On the verge of dropping his long awaited long player, I was able to catch up with the former planetary Nomadic P. Aside form discussing his new album he talked about life and his passion for the game in this cohesive interview. So pull up a chair grab a bag of your favourite eats as one of London’s finest drops jewels for the heads.
Kwaku: You’ve got the brand new album ‘The Travellers Tale’ popping off soon. Talk to us a little bit about what has been going on with you and the new material?
Nomadic P: I’ve been real busy trying to stay focussed, I’ve been busy writing loads of stuff and you know I’ve been featuring on other stuff that you will be hearing very soon. Basically I just was focussing on getting the album ready. It’s been done for a minute but the time wasn’t right and now I feel it’s about that time.
Kwaku: How long did it take to complete the album?
Nomadic P: Well the albums been an ongoing process since I’ve been involved in music, you could say its taken a life time to do but on and off I would say about 2 years, the album went through a lot of different changes. I scrapped a lot of songs that I’d done cos I felt I moved on from those songs that represented a different stage in my life and in my music so yeah the album as it stands at the moment is me at this point in my life right now.
Kwaku: Is there any particular message that you’re trying to put across in your work?
Nomadic P: The main message that I am dealing with right now is basically I am trying to preserve the ethics of Hip Hop in the sense of, I am trying to do something that is going to inspire the up and coming youth and people that want to get into this music. So basically I am trying to inspire people by using the music as inspiration. What inspired me to get into it was the pioneers that I came up listening to, that’s what I want to give back to the game, I want to be an inspiration to other people and also I want to uplift people, make them feel good about themselves whilst having a good time. If they want to take it further and look deeper into my lyrics regarding the subject matter and what I talk about in various songs on the album, then that’s fine too.
I want people to take from it whatever they get from it, if they want to have fun with some banging joints that’s cool you know or get a bit more involved in the music and study what I’m talking about. Because that’s what I found with artists that I came up listening to, I discovered that I could also enjoy them and get something from them whilst learning at the same time. I really feel that, that element of Hip Hop has been suppressed or put to the back where by that was standard back in the day, Its just easier for responsible persons or the older heads in the game to get it out there.
Kwaku: I mean listening to the album I get from you that your very community conscious, very concerned about your environment from a local and a global perspective. Is this something that you have always been about?
Nomadic P: Yeah I mean if you go back to the Planets stuff and even prior to that I was in a group called Mecca to Medina we always dealt with issues surrounding oppressed people. When I say oppressed people I’m not really talking about a colour, I’m talking about a state of mind, socio-economic situations on a global scale, so I’ve always been about that, that’s just my thing and me as a person.
In my day to day regular nine to five I also deal with people that come from backgrounds that are difficult such as ex offenders, the disabled or generally people who find it hard to find work. I give them advice so if I’m dealing with the public or giving people advice that’s always been apart of me, and I feel that’s important for me to address because that’s what I see when I step out my front door every day.
Kwaku: So your just representing what you’ve seen on a day-to-day life?
Nomadic P: Definitely on a day-to-day life and also on a spiritual level as well that also creeps through my music, I can go from taking it from the streets to taking it from your mind, to beyond mars and back all in one verse (haha we both laugh!!).
It’s just a journey that is what nomadic kind of means. I’ve always had that thought pattern where I think outside the box. And trying to expand I mean I’m a visualise-err.
Kwaku: I hear you, I would like to get your thoughts on this whole thing, Do you get fed up in interviews when they divert the attention from your work and focus on your faith is this something that really gets on your nerves?
Nomadic P: Emm yes and no it depends in which context they ask me because some people obviously have this preconceived idea or stereotype and I don’t hide my faith from no one. I was born into an orthodox Muslim household, and I’m not going to pretend to be the best Muslim on the planet but at the same time I do have a strong belief in my faith, it’s something that I have been studying for a while and I generally have a respect for anyone following a path that is going to better themselves in this life. This life is just a passing moment and we get so caught up in other things but at the end of the day what matters most is just waking up and opening your eyes and knowing that the sun is shining and getting another day to be that person and do something for yourself and for your family.
