Having heard good things both muscially and via word-of-mouth it was high time that I interviewed Joker Starr, a hungry and ambitious MC from Slough. He deserves to be bigger than David Brent so check this interview and get to know!
Certified Banger: Can you tell us your necessary background details so we can build on basics for the rest of the interview? For example: who you are, projects you have worked on, people you have worked with.
Joker Starr: My name is Joker Starr Supercilious, the baddest emcee you might not know too well. I have a colourful CV of people I have worked with so let’s start at the beginning: I will give the main names because I have worked with a lot of people – Soliheen and James Yarde are my producers and mentors, DJ Dynamite of Dynamite Deluxe in Germany, Seanie T on the Dark Horizon mixtapes, DJ Blufoot's ‘Ablution’ album, Keith Lawrence's ‘Coming True’ EP, production credit on Ty's ‘Upwards’ album, collaborations with Fallacy, Genesis Elijah, Terri Walker, Estelle, Sway, Micall Parknsun, Jehst bla bla bla the list can go on and on and on – Google it!
Certified Banger: What are your current or upcoming projects? I.e. albums, singles, tours, guest spots…
Joker Starr: Next thing coming up from myself is the ‘Northborough Estate Project’ which is a mixture of freestyles and original music featuring mainly artists and producers from Slough, and a few people that have given me help over the years like Genesis Elijah, Beat Butcha, Micall Parknsun and all the people that taught me my craft. It will be a nice follow up to the last mixtape I released a while back. The aim is to release it on my own label Flukebeat in 2009 ahead of my debut album which will follow later on in the year. I am also involved in a few YNR project being released 2009 as well so it’s looking like a promising year and ain’t nothing even happened yet.
Certified Banger: How would you describe your sound? Is there any one track that would best define your style?
Joker Starr: I asked my boy Ice what his opinion was as I was answering these questions and he said, "Hmmmmmmmm. It's the s**t, got everything that you need. The truth and all ting”. Micall Parknsun said, "I would say it's a combination of ill humour and character which no one else has. Too many man being clones with they lyrical". Keith Lawrence said, "Joker Starr came to my attention when he put out his debut single 'Raw Spittage' a couple of years back. I felt his crazy anarchic flow and said to myself I'm gonna work with him". My opinion is my sound is lyrical, my sound is energy, my sound is soulful and my sound is hip hop. The tune that sums that all up is 'Raw Spittage' because there was nothing like it when I came out and has not been replicated since because people can’t do it. The baddest. Period.
Certified Banger: Who have been your biggest musical influences and which Hip Hop artists have inspired you? Which are your favourite albums? What music were you brought up on?
Joker Starr: Biggest influence how to be my mother, friends, the streets, being poor, being hood rich, learning music, knock backs, little successes. In hip hop my influences had to be people in my circle like Scankman, Dark Angel, Dre Milla, G-Man, Soliheen. I aspired to be in the positions Blak Twang, Mystro and Roots Manuva held, so in that respect they pushed me to get my game tight indirectly. Seeing how well Sway is doing is making me say I can reach his heights but with my own sound.
My favourite album has to be Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele, near perfection.
I listen to loads of music as a kid. It varied from what MTV was showing in the 80's because it was a rock and dance channel and Yo MTV Raps was on one time a week so I used to get the video out and record it when it came on so I could see the rap music videos over and over again. Also the parties my parents used to take me to had a lot of soca and African music so my upbringing was quite varied.
Certified Banger: What is your earliest memory of anything Hip Hop related? First rap track heard? First time you rapped?
Joker Starr: Mums bought me a radio Christmas '89 and Max LX and Dave V.J. changed my life on Kiss FM, that’s my earliest memory. As for the first tune I heard I was probably listening hip hop before I even knew what it was, I got tapes upon tapes but I am gonna say it was probably a tune by Caveman UK ledge. First time rapping was learning ‘Dre Day’ lyrics with my boy and we used to record ourselves rhyming the tune like it was ours. I still got the tapes at home in a safe place.
Certified Banger: Where are you from? Can you tell us a bit more about the Hip Hop scene there?
Joker Starr: Slough Town, outside of West London. It’s a shame because its a place full of talent but there is also a lack of drive and determination to be successful. So you have a lot of rappers and producers, but they’re all in their bedrooms. Joker is their hero.
Certified Banger: What about the Hip Hop scene in general, UK or worldwide – where do you think it's headed? Are things good / bad? What are your current philosophical thoughts on the current trends in rap music?
Joker Starr: Hip Hop is where it is always been. The trend is the same, what people are doing is the same, the only difference is that you have a lot more people who can’t produce or rap becoming the sound that is being recognised as the main music makers when they are not musicians. Music is more accessible now and easier to make. The channels to get your music heard are also more vast, inclusion of the internet also means that where quality control was handed to the DJs to take care of and the street, a tune can become hot because it just gets nuff hits on YouTube and that. Over saturation of rubbish music is the problem not hip hop itself. Traditional routes of success becoming less relevant is the problem not hip hop, hip hop is fine it’s just the people in it.
Certified Banger: What process do you go through when writing a track? Do you start with a beat, a concept, a lyric that you thought of in the shower? What happens next?
Joker Starr: The process is to have no process, no limits to what can be attained and how it can be achieved. I do whatever I have to do to complete the song. Which ever method feels appropriate for the circumstance. I ain’t really a fussy guy when it comes to writing lyrics.
Certified Banger: Where do you hope to see yourself in five years, ten years time? Is it an achievable goal?
Joker Starr: Running my label, putting other artists on. I may have a family of my own them times so teaching all off them to be the baddest emcee's in the world but obviously they won’t be as good as me will they. Still making them bangers and mash records for you and your blogger friends to write about.
Certified Banger: What do you say in reply to this recent comment: "UK Hip Hop is wack. It's just corny people on the scene… In my opinion it's just rubbish. People are just lost and confused following fashion and trends".
Joker Starr: Whoever said it is right in some ways but I will tell them this. I will eat you up for breakfast, a lot of rappers over here are good lyricists but I suppose lack the X Factor that make a good rapper a great emcee. But I would eat most if not everyone for dinner ‘coz I’m HUNGRYYYYYYYYYYYY!!
Certified Banger: What do you think about Obama's election and Dizzee's appearance on news night?
Joker Starr: Dizzee. For f**ks sake. SHUT UP. They should have asked someone who can talk properly. Media did that on purpose; wanna show black young males as bumbling ignorant idiots. Think your smart don’t ya!
Certified Banger: Any last words?
Joker Starr: Check out www.suspect-packages.com for my records, my myspace http://www.myspace.com/jokerstarr. Go download my mixtape for free @ http://www.flukebeat.co.uk and check out some of the people on my ‘Northborough Estate Project’: