We just heard about this new young female rapper called XS from outside of Wolverhampton and had to bring you the low down on her. Peep what she had to say in this extensive interview…
Date of Birth?
1 sister (younger called Beci)
Where do you live?
Wolverhampton area (just outside city).
Have you ever lived anywhere else?
Lived down south near Luton for a few years.
Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, who you are?
I’m an up and coming female Mc/Rapper from just outside the city of Wolverhampton. The area where I live is really country, its boring and there isn’t much of a music scene but when u travel into the surrounding cities/towns there’s a lot more to do and more of a music scene. I’m 20 years old, Mixed race (white and Jamaican), enjoy making rap and garage tracks. I’m a real MC I don’t pretend I’m something I’m not I’m just putting across my views and experiences that other people may enjoy listening to or relate to.
Do you have anything to do with any of the other crews out of Wolves?
I’m not part of a crew but I do like to work with other artists. I have a lot of friends who are into their music ranging from Rappers, MCs, Singers, Producers, Writers, all different people. There are actually a lot of Crews in Wolverhampton and areas around Wolves, some of them are really doing well for themselves.
Do you have plans to work with anyone else, or who would you like to collaborate with, could be anyone?
I have plans to work with a few people, I’m already working with a Producer/Manager from London called Chris Smoove who has helped me for a long time now. I have also got plans to start recording on some of my mans beats as he is a heavy producer called Mad-J aka S-Junior. His cousin is also a heavy rapper called S-Man from Wolverhampton who is doing well with his crew. In reality there are a lot of people I could potentially work with as a lot of people just want to get their things heard but in my dreams I would love to collabo with Kano as I think he has a kool voice and he is good at what he does. He keep things real and that’s what I like.
Can you tell the readers a bit about what life is like in your area?
As I said before I live just outside Wolverhampton City. Where I live its country side. I like it because there’s not a lot of crime and you can walk the streets at anytime of the day and know u ain’t gonna get jumped haha! But it can get annoying living in a small area as a lot of people know each other and there always trying to know your business. I keep myself to myself so people cant really gossip about me lol except friends dat is!
Wolverhampton is a kool City the only thing is there is not enough of a music scene.
Isn’t it one of the most deprived areas in the country?
Not that I know of! haha! Its kool theres good and bad parts to every city I think but Wolverhampton has a lot of good points. Most people who live in Wolves like it. Its kool coz its pretty much in the centre of England which means its not to far if u wanna travel further.
You have all the pressures of big city living, but what is it like on the streets?
I’m not the kind of person who was raised on the streets. But then I’m not blind to what goes on either. I have a lot of friends who know about being raised on the streets and it seems like it was pretty tough. There is a lot of bad things going on but again this is something you can expect in every community.
Are there any other producers or MCs that you know of to look out for?
There are so many people to be fair. Look out for me obviously lol…watch out for my man Mad-J heavy productions coming from this man I swear & look out for some sick vocals from him 2! Watch out for his cousin S-Man and his crew ‘The Entrepreneurs’. Look out for N’chyx female rapper from Wolves City doing good for herself, look out for TNG (the next generation) crew from Wolves and HigherStakes Crew Wolves/Walsall. Hold tight for OTF (on top of fings) from London sides. Watch out for my man ‘Illa’ from Preston (Manchester) sick Rapper!!! Watch out for Chris Smoove who has helped me and is 1 of the best Rappers & Producers I know also 2 his crew ‘Doze Guyz’ from London, shout out in particular to ‘DomG’ from ‘Doze Guyz’ who gave me the chance to work with him in London. Watch out for ‘Schema’ heavy rapper who worked with back in the day and his team on ‘Schema recordz’. Finally hold tight for ‘Double Jeopardy’ from 2aggi entertainment, 2 brothers from London bad rappers trust me!
When did you first get in to Hip Hop?
I’ve liked hip hop from a young age its just something I’ve listened to and connected with. I think I started properly getting into it around 11-12 thats when I had enough money to start buying albums for myself lol….I started writing lyrics (of some sort) when I was about 10 even though they were pretty bad at the time haha!
Who were the old skool acts that you would have on rotation on your walkman?
NWA, Tupac, B.I.G, Salt’nPepa, TLC, R-Kelly, Bobby Brown, Janet Jackson, LL Cool J there’s quite a lot to remember but u can see where I’m going lol.
What was it that turned you on to this type of music?
This music is great for putting across emotions and opinions. U can often hear in a persons voice whether it’s a serious track, romantic, angry or joke. The amount of different sounds you can find from producers as well is heavy. There’s so many different styles of this music now that producers are remixing old tunes or cutting samples. There’s a lot you can do with hip hop and I love listening to differences in artists flows over beats the overall sounds.
