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Lethal Bizzle: Back to Bizznizz Tour

Lethal Bizzle Lethal Bizzle chats about his sell-out gigs across the UK, the future of hip-hop, and reveals his most exciting collaboration to date.

Your performed your Back to Bizznizz tour in 2007; how did that go?

Lethal Bizzle: Yeah, the tour’s been really, really good. It’s given me a chance to see who the fan base is, you know, cos I’ve been touring like forever with so many different acts and stuff. So to actually see who my fans are ... it’s been a good experience. All the tour has gone really, really well. Every show has been amazing, but some shows have been ridiculously amazing. Sheffield was definitely a special one, and Brighton.

What types of venues have you been playing?

Lethal Bizzle: A lot of them have been really huge: 500 plus, 1,000 plus. I prefer the intimate ones to be honest with you. It reminds me of back in the day when I used to be on the underground in those small grimey gritty clubs and everyone’s moshing and going crazy, you know. I’m enjoying revisiting that moment, man.

Do you prefer the smaller venues to festivals?

Lethal Bizzle: They have totally different vibes, man. Festivals are like Christmas for me. The buzz is like nothing else. There are so many bands going on and I think if someone comes to your show they are coming to see you. And if they’re coming to see you then they’re going to make the most of it because, you know, fucking Bloc Party or Arctic Monkeys could be on at the same time. Festivals for me are definitely a bit more special, but I enjoy both of them, man.

Leeds and Reading are synonymous for being indie/rock festivals. Did you feel like you had to win people over while you were there because people may not be there for the hip-hop or the rap?

Lethal Bizzle: No! I think that’s probably why I probably get accepted because - not in a rude way - I don’t really give a shit. I go on there to do what I do, and if you like it you like it. That’s the attitude I have. That was the first one, I remember it clearly. And we killed it! Up until that point that was probably one of the best shows we’d done, up until the new Reading that just went by. But I don’t feel like I have to win people over, I just do what I do.

Some of tracks on your album, Back to Bizznizz, have a real punk influence. Is that something you intentionally did because you’re a fan of that music or did it just fit in well with the rest of the material?

Lethal Bizzle: No, on this album I definitely wanted to do something different. As well as doing the whole original Bizzle tracks I definitely wanted to try something else out. For me I’ve been doing this thing for so long, and the grime scene was getting so boring at one point. Akira The Don played me so many different tracks: old school punk, old school hip-hop, old school rap... When I came across the Babylon’s Burning and the Police on my Back one it just instantly inspired me – the lyrics just came.

I can’t just go to a studio and hear a beat and start writing. I really need to feel the beat and be like “oh shit, I like this”. And that’s what happened with those two records, you know; Babylon’s Burning, I felt that I wanted to address certain things that was happening; Police on my Back inspired me to tell a true story that happened to me back in the day. It was just pure inspiration and something I wanted to do. It was nothing forced or anything, I just thought: “You know what, this is cool, this is different, this ain’t been done before. I can work at this, man.”

When you and the More Fire Crew decided to go your separate ways in 2005, was this a mutual thing?

Lethal Bizzle: Yeah, man. Me and Ozzie were still together, you know. We formed Fire Camp. But Neeko, he did his own thing. I think people’s heads were in a different place, you know. After the More Fire thing, things weren't really going the way they were supposed to. In the end it was all cool; there was no hatred or anything. Neeko’s just doing his thing. We don’t really speak anymore. More Fire was a good time – it was probably my degree of the whole industry. I learnt so much from being in More Fire Crew, so I don’t regret anything that happened in the past.

And after that you moved on and released Against All Odds and the single Pow. Did you ever get a feeling it would get as big as it did?

Lethal Bizzle: Nah. The song was planned in my head before it was recorded, so I knew how it was gonna sound. I knew it was gonna be a big track, and initially all I wanted it to really do was respond to Oi! because that was like another huge monster for me. It was so big and people used to be thinking, “Oh, you lot can’t follow up from Oi!” So that was my main objective: I just wanted to make another song as big as Oi! But the way it went off and just really kind of took over the country and parts of the world – I never expected that, man.

You spoke on MTV Bass of how in the UK there isn’t a big outlet for people involved in the urban scene. Do you still feel this way?

Lethal Bizzle: Yeah, most definitely. I think that’s why there’s only people like me and Dizzie Rascal still out there doing our thing. Because as much as we’ve come from the underground we’ve kind of been embraced by other mediums and other genres which have taken us in. I definitely think there’s not enough, man. The new pop is rock ‘n’ roll and indie, you know. Back in the day you used to look into the industry and the charts used to be pop bands and all these cheesy girl groups and stuff, but you look at the charts now and it’s just straight indie bands, rock ‘n’ roll bands, singer-songwriters; their outlets are huge.

Radio 1 is a predominant indie and rock ‘n’ roll station. A lot of the A&Rs are indie fans, so there aren’t a lot of people who understand the music we make in the powers that be. That’s part of the problem why it’s not penetrating as much as it should. Slowly but surely the transition I’ve made is showing that there is potential in this music and people do want this music. All I’m doing is opening doors because people are gonna want to know where this new sound is from and where I’m from, you know. If a rapper got signed and an indie band got signed to the same label the indie band has got more of a chance of breaking through, simply because the outlets of each of them are totally different.

You’ve collaborated with a number of artists: Gallows, Babyshambles and Kate Nash. Who have you most enjoyed working with?

Lethal Bizzle: That’s a hard one, man. Probably Gallows; it was so random: we literally just met each other in Texas and they knew who I was. I was like: “How the hell do you know who I am?” They were like: “We’ve heard about your new single Babylon’s Burning - we are gonna cover a track from the Ruts – do you wanna jump on it?” I was like “Yeah, let me hear it and I’ll see what I’ll do!” When I got back to London I got a message on MySpace saying “check this track out”. I listened to it and got another message saying “We need you to record it tomorrow.” I was like, okay...I went to the studio and met the guys. It was really random and spontaneous. In the end it went on the album and was released as a single; that reached the top 40.

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Lethal Bizzle - Going Out Tonight (V2 Records)
Grime is dead, long live grime.
Lethal Bizzle - Going Out Tonight (V2 Records)
Bizzle's shizzle continues to dazzle with this funky, repetitive tune.
Lethal Bizzle: Back to Bizznizz Tour
The hip-hop sensation chats about his sell-out gigs across the UK, and reveals his most exciting collaboration to date.
Lethal Bizzle's website
Lethal Bizzle on MySpace
Published: 21/01/2008 at 04:27
Author: Amanda Briggs
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