Jalporte from Derby has been putting it around for a while now and making a name for himself around the midlands. He is linked closely with Deprogrammed and has worked with Gnostix, but now his solo career is set to launch and so britishhiphop.co.uk had to catch up with him. Check out what he had to say…
OK, can you first introduce yourself and let the readers know a bit about where you are coming from?
Peace all, my name is Jalporte from out the midlands. Been rhyming since I was 14 now, but been loving music in general since I could get near a radio. Was previously working with a hard working bunch of lads called Deprogrammed, but now it’s all solo. For the statistics fans out there I am 5ft 10inches tall and weigh in at a little over 10 stone.
Where in the Midlands are you located? Is that where you grew up? What do you make of that area of the world?
I am out of Derby. Yep that where I grew up, well Normanton to be exact. Just a little rascal, who spent most of this time on basketball courts round the way. If not there I was out harassing poor pedestrians on my bike. It’s nice where I live at, I know all the little corners of my world and I like it. Don’t know if I would move out, if I had to I would go back to Manchester. I spent 5 years there and I think I still have a piece of my soul there. Yeah man both places I could quite happily set up shop in.
So your name Jalporte – that is a touch unusual. Can you explain why you chose it and what it means, what does it signify?
Quite simply it is my birth name. It’s my last name, and not a very Indian sounding name I know. Why I used my last name relates to how I feel about gimmicks. In simple terms I didn’t want any, so its you know the name Jalporte and you should the know the face.
Right, so how did you first get into Hip Hop, and when would this have been? Who introduced you to the sounds and which tracks opened your ears?
My first crossings with hip-hop was Snoop Dogg – Doggy Style, I had it on tape. After that I got a paper round, and saved up so I could get a CD like every third week. I got into Wu-Tang real quick; I just loved the grimy imagery they painted for me. More evident on none other then Gza – Liquid Swords, and too this day I still have that on rotation. After that the next landmark for me was when Jeru Da Damaja dropped Wrath Of The Math. That album was so real, and it really changed how I looked at hip-hop as a whole. More recently it has been a lot of Can-I-Bus, I just love that guys hard work ethic and not to mention I think he is the most intelligent rhymer on the planet. Would you battle him?
For some reason the Midlands seems to have been under represented in Hip Hop, with big conurbations, but not too many acts making it down to London. Why do you think that this is, or is the perception wrong?
I think for the most part it’s because nobody took the time to set up foundations here. For years you had artists in separate places across the midlands doing their own thing. In the last few years a lot of networking has gone on and that has helped no end of people. The more that goes on the better. It would be a very good idea if people kept an eye out for the midlands in the next year or so because there are some artists who are set to blow big time. For the most part its just been about trying to get everyone on the same page so we can push forward as a whole and not as five, ten, fifty separate acts.
So, after speaking about why, can you break down some of what has been happening Hip Hop wise in your manor and the surrounding areas over the last few years? What I mean is who were the local heads who have been performing, putting on shows and setting up pirate radio stations?
Where do I start, the list really is endless. Go check www.ontheone.net for information of local artists. There is of course www.alexblood.com who I worked with in Deprogrammed. Don’t forget Jonez and Fierce from that crew still. Rukus, Yogi and of course the mighty Baby J. Also some guy called Jalporte but I’m not sure how good he is?!
Do you remember back before then? Who were the first UK heads that brought Hip Hop to the public?
That is probably the same heads that everyone will list. All you got to do is look at people like SkinnyMan, and Rodney P. That old old crew, them boys there have been on the grind for so long and have so much respect. They deserve it man but its people like them who brought it to us all. My first dabs with UKHH was with Doyen D. Don’t what he is doing now but that guy’s material is still entertaining. Out of everyone in the UK though Phi-Life took my attention most of the time, Life and Philly are some of the most witty and talented rhymers I seen.
OK, what are the main club nights round your way?
What makes a good night out for you? Would it be a night when you were performing, or do you have a better time when you go to watch acts?
Performing every time. I can’t get enough of stages. I been on them since I was eight years old, its such a buzz. I don’t care if the world burns down around me, if I’m up there on stage nobody can hurt me and nothing can bother me. I go to a lot of gigs, try and see as much music as I can and I do just get a bit wild. Its just soul expression man and I need to let it out every now and then.
You have done over 50 gigs with Deprogrammed, what have been the best gigs you have done and why? And have there been any mad experiences you can share with the readers?
To me they were all good. Even the ones that went really badly wrong. Two of my favourites were one we did in Reading, supporting Jehst, Phi-Life, and Yungun. I think I had a poor showing at a gig like two days before so I needed a good one, and it just blew up. We had a good rowdy crowd and just vibed hard man. The other one was at Normanton Park, it was an outdoor stage so I had lots of room to throw myself about. It was good because its my hometown, and I grew up round there. But for the most part they were all good; I can’t wait to hit some big solo shows of my own. I’d like people to walk away with my name in my mouth as opposed to the other acts.
Is it a problem being from an area where there is, on the surface not much of a Hip Hop scene and less competition to make you raise your game? What are the bad points and what are the good things about being so far away from London where most of the UK’s music business is?
Not for me I don’t need competition because I compete with myself anyway. I am so vicious with my material, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to the music nothing is ever good enough in music and if you ever think that you have reached the top of your game you are a liar. You can never reach the top of your game because there is no top. I am too driven and too angry to not want to get better every day, I’m always trying to prove that point to myself. I don’t think it’s a problem being away from London, we have just as much talent here as they do. If there was a problem it would be that because of the network of contacts they have down there it’s easier to meet some of the more established names there. More big name players in London then up here. But I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that our air is much more smog free.
What label are you connected with? You need a way of getting your music out there. Can you tell us about how the label came into existence, who runs and owns it and what the main aims of the label are?
As of yet I’m starting from the bottom so I don’t have a label unfortuantly. I’m sure that all in good time and if I work hard enough I can be a majority shareholder in DefJam or Aftermath. Sitting in a suit on a leather sofa next to Jay-Z, Russell Simmons and maybe Dre.
OK, so can you take us through your recording career so far? I know you have made numerous demos and there was the Deprogrammed stuff?
Did a track on the very first Blood and Jonez EP called Purified Perceptions. That was my first release. Did some other work on the “Friends of the Family” LP, it was on a track called “Children of the Water”. After that I put out a demo CD which was me rhyming over dubs, which was cleverly called “Dubstates” (see the genius there). I have recorded quite a few tracks over the years but never had the opportunity or the equipment to push them out there. My time is now.
Now you have some solo material dropping, the Farewell Aquarius EP. Can you break down the tracks on there and tell the punters what they can expect both in terms of beats and lyrical content?
The project as a whole, the artwork, music and website has been done so that it’s like wet clay. You as an individual can mould it into whatever you want it to be. It’s a mix of all sorts of beats and rhymes. Lyrically I’m just like you. I am a normal frustrated young man lost on planet earth and that’s what I am trying to express. It’s like the rhymes of the working class to be honest. There is a cheeky tune on there that is dedicated some UKHH crowds, that track is called “Feedback”. My favourite track to write was the first one on the EP called “Redpill”. The beats have been very kindly provided by Alex Blood and Dave Rogers, and they are all banging beats with a lot of depth and vibe.
You have been pretty underground and had little exposure (sorry). Is there a reason for this, have you had other things on your plate which have meant that in the past you haven’t been able to devote as much time to this as you would like, or are you working on a longer term game plan?
Sorry for nothing mate don’t be. I have been underground for a long time. I’ve been in hibernation for a long time and most of the time I think was wasted by me. Much of why I never stepped up earlier is personal, long story short I wasted a few years chasing something that I now know was never going to happen. Based on that I’m angry about it and explosive now. I’ve coupled that fury with the basic fact that I need cash to fund the projects and I’m on the way now. As far as I am concerned now my battle lines have been drawn, and make no mistake about it I’ll be dead a long time before I ever give up.
What will you be doing to promote your new release?
Interviews on www.britishiphop.co.uk. I’ll be doing gigs galore also. I have very defined goals and one them is that I want to have done over a hundred gigs over a period of time (I wont say how long cause you will think I have lost the plot). Other then that it’s just going to be to work hard and bombard you human beings with the name and music, till you cant get enough of me.
Can you let us in on what we can expect from you in the future?
More music and the Foetus project. The Foetus project is going to be a giant open forum of sorts for painters, graff artists, photographers, actors basically art forms that don’t involve music. It’s a vision at the moment but it will be alive as soon as I get funding. The Foetus Project is coming.
Are you a straight up MC, or do you dabble in production as well? What areas are you looking to develop into?
I play electric guitar and have written some acoustic stuff and HELL NO you won’t see me do that live. Well not yet anyway. I’m too impatient to be a producer although I would like to try. I think that what producers do is amazing, I find it a wonder to watch them work.
