Chain Of Command are quite possibly the most sorted guys in this business. The London bred hip hop collective are exactly what we need to prove mainstream hip hop is worth nothing. This lot make guns, bitches, bling, and the chart toppers rocking them; all look like a complete joke.
But first off, I got give my sincerest of apologies… It was bound to happen one day. You see, I always make notes. Just in case I don’t catch some of the important bits artist’s say. But I never expected some twatass kid to press that yellow delete button. Honestly I am gutted seen a proper open and chilled interview. I wanted to scroll every word. But, I reckon I’ve captured a decent amount of what can only be described as an inspiring use of the English language from the guys, using my scrawls. But if I’m a bit off on some of it, I’m only a lil bgirl so please don’t hate.
So tell us about Chain Of Command… How did you guys get into hip hop and come together as a crew?
Manage: Well I’ve known CLG for years and I met Syanide through the scene and Conflix – like we met on the underground. And then you got Snuff with Speakers Corner… Speakers Corner is the Mecca of free speech.
Were you always into hip hop?
Manage: Yeh, I’ve always been into hip hop. You know, I used to all the early 90’s DJ and Jungle stuff.
Who were the 1st hip hop artists you really got into?
Manage: Well, you know, it was stuff like Public Enemy. And that Demon Boys album, Recognition, from like 88-89. And yeh, KRS-1, Big Daddy Kane….
Who are you feeling on the scene at the moment?
Manage: Lots of the British acts like Dubbledge…
Ye, he’s doing some stuff with you at Speakers Corner isn’t he?
Manage: Ye he is. It’s basically all the artists we’re working with and supporting. You know Verb T… This new act that’s coming out, First and Last, I’m into their stuff.
Do you practice any other areas of the culture like breaking or graffin or owt?
Manage: I used to graff. Yeh. Well, I used to go bombing. Never tried breakin’ – I’d just end up breakin’ ma legs! It’s all about the rapping and beatboxing and that. And I do producing aswell.
So do you produce all your own stuff then or do have producers coming in to work with you?
Manage: Nah. We have producers who work with us, I just do producing for other people.
You had Rogue State EP out earlier this year, what was the writing process for that like? Are you guys more spontaneous or is it all planned?
Manage: Well different members work in different ways. Like I know CLG has to sit down and map it all out. With me it’s more spontaneous, like I’m on the bus putting a couple of lines into my phone. As a group we don’t ever really write together. Probably cos we’d end up getting nowt done and just be blazin weed and that… haha.
Do you freestyle at all at your live shows?
Manage: Not really anymore. Back in the days when I didn’t have any tracks I used to freestyle on stage all the time. But now it’s like we play gigs and we have tracks that we obviously want to play to the audience.
How important do you think being out of your comfort zone is for you as an artist? Like, there are bare MCs who are just wanting to stay tight in their ends, and there’s others who want to go do other shit and get a different view…
Manage: It goes back to that whole ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ saying. But I think all MCs do grow and develop, cos when you start off you’ve just got the basic words and then you move onto multi syllable stuff and new rhythms… Ye. Really, all MCs develop like that.
Hip hop getting so much negative media at the moment. What’s your take on the whole ‘guns bitches and bling’ front?
Manage: The past few years hip hop has gone back to it’s grass roots. As artists you just go on, make your music. There are people who will just listen to the commercial stuff. You know, people who will just turn on the radio during the day and the music is just there. Just something to fill the air with. Not something to hold on to and live through.
How do you feel about the way the media is feeding the public more pointless mess than the real important shit that’s going down? Do you think it’s twisted?
Manage: It’s all just casual propaganda. I think we’re all used to it, we’ve all become adapted to it ourselves as individuals.
I know how you guys never really want to try to change people’s minds – you’re more about talking to like-minded people. But do you ever consider perhaps focussing on those who don’t have any idea about the stuff you’re saying? You know, completely switching someone’s mindset round?
Manage: We would like to do that. But, it’s like, we don’t sit down and whole heartedly think about it. We don’t really bother with getting out into the mainstream to do that.
You tend to stress how there is nothing you feel you can’t talk about. You don’t want to stick to what society labels as politically acceptable. But are there any topics at all you feel uncomfortable addressing? Or maybe any you feel are more important to get across?
Manage: Our music isn’t manufactured. It’s just what we want to say. I’m a strong believer in freedom of speech. There’s nothing I think should or shouldn’t be said. Listeners have the freedom to disagree with what we are saying. It’s not like we listen to the news and then regurgitate it. We don’t work like that.
I know Syanyde made that short film about prisons a while back. Is the independent film industry something you’d want to get more into?
Manage: Yeh yeh I was in that you know! It is something we’d want to explore in the future but I think right now it’s about focussing on the music and the rapping. We’re just knee deep in this at the moment.
So what have you got planned for this upcoming year then? Any touring?
Manage: We’re all working on solo stuff at the moment. I’ve got EP coming out. The rest of crew are all doing solo projects. We’re heavily into Speaker’s Corner. And End Of The Weak – our new MCing competition. We’ve done a lot of touring! Played tons of gigs and that. But we’ll have some more shows.
Cool. Do you think you might take Speaker’s Corner further out of London?
Manage: We want to do some road shows. We have done some stuff out of London, like we did Drop Beats Not Bombs in Birmingham. We definitely want to take it to some more major cities.
Snuff: We have a proper live band with us at Speakers Corner. Bassists, cellos, live drummer. It’s kind of like a jazz band. But … ye… We even have a harp player.
Snuff: Yeh. A harp.
Is there anything else you want to tell your British audience? And any aspiring MCs out there?
Manage: Just stick to it. Find yourself. Never be ashamed of who you are. Just be honest and put yourself across right.
Snuff: The U.K. is rising, just listen to the lyrics and take it in.
I personally hope these guys stick to it, and steer clear of the mainstream. Because loosing Chain of Command and Speaker’s Corner pioneers would be like holding a George Foreman grill to the face of honest U.K. hip hop.
- Check out the solo projects when they drop. http://www.myspace.com/chainofcommand06
- And if you’ve been living in a plant pot, it’s time to welcome the world of Speakers Corner into your life: http://www.myspace.com/speakerscorner
- Plus, MCs shouldn’t hesitate to hop onto their clearly by the name talent only comps – End Of The Weak. http://www.myspace.com/endoftheweakuk