – They Watching

Lunar C – 10k Punch Combo

Gorillaz ft Pusha T & Mavis Staples – Let Me Out

Moreone – Wake Up Call

4orce – Set Standards

Dave East ft Beanie Sigel – The Real

The Last Skeptik ft Scrufizzer, Micall Pane, Dream McLean & Al The Native – Drumroll Please

Rude Kid ft Ghetts – Banger After Banger

Raekwon ft P.U.R.E – M&N

Dave – Revenge

Little Dee & P Money – JDZ B2B




10 Questions: Rye Shabby

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


Ten things you didn’t know: SonnyJim

Since the 2006 release of ‘The Soul Trader EP’, SonnyJim has been a prominent face on the UK Hip-Hop scene, heading up the highly regarded EatGood Records label and smashing stage shows and freestyle battles for well over a decade.

The 2016 album Mud in My Malbec was undoubtedly one of the rap records of the year, and with Sonny at his creative best, we thought it was time to find out a little more about him. So here’s ten things you (probably) didn’t know about the Birmingham MC, as told by the man himself…

1. His first vinyl appearance was in 2004
“It was a feature on a EP by a guy called Alex Blood. The song was called Back Up. We never stayed in touch but it seems like he is still about – he’s the frontman in a funk band from what Google told me.” Available from Discogs

2. He can play the tabla
“Not just play it, I’m a don at it. So sick in fact, that when I started learning it the tabla master linked me with these drama people and I played in a band that did live music for different plays and theatre s**t. In the end it wasn’t really my bag so I left after a handful of shows.”

3. He won’t eat a burger with his hands
“Or a doughnut, or a pizza. Never. Or any food for that matter. I fucking hate getting my hands dirty.”

4. He’s sick at badminton
“I used to play all the time back in my ends but since moving to London I haven’t been on it. Trust me though, for a fat boy I be beastin’ on the court.”

5. He didn’t want to be a rapper
“I wanted to do interior design. Then one day I was listening to Skinny’s verse on the Mark B and Blade album and I realised I knew all the words. I started rapping the verse on some next instrumental and thought ‘rah, this sh*t is easy, let me try my own words’.”

6. He’s never done the house work
“I’ve never done the hoovering or washed a dish in my life, swear down. Peace to all the good women around me.”

7. He was once set up to battle Pro Green
“It was in front of like five thousand people, no prep, in some big fuck off stadium at a Mike Skinner concert. He did his little rap, they loved it, and when I got the mic I didn’t even get a bar in. They just started booing man! Then the host snatched my mic. I’ve been crying ever since.”

8. He nearly did a track with Ed Sheeran
“Seriously, it nearly happened. Then I thought ‘nah this guy’s a bit shit. I still don’t like his music, but I’d love to do a song with him now, maybe we can get Adele to do the hook…”

9. He did a song with Chopper Reade
“He’s dead now, but he was a badman. He killed 30 people. He did a rap album called ‘Interview with a madman’, and at the time I’d just finished a tour in Australia and my boy Wayne Lotek got me on the record. The album is very sh*t.”

10. He cooks a mean ragu
“I’m talking serious business, an all day slow cooker ting. A lot of people think I’m involved in food because of the references in my music, but I’m not. I don’t really cook, but every now and then on a sunday, I get busy in the kitchen. They just featured my ragu recipe over at 


Words by Freddie Harding


Jam Baxter – Mansion 38 Launch

Anyone who has followed the High Focus movement for the last seven years will have seen the UK hip-hop trendsetters go from performing shows in small intimate clubs and bars to selling out some of the country’s biggest venues, including London’s Brixton Electric, where the seventh birthday party is taking place this month.

Watching them reach that level, while also growing the UK scene on a global stage, has been fantastic for hip-hop fans, but when Jam Baxter decided to throw a last minute album launch for Mansion 38 on Friday, he took things back to the ‘good old days’. And it was dope!

Held at Dalston’s 350 capacity Junction House, the night got started with Lee Scott and Trellion performing their Happy People material, as well as some other Blah Records classics. That got things going and started the heads nodding, before Baxter joined them on stage to perform the album’s first single ‘Dumb’. By this point, the venue was completely packed out and it was starting to get a little chaotic, like any good rap show should.

You could tell how well the album has been received – most people there knew every word of every verse, and even when Baxter slowed things down a touch with the excellent ‘For a limited time only’, the vibes stayed high. Dirty Dike and Dabbla were on hand to join in for ‘Chateaux in Toulouse’ and by now, the stage and the audience had become one.

You got the feeling that the artists were having just as much fun as everyone, as Baxter poured drink into the mouths around him before jumping down to start his own mosh-pit. But that didn’t result in the levels dropping, and the delivery was on point all night from every artist on stage.

A Jam Baxter show wouldn’t be complete without a rendition of ‘Brains’ which of course went down well, before Ed Scissortongue then completed the list of special guests as he joined Baxter to perform the now classic ‘Pipe Smoke’ that always brings the house down. 

It was a night to remember and a launch to match one of the albums of the year so far. And all completely free of charge! Big up, Jam Baxter!

Mansion 38 is out now and available here

Freddie Harding


Yo! – Leaf Dog, ATCQ, Dutch Mob, REKS, Brother Ali, Danny Brown, Joey Bada$$, Gensu Dean + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days; there’s been a lot to highlight! As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Leaf Dog – The Legacy

A Tribe Called Quest – Dis Generation

Brother Ali – Own Light (What Hearts Are For)

Dutch Mob – Rolls Canardly


Moreone – Wake Up Call

Danny Brown – Ain’t It Funny

Freddie Gibbs – Alexys

Gilly Wun – The System/ Rap Justice

Joey Bada$$ ft ScHoolboy Q – Rockabye Baby

Shay D & Traum Diggs – Avocados

Pete Josef ft Speech Debelle – Colour

SWVN – Mantra

Kendrick Lamar – Humble

Vic Spencer – Ghost Of Living

Locksmith – Agenda

Marlon Craft – Dreams & Nightmares Craftstyle

Renegade Brass Band – EAF

Logic – Everybody

Gensu Dean ft Diamond D – Principles & Codes

Avelino ft Wretch 32 – Energy (Remix)

H.Fitz – Wormy

Jinxsta JX – Thoughts In Words

King Magnetic ft Masta Ace, Slug & DJ Eclipse – Alone

P Money & Pharaoh ft Hyde – Like Dem Man


Juga-Naut: Six Bricks EP

Nottingham and UKHH go together like cheese and boards. The city is synonymous with some of the country’s most respected lyricists and beat makers who have become household names. Of these Juga-Naut may not be the first that springs to mind, but having collaborated with the likes of Scorzayzee and Cappo for the best part of 10 years there’s no doubt he deserves his place amongst this elite crowd.

His latest EP Six Bricks sees him join forces with Micall Parknsun, who produces five of the six tracks as well as featuring on the opening track, 40 Acres. It opens the EP in an uncompromising fashion and is followed by the Beat Butcha produced Gametime. The Butcha provides us with a rather dreamy number although Juga-Naut sounds anything but on it. Now you may think a swagger is somewhat of a prerequisite of a hip hop emcee but bravado is often not backed up with anything of substance. Here Juga-Naut is confident and assured, proudly declaring;

“I still care about lyrics, I still care about lyrics, I care about craftsmanship and I care about spirit”.

The sentiment is evident throughout the EP as Juga-Naught brings in Cappo, Vandal Savage, Tommy Nova and Sorzayzee on Gaudi-Gang and The Juice respectively as Six Bricks serves as a gentle reminder of Nottingham’s pride of place on the UKHH map.

