Roots Manuva – Interview

It is a surprisingly cold Friday afternoon in September, and I am sitting in a high ceilinged, fairly small venue called Archspace in Haggerston. Bar staff make coffee whilst equipment is set up at the other end of the room. It feels a little bit awkward. I sit waiting, wondering how this evening will unfold. Then a few moments later the speakers crank into life, blasting the unmistakeable sound of that bassline… “Witness the Fitness” blares out into the space, loud and unforgiving and charming. The crew all grin, cheer and dance. I am here to interview Roots Manuva, one of the most important hip hop artists ever produced by the UK as he launches his brand new tour.

How are you feeling about the tour?

I’m feeling very nervous because I have to really, really show improve. Hopefully the nerves will drift away and I can keep to my diet and be a decent guy. Sometimes I mess up, you know, really badly.

Are you working on new material at the moment?

Yeah, I’m producing some R’n’B stuff. I’ve got a few singles that are coming out. Hopefully I’ve got an album that’s gonna come out, we’ve also got a classics album that’s coming out on Ninja Tune distribution and… yeah, there’s a lot of material but times have changed so it’s finding a format for which you can bring songs out. Its such a pain, you know, when my manager goes on to the network dialogue thing… one song is so much more popular than another song, so what does that mean to me? Do I continue to make songs like Witness? Or do I try new things? That’s it, it makes it harder to lock down the actualities of what you’re doing.

In an interview some years ago when “Witness The Fitness” was  getting played everywhere, you were quoted as saying you were still miserable. More recently you’ve expressed you’re really happy. What’s changed since then?

A lot has changed. I’ve made a lot of money. I’ve done a lot of shows. I’ve got a wife… I had a sports car. Those things help to smoothe over the cracks and when you have love of your family that’s what makes everything kinda heal together.

Do you think that music saves lives?

Yeah music can save lives, definitely. There’s something about – there’s a book called “How Music Works.” Details on frequencies in music, they really help your muscles, your brainwaves, your beta, your gamma, your meta waves. They create routines. If you can do it – if you can do the V word- I don’t wanna say the V word. Ah, yeah, I’ll say it. Vegan. If you can do the vegan thing you notice a rebalance of your body and your chakras get re-laced. You know, music can help you do that.

So music and veganism together is a recipe for happiness?

Yeah, definitely. Music and veganism is all you need. But veganism is not easy.

What did you think about the grime scene throwing their weight behind Jeremy Corbyn in the lead up to the election?

Wow, that’s a bit weird, innit. I think that’s really weird and I should say no more about it. It’s a bit odd. Jeremy’s a good guy. Politics is not about the label. It’s about the substance of the individuals that have something to offer society.

Did you vote?

Yes I did, but I will not tell you my party for love nor money.  Once I did a student election and I’m a little bit… I’m a little bit woo, little bit wah. And I got my friends to rig the vote and the head teacher, she found out. She changed the vote and… oh no, it was not a good look. So I was corrupt when I was, like, fourteen.

Have you got any passing anecdotes to share with our readers?

You gotta do it like nobody’s listening. You know like when you fart and nobody’s there and you don’t get embarrassed? And you really just have to do it, do it, do it. Do it til you’re satisfied.

And any advice for young aspiring artists and promoters in UK hip hop?

Yeah, definitely. Young promoters, you have to think out there. You really do. You gotta do your research. Get out there. Get to Dundee, get to Sunderland. Find that lady DJ that is just amazing and bring her to London. You have to think differently. Thinking outside of the box is the only way to survive because everything is getting so similar, it’s really bad. You even have to travel abroad- get to Eastern Bloc, they’re cheap flights and find someone who doesn’t really have English as their first language and put them onstage. It’s really a new time, it’s a new era. It’s a global village and that’s what it is, these times.  

Our interview is cut a bit short because things are running short on time and Roots needs to get ready for his performance. It is always interesting seeing the difference between an artist on stage and off. In person he is more softly spoken than you might expect, slightly dry, a little distant but polite, humorous. He seems fairly serious despite the odd joke being cracked here and there, in the brief time I am talking with him he does not crack a smile.

Onstage however, he comes to life. His face opens in a huge smile as he asks the crowd “Can I call you Haggerston? I can’t call you all by your names, I’m sorry… Haggerston, haven’t you gotten rich? Talk about the regeneration crew…” Although he earlier proclaimed to me he didn’t want to get too political, here it is, his political undercurrent, ever present through his narrative lyrically and colloquially.

He performs ‘Dreamy Days’ with his partner and backing singer, Alex Watson, and it is not an old, token love song but a realised fantasy. The set is short but powerful, finishing on ‘Witness the Fitness’ (considered by many as the greatest UK hip hop song of all time) to an excitable crowd, who reluctantly file out the venue, eager for more.

Roots Manuva. Awfully deep and worth the hype.

Sophie Macaroni


EXCLUSIVE: Lazy Habits Ft Fjokra – Waiting Around

Lazy Habits return with a new crisp sound on the track Waiting Around. The video was performed live and filmed on the Polyphonic Playground, with each sound from the track assigned to a piece of playground and triggered on touch.

Lazy Habits and Fjokra lifting the bar once again, jump in for the first play with Wordplay.

Waiting Around was produced by Benny Aves and feature Fjokra on vocals. Taken from ‘The Atrocity Exhibition’
Stream/Download Links
Catch Lazy Habits on tour at the following dates:
17/11 @ The Jam House Edinburgh
18/11 @ Drygate, Glasgow
21/11 @ TheBallroom Live Canterbury
22/11 @ Archspace London SOLD OUT
23/11 @ Archspace London
25/11 @ Exchange, Bristol


In Depth: The Last Skeptik

It’s safe to say that The Last Skeptik’s been grafting for what seems like forever. You’ve probably listened to him laying down the backdrop for Verb T’s brilliant Broken Window LP. More recently, you may have clocked his solo EPs and collaborative offerings alongside both some of the UK’s most promising and most revered talents. You may even have heard chatting fraff in his living room with a whole host of musicians and celebrities in various stages of inebriation (don’t panic – it’s just the podcast!) Amongst all of this, he’s somehow managed to find the time to follow up 2013’s debut full-length Thanks For Trying with his frankly beautiful new album, This Is Where It Gets Good. Ahead of it’s release this Friday, we caught up with the man in question to discuss the journey he’s been on and the thought process behind his latest offering.  

