Crusada is a West London born and bred MC who has a great deal to get off his chest. He has lofty ambitions and appears to be approaching the business the right way. After growing his name by via the self released mixtape grind, read what he had to say to www.britishhiphop.co.uk before he blows up…
OK, let’s get straight into this. Can you introduce yourself and tell us where did you grow up & where do you live now?
Crusada: My names Crusada I was raised in Acton W3 and now live in Hammersmith.
What is the hip hop scene there like?
Crusada: Hip hop is big in West London; it’s probably got the biggest musical influence.
Can you break down some of the history of hip hop where you are from back in the day? Who influenced you and made you think, yeah we can do this?
Crusada: My earliest memory of artist from London was London Posse, Silver Bullet, Eric B, MCD. They were putting shit down in the 80s. I’m probably the first gut to put out any albums from my immediate zones.
Since those early days, how has the scene developed over the years? Who are the acts that have come and gone and apart from yourselves, who is prevailing and building a bit of a following?
Crusada: Its changed a lot more people have better opportunity in hip hop, but still not enough. Around my way people like Fyaman, Big Roe, Frizzle, Turbalance, Podgy, there’s a lot of guys doing their thing.
How would you describe yourself and how did you come by your name?
Crusada: I would say I’m a noble swordsman, lol, someone who plays by the rules, because I’ve studied them. My style is rugged but swift, clear and precise. My name is self explanatory this won’t stop until the mission is completed.
Are you affiliated with any other crews and are you working with any young cats you are hoping to bring through? Who should we look out for?
Crusada: I’m working with Church Beats, have been for 7 years, lol, also Quincy Tones, Wraped Up Entertainment, man I work with a lot of people. All of the above will all be putting out material featuring Crusada.
Describe for us your production and recording set up. What equipment do you have? Do you still have to take your stuff to a professional studio to record and mix down on a multi track?
Crusada: My personal set up is quite simple, MPC2000, PC midi keyboard, mixing desk, and a whole lot of virtual instruments lol. I build at home then take beats elsewhere to be mixed and mastered.
So talk us through your recording career so far. Have you had any records out in the past or collaborated with other artists?
Crusada: I’ve put 2 albums out under W3 productions the first was called Mafiosa featuring Midnight and the 2nd EP was called Project X. Both sold thousands independently. I also put out 4000 copies of my mixtape West Worrioz for the street to feel. The most well known artist I’ve worked with are MCD, Rodney P, the top 10 single featuring Sia taken for granted.
What sort of a response do you get from the rest of the country, and are there regional differences you can discern? Are there any reasons for this?
Crusada: I can honestly say I don’t meet many people who don’t feel Crusada. It’s a fact that if you love hip hop, you will love Crusada and what I represent.
Who are your influences? What is it about them you like?
Crusada: My influences are Naz, Wu Tang, Rakim, Dougie Fresh, Sunz Of Man, Gravediggerz. All these people had something to say on the mike. It was always about ability with these people, and a message, you have to have that.
What music are you listening to at the moment?
Crusada: I can only listen to old school hip hop cause this new school shit is ridiculas. I listen to Mobb Deep 96, Naz or Wu 94 95 96.
How long have you been involved in music?
Crusada: I’ve been involved in music more or less all my life.
So, when did you first move to become a hip hop practitioner, rather than consumer? What elements did you toy with? Was it straight MCing from day 1?
Crusada: Around 95 I became serious, I used to MC to ragga when I was young, so it was a natural progression into hip hop. I always knew I could produce, but rapping came first, now I do both.
How do you feel about the current state of UK Hip Hop? Do you object to being categorised in this way?
Crusada: Hip hop is in a very bad way. People have forgotten what the ingredients are, and as a result you have a cake baked with not enough flour. Have you ever tasted a cake with not enough flower? Lol, right you understand back to basics is what I say quickly.
Do you think it is getting better or worse and why?