Joe Laflin



Yo! – Run The Jewels, CyHi The Prince, Raekwon Juga-Naut, Kendrick Lamar, Goldie, Gorillaz + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days and be warned; it’s bumper edition! As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Run The Jewels – Legend Has It

CyHi The Prince – Legend

Raekwon ft Cee-Lo Green – Marvin

Juga-Naut x Micall Parknsun – Six Bricks EP/ 40 Acres

Doc Brown ft Tony D & Reveal – Amnesia

DV Alisa Krhyst ft Blu & Rass Kass – Streets Don’t Love (Remix)

Gorillaz ft Popcaan – Saturnz Barz (Spirit House)

Donnie Propa – The Ace Tape 2

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part IV

Consequence ft Papoose & Peedi Crakk – Say My Name

Wiki – Icarus

Goldie – I Adore You

Illaman – Illa Does A KMT

Gardna – Push Things 4ward

Corners – Pepper Sauce

Maurice Brown ft Talib Kweli – Stand Up

Denzel Curry – Adore You (BADBADNOTGOOD Sessions)

Physiks – Mega Trip

Oracy – Dysfunctional

Kero 1 & Azure! – Jazzhop

Harry Mack – Power 106 Freestyle

Rag’N’Bone Man – Skin


Heavy Crates Feat. Conway

The biggest news in hip hop this year has to be the signing of Westside Gunn & Conway to Eminem’s Shady Records! The two brothers from Buffalo have the world poised waiting for new releases under the label, which is why it gives us great pleasure to announce Conway’s last independent release.

50 Shots is a Heavy Crates project featuring CONWAY on 12″ single , The  A side “50 Shots” is produced by  X-RAY DA MINDBENDA  (aka King Cesar of Monsta Island Czars) featuring CONWAY, Main version and instrumental. The B side has a remix by GEORGE FIELDS and a remix by PART TIME AKA FIGURE 42. The artwork has been done by Manchester based artist Simon Hadley Attard, a figurative painter working with oils. Pre orders are now live and the vinyl drops in June. 

Hear the clip and order the wax at www.heavycrates.com


WORDPLAY MEETS: Laura Lewis-Paul ofSaffron Records



Here at Wordplay we love to celebrate the success of people’s achievements in music, and as a retrospective celebration for this year’s International Women’s Day, we decided to have a chat with one of Bristol’s most inspirational figures in the music scene – Saffron Records founder and Creative Director, Laura Lewis-Paul.

Saffron Records was founded in 2015 in Bristol, with the aim to motivate young women aged 16-25 get their foot in the door of the music industry. Through the use of workshops, a supportive record label and educational opportunities like apprenticeships in music production and sound engineering, Saffron is built with the purpose to support and inspire young women from all walks of life.

Voted by Bristol Post as one of the cities ‘Most Inspirational Women’, Laura has achieved a lot in the short time Saffron Records has been up and running. But it was thanks to Laura’s previous experience in youth work that helped spark the initial idea to launch a music label and education platform.

“My background experience is in youth work and I always wanted to work with young people in music. I used to be part of a creative youth network called Temple Records, and in that time I saw how the model really worked as a way of helping take young people into the next stage of their career.”

“When I was with Temple Records I went on a field trip with some of the girls and I asked the group how they felt about being in a male dominated industry. They responded with the fact that they felt it was really positive for them because they were recognised for being a minority, but as a black woman myself, I knew that in reality that probably wouldn’t be the case. That’s where the seed was planted for the idea of Saffron Records.”

Following the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, ‘Be Bold for Change’, Laura shares her experience that made her take a leap to make a bold change.

“You know when you’re in a job you don’t like and you’re working for somebody else and doing a lot of work and not getting recognised for it?  That was my situation when I decided to say fuck it, I want to do it for myself. It was a bold change for me to empower myself and then take my experience and empower others. I wanted to help remind people if something doesn’t work, then there’s are always alternative options. I guess that’s what Saffron is all about, offering that alternative in a male dominated industry.”

“Someone once described the music industry to me as ‘pale, male, and stale’ and I thought was hilarious! What Saffron really want to do is to be able to offer something different to that. Our message isn’t to show what people are doing wrong, it’s to celebrate and empower people to tackle things in a positive way.”