So for those that might not be familiar, let’s take it back a bit. When did you first start dabbling with music?

I guess I was probably first aware of it around 8 or 9. There was alway music around the house; my dad listening to Prog Rock records and my mum playing Chopin on the piano. My brother was listening to people like The Pharcyde; mostly West-Coast Hip Hop. Going to school in Finsbury Park and growing up with people like Sway; it was that that really got me into making music. I knew he was always rapping and making beats and so he sort of showed me the ropes. He introduced me to how to put it all together and we used to do it in the school music room. At that point, my beats were fucking awful but he stuck by me!

At what point did you decide to take it seriously?

I know it’s cheesy to say but as soon as I started, I knew that was it. It was therapy; I knew straight away that was all I was wanted to do, day and night. Even at that early age it provided meaning to everything. I just wanted to work at it and get better; at least to a point where I could play it to Sway and he wouldn’t take the piss!

Having that dedication so early on – has it made it easier?

Sometimes! But at the same time, it’s added to the stress – like “this is it now!”. I’m too far down the road to quit or be a fisherman or something! I can’t learn a new skill. It can be a thin line but as long as you’ve got the love for it, it’s always going to work out.

Have you always been behind the buttons or are there some Skeptik verses in the vaults?

I actually started out as a rapper. I made a track with Sway and there’s bits of me rapping with the little crew I had then; of course I hope no-one ever, ever hears that! I wouldn’t put that on my worst enemy! There is a verse on the album that I did with Verb T and projects I’ve done with other people; Trim, Nico Lindsay etc. I never credit it but people who know my voice always reach out like “Oi – was that you?!”

I think the problem is my brain’s not big enough to remember all the words! That was my biggest issue with not wanting to become a rapper. I always looked at people that could recite an entire back catalogue with such envy like “how the fuck can you remember all of that!”. I’ve DJ’d multiple times a week for ten years plus and I still can’t remember lyrics in my favourite songs that I play all of the time. I remember every part of the beat; every instrument, dropout or snare drum but have no idea of the words! It’s a different mental pattern I guess!

You kind of emerged through that classic UK Hip Hop background but more recently have worked with people that are traditionally from a very different sound. What’s been the attraction?

I’ve always been making really weird shit so I’ve always had those sort of beats around me. I think now there are a lot of rappers that are very open-minded, probably because fans are more open to what they listen to and want to hear a variety of these sounds. It’s also because I put it all out myself so I don’t really give a shit what I release; I just want to make as much of the weird electronic stuff that I can. Some of it does come through changing production processes and through want of pushing myself forward as much as I can just to keep it interesting.

That being said, there’s nothing better in the world than making a straight up rap beat. I can make the maddest shit with classically-trained musicians and it’ll sound amazing but at the end of the session, I’ll take a violinist to one side and get them to play it again and sample it so I can lay some drums on it. There’s no greater feeling than that!

Whilst your music is Hip Hop at heart, you really don’t fit into any set genre! Have you always tried to keep it so expansive?

It’s never been super intentional! I used to be told it would hinder me and to stick to one lane but I’ve always wanted to make whatever comes out. I try to not stop myself within the weirdness. There’s always a feeling that goes through making a tune and my friends say they can always tell when it’s one of my beats. I think that’s because it always comes from something emotional. Even if it’s a dumb beat, it’s always quite cinematic or at least something that you could stick on your headphones and just imagine a certain scenario. I think that’s something I always go for, no matter the genre. You can do whatever you want in music. Put belief into it, put your soul into it and don’t listen to anyone else!

I suppose we’d better talk about your new album! First and foremost, it’s flipping  incredible! Whilst there is that Skeptik ‘vibe’ to it, it sounds very different to what you’ve previously released. How did you approach this album compared to others?

It’s a record I’ve been making for a couple of years but it was a sound that I’ve been toying with for a lot longer. When it came to putting it together, it was birthed through an idea of putting down my journey through anxiety and living as an anxious musician. I wanted to do it from a positive standpoint where I can help people understand that suffering with anxiety and depression isn’t a permanent state; it’s something that you can live with, manage and come through the other side still surviving. That’s definitely where the title came from. I wanted it to be a journey with a beginning and end.

Did having that outlet help you?

Definitely. It’s hugely cathartic. It’s also a huge cause of anxiety too! Not being vain (although I totally am!), there’s a lot of songs on there that I could listen to in a therapeutic way. To an extent, it’s a diary. For all musicians, you can make a song at a certain epoch in your life and you put everything into it; every thought or feeling you’re dealing with a the time. To be able to listen back to it, it’s a guidebook and a reminder of how to deal with that thing later on. That was a thing with my first ‘album’ Thanks For Trying, a lot of people would tell me they’d listen to that and would drift off and help them through different situations they were dealing with. That’s what I really want people to take from this album as that’s exactly how I made it.

You’ve opted for more features on this album. Did you approach certain tracks with the intention of them being vocalled?

There’s songs that I made that I definitely knew that they needed vocals. Keep It Simple started out as a beat but I knew that there wasn’t a great deal more I could do with it as it did everything I wanted it to. I got an incredible violinist called John Garner to play exactly what I thought was missing and it sounded beautiful. I was working at the time with Matt Wills and I knew he had to be on it; it wouldn’t have worked with anyone else. The same with Death. When I took it home to edit it, I was working with verses and spaces in it and build it with the intention of having this etherial voice cut through it and I knew Caragh would deliver exactly what the track needed. It would have been equally powerful as an instrumental but I wanted to take it to a different place with this record.

How did you decide on who features where? To me, you could’ve easily put verses on the instrumentals and vice versa.

There was that option but in certain cases, I really wanted the instruments and musicians to breathe. I also didn’t want people to get too bogged down with voices.  I liked the idea of having these intervals and breaks between the tracks; it makes it more like a journey with peaks and troughs. It give your ears a rest and allows you to zone in. It’s like where you read a book and you really envision the character and then see the movie and it’s completely wrong; I love the idea that with an instrumental you’re free to let your mind wander.

