South London's Skandal’s debut release was the Project A EP, but he created a bit more of a splash at the end of 2009 when he dropped his Hunger Pains CD which was mixed and presented by Kiss FM's very own mixtape king, DJ MK. In fact the release received almost universal acclaim! He’s working with the best producers the UK has to offer, including Beat Butcha, Chemo and the Last Skeptik and with his next single 'Kill Em with the Flow' due in March Max Weldon caught up with the man to find out more.
You’ve got a bit of a buzz around you right now - can you give us a quick breakdown of how you got to the position you’re in now?
Skandal: That came from a lot of hard work, help from my producers (Beat Butcha, Chemo and the Last Skeptik) plus an excellent job from my PR Charlee over at Vision. The cosign from DJ MK done wonders for me also. Big ups to ukrecordshop.com as well, Adz and Aj really held me down. Basically most of the scene has been behind me.
How did you get into Hip Hop?
Skandal: Well I'd always liked the odd song as a kid but I latched more onto jungle as a younger. Hip hop kinda came later, late De La Soul (Oooh feat Redman), Wu Tang (Gravel Pit) and Mystikal (Shake Ya Ass) was getting a lot of play on MTV and that really grabbed me. I went out and bought all three albums. Then after that I grabbed 36 Chambers - so you can see the direction I went in. But I love all sub genres, maybe that's why I chose the beats I do.
Your Hunger Pains project presented by MK seemed to go down pretty well - where you pleased with the response?
Skandal: Yeah it seemed to didn't it? I was very pleased but in no way complacent with how things went. I want a WHOLE lot more for the next release.
The Independent gave you ‘Album of the Week’. That kind of mainstream acceptance for home grown Hip Hop is rare. Was it a boost for you?
Skandal: A real boost. I was jumping around my flat for like two hours lol.
How would you describe your style and what sets you apart from other emcees?
Skandal: To tell the truth I'm still finding what I'd call my style. I'm still an amalgam of everyone I rate and listen too. But I'm slowly coming into my own. As for setting apart, I'd say work rate.
Who do you look up to in the UK scene?
Skandal: Has to be Roots Manuva, he's maintained a highly successful rap career for more than ten years. Still sells out tours and and shows, consistently releases good music and is a legend out here. Chester P as well, he pretty much fathered my style (indirectly) in the early days. For that fact I gotta pay homage. But I respect all of my peers, in some way they can all do or have done something I can't or haven’t done.
Who is your favourite emcee of all time and why?
Skandal: You can't ask me that in an interview. That's something that needs considerable thought, pros and cons weighed up etc etc etc... That's very unfair! To tell the truth I don't know lol. A lot pop in to mind but all have released albums I weren’t fond of (Nas, Tupac, Biggie, Jay). But you know what; I really like Joe Budden, he's my favourite emcee of today!
Any producers you haven’t linked yet that you’d like to work with or you feel could compliment you?
Skandal: Mmm yeah, Davinche is crazy with it. I think we'd make crack! Hip Hop from the UK doesn’t seem to have as many fans as it did ten years ago. How far you do you think you can take your music?
Skandal: As far as my music will take me. I'm an artist, not a "hip hopper" if I feel to switch up and rap over dubstep for five years I will. I don't care about alienating fans. I'm here to make music I feel. Not for others.
You’re a fellow South Londoner. What are your thoughts on the borough snobbery the Dirty South has to endure from more ‘trendy’ areas such as East and North London ?
Skandal: As long as they don't personally offend me I couldn't care less. Every area has its pitfalls, North London have White Hart Lane and East London have Upton Park. Can't all be perfect can we?
What’s next for Skandal? (insert shameless promotion here)
Skandal: Check the single 'Kill Em with the Flow' produced by Beat Butcha dropping late march!