A matured Lethal B gets honest and open with Britishhiphop.co.uk. Being a successful artist in the UK is hard work. Full stop, but being a successful ‘urban’ artist is even harder. Most acts will rarely achieve chart success and often disappear into the mixtape abyss. Lethal B has managed to overcome both of these obstacles.
BHH: What have been your musical influences while you have been preparing your new album?
Lethal B: I’m a big 50 fan, that’s probably the only person who has touched me recently but I’m really more of a old school man.
BHH: Tell us about your new album and what is it called?
Lethal B: It’s still up in the air you know; I’m not one hundred per cent sure on which title to go with so I don’t wonna say anything yet. But yeah my new album, of course I’m gonna say it’s bangin’, its choong! It’s a lot different from the first album; the first album was more Grime and Hip Hop and more hype, making big club songs. The new album has progressed, conceptual –wise, it’s more musical as well. I have really tried to grow musically as well, like it’s not just a bag of hype. It’s a lot more mature ’cause I’m a big boy now- I’m twenty four. Yeah this album is a step up I would say from the first album with the lyrical content and subjects and musically as well.
BHH: 1Xtra and Choice FM have been rinsing your new single ‘Mr’, how does it feel to have that support behind you?
Lethal B: Really, wow. The single is not even out yet. Yeah they are showing me love, that’s why I’ve always got to show them love, that’s why I always give them my stuff first. Like when we did Oi, especially like Choice FM, they had a big impact on making Oi a huge song. So ever since then- that was like six years ago, I have thought to myself yeah Choice FM are big. Yeah it’s all good man; it’s all good for the UK, yeah I think the UK needs the support. Last year was a pretty dead year for the UK, it was only really Sway that was flying the flag.
BHH: Wiley recently announced his retirement, how do you feel about that?
Lethal B: I don’t know. I know Wiley and I don’t think he has retired. I haven’t spoke to him since he announced it but I don’t think he has retired. He loves his music, once you’re in something so much its hard- it’s like a relationship. It’s so hard to walk away but the music is always gonna be there. He’s gonna turn on the radio, TV and he’s gonna hear music all the time and that is gonna affect him in a way because he will wonna be involved. I honestly don’t think he wants to retire. Wiley is Wiley- I don’t think he’ll last that long in retirement.
BHH: Wiley was saying he was tired of all the negativity, beef and the violence around the music- is that a feeling you can relate to?
Lethal B: Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I had to move out to where I am now. I can relate to what he means because it’s mad. We are seen as stars to these kids. Our perception to people on the road is different. They believe that we really have money like 50 Cent and Jay-Z and it’s not like that- we are making money but it’s nothing like them guys, as the UK is not built like the US. So it don’t really help when you’ve got a big song on the telly and your still in the hood and these guys will hate on you.
BHH: That’s sad…
Lethal B: It is sad, and that’s what kills it ‘cause I would have loved to stay where I was but boy… I’m in the place I need to be right now.
BHH: Would you define yourself as a Grime artist?
Lethal B: Nah I‘ve broken out of that now. This album kinda just defines me as just being an artist. The whole garage, grime thing is what I’m known for doing and that is what made me who I am, but this second album has a lot of different styles on there. So hopefully this stigma of being a grime artist will go as I don’t only just do Grime. I do lots of different stuff I collaborate with a lot of different people; I’m always up for trying different things. If anything I’m more Hip Hop now.
BHH: Do you think there is a problem with violent lyrics in the music out there now?
Lethal B: Yeah I think there is too much of one thing going on at the moment. That is what has made that scene go really dark and underground because everyone is on this one battle thing. Which was great for a second for clashing each other but you can only do so much with that. It’s too much of that now, so I think it’s time for us to go back to the More Fire thing, people just making songs and just being smart about what they are saying. People need to start opening their minds but people are just too scared to talk about different things but the negativity spreads faster than the positivity so that’s the down thing.
I think music in general has really changed; even the beats and stuff have gone really dark. I think that is one of the downfalls of the scene there are not enough bouncy tracks: now it’s gone really dark and underground, whereas tracks like Oi and Pow and Stand Up Tall can appeal to everyone and the underground. So stations like Choice FM can play the tracks, people need to start thinking out of the box and just not within the Grime Scene because people who like Hip Hop, RnB- like Grime. So I think they need to start thinking about those people.
BHH: You worked with Pete Doherty, what was that experience like?
Lethal B: Yeah, good old Pete (laughs). He’s a cool guy man; he’s just a rock and roll star. He’s really about the music like any other artist. We made a track, produced by Static and it’s actually on my album. At first I was gonna put it on the Fire Camp album but my label heard it and they were going crazy like nah, you have to use this for yourself. I was saying nah, but the label was so on it. So we re- did it and got one of the Babyshambles guitarists to put another bass rift on it, so it sounded a little different to the one I leaked.
BHH: So what has Lethal B got planned for 2007?
Lethal B: Yeah I got a tour coming. The album was scheduled for March but has been moved back to April now. The Mr video is available for downloads on the 3 Mobile network, they have like a two week exclusive going on. I think it’s like a pound or something ‘cause it won’t be on TV until like two weeks. So there’s lots going on, should be a good year. Look out for the Mr remix and the Fire Camp album. Should be a good year for the UK.