Most of the people that do feature are people you’ve worked with before. Were these the people you knew could help you deliver your vision?

I love working with people that I get on with. They come round and we hang out. The only point to making music is if you love the process. The people that understand that process are on there and they’ve been part of it all along. I did three songs with Trim for it; loads with Reader as well. Caragh Campbell’s got another two songs. I did like five with Scrufizzer that are incredible but just weren’t quite right for the album. Everyone I worked with are on the album because I’m close with them and they fully understand the process.

There was a massive visual campaign with the last album. Should we expect any more Alpaca cameos?!

Ha ha! I fully went in with the visuals last time but I’ve scaled it back this time. I’ve done just one video for Trouble with Kojey and Takura which is just as insane and I’m really excited for everyone to see it. It’s pretty ridiculous; we get a Jaguar (the car, not the animal!) and smash it up so it’s pretty intense! I did briefly think about the amazing contacts I have and what videos I could make but it took nearly a year last time so I decided to focus my energies elsewhere this time around!

You’ve put the album out on your own Thanks For Trying imprint this time. Does that ease the pressure?

There’s loads more creative freedom. Plus more OCD freedom which is fucking fantastic! I love that I can control everything; the release dates, the artwork, the PR. I love that I can just say – “I’m releasing this track today!” Yeah it’s stressful but there’s something weirdly nice about doing the admin side of it. Sat in your living room. In your pants. What other job can you do that?

I see that you released Reader’s single Icicle through the label. Do you have any other artists on board?

We’ve just finished her EP actually and it sounds fucking amazing! Trim’s on there as well and that should be coming out in a couple of months. Me and Doc Brown have a joint EP that I’m going to put out at some point. I’ve been working with a new Grime artist from Wolverhampton called Reload. He’s incredible. There’s going to be a little joint record. I’m just going to see how it goes and continue working with all the incredible people that come round and just do it on a whim. I think that’s the beauty of having the label. You can plan a little bit but then have loads of things incubating and just see which thing kind of hatches in the right way first. If I think something’s sick, I can just put it out.

So I’m guessing the next few weeks are just all about pushing the new album?

Definitely. This is the most horrible time and you’re just like “Fuck! I hope people like it!” It’s exciting to get it out to the world and after being pregnant with it for this long, it’s a weird feeling for it to finally see the light of day.

This Is Where It Gets Good is out this Friday, 29th September. Do yourself a favour and pre-order it here

If you fancy joining the man himself at the launch party, alongside a full live band and loads of guests, grab yourself a ticket here

Interview – Mike Pattemore

Photo – Ian Kiffin


10 Questions – Etta Bond

What’s good lovely people! We’re back at it again with another round of 10 Questions –  keeping the questions light and loose to allow the contestants to get creative and expand with their answers. This time around, our very own Jessica Holmes caught up with one of her tips for big things…

Etta Bond is one of the most promising artists I’ve came across this year. With her floaty vocals and ballsy lyrics underlined by chilled, atmospheric hip-hop vibes, her popularity will surely increase. Refusing to ‘sell out’ and give into popular mainstream culture, Etta is one of the few females making her move in underground music territory. Featuring on tracks with the likes of Labrinth, Devlin, Skepta and Plan B since 2012, be sure to add Etta to your Spotify playlist asap – you don’t be disappointed! 

Hi Etta! Your singles Seen And Never Heard and Feels Like were a massive success, with over 300,000 views on YouTube combined. Our readers at Wordplay Magazine have been highly anticipating the release of new music, what have you got in store for us?

First of all, thank you so much! I’ve got a lot of new music to share with people and I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I don’t want to give too much away but I’m about to take it up a notch. I just put out a new video for my latest track Addiction which was directed by my good friend, Rosie Matheson. So, check that out while I get the next one ready.

We know you enjoy smoking herb, as provocative lyrics and innuendos about the plant have decorated many of your tunes, such as Feels Like and Bad 4 Me. As the debate as to whether weed should be made legal continues, can you give our readers your point of view on the subject?

I say we legalise it. One of the biggest problems is that people are smoking too much of the wrong thing.

How did you first discover your love for writing and making music?

I started a diary pretty much as soon as I could complete a sentence. And I sang before I could talk or make any sense. Before I was any good at it – I was doing it!  As I grew older, these things started merging together and my words would start to rhyme and form structure. The more I got to know the words I used and the mind they were coming from, the more I would find them exiting my brain almost on their own. Sometimes lines will fall into your lap like magic. Nothing’s ever felt more natural to me than music feels. It’s something I can’t describe. But if you’ve ever really loved something or someone, then perhaps you relate to where I’m coming from. That’s what it is. It’s my love. Music has helped me through my whole life. Hearing it, making it, sharing it. Music gave me a way of coping, documenting, remembering moments exactly as they were. When you meet someone, one moment there’s a spark and then all of a sudden, you’re in love. I didn’t plan to fall in love with music. It just happened. I’ve always felt the urge to express myself. If I don’t express myself, I get frustrated and start behaving like an arsehole. Music makes me a better person.

When did you make the decision to pursue a career in the music industry above other more ‘normal’ academic roles? And was it a tough decision?

When I was about 7 I wanted to be an archaeologist. I had a metal detector and everything. Other than that, I’ve never seen myself doing anything else. Singing, expressing myself; that is what has always been normal to me. We have to decide on our own normality or we’d all be weirdos. Maybe that’s what we all are; weirdos defining normality.

Who have you most enjoyed working/collaborating with in your career?

That’s like asking me which one of my partners was best in bed! My creative relationships are very special to me and each one is different. I would say that Raf and I have been through the most together, if you want to put it like that. When we create, we have these incredible moments when we are so connected. It’s an indescribable feeling – being that close to someone through something like music.

Where was your first performance held and what was the reaction the audience had to you?

My first show performing my own music was with Raf at the Azealia banks mermaid ball in London. I remember using way too much energy way too soon! That show taught me to pace myself. It was great fun, and I don’t remember anything but love from the audience. But then, like now, whenever I come off stage, I’m always thinking of how to improve. There are always ways to improve. You also can’t be too hard on yourself either! Bad moods are a waste of time. Don’t quote me on that when I’m pissed off.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you and why?

I’d go to LA and do some work ’cause I don’t deserve another holiday yet.

Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?

I usually say that I’ll be where I’m supposed to be. Which is still true. So, I don’t think I particularly hope to be anywhere. But I know that what you put in, you get out. So, I’ll be out of my studio flat, taking my family on holiday and writing a big cheque to my manager.

Which other artists influence your style?

I find this question so difficult, so I’ll limit myself to 3 people: Aaliyah. Erykah Badu. Amy Winehouse.

Finally, please nominate another artist/producer you think will be one for our WP readers to watch out for in the future!


Etta’s highly anticipated video Addiction directed by Wordplay family Rosie Matheson is out now. Check it here…



10 Questions – Lady Chann

What’s good lovely people! We’re back at it again with another round of 10 Questions –  keeping the questions light and loose to allow the contestants to get creative and expand with their answers. This time around, Jess caught up with Lady Chann…

How does it feel to be representing all the ladies in Grime across the UK?

It’s feel good to obviously rep ladies to show that we are able to be as good and in some cases better than some of the males. It feels good in general just for me to do my thing; rep myself and be appreciated full stop. So that’s pretty genderless to be honest!

Do you feel there’s a female presence missing from the underground music scene and if so, what can we do to change that? 

Well I don’t know if I’m honest – the positions are there to be filled, they just have to apply! Hahaha!

How did you discover your love of music and passion to perform?

It’s by default. My dad is from Exodus Sound System; a big Reggae sound system. A few years after leaving Jamaica as a young boy, he came to England and joined up with them in his teenage years. I grew up seeing crates of records, him touring and doing his thing. Even though my parents broke up, my mum is an avid Reggae lover and has TONS of vinyl and played throughout the house, especially on Sundays where she played a lot of Revival. So, I had no choice to do what I’m doing!

Who was your first musical role model?

Bounty Killer, Bernie Man, Patra, Capleton, Lady Saw, Vybz Kartel, Merciless, Madonna, Lauryn Hill, Michael Jackson… could go on but yeah you get my drift? The greats basically in any genre I was privy to watch, and experience.

Which album changed your life?

Michael Jackson ‘Bad’ – that was nothing short of EPIC to be honest.

If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

Beware of these boys! Hahahaha! Don’t listen to a word they say. I would have definitely made wiser decisions if I did … but oh well! LIFE!!!

What’s your proudest achievement to date?

I’ve had a few, I’ve been so lucky to work with the top artists in the scene and being acknowledged by them. Travelling nearly completely around the whole world performing. Sharing the stage with Beanie Man. Getting two critical acclaims, one from The NME and one from The Guardian. There a few that I sit there and have to pinch myself and say ‘Really Chann? Little you yeah?’ So yeah! Hope there’s more to come.

What do you like to do in your ‘me’ time?

I’m a Mum – what is me time? Hahahaha! But I’m normally TV watching, chasing my four-year-old around, I have an older daughter that doesn’t need to be chased now (thank God) but still does my head in! Just being as lazy as possible, eating in bed whilst watching TV, catching up with a few mates. Nothing major. I need to incorporate way more holiday I think though because I love the sun and lounging by the pool … I get to do it at times when I get to go to certain destinations with bookings; although it’s nice, I still have to work whilst I’m there.

What’s set on your horizon for the rest of 2017?

Who knows? I can’t predict that. Just whatever I happen to do is what I do, so let’s see.

Finally, could you nominate another artist you believe is set for big things? 

Hmmmm…. that’s a hard one, I’m probably not as always looped in who the next new comer is as such to be honest…I could name a bunch of producers though like Audio Slugs, Show & Prove. Their production is fire so watch out!

Check out Lady Chann’s Soundcloud here


YO! – Phoenix Da Icefire, Lowkey, Perestroika, The Mouse Outfit, Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman, Dabbla, Prop Dylan, Chip + 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 or so. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Phoenix Da Icefire – Winged Scarab Mixtape Vol.1

Lowkey ft Mai Khalil – Ghosts Of Grenfell

Perestroika – Soviet Official

The Mouse Outfit ft Black Josh & TrueMendous – It’s Just Like That

Sean Price ft Bernadette Price – Dead Or Alive

Aesop Rock & Homeboy Sandman – Triple Fat Lice

Dabbla – Self Made

Must Volkoff ft Flu – Dr $uess

Locksmith ft Olamide Faison – The One

Demrick & DJ Hoppa ft Jarren Benton & Big Lembo – Chasing 

L.A.Z – No Paperwork

Buddy – That Much

Prop Dylan – Down For Whateva

King Los – Without Me

Chip ft Jammer, D Double E, JME, Miraa May & Wiley – Scene

Wretch 32 ft Donae’o & Kojo Funds – Whistle


YO! – Datkid, Sean Price, Verb T, eMCee Killa, Leikeli47, Open Mike Eagle, Kamakaze + 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 or so. As ever, we’re going to let the music do the talking…

Datkid – It’s Real

Sean Price ft Prodigy & Styles P – The Lyrical 3 Ps

Verb T & Pitch 92 – Getaway Car

Action Bronson – The Chairman’s Intent

eMCee Killa – Never Been Afraid

Leikeli47 – Miss Me

Mr Inglorious – Cartel Shit

CunninLynguists – The Azura EP

Open Mike Eagle – 95 Radios

A$AP Ferg – East Coast (Remix)

Westside Gunn ft Mach Hommy – Macho On Coke

The Underachievers – Crescendo

A$AP Twelvvy ft Joey Bada$$ & Telana – Riviera

Koss ft A.G & El Da Sensai – Diggin’ In The Facts

Ralph Hardy Presents – Growing Pains 2.5 (The Remixes)



Kamakaze – Kano

AJ Tracey – Blacked Out

Lady Leshurr – #UNLESHED 3 (Humble Freestyle)

J Hus – Spirit


10 Questions – CARPETFACE

What’s good lovely people! We’re back at it again with another round of 10 Questions –  keeping the questions light and loose to allow the contestants to get creative and expand with their answers. We’re exclusively streaming his album before it drops on Friday so it seemed the perfect opportunity to learn a little bit more about the man they call CARPETFACE…

Contestant – What’s your name, chosen craft and where are you based?