What have you noticed change about Hip Hop and the scene in general over the years?
Hip hop has varied in sounds a lot more in recent years which has made more and more people want to listen to it. Hip hop has started to be mixed with other cultures music and also other races are more involved with rap. There are a lot of rap tunes mixed with Asian music like Bangra to oriental sounding tunes. There’s classical music mixed into hip hop tunes, 50s songs and things like that. There’s a lot more races rapping now as well. Back in the day it was mainly dominated by African Americans and now it has spread around the world.
What are your thoughts about the current state of UK hip hop?
The only way UK hip hop will survive is for the scene to become larger and for more artists to break through. At the moment a lot of people are trying to do there thing but are either bringing out a couple of tunes and then fizziling out or having to change there style to something more commercial and more like a pop song than Rap. I think that there are a lot of talented people around the UK who have not yet been established which is a shame coz a lot of the people who have been are not all that! In those cases I think the have just been in the right place at the right time or have been some sort of gimmick.
OK. Who are the UK artists you listen to, admire and who perhaps deserve to have had more success than they have had to date?
Well all the people I mentioned above deserve more success than they have so far coz they are all sick and I know there are so many more out there with talent but are working hard to get noticed. I listen to a lot of unsigned artists. The bigger ones I listen 2 would b, Ms Dynamite, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Shystie, Roots Manuva, Estelle, Roll Deep, Lethal B, Blak Twang.
Who are your UK influences?
All those I’ve mentioned really whether they are big or not. I think it is good to listen 2 different artists to hear what they have to say and also to listen to different flows. Listening to more artists can never be a bad thing, it just gives you more knowledge on how you could improve or how not to do things.
Who or what are your other influences?
My influences can range from famous people like Missy Elliot, Eve, Trina, Lil Kim, Rah Digga, Shawana etc. all the way down to some thing that happens to me on road. If I like a style of a rapper I may incorporate this into an image or sound. But my lyrics could be based around something that has actually happened to me on the street, in my home or when I go out on a weekend. I have a lot of influences.
Do you spend money on proper studios, or top quality mastering?
I will always spend money if I need to improve things in my music. I have spent quite a bit in studios if I know I want a tune to be at its best and I know people are going to hear it. But not all my stuff is recorded in a studio. If I am just practicing or want to collabo with someone over the net I will sometimes quick record on my PC. But if otherwise I will always use a studio with a proper technician.
Do you do your own production? If so what sort of programs are you using both to make beats and to record?
I have only just recently started to produce some music and so far I feel I should stick to the rap lol. They are not too bad but could be better. Most of my tracks are produced by proper producers. I produce myself on ‘Reason’ and my man (Mad-J / S-Junior) does as well. We also use ‘Cubase’ and ‘Sound Forge’ to cut, mix and record. I have used other programs in the past such as ‘Fruity Loops’ for production and ‘Acoustica’ to record.
Do you like to make beats first and then write rhymes to them, or do you prefer writing a rhyme and creating a beat for it later, or does it all happen at once?
I almost always prefer to chose a beat and then write lyrics whilst listening to it. That is how I have always done it. There has only been 2 or 3 times where I have matched a pre-written lyric to a beat and it has fitted, this was probably just luck more than anything else.
What are the reasons for this?
I suppose I have now just got into a habit of doing it that way. I think when you listen to a track and then write the flow will always be tighter and the words will fit on the beat better. Every beat is different and if you try to fit lyrics onto a beat after you have written them it usually turns out that they don’t fit on or they are uncomfortable to spit!
What do you have to say? What are your lyrics about?
My lyrics can be about a lot of different things from personal experiences, to things that I have watched my friends go through. It can be some thing I have seen on the news which I have an opinion about. It can also be something I make up in my mind just for a laugh or something I hope will happen. A lot of my lyrics are jokes and will make people smile there not really too serious but some are deeper and have a real meaning behind them. Those are usually lyrics that are to do with something I really believe in.
What has the reaction to your material been like so far?
So far I have had good reactions people are sometimes surprised when they hear me and often mention my accent as I sound different to a lot of rappers/MCs around now. There have been people who ask to work with me or ask for more of my stuff which is always good to hear. I have had a small amount of positive criticism, which I always listen to as its good to hear what people think would make you sound better but some people do think that they are better than they really are and I sometimes laugh it off when they sound 10 times worse than me.
How do you aim to get bigger? What is your MC career plan?
