free download + interview: brotherman doesn’t do bravado – ‘the tapes vol. 1’
By Sound Check
November 13, 2013
UK artist Brotherman’s passion for hip hop began at the tender age of 14. Since then, he has worked hard to become a prominent figure amongst the UK hip hop underground. To label him a rapper would be a dense move. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to observe his art, The Tapes Vol. 1 finds Brotherman switching effortlessly between spoken word to rap to reggae crooner/emcee.
The Tapes Vol. 1 is a 6 track poetic dialogue exploring his deepest feelings and memories, supported by authentic boom bap beats. Overall, it is a very well rounded project and well worth a download. There’s really no reason not to… it’s free!
Brotherman speaks to AFROPUNK about his new free EP, the UK mainstream media and why he doesn’t need them.
Interview by Ayara Pommells, AFROPUNK Contributor *
Tell us about the creative process behind The Tapes Vol. 1
The Tapes series is a vehicle for me to release music that won’t get an official release – there’s a huge amount of music in the world which will never be heard and it seems like such a waste when it’s so easy to get music to the listeners.
Volume 1 is a collection of tracks over some of my favorite beats, the tracklist has built up over a few years as part of my live show, almost by accident, I just wrote to the instrumentals for fun – to practice. Then once I was using them as part of my set I’d just record them in downtime in the studio.
It’s been years since my debut release, ‘The Dark/The Light’, and bar a Record Store Day exclusive record earlier this year – a reprise of ‘Heart of Dem’, and a few guest verses, I wanted to let everyone know I wasn’t sitting idly, but developing my craft.
What made you decide to give this project away for free?
It was never a decision I had to make for this project, it was never intended as a commercial release I just wanted people to hear what I’d been up to!
In “Piece of Pavement”, we hear your Caribbean influence clearly. In “Memories”, you list some of your fondest memories. Who are some of your biggest influences from the islands and why?
Having spent a large proportion of my childhood living in the Caribbean the influence is effortless – it is a part of me. Musically, obviously The Wailers are a huge influence, there’s very little music in the world they haven’t influenced.
Last week, Dizzee Rascal went off on Twitter. Part of the rant was that he felt that mainstream supports more American artists than its own. Does the UK nurture its own hip hop enough?
The UK scene is really strong at the moment – its not, and never has been, about mainstream support. The mainstream media will push whatever the mainstream audience wants – as fans we need to remember that we’re in control, if we want to hear something we’ve got to show it support. And as artists we’ve got to make music that people will DEMAND from the radio. But we don’t need the mainstream media, the scene has built its own infrastructure that supports the talent that inhabit it, Boom Bap Festival and Don’t Flop are great examples of that.
Is our music/entertainment media racist over here in the UK?
No, I don’t think so – I can’t think of any examples of racism affecting an artist’s coverage in the media.
Describe the spirit of the UK in just one sentence or word?
Which other UK artists are on your playlist right now?
A lot of the hip hop we’re producing gets regular play, Essa is dropping tracks from his FRMX project which is really exciting, few people can mix it up like him, High Focus’s output is seriously impressive, every artist on that label is amazingly talented in their own, individual way, similarly with YNR, and, of course, my brother Stranger. Outside the world of rap we have some incredible unground talent in singers like Eva Lazarus and Rag-n-Bone Man.
What’s different about Brotherman?
I’m not about bravado nor do I have an aggressive outlook, I’m an avant-garde poet who loves music and wants to tell anyone who will listen my story. My tracks represent me and how I feel about the world around me. I’m not afraid to express myself or step outside what others may consider conventional rap.
Why should our readers download your project?
It might just turn out to be your favorite record…
Brotherman is also featured on the new Heavy Ear Play EP (Roast Beatz) alongside Action Bronson and well known UK rappers Jehst and Stig of the Dump. Besides, he released a 7″ picture disc vinyl earlier in the year, a reprise of ‘Heart of Dem’ from his first album ‘The Dark/The Light’ featuring a 9-piece band.
To find out more check out www.itsbrotherman.co.uk
* All photography and artwork by Rob Luckins*
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