Kashmere is not your run of the mill emcee. In fact, anyone who goes by the pseudonym ‘The Iguana Man’ deserves your attention by default. If you’re unfortunate enough to be unfamiliar with his music, new project Galaktus: Power Cosmic is a good place to start.
Firstly can you run down what the new album Galaktus: Power Cosmic is all about and tell people why they should buy it?
Kashmere: Basically a few years back Dr Zygote must have called me saying he'd like to do a sci fi influenced project and gave me a beat CD entitled 'Green Hornet' with all these mad beats on there that him and Jazz did together. I ended up sitting on the beats for a like a year or so I think then in 08 the Galaktus idea popped up and we started recording and pretty much did the whole thing in a few months. This is not a recreation of any of the Galactus stories into rap. It’s more like just using some of the imagery as well as from other sci fi sources to create this image of greatness! Something to drive the music. For those out there that aren’t familiar with the term "power cosmic" I suggest look it up and be intrigued!
I remember first hearing you on the Raw Styles EP and thinking ‘this guy is different’. Can you break down how your style developed in terms of influences?
Kashmere: I grew up on native tongues, EPMD, Ice Cube, Ultramagnetics, KMD, Kurious, Heiro, the Liks, Lords of the Underground, Redman, Leaders of the New School etc., etc. …basically the 90’s. So I’m sure that’s had a massive influence. I spent a lot of time listening to radio also! Listening to people like DJ 279, Tim Westwood, Max LX and Dave VJ… All those guys had a massive influence on me the music they were playing was phenomenal. And listening to UK artists like London Posse, Scientists of Sound, The Brotherhood, MCM, Blade, Lewis Parker. Loads of cats really man I took it all in. I couldn’t really breakdown how it’s effected my style cos even to this day I’m still working that out.
What kind of stuff are you reading to inspire the type of stuff you write about?
How does Kashmere technically approach writing a verse?
Kashmere: Mmm, I don’t really have one way of doing that. Basically however it comes man. It’s more of a vibes thing for me more than having set ways of going about things. One thing that’s definite is that sometimes I get a vibe then I may sort of black out then return with a few scripts. It’s definitely not an exact science for me at all. Its experiments!
You make beats too, what equipment do you use and is this something you want to push further?
Kashmere: I use Logic 8, a turntable, records, Oxygen 8 midi controller and another PC running Cubase SX. Yeah man the production is definitely something I’m running with from now on. I mean I started messing with beats in like 97 / 98, I ended up putting it down for a long time to focus on the rap I guess, but I’m back up on it now definitely.
If you had to hold up one record you’ve made that represents you which would it be and why?
Kashmere: That’s still to come, don’t get me wrong though I’ve done some dope shit with people but if your saying a record that represents me totally? I’d have to say people haven’t even seen that yet! Not to down grade any of the things I’ve been doing but they are all experiments really. Like in the Hour of Chaos was me being vibed off Hell Blazer, Sandman (Vertigo / DC) and things of that nature and just creating something off the back of that. Same with Power Cosmic and Kingdom of Fear. Themes were thought of then experiments occurred so in a sense I’m slightly disconnected from a lot of my stuff cos the intent wasn’t to be coming at it from my perspective you know what I mean? It was creating characters.
Do you have any particular goals you are trying to reach with your music?
Kashmere: Main aim is to just try and make some cool music. Millions of pounds and a woman waterfall would be great but not the number one goal.
Which emcees are you feeling from the UK and US?
Kashmere: I’m into emcees like Sir Menelik, Godfather Don, Ice Cube, Kool Keith, Bigg Jus, Large Pro, Cage (especially the old stuff), MF Doom, Quasimoto, Ramson Badbones, Jehst, Squid Ninjaz the Herrotics, Children of the Damned, Obba Supa, Shadow Star Boxing Academy, Monster Island Czars, KRS One… the list goes on dude!!
Who are your favourite producers from the UK and US?
Kashmere: US wise I’d have to say Madlib, J Swift, Sir Jinx, E Swift, DOOM, Pete Rock, Premo, EL P (old style). UK wise I’d say the Creators, The Underdog (remember him?!), Geesus Host, Lou Helka, Metabeats, Mark Pritchard, ah man honestly there’s a bunch of talented beat cats out here man… those Louis Den guys have plenty of heat, Heyzeus is ill… I just like ill shit you know? There’s a lot of names to remember, haha.
If you could change one thing about the UK Hip Hop scene what would it be?
Kashmere: I’d tone it down a little… this rock n roll lifestyle is too nuts for me man, word the fuck up!
What does Grime mean to you?
Kashmere: Wiley, Skepta, Newham Generals, Dirty Goodz, Dizzee Rascal (Boy in the Corner). That’s me mainly. I’m not really up on grime like that but I can appreciate some of it.
I know you’re into comics. What’s your collection saying and would it be fair to describe you as a comic book nerd?
Kashmere: I got a lil stash man. I like what I like u know? I’m into things like the Eternals, the Lucifer series, Sandman, Green Lantern Corps, Avengers, John Constantine, Hell Blazer… loads. It’s not even a nerd thing; I’m just a fan of the sick story lines they come with and the way they bring it to life with the ill artwork. It really sets the imagination off.
What was your experience of Low Life Records? Were you aware of any of the ‘issues’ that came to light later on?
Kashmere: My time at Low Life was actually cool! I got on with Braintax. He put me on, payed me when I was supposed to get paid as far as I know, so yeah it was cool for me. I can’t really speak on anyone else’s situation. Of course I’m aware of these issues that are talked about but I didn’t experience any of that personally.
Do you hold down a 9 to 5 outside of music?
Kashmere: Job Title: International Nigerian.
What’s your least favourite genre of music?
Kashmere: C.rap = Commecial Rap.
Big up Kashmere!!
Kashmere: Live long and prosper homie.
By: Max Weldon