At the moment I’m happy doing what I’m doing. I’m not working to become famous really its more for me, and is something I enjoy doing. Obviously the only way you can go is up if your getting better and better and I would like to improve. I’m going at a steady pace and taking my time. I’m working with a few people who are helping me with my music and also planning some things for 2006 so only time will tell.
Do you want to get signed with an established label?
Not just yet. As I said I’m happy the way I am at the moment but that doesn’t mean it could never happen in the future.
Conversely there are a lot of self proclaimed experts out there with opinions they can’t back up. There are also a lot of kids chatting absolute rubbish who can have a disproportionate effect spreading rumours and downright untruths. What do you feel about all this?
There are so many fake people in the music industry that you do have to watch your back a lot. There are a lot of people who claim to have record labels or tell you they can make you big but you have to take this with a pinch of salt. There are also so many artists who tell others they are something big when they aren’t. I don’t see the point in this as they are just lying to themselves and at the end of the day it wont get them anywhere. Some people will try to steal your lyrics or get money out of you so that it benefits themselves its difficult and I hope that I wouldn’t be as stupid to fall into any traps like that. If you haven’t heard of them then the probably aren’t ‘big’…that’s the way I look at it.
Do you think that seeing as the free music genie is out of the bag it could create problems in the future for you as artists to get paid for your work?
Free music downloads are something I think most people have done at some point in time if they have access to the net. It has caused a problem with people not buying albums and other music but I think that truthfully this isn’t going to effect people who have blown up in the industry and have a lot of fans. People still prefer to go out and buy albums if they are really into the artist! The artists are still getting paid.
Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?
Its a hard to explain but really I think certain people don’t think they are getting enough from the country. Obviously everyone has different opinions and come from different backgrounds which will have an effect on what they believe. There are so many issues with the government, schooling, housing, taxes, NHS, benefits etc. that it would be to long to go into it all. Those issues are important to everyday life and if they are not up to standard people will get annoyed!
If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?
I think that drugs is the main cause of most of the violence and crime in society and I think that its one of the major things that needs changing. People do very stupid and scary things for drugs or for the money for drugs. Bringing children up in a society like this is not good!
Moving on then, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?
Hopefully lots more recording and getting ready for the new year at the same time. Most of my new stuff will be out ready for the start of the new year but in the next few months lots more writing and recording. I’m going to keep up with my producing as well just to see whether something can come out of that. I’m also arranging a photo shoot in London and my 1st music video should be done in the new year!
Do you do many live shows?
I have only done a couple of shows which were not really that big. As I said earlier its hard for me to find places in this area where I can do anything live as there are hardly any urban events. However a lot of people I know travel to events in Birmingham which is not too far away and has a bigger urban scene or some go as far as London. Travelling could be an option for me in the future.
Do you have plans to get out to a wider audience?
I have played my stuff to a wide range of people and it does appeal to quite a lot of people. I still have plans to appeal to different people but they could be hard to actually do. This all depends on what producers can do when I try to explain my ideas. I don’t want to give too much away but my ideas are all to do with my lyrics and how they are delivered and the beat production ;o).
Do you have a job to bring in the corn and if so, do you find this has a detrimental effect on the amount of time you can devote to your music?
I have got a full time job and it pays really well which is obviously going to help with my music as you need enough money to go to studios and do things like photo shoots or music videos if you want them at a high quality. My job is also great as I get a lot of days off in a row and then work some in a row which means I have time to write and if I want to travel I have enough days in rows to go away. So far it has not been a problem for my music or bothered me too much.
Outside Hip Hop what do you like to do for recreation?
Apart from my music I like to keep fit I like going to the gym, I a bit of a film geek I love my DVDs and going to the cinema lots. I like art and I’m pretty good at drawing and painting. I like shopping (most girls do) and I love going out with friends or my man to clubs or for meals. I am a social kinda person.
Is there anything else you would like to mention?
Just to make sure you look out for XS the next up and coming female Rappstress lol……If you would like to get in contact with me about music, collaborating or you would like to hear my stuff then contact me on:
or drop a msg on www.face-pic.com/__xs__
or add my msn email@example.com
Any messages will be replied to as soon as I can but I don’t always get a lot of time so be patient lol…x.
Is there anyone else you would like to mention?
I think I mentioned enough people earlier, but watch out UK and anyone who is spitting and finding getting recognised is hard don’t give up coz sooner or later the UK will blow up BIG on the urban thing. Watch out Wolverhampton & Telford Theres big things gwanin lol!!!!!!!!
Thank you for your time.