Riding high on the success of his latest album “Fire & Smoke“, Big H was in town for a chat and Hit The Floor just had to catch up with him. H spoke about everything from “(not very good) mc’s”, Wiley trying to hurt his career and JME and Skepta stealing his flow.
How do you feel about the reception to your album?
Five star album on iTunes. I appreciate that people enjoy it because it took long to make. I perfected it before i gave it to people. An artist can make good music if they go out of their way to. I didn’t do it for the money, I did it to make good music. In my career i might jot get to make good music all the time, so I thought let me get this out. It’s not about money, it’s about art really. That’s how I see it.
So this album was made for your hardcore fans?
Yeah, it wasn’t a crossover album or nothing like that. It was just made as a demonstration of good grime music.
Do you feel good grime music is a rarity?
I do think good grime music is rare because a lot of the grime mc’s have no talent whatsoever. They’re like somebody off “Britain’s Got Talent“. So you’ve got a lot of people who think as long as they say something shout and talk about some violent act that makes good music. But there’s a way of putting these violent scenes together that makes it talented. When a director makes a movie, he can’t just film somebody stabbing someone, he has to have talent to make it watchable. Whereas the mc’s today think because you’ve robbed one or two guys, or you’ve been to jail once, now they’re a good rapper. But it doesn’t mean you’re a good mc.
The album felt like a concerted effort to demonstrate the versatility of grime. Was this your aim?
Yeah because I’m showing people what grime actually is. Grime is not actually 140bpm. It’s actually grimy, it’s the aura of the music. It’s the vibration that it’s giving off. But some people get caught up in the tempo. Some people are caught up in some disco era, and don’t realise grime has nothing to do with the tempo. I can spit grime bars on a Jackson 5 beat. Grime is defined by the vibe you’re bringing to it. Because no one’s sitting there counting 140 beats. Grime is the aura or the vibe coming off the tune.
Was there an intention to make the album distinctly British?
The album’s got a real sound to it. And I wanted to make that, because I know some people are against that sort of music coming through. But I just wanted to show people they can’t stop it. And show people grime is stronger than ever.
Do you feel grime has been watered down?
What it is, grime is grimey and it’s better than ever. But what it is there’s more sellouts than ever. Back in the day people didn’t have the opportunity to sell out. So we just regarded everybody as real, and we thought that grime was just real. But as soon as the opportunity’s arose, and big companies wanted to give people contracts I noticed that some people weren’t really the guy they said they were. You’ve still got real mc’s there, it’s just that they ain’t really getting the right exposure because you’ve got people clogging up the game with their commercial music. But to tell the truth grime has got better. It’s faster nowadays. Back in the day you used to have to cut tunes on vinyl, now you can just e-mail you’re tune around, or upload it.
Do you feel there are any artists in the game flying the flag for grime like you do?
I think that’s what makes my team Bloodline unique. You haven’t got artists out there who will speak out against any fuckery that’s going on. Anything that I see that I don’t thinks right, or anyone I see moving a bit funny, I will just say it. A lot of artists aren’t dickheads, they can hod their own, they’ve got their crew or whatever. But they ain’t really man enough to speak out. A lot of people are in the gym pushing all these KG, but they won’t tell a man that he’s shit, or that’s he’s a prick, or that’s he’s a snake. So that’s what separates my team from everyone else.
Do you feel that’s what’s hurting grime then? People are too worried about their careers to be real and step on any toes?
That’s it right there exactly. “Fire & Smoke” didn’t get the support it should have had because a lot of people were scared to retweet the link because they were scared they might upset Wiley. A lot of people have spoken to me like: “H, I love your stuff but i can’t really afford to get involved.” If people weren’t like that “Fire & Smoke” would probably be number 1 internationally. But some people feel supporting my music will upset JME, and that will somehow hinder their career. I always say to people if your career is based on impressing JME, then you don’t have a career. There’s been many young artists who have come through, who’ve had nothing to do with Wiley and nothing to do with JME. I’d understand if it was someone like The Beatles, but JME? Really and truly it’s just music to tell the truth. Because me and JME don’t really have problems. Because me and JME grew up together, if I were to diss JME I don’t think it’d go any further than cussing.