My name’s Adam but they call me CARPETFACE. I’m from London and based mainly in UK but I get around a lot. Chosen crafts: Songwriter / Producer / Arranger / Rapper / MC / Vocalist / Jazz-standard Session Drummer / Multi-instrumentalist / DJ / Beatboxer / Record Label Director / Music Licensing & Score Consultant / Voice Actor / Activist / SIngle Dad (that one takes up most of my time and has the biggest learning curve)

How would you describe your sound?

Catchy as fuck and full of funk heart and soul. Mature and conscious. Fresh but classic, for the most part melodic, a bit dirty, very eclectic, internationally accessible. Underground pop? Knob-step? Answers on a postcard please….

Who or what do you consider to be the biggest influences on your music?

The MAD times we’re living in effect my writing hugely, as does being someone’s Dad. I feel I have a duty to my kid’s generation to help protest at and protect against their dumbing down and against the appalling environmental legacy left my parents’ / grandparents’ generations before them.We’ve inherited a corrupt patriarchal militarised system with dangerously intrusive use of tech that is way out of hand and has been for over a century. I feel like we’re on the edge of something fucking horrific for OUR grandchildren if nothing’s done to change habits, break down barriers between us all and get back to some of the basic natural things that make us human. This theme runs through not just my material but also how I try run my business and use any fame-type platforms that may come my way as a result.

It’s a direct extension of how I view Hiphop culture – as a tool originally designed to help society heal itself and unite by aiding the spread of knowledge and compassion in some super duper cool fun ways, and music is only just one part of that. This is why I also support THTC who are very inspiring here, love to Gav, Ash and the crew. Tune-wise my influences are all over the place – so many hiphop funk soul and reggae artists I grew up on, growing early hiphop balls in skate-park cyphers in the mid 80’s, a blues-player Dad, one piano-playing Gran and the other was a singer, Smiley Culture was a mate of my old man’s at one point and around a lot when i was an infant so his voice was also a big early influence.

– Mainly Ice-T, early LL Cool J, Melle Mel, plus Chip Fu and Mista Tungtwista I guess on rhyming styles.

– Mainly Elvin Jones, Clyde Stubblefield and Mitch Mitchelll on drums.

– Isaac Hayes /The Beatles / Beach Boys / Curtis Mayfeld / Marvin Gaye on melody/hooks/harmonies,

– Madlib / Yesterdays new Quintet, Beastie Boys, George Martin, Beck, Serge Gainsbourg, David Axelrod on production.

What are your proudest moments as an artist to date?

Early last year I managed to raise around €2K for Steve Bedlam’s amazing “Refugee Community Kitchen” volunteers group – and to deliver 9 cubic metres of food/blankets and warm clothing to L’Auberge Des Migrants in Calais – all thanks to Hiphop – with a fundraiser-record called “12345 Wake Up” and a UK / France tour that included supporting ONYX. The physical aid and cash was donated by audiences as door fees to get into my nights and from digital single-sales. It may have initially been my baby with the amazing co-operation of brother Djar One at Beats House Records – but local businesses, radio stations, press and public support at the events, plus the online response in terms of fanmail /messages of support was incredibly moving and humbling, and made me feel like Hiphop was alive and well and doing its job even on that small a scale. I also got hatemail threats and FB trolling by a load of EDL / UKIP / Britain First bigot-scum so I must have been doing something right 🙂 And I’m in NO way done there..I plan to get so far up their fucking noses that I end up changing their brains for the better. People can still get involved and support the project through the links here:

Having watched them live aged about 12 or 13 in 1990, getting to support De La Soul on some of their “20 Years High & Rising Tour” UK dates in 2009. While onstage at a Uni show in Exeter it dawned on me that most of the audience was born the year I first watched them at Wembley Halls.  Sharing stages and dressing-rooms with some of your childhood heroes is fucking surreal and Ive been blessed with a few pinch-me-is-this-actually-happening type moments so far.

The biggest and most recent was working with my mighty Bronx brother “DONALD-D” from Rhyme Syndicate / The B-Boys on my latest single and album track: “Painstaking Arranger”. I first heard him rhyming on ICE-T’s “Power” album track “The Syndicate” in ’89 and had him on one of my bedroom wall posters aged 11. Big early influence. Next minute we’re shooting a music-video together, doing interviews and hanging out jamming on tour and he’s out on my label. Proper pinch-me shit. Also when I caught my own kid doing an impression of his verse that really REALLY spun me out. When he described my new album as “inspiring” in a recent interview with HBS Music Archaeology and moments later I saw the comment “Dope…truly dope” left on the music-video by DJ Afrika Islam I nearly fell off my fucking seat.

Do you have any advice for our readers who may be looking to play the mad game of music?

Grow a fucking thick skin! Try the hard way to become an expert at whatever you’re doing – first and foremost, look after the music – only then will it will look after you. Don’t let becoming a parent stop you pursuing your music career even though your kid deserves and needs so much of your time and energy. Set them an example – persevere even harder than before because you’re doing it for them too now. Find a healthy balance – it exists…

Take every promise with a kilo of salt and believe it when it happens, not until. Learn the business side and until you meet the right partners run your own shit like a pro. That includes staying sober and stable at work or nobody will take you seriously however talented you may be. Only ever jump in with both feet and gamble everything on it. If you don’t have the faith to go all out investing in yourself neither will anyone else. And if someone close keeps filling your head with doubt about that, dump them like the infected needle they are – they are not your friend.

Performers – give your audience what you know it needs….this may not be what it wants.

Producers – don’t patch cracks or polish turds – push the artists you record to their very limits in the studio and go with quality takes only.

Writers – Reflect the times. That’s your principal duty. These days though, with Guitar Hero outselling fucking guitars it almost seems like playing instruments properly could even be seen as an act of protest.

This one’s huge, trust me – don’t try and do everything yourself, be ambitious yes but set yourself realistic goals and don’t take on too much – its such a personal thing and so can easily drive you fucking mad and lose you your perspective and artistic drive if you’re not careful to take breaks when you’re stressed, this game is a headfuck.