Crusada: It’s going down the pan because society needs have changed. People want to see diamonds, cars, lavish lives, because secretly most people crave that. People ain’t interested in skillz no more and that’s killin hip hop cause hip hops foundation is based on lyrical ability.
Who are the UK artists you listen to and admire?
Crusada: All my peeps I mentioned earlier some of the best out there trust, but I also like Swiss, Kyza, Asher D, Skinnyman.
Who are your UK influences?
Crusada: Rodney P, MCD.
Who or what are your other influences?
Crusada: My family, my kids drive me to do what needs to be done. They are the future and need to understand the concept of working hard to achieving your goals in life.
What would you say are the 3 biggest events of your life?
Crusada: The biggest events in my life are my acting carreer, going to prison, and becoming a father.
When’s your new album out and what will be on it? Could you perhaps take us through some of the tracks describing the feel and what you were trying to get over in the lyrics?
Crusada: My next album is out mid 2007, although I have an EP dropping and a mixtape / DVD droppin before then. It’s called Who’s Crusada and its coming out under Church Beats. There are so many different tracks on the project club joints street joints, story telling joints everything, the objective is for you to know me once you’ve heard the album. There’s a track Emotion on there, where I’m talking about human feelings which most of us have, in different examples.
What did you aim to achieve with the record and do you feel you did it?
Crusada: I wanted to remind people about writing songs with meaning, I hope I did that, you decide, lol.
Tell our readers why they should listen to you.
Crusada: Crusada represents purity everybody talking about keeping it real but most are real fake. When you hear the truth you feel it in your chest, undeniable flows, good lyrics and always addressing something.
For the uninitiated, which of your single or album tracks would you highlight to others?
Crusada: A Soldiers Story is a big track, emotions is also big there something for everybody you dig?
What have you learned from your recording, performing and business experiences so far? What advice would you have for anyone trying to get out there now?
Crusada: It took along time to build the Empire State Building, apply that to the rap game. If you’re serious about music remember it’s the hardest business in the world, but don’t let that hinder your dreams. Stay focus, dedicated and committed.
Do you do many live shows? Do you have plans to get out to a wider audience? How do you view the internet? Do you think it is a useful promotional tool and a good way of getting out there?
Crusada: Performing is an area I need to more in, I do perform but not enough. My new management team 7thirty will hopefully sort that out for me. The internet is great if you use it right. A lot of opportunities have come from the internet.
Do you have any plans to get your own online presence? What would you want to achieve with that?
I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on, but most current hip hop heads decline to answer. I guess they don’t want to upset anyone. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?
Crusada: Bush took the towers out and is now blaming Muslims, and as a result we are facing world war 3… that affects me and you.
Did you vote in the last election and why?
Crusada: I don’t vote because my vote means nothing in a country full of greedy MPs.
Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?
Crusada: I don’t think its just urban kids who are pissed off its more or less everyone. It’s the same old shit rich get rich of the policies the poor die.
What do you make of the smoking ban that will come into effect next summer?
Crusada: I’m all for it after being a smoker for years I now hate it.
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
Crusada: Probably racism, it’s a disease that can kill many.
What do you do when you are not doing hip hop stuff? And away from music, name one thing you’d like to do if all things were possible?
Crusada: I spend time with my family temp work gym try and always stay busy. I would like to travel to space on a one way trip, lol.
Where can people hear your stuff?
Where can people pick up your stuff?
Crusada: Via mail or any good independent record store and all my products and merchandise will soon be stocked at www.7thirtymixtapes.com.
Ok. To wind this up, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?
Crusada: My EP Da Warning, also the Back2Basic mixtape and hopefully more shows.
What are your longer term plans and objectives?
Crusada: I would like my production company to one day be a label where I can sign artists, and hopefully to be successful within hip hop one day.
Anything else you would like to say?
Crusada: Respect to everyone repping hip hop worldwide peace.