Is this common knowledge?
I think people know this. Because a lot of people have been blocked on Twitter by Wiley, just for associating with me. I tell people you don’t need to be part of that. That’s not grime, whatever they’re doing is not grime. Really and truly I think it’s good to tell the truth, because when a so called enemy hates you that means you’re doing something right. So the only way they can stop me is of i’m putting out music. And as long as I’m putting out music it’s a wrap for them.
Do you have a plan to get your music out past any barriers?
My aim was always just to give the music directly to the people. Cut out all the Logan Sama‘s, and all of the middle men and go directly to the people. I just go around the middle men, and approach the fans directly. That was the approach I had with “Street Crime UK” it worked, and I thought I’ll just do it again. Because really and truly the can’t stop that, and I more talented than most of them anyway, they’re just hating.
How do you feel about you’re flow being used by other people?
I think it’s pointless, because it’s like why make a flavour that already exists? There’s only one salt and vinegar flavour. If you like my music don’t imitate it, just listen to it. And if you see other people just tell them about my music. You haven’t got to try an imitate me, and get in on my business, and eat off my plate. You can’t actually stop it. I can’t stop people biting, but after a while it gets a bit irritating. Because then you’ve got people using the flow, who don’t even know where it’s from after a while.
When JME and Skepta started using your flow were you on good terms then?
How things started there was a shooting in our area, a few man went jail, and we all split up. So I think they thought while there’s no eyes on them, “Let’s get a head start in this music thing, while everyone’s in drama” Then they started running with this Boy Betta Know thing. Boy Betta Know.com, Boy Betta Know sim cards. And I thought “Flippin’ Hell man are going a bit far with it” But it was a tip where they done it while Bossman was in jail, people were on bail. Then Skepta got popular. People don’t see it like that. They think Skepta was always talented, and he was just waiting for the right time to mc. It wasn’t that, he DJ’d and and he listened to my bars while I was mcing and pirated (stole) them. But he probably thought at the time of the shooting that I was never gonna mc again. That’s how a lot people viewed it, because a lot of people have never been through stuff like that. Some people got life in jail, some people stopped coming round the area, they thought these people are never gonna mc again. That’s why people only care about a few mc’s in grime. Because most mc’s are biters, and there’s only a few originators.
So who influenced you?
I used to listen to a lot of drum and bass, because when I was growing up the only street music you could get in the UK was drum and bass. You had Skibadee, Bassman, Shabadee and people like that. I used to listen to them and think: “These lot are hard. I wanna get on radio and spit bars.”
Are you planning shows?
I’m sorting out a tour for halfway through this year. We’re in talks to have some shows for the real grime fans. We basically want an alternative to Eskimo Dance, because some people don’t like Eskimo Dance. It shouldn’t be one sided in the game.
What do you try and say when writing bars?
I just try and keep it real though. I look out for the things that have never been said. And I try and get them said if they relate to me. I feel like I’m unique, so saying a bar like “what you gonna do when your car gets towed? “Walk in the rain? Might catch cold?” is a simple thing to say, but it’s relatable.
It’s almost like observational comedy.
Yeah, and I must’ve walked in the rain, or I must’ve had a car towed once!
Do you ever plan to sign to a label?
I don’t plan to go mainstream, I’d just rather motive the people to buy the music. We need to support the music more. A lot of people see things come out but don’t buy it, because they think somebody else is gonna buy it. If everybody that listened to grime bought it, the scene would be a lot further. We wouldn’t be begging it off other people to listen to it, and we wouldn’t be trying to crossover. Like when Diddy done “Hello Good Morning Remix” with Skepta, everyone got excited but what was it really? It was appalling because Diddy compared to a grime mc is nothing.
What are your plans for the future?
I’ve got this company “Zing Zing Zoom” we’re looking to be real innovative, and bring out real artists and real products. Anything interesting we’re looking to be involved in. I’ve got a little cousin of mine that I’m trying to bring through. He’s still in primary school but he can mc. I’ve got a label so I really want to push him through. And also midway through this year I’ve got a new project I’m looking to get out, I should be announcing that in the next month. There’s also a Bloodline album coming out this year.
Thanks man, all the best.