And for those wanting in on the Hip Hop game especially – experiment yes, keep it fresh and progressive yes – but don’t EVER forget the roots of this thing. Your integrity is all you have, your word is your bond so keep all and any promises you make – it’s an awesome ride that anyone can get on if talented and tenacious enough – but almost impossible to get BACK on if you’re a known prick 😉

Name some people you’d love to work with and why?

Esperanza Spalding on some jazz and soul. Utterly amazing mesmerising electric performer in every conceivable way. Such a voice and such command of timing melody and tonality. Wicked taste in music. Singing like that while playing upright bass like that – she’s one of the few modern artists at some of the Jedi genius level of musicianship associated with generations past. I’d love to co-write / perform / produce something with her. I’d give my right arm to play drums for her onstage – but that would obviously effect the playing a bit.

Hip Hop wise I’d love to work vocally with Chuck D and Ice T on the same charity record co-produced by me and Madlib. In my opinion you can’t get much better than that if you love to make and release Hip Hop. Also though i’d love to build a NASTY beat, get A.F.R.O vs Blabbermouf on a track, light touch paper and stand well out of the way! I’m sticking in John Coltrane too. Bit more of a longshot but I reckon if I’m able to stay true to what I believe in and continue to work hard on the drumkit, that once I’m dead he might let me stand in for Mr Jones for an hour or two. Almost halfway there….

What do you have planned for the not too distant future?

This is not going to be a short answer. Shitloads. I’m flat out, spread thinly, overworked and loving it setting the final dominoes up for world domination with the Cognitive Diss album and followup projects. The 12″ Vinyl version of the album launches as pre-order July 21st on B-LINE RECORDINGS (ltd ed pressing – ships Sept)

I’m planning to spend the rest of the year pushing out various versions guest-remixes and video content through my NEWBIAS label and developing the business side of things a bit more with some partnerships and 3rd party marketing investment opportunities on the table that I’m currently reviewing maybe expanding a bit to employ some more full time staff to run office things so I can work more on recording touring videos and activism-related projects. We’ll see though – it’s hard to trust other people with your babies – and this is my only baby apart from my ACTUAL baby. The next stage for me doesn’t have to be huge it just has to be RIGHT.

Shortly launching a full range of sustainably sourced branded clothing and physical merchandise. BUT – with a musical and charity twist: Each physical item purchase will come with its own free Bandcamp “Cognitve Diss” album-download code, with 10% of sales-profits from various issue-related designs going to good causes including Amnesty International, Refugee Community Kitchen and Damilola Tailor Trust, in a similar way to how THTC operate. So CARPETFACE / NEWBIAS releases will also be out on COOL THINGS that help people. Next step might be to see how and if this sort of release can count towards the charts. I think it probably should really. Exciting times…

I’ll also be launching a Bandcamp Members Subscription soon – for a yearly £10 fee fans will get downloads of all the coming years releases a bit early plus instant download of back-catalogue tracks, discounts on some merch and events etc plus some exclusive subscriber-only tracks and videos etc. It’s a bit like crowd-funding I guess but the fans get shitloads in return straight away for their support. It’s also the cheapest way in existence for fans to get that many downloads, seeing as ITUNES is like 79p a track, and the album itself is £6.50 minimum anywhere else online. This is sustainable investment from supportive fans to enable me to produce more, better quality music videos to highlight important issues I reference in my releases each year and also will make it possible for me to agree to do more free benefit shows for good causes and still provide for my kid. Basically the money is for the mission, not the other way around.

There will also be some more touring after Summer in between work finishing off a shit-tonne of stuff for other record labels too, including collabs with Jazz Spastiks, DJ Pressure and CRF from Public Enemy’s RapStation, more work with DJ Supreme for Backbone Records, a followup collab with Donald-D, one with Glasgow’s finest MC “Mr Bohze” (Southside Deluxe) Ken Masters and the incredible DMC / Technics champ Deejay Random (Steel Devils Crew). Also got one in the pipeline with upbeat rap duo “Too Many T’s” and more bits planned with B-Line Recordings.

Finally probably the most exiting musical project I’ve got underway now is with a crazy cat from NYC called Moon Lockwood (leader of Hammond-heavy instrumental funk/soul group The Moon Men, jazzy keyboard genius who was taught to play the Blues from age 12 by Dr John – and designer of CRAZY studio gizmos). We’re collabbing on live reworkings of some of my new album tracks, brand new instrumentals and songs for me and guests, and a two-man live act combining live looping / production tricks with soulful live instrumentation and traditional hiphop skills, which will start gigging and releasing from Autumn. Think a modern Staxx Records type affair on the one side and a kind of Beastie Boys / Freestyle Fellowship meets Beardyman/Dub FX/Reggie Watts meets Jimmy Smith / Bobby Bird / The Meters / Eddie Bo type thing on the other. Buzzing. Moon has been the missing link Ive been seeking for a while and now we’ve hooked up and combined studio lab-gear we’re like two kids left in charge of a combined toy an sweet shop.

Its all a bit hectic mate. And daunting to list! – if i was to pray for anything in particular it would only be to keep a healthy work vs parenthood balance. I’m pretty much getting everything else Ive been wishing for since i was a child and no matter how hard the work is I feel lucky.

What albums did you play the most growing up?

Apart from my own ones (as I spent 3 years on my 1st album “Have Mic Will Travel” and the last 3 years working on “Cognitive Diss”)  – I reckon it would be a straight toss-up between…

As a kid:  “Thriller” / “Breakdance 2 Electric Boogaloo” Soundtrack / Santana “Abraxas”  / ICE-T “Power” / LL  “Bad – Bigger And Deffer” / NWA “Straight Outa Compton”

As a teenager: Beastie Boys “Ill Communication”, Nirvana “Incesticide”, Beck “Odelay”, Money Mark “Mark’s Keyboard Repair” and Ragga Twins “Reggae Owes Me Money”

And in more recent years “Giant Steps”, “Blue Train” and “Settin’ The Pace” by John Coltrane.

What are the best gigs you’ve experienced?

