The new wave of Hip Hop talent emerging from the UK couldn’t have come at a better time. Apparently grime is dead (this is what they say, they being the industry folk) and Hip Hop CDs just aren’t selling like they used to (even the American acts are struggling to shift the units). So what’s going on?
Are people getting bored of the same old formulas? We’ve got the conscious rappers (much love to them); we’ve got the angry rappers (I’ll bring arms house to your mum’s house!). We’ve got the lyricists, the jokers, the money guys, the gangstas and the road men and trust me I love them all. Good music is after all good music, but something still feels like its missing. So what you may ask has been left out? Well the answer is you! What happened to the rapper who is just like me and you, the rapper who has a song for everything and I mean everything. From the club bangers, to the song about the girl- this is where a duo like KUZ comes in.
KUZ are a London based Hip Hop duo fused together through family ties. Yes they are cousins and perhaps this is what creates their unique harmony. Their sound is eclectic and feel good; each rapper brings individuality to their music. Ja-Quin’s humorous observations, cool demeanour and understated charm provide the charisma to Kuz’s sound whilst Thai’s sophisticated rhyming style and rapid fire provides the edge. Together they are out to change the face of UK Hip Hop but not without passing by Britishhiphop.co.uk first! Read on.
How would you define Kuz’s music?
Kuz: I would define Kuz as a fresh UK hip hop group whom liken themselves to the chameleon, as we feel we adapt to accommodate the surrounds we are in and face. Kuz are very inventive.
Where do you think Kuz fit in the current ‘urban’ market? And what sets your sound apart?
Kuz: I don’t think Kuz fit in, hence the reason many say we stand out. For a group that’s unsigned with no video we have been able to create anticipation around our group; our sound is set apart through our extensive attempts to try things new and experiment you rarely hear a two Kuz songs sounding the same.
When and how did you get involved with music?
Kuz: We started around 3 years ago, all our lives we have both shown a passion to music however we never really actively tried to take part apart from the usual hair brush in the front of the mirror routine, my mum hated me for losing the black fist afro comb (laughs). But after hearing a few friends doing music we joined forces and attempted to make our own never knowing how well received it will be when done!
What are your musical influences?
Kuz: The usual suspects will be Jay-Z, Nas, Pac and Biggie. On the underground we loved our Mf Doom, Count Bass, Madlib, and Slum Village. When it came to old school: Souls of Mischief and Big Daddy Kane and Rakim were great and on the old old school: Billie Holiday, Marvin Gaye, Al Green- the list is endless.
BET have recently announced a British Hip Hop category; they seem to be doing more than certain award shows in the UK. What are your feelings on the UK music scene at the moment? Do you think British acts are receiving enough support from labels over here?
Kuz: No! But its hard to be mad these labels are international multi-million pound money machines its all a monopoly, however in this world the strongest always survive if your doing music keep going and you will get noticed. It took Twista over 10 years to make his major break through hard work will always reap a reward if you’re determined. It is wrong what they do but money makes this world go round.
Kuz has attracted a lot of attention from majors, how do you feel about the whole David v Goliath-major v indie debate?
Kuz: Majors are about making money, indies are known for respecting good music and giving an artist a chance to shine without trying to change their whole image and sound. That’s why we would warn anyone being approached by a major that if its the best move for you at the time of calling don’t be star struck by the labels name or stature as they may be the wrong label for you. Indies may not have all the money but they can get you heard with you still having a large share of opinions to what you bring out.
So what Kuz’s current standing- is in regards to be signed?
Kuz: Its not our job to look for potential signers, its the labels job to look for signees, all we’re interested in is making good music and expressing ourselves through this gift we’ve been given. When that right offer comes and we feel it’s our time to grace centre stage then we’ll take that step and see what our musical future holds for us. But right now the focus is MAKING GOOD MUSIC.
A times there seems to be a heavy American influence in your music, how do you respond to people who criticise this?
Kuz: Earlier on in the interview you asked us who were our influences and to be honest all of the examples we gave were from America. Being at our age when we was young there wasn’t a huge influx of UK urban musicians to rant and rave about. When we had that brush in front of the mirror it was mimicking American acts. It was a heavy influence.
So when is your album dropping and what will it be called? and what can we expect from the album?
Kuz: The album will be called Renaissance London. The word renaissance describes a change of an era we believe that when we release our music, UK artists within our genre we be heavily influenced by our sound, creativity, innovative style and individuality that we hope to see a change in the urban musical scene. The album has being pencilled in for a release in July however if it has to take longer we’ll push it back till we get that perfection. We may only have one shot at this hip hop race in our lives so we have to make sure we’ve laced our lyrical boots tight in order to be able to win.
…and finally where can we se Kuz perform next?
Kuz: Keep an eye out on www.myspace.com/kuzmusic all our shows are there for all those who want to come to follow we love our crowd and our supports and always wish to build on our current family. But keep an eye out for December we have a very huge show lined up details to be revealed in due time.
By: Michelle Adabra