Since its 2015 launch, Saffron Records have taken leaps and bounds in its development, including the vast selection of artists working alongside them, including China Bowls and Eva Lazarus and the recent announcement of their partnership with PRS (Performing Rights Society).

“We’ve been doing a lot on the educational side of things by offering opportunities for young women to learn about the label and the development of sound. This year we’ve also got three releases coming out. One with neo-soul, jazz singer China Bowls and another with Bristol based band Rozelle. We’ve got another spot that we want to fill too, but watch this space with that one.”

Looking back at Saffron Records achievements, Laura talks through what’s been the biggest moment for Saffron Records.

“I would say our biggest achievement so far was going to Palestine last year with the charity Amos Trust. We did a lot of workshops in women’s refugee camps and it was great to see what music can do in terms of healing and teaching young people.”

“The one thing I really got out of the experience was a story from a guy who had a farm out there and how Israeli soldiers would shoot his water tanks so he couldn’t get any water on a daily basis. I came away from the story realising we think we have a hard life, but this guy is still giving and not retaliating with any sort of violence. That story had an impact on us all.”

Looking forward at the future for women in the music industry, Laura offers up what she believes music fans can do to improve representation of women and equality in the music industry.

“One thing for me in particular is when people talk about artists like Lady Leshurr or Bellatrix and they refer to them as ‘female MCs’ or ‘female beatboxers’. Rule number one – stop doing that.”

“Aside from that, it’s massively about collaboration, support and community. I think sometimes some women don’t always support each other and that’s a shame. There shouldn’t be competition, but I think that has partly been created from my first point, because if someone says ‘Oh, we’ve already got one female MC on the bill’, then chances are they won’t book anymore.”

“I also think guys need to be involved in the conversation and stand up and speak out more for things they know is not right. When someone is being sexist or exploiting someone, guys need to stand up and speak out.”

Keep your eyes peeled for what’s on offer at Saffron Records and future workshops for women aged 16-25, by checking out their website and Facebook page.



By Abi Lewis


Looking back….. Lee Scott – The making of Nice Swan

Photo by Aboveground

“Honestly man, what it comes down to is I just want to make music and put projects together and art and that’s it, I don’t really have any passion for the other shit.”

Scott was in the process of breaking his silence on his most auto-biographical album to date, Nice Swan. Released on December 2nd last year, the 13 track album is Scott’s fifth solo project to date. As the renowned founder of Blah Records, Scott’s career stems from his early work alongside Salar. Together they formed the Antiheroes, releasing the Middle Finger Salute mixtape in 2004 – the instigator for Blah Records’ emergence. After dropping his debut called The Wrong EP in 2006, Scott formed the notorious rap supergroup Children Of The Damned, before going on to feature alongside Monster Under The Bed (aka Milkavelli) as the menacing Mcabre Brothers duo. Since then, Scott mostly focussed on his solo material, however has undeniably remained the most consistent collaborator on the Blah Records roster.

Approaching 15 years since his emergence, Scott’s experience is simply unparalleled, owed homage not only due to his undying dedication, but also for the legacy he instigated and continues to spearhead. Although such fame demanded great expectancy, Scott continued to excel expectations across 2014, releasing two full-length albums and the Cult Of The Damned EP. Amongst them, Tin Foil Fronts was awarded Wordplay Magazine’s Album Of The Year. Aside from a string of nationwide tours, 2016 was suspiciously quiet for Scott. It transpired that he’d spent 6 months writing and recording ‘Nice Swan’, whilst taking a break from recording an upcoming project with Morriarchi.

Lee Scott quite literally writes lyrics every day, anywhere and everywhere. He emphasised how inspiration constantly strikes him, listing the locations that he wrote some of his lyrics.

“Trains, busses, walking around, sitting in me flat in London.”

As ideas continued to hit Scott, the inspiration to write came easy to him:

“I just write when it flows out, stop when it stops. I didn’t really think about it too much until I was like 4-5 songs in, then it just naturally started falling into place,”..

…Scott says, whilst describing the track writing process for Nice Swan. In answer to what came first, the music or the album title, he replied:

“About 60% of the music. All fresh for this project.”

The album itself was recorded between the Blah Mansion in Blackburn, and somewhere in Kilburn, London using an old borrowed microphone with a sock for a pop filter and a USB soundcard.

For those unaware, Nice Swan contains no lyrical features. Scott rhymes solo, supported by a myriad of UK producers – a range of veterans alongside fresher faces from the underground circuit. From old-school beatmakers like Reklews, Sumgii & Jack Danz, to more modern talents such as Sam Zircon and Drae DaSkimask, each artist providing a different vibe to suit a variety of tastes. However, this wasn’t a concern for Scott.

“Honestly man, there wasn’t that much conscious effort, just whatever felt right at the time,”

Scott says, explaining how he selected his instrumentals.

“Sam Zircon had a few beats that just felt right. I’ve had the intro beat from 19.thou$and for about 3 years, always liked it but never had a home for it until now. I made like 5 of them too I think. Just whatever felt right and fit. Shout outs to Jack Danz, Sumgii, Drae DaSkimask and this kid Peter H who emails me mad shit he makes with some tape decks and a guitar or something for me to sample.”

Considering that Scott had 6 months to prepare the release of Nice Swan, it was surprising that he decided not to release any visuals for the album. When asked whether there would be any videos for tracks dropping, Scott bluntly replied,

“Nope. I just wasn’t thinking about videos, I was only thinking about the music then when I had finished the music and finished putting the product together, I thought fuck a video. I just didn’t feel like doing it. I wanted this to be all about the music and obviously having a customised walkman box set helped.”

Aside from releasing teaser versions of the cover art online, Scott essentially kept the album details a complete secret from the public, as well as the media. It was a risky strategy, relying on supporters to purchase an album they knew absolutely nothing about. Scott shrugged this suggestion off.

“Fans knew something was coming but just didn’t know what. I wouldn’t say I was careful to not leak any details, I just wasn’t really thinking about it. I was more busy just making the music and then putting the product together.”

The limited edition pre-order package contained a USB Capture Cassette Walkman, Blah lanyard, headphones, a sticker and of course, Nice Swan on cassette tape. The 100 available copies sold out within days.

“I wanted to put it out on cassette just cause I assumed people would be less likely to skip through an album on tape. I assumed people would be more inclined to just find some time and let it run. Obviously a lot of people don’t have any means to play a tape so it was only right to also provide them with a Walkman. After that I just made whatever the fans were asking for, they wanted a CD so I made a CD but with a lyric book and shit so it had more value and felt a bit more unique. They asked for vinyl so I made a nice as fuck vinyl and so on.”

Despite Scott’s spiralling prestige in the UK rap game, he remains modest when it comes to talking about his own music. Because of this, it came as no surprise that he chose to side-step a request for a bitesize paragraph to describe the album for those who hadn’t heard it, claiming that he could not do so.

“People should just listen to it and do that themselves. Even though all physical is sold out, you can still purchase Nice Swan digitally from Blah.”


Interview by @EthanEverton


YO! – Sean P, Apathy, Speech Debelle, Doc Brown, Conway, Oddisee, Jungle Brown + more

Yes folks! It’s that time again. Hopefully the Monday blues have disappeared but if not, fear not! We’re here to hook you up with a weekly fix of new material and excerpts from new releases over the past seven days. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Sean P – Definition Of God

Apathy – Dive Medicine: Chapter One

Oddisee ft Toine – NNGE

Speech Debelle – Strange Ways

Age Of L.U.N.A – Body & Soul

Da Flyy Hooligan – Clicc Suit

Jungle Brown – Wayside

Leaf Dog – Today

Doc Brown – Fire In The Booth

Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn – Small Hours

Blakk Chronical ft Hybrid Freqs – Aesthetics

Juelz Santana & Dave East ft Bobby Shmurda & Rowdy Rebel – Time Ticking

Conway, Prodigy & Benny – Showoff Radio Freestyle

Andy Cooper – You!

Strange U – Terminator Funk

Bonkaz ft S Loud – Cash Money