1990 De La Soul / Tribe Called Quest / MC Merlin at Wembley Halls (PM Dawn also played but that was WACK man). I was 13 and this was one of my first major Hip Hop gig experiences and made me certain I had to rap onstage for a living – up until then I’d heard it at roller-discos, skate park cyphers, on the tapes I’d bought with pocket money etc but hadn’t experienced the bouncy love spreading vibes of a huge hiphop show like that. Amazing experience really – fully hit me there and then how many barriers are broken down by hiphop culture with such a united yet mixed crowd representing all sorts of ethnicities, cliques, sub-culture tribes etc. Felt like 1000 total strangers had my back and I had theirs. I still feel that exact same international family vibe to this day both as pro artist and as a hiphop fan in general.

Jimmy Smith / Rufus Thomas Masters of Funk shows at Jazz Cafe around 2000/ 01 – Impeccable musicianship, also included Curtis Mayfeld’s drummer (forgot the name) – his solo was literally 2 mins of just a really slow solid funky beat. sickness. Jimmy got drunk at one and spend an awesome full 10 mins slowly chastising a couple for talking while he’s been playing in his lovely gravelly drawl. We had seats up top directly overlooking his hands – and glimpses of what his FEET were up to. Fucking amazing to see him leg-work those bass pedals while playing keys with his hands. I thought limb-independent jazzy drumming was hard to click but MAN just imagine the Jedi level required for that….

Beastie Boys rocking Ill Communication live in full effect Glastonbury Main Stage 1993. I was a teenager 200% off my tits. Everyone knew all the words to all the songs. Rainstorm opened up as soon as Tough Guy / Heart Attack Man started and the place went crazy. I’m so glad I got to see them perform even if it was just the once. RIP MCA – the only MC to slip on a wet stage and make it look GOOD. Plus one of the BEST examples of a conscious artist trying to use his talents for the greater good. Such a loss.

RATM live Camden Palais 1992 with Senser and Collapsed Lung supporting. Collapsed Lung literally handed their beer rider out to the crowd and it was one of the best mixes of love and fuming aggression I’ve ever witnessed. I even got a cherry red DM square in the nose and still had a blast moshing so hard my neck was fucked the next day. Filthiest fun ever.

What three things can you live without??



Check out CARPETFACE’s Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp & Instagram



Yes, yes folks. The weekend might seem like a distant memory but fear not; we’re on hand to help! Here at Wordplay HQ, our focus has always been to champion great music in any shape or form and if we’re able to offer you something exclusive in the process, it makes it just that little bit better.

After a near ten year hiatus, CARPETFACE is back with a metaphorical bang on his second feature-length project, Cognitive Diss. Having been almost three years in the making, it oozes that old-school, feel good Hip Hop sound; with infectious hooks, crisp beats and intricate wordplay at the core yet managing to maintain an unquestionable freshness about it.

We could waffle on about how deep he’s delved lyrically, how he’s crafted a project that heads off in twelve very different directions whilst being just as powerful as a complete release but we’d much rather let you indulge in the album a few days before the rest of the world gets to hear it!

If you want to learn more about the man behind the mic, keep your eyes out for his 10 Questions feature later this week. The album drops digitally via NEWBIAS Records on the 21st July (this Friday!) and on 12″ vinyl through B-Line Recordings. To find out more, be sure to visit CARPETFACE’s website & Bandcamp

But before all of that – here it is! The official Wordplay Magazine exclusive pre-release stream in full of Cognitive Diss. Enjoy!


YOGOCOP TAKEOVER – Day 8: THE BONUS DAY! – YGCTV – Illiterate X Mr.Slipz freestyle

SO! The end is here.
This is the last day of the Yogocop Records takeover.
It’s been a blast!

Thanks for getting involved, sharing, liking, viewing, listening and generally being amazing!
We’ve had so much fun hanging out with the YGC gang! They’ve packed their bags, used up all the milk and put the rubbish out. Benaddict’s Auntie has come round and they’ve all clambered into the back of her estate, armed with Hobnobs and Ribena.

It’s over….

This week (you lucky lot!) you’ve had –
Day 1 – 10/07 – Yogocop x Wordplay cypher (Video)
Day 2 – 11/07 – An exclusive goody bag competition rammed full of rare and sold out Yogo goodness!
Day 3 – 12/07 – The exclusive video premiere for Bennadict – Bullet Boy
Day 4 – 13/07 – The full stream of Benaddict’s forthcoming album
Day 5 – 14/07 – Another edition of Wordplay’s Just Jammin’ series, this time with Benaddict
Day 6 – 15/07 – Exclusive Interviews with the whole Yogo crew! Like….all of them!
Day 7 – 16/07 – A Best of Yogocop mix
Day 8 – BONUS DAY!

SO! To go out with a bang, we’ve got an exclusive rhyme from the man that is Illiterate, as a feature on YGCTV, with Slipz on da riddims! ENJOY!

Thanks for getting involved family, it’s been a blast!


YOGOCOP TAKEOVER – Day 7 – Best Of Yogocop Records mix by Tom Yum

Aw yeh! Day 7 of the Yogocop tremendously dope Yogocop Records takeover of Wordplay Towers! It’s been madness up in here with so much exclusive content that we don’t know what to do with ourselves!

AND! we’ve got some news! There will be now be 1 extra day added to the Wordplay x Yogo takeover! We won’t tell you what it is until tomorrow, but we promise (and you already know!) it’ll be amazing!

This week (you lucky lot!) we have for you –
Day 1 – 10/07 – Yogocop x Wordplay cypher (Video)
Day 2 – 11/07 – An exclusive goody bag competition rammed full of rare and sold out Yogo goodness!
Day 3 – 12/07 – The exclusive video premiere for Bennadict – Bullet Boy
Day 4 – 13/07 – The full stream of Bennadict’s forthcoming album
Day 5 – 14/07 – Another edition of Wordplay’s Just Jammin’ series, this time with Bennadict
Day 6 – 15/07 – Exclusive Interviews with the whole Yogo crew! Like….all of them!
Day 7 – 16/07 – A Best of Yogocop mix
Day 8 – We sleep!

Today is no different, and we have an EXCLUSIVE guest mix, featuring the best of Yogo from the team’s very own Tom Yum. He has a jam on those 1s and 2s and has ensured that they’ll be some SERIOUS headnodding business for an hour! Whilst you’re there be sure to check the Benaddict Garden Of England mini-mix and of course the Wordplay Podcast’s with Vice beats.