Can you talk us through how you would go about writing a verse? Would it stem from a freestyle, or would you start with a specific theme or topic in mind, or do you get beats off people and write something that fits into the music?
Well I write every day, so some of my stuff is blueprinted from things I have already written. I don’t know how I do it to be honest, I hear a beat and my hand just says “right then I’m off this way and that way and I’ll throw a letter in here” and before you know it I have a verse. Trying to break the science down is awkward because it’s such a soul movement when I write. I’m more a person that goes on feel then someone that tries to break down the scientific philosophies of how to write a song. They really do write themselves.
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?
Work hard, the rest will fall into place. Wear a stab proof vest cause people will try and put a knife in your back the first chance they get.
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?
Erm not really. I am too spiritual to worry about politicos. The universe and the higher power have a master plan laid out and we stick to it. Your karma will catch you and on that basis it makes politics null and void to me. I don’t answer to the government or people I just answer to myself and the universe. As long as I don’t upset those two characters I’ll be fine, as will the world.
Did any of you vote in the last election and why?
I did not because I believe that regardless of which party is in power you will get screwed anyway so whats the point. I spent some time in India and saw a lot of poverty and when you see it first hand you come back to this country and you are happy with things the way they are believe me.
What do you think of George Galloway and his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother?
I think Big Brother is for chimps to watch chimps. It’s like watching animal behavioural psychology at the zoo. If I ever went into that house it would be to set the place on fire. Or to meet Cathy Davey when she is famous enough to be in the house.
What do you make of the ongoing situation in Iraq? And who do you think is making Tony Blair make so many bad decisions?
I steer clear of the Iraq question as much as I can. The way I figure Blair lied as much as Saddam so give them both death penalty and be done with it. We all make bad decisions and Tony is human too so its probably bad judgement on his part. Who knows what the motives are, and the sad truth is that we never will know.
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
Nothing at all cause it would create a great imbalance that would offset the rest of time. Who am I to upset the master plan.
UK Hip Hop is still getting some press, and this has been good for the last couple of years, but yet our homegrown music rarely breaks the charts and many people purely check for US material. What are the reasons for this and how can the situation be remedied?
For the most part I think the big wig record execs are struggling to market the product. There are people who have not far come out of the Britpop era and in this country used to dealing with rock, and R’n’B bands. Then all of sudden this new wave comes at them, they probably don’t know how to market it. Once the big wigs acclimatise the US won’t know what hit it. Just give it time.
Outside your crew who are the UK artists you listen to and admire? What is it about them you like?
Ahh man I have so much in my collection, I have everything from Rock to Classical music. I am a fan of music and not of genres. I just love music. Ok well my top three albums just to give you an idea are:
Mezzanine – Massive Attack
Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd
Wrath Of The Math – Jeru Da Damaja
Who would you like to work with in the future? Would collaborating with a big US name interest you? Even if it doesn’t, if the opportunity came along it could be a good way to get you name out further afield couldn’t it?
Jay-Z was lucky enough to jack the opportunity before me but I would have loved to have done something with Linkin Park. If not them I would love to work with a live band set up like Ty does.
Where can people pick up your stuff?
The EP will be in shops soon, you can also catch me at gigs and get a hand delivered copy. After that just throw me an email at the website.
What do you make of the internet? You have the www.jalporte.co.uk website which seems to be a work in progress. What can people expect to get there?
Got some MP3’s with samples of the EP for you to get at. Bio which was done as an interview. I also have an open gallery. This is called “dreamscape” so if you have a picture that you feel captures the moment send it in and I’ll post it for you. I also have the Online Journal which is my diary. I will be posting up there regularly; it’s very personal and is literally like my diary. You know the kind you used to hide from people when you was a kid, well mine is online for people to know me inside. The site is indeed a work in progress, it’s a living being and I want it to evolve as such.
Do you have any plans for your own online presence?
I’m on MSN a lot and if you’re lucky enough I might turn the webcam on for you babe!
OK. To wind this up, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?
Her name is AQUARIUS and I’ll be saying to her FAREWELL. She will be my baby for the next few months.
What are your longer term plans and objectives?
Just to live out my potential no matter how little or large it is.
Finally is there anyone else you would like to mention?
Thank you for the chance to speak. Eyes and ears open for FAREWELL AQUARIUS, the debut EP Please check WWW.JALPORTE.CO.UK for details and the “DREAMSCAPE GALLERY” for you people to add too. Keep open for THE FOETUS PROJECT also coming soon. After that watch out for me in the open and the LIRBRAN MOONS.
Thank you for your time.