And here’s what you’ve been listening / will be listening to – 
Benaddict ft. BellaSoul (prod. Mr Slipz) – Feelin’ So High

illiterate & NuphZed (prod. Simiah) – Flies
Concept Of Thought (prod. Mr Slipz & Bo Bribery) – Innerpeace
Wundrop ft. Ash The Author (prod. Wundrop) – The Potion
Harvs & Vitamin G (prod. Remulak, cuts by JabbaThaKut) – Snap Your Neck
illiterate, NuphZed & Benaddict (prod. illiterate) – Golden Days
Mr Slipz – Fennel Tea
Terry Tonks – Got Blunts?
Bo Bribery – Sliders
M.KOZI – Rustle
illiterate – OGC
NuphZed (prod. IN-FACT) – Highly Suspicious
NuphZed & illiterate (prod. M.KOZI, cuts by Tom Yum) – 2 Sips Of Lech
Harvs & KLB – Get Lost
Benaddict & illiterate (prod. Cloud9) – Slow Down
illiterate & NuphZed (prod. Joe Corfield) – Vices
NuphZed (prod. NuphZed) – Breddaz
Kemastry (prod. Hank Hiller) – Slowly Slippin’
Wundrop (prod. Wundrop) – Pipelines
Onetzu & Awfer (prod. illiterate) – Chrysanthemum
illiterate (prod. Mr Slipz) – Feverish Atonements
illiterate (prod. J Maxfield) – Feverish Atonements Remix
Pertrelli (prod. illiterate) – The Usual
Hank Hiller – Nada
Harvs & KLB (feat. Chung) – Birdseye
Benaddict (prod. Mr Slipz) – Muppets Remix
Concept Of Thought (prod. Tom Yum) – Methods
Benaddict (prod. M.KOZI) – Stainers
Concept Of Thought & Benaddict (prod. Cloud9) – I Had A Dreeb
Benaddict & NuphZed (prod. Mr Slipz, cuts by Tom Yum) – Make Way

Benaddict (prod. Cloud9) – YGC Outro

Big ups gang, we’ll see you tomorrow for the bonus takeover day!!!!



Today we are taking it to Facebook, with an exclusive interview with Yogocop Records family, having a chat to the gang in their living rooms, talking about what they do, how the do it, and a few random bits and bobs!

SO! How do you access this here video, well, it’s rather simple! Just go to

And you can watch the FB exclusive video. Simples!

This week (you lucky lot!) we have for you –
Day 1 – 10/07 – Yogocop x Wordplay cypher (Video)
Day 2 – 11/07 – An exclusive goody bag competition rammed full of rare and sold out Yogo goodness!
Day 3 – 12/07 – The exclusive video premiere for Bennadict – Bullet Boy
Day 4 – 13/07 – The full stream of Bennadict’s forthcoming album
Day 5 – 14/07 – Another edition of Wordplay’s Just Jammin’ series, this time with Bennadict
Day 6 – 15/07 – Exclusive Interviews with the whole Yogo crew! Like….all of them!
Day 7 – 16/07 – A Best of Yogocop mix
Day 8 – We sleep!

We’re nearing the end of this rather interesting Yogo takeover of Wordplay BUT there’s still more in store! So tune in tomorrow for a mix of the gangs tunes!


YOGOCOP TAKEOVER – Day 5 – Just Jammin’ with Benaddict – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

We keep rolling on with the Yogocop Records takeover of Wordplay Magazine!

This week (you lucky lot!) we have for you –
Day 1 – 10/07 – Yogocop x Wordplay cypher (Video)
Day 2 – 11/07 – An exclusive goody bag competition rammed full of rare and sold out Yogo goodness!
Day 3 – 12/07 – The exclusive video premiere for Benaddict – Bullet Boy
Day 4 – 13/07 – The full stream of Benaddict’s forthcoming album
Day 5 – 14/07 – Another edition of Wordplay’s Just Jammin’ series, this time with Benaddict
Day 6 – 15/07 – Exclusive Interviews with the whole Yogo crew! Like….all of them!
Day 7 – 16/07 – A Best of Yogocop mix
Day 8 – We sleep!

ANNNNND today, we enlisted Jess Daly, Wordplay’s resident photographer and videographer for a continuation in the Just Jammin video series for WP. This time she hangs out with Benaddict during the filming for his latest project, and has a chance to catch up with one of Brighton’s most prolific and respected MC’s.

See ya on the moro people! 5 days down already, where’s time going!?!


Do My Ting – Phoenix Da Ice Fire Ft. Cormega & Martian

World Premiere – Phoenix Da Icefire returns and features heavyweight Cormega!

When the UK’s finest meet with American legend Cormega, produce a track by hands down the best producer on our island, Chemo, and then create a video with Globalfaction you know you’re in for something special! Wordplay have the pleasure of giving you the first look. Enjoy.

Keep an eye out for more coming soon. Available from all good digital stores:







YOGOCOP TAKEOVER – Day 4 – Benaddict – Garden Of England EXCLUSIVE MINI-MIX

Well hi there!
Fancy seein you here!
Come back to Wordplay Towers for more Yogocop goodness av ya?!
Well, good plan! It’s right here!

This week (you lucky lot!) we have for you –
Day 1 – 10/07 – Yogocop x Wordplay cypher (Video)
Day 2 – 11/07 – An exclusive goody bag competition rammed full of rare and sold out Yogo goodness!
Day 3 – 12/07 – The exclusive video premiere for Bennadict – Bullet Boy
Day 4 – 13/07 – The full stream of Bennadict’s forthcoming album
Day 5 – 14/07 – Another edition of Wordplay’s Just Jammin’ series, this time with Bennadict
Day 6 – 15/07 – Exclusive Interviews with the whole Yogo crew! Like….all of them!
Day 7 – 16/07 – A Best of Yogocop mix
Day 8 – We sleep!

Today, we have an exclusive mini-mix of Benaddict’s brand new album – Garden Of England! We know you lot love this rhyming don, so we don’t need to sell him to you. The fella is dope, simples! ENJOY!

We’ll be back tomorrow with more Yogo goodness.
Wordplay fam OUT!