But one thing that does annoy me is peoples perception of what Islam is and they expect me to be some kind of Jihad Mujahadeen Taliban Rapper and I’m the most kind of easy going cat you could ever meet and i’ll start a conversation with anyone regardless of your background or faith, obviously I’ve got my own personal belief but I don’t judge people based on their belief or nothing, I take everyone as an individual. I just don’t appreciate that kind of closed-minded journalism regarding Islam or how I should be.
You know I recently done an interview for a publication of which I won’t name but the person was asking me some pretty stupid questions regarding this kind of stuff.
Kwaku: Okay I hear that, you’ve definitely cleared that up! Now on a different note do you think that the UK doesn’t acknowledge its veteran rappers and is this mentality exclusive to the UK or is this mindset everywhere?
Nomadic P: I think for the most part, it’s the state of mind of the new generation that are into this music, I cant speak for everyone but Hip Hop has a bad habit of people that get into it and not giving props to the people that came before them, unlike other forms of music like pop and rock kids look up to the Rolling Stones, The Clash or The Who or whatever, were as we frown and laugh at the people that came before us, they’ll say things like oh he’s old school he’s this and that, but what people don’t realise is if it wasn’t for those guys grafting you would not be collecting your cheques right now.
You wouldn’t be feeding your kids, you wouldn’t be putting clothing on your back, driving around the street in your new whip or whatever else that it is your doing so give respect where its due. I put the blame on people that are in positions that know better that don’t actually school kids on this culture called Hip Hop. You have this whole MTV generation and that’s all good, but there’s a whole generation of kids that are coming up right now who only know about getting their music for free that is killing the game. Kids don’t go out and actually buy albums anymore they download stuff this is killing the industry. But I just feel like (pauses for a moment) there’s going to be some kind of nuclear explosion where the game is going to die then its going to build itself and start again.
I mean there is going to be different methods and different ways to get your music out, because everything is changing now. We are moving in a time where things are fast and now that everyone’s using mp3’s, and I think that’s good in a sense that you can store 3000 songs on one little machine, but at the same time its a step back because mp3 quality is not as good as CD quality and this is supposed to be the new technology. From what I understand new is supposed to be better! People naturally assume that new means better! Everyone has one now and this is because its new, But I think this proves that new is not always better.
Kwaku: Do you think that the state of Hip Hop or rap music in this country is a reflection of progression? Has it got better in your view?
Nomadic P: That’s a hard question to answer because its branched out into so many different avenues and you know we could carry on having this debate on whether grime is Hip Hop or has elements of Hip Hop because of everyones perception. However there are a lot more artists and there’s a lot more money involved in the game, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that its better because I feel that we have gone past the time where a lot of UK artists were getting signed to major labels, I feel that might still come around but I think there was a lot more personality in Hip Hop back then a lot more individuality. People were actually into originality, we looked for that in an artist because of how different they were from the next artist. Now you have a thousand million cloned mix tape rappers (Nomad laughs) I mean everyone spits sixteens but where has the artistry gone man?
Kwaku: That’s an interesting point that you have touched on there because listening to the album there is one track in particular and that’s ‘The Pen’, I mean could you break down or explain to us exactly what your getting into right there?
Nomadic P: Well I’m basically taking it back to the essence and dealing with the old saying the pen is mightier than the sword, I’m saying that people don’t really recognise sometimes and that people don’t really understand the power of words. Basically I’m stressing just how powerful the pen is and how I give life to my pen and what the pen is to me, and executing that in a skilful manor. I wanted to flip a style and show versatility and also words and language in general is a spiritual thing especially when it connects with rhythm, I mean the universe and everything that we resides in is rhythmical, and at the same time to put it bluntly I just wanted to show people that when I’m ready to get busy on the mic I can rip alot of MC’s a new arsehole (Nomad laughs rather enthusiastically).
Kwaku: I mean there is one other joint that caught my attention was Stand Up feat: Grand Daddy IU, I mean one thing I get from you is like you are trying to bridge the trans Atlantic gap would you agree?
Nomadic P: Well definitely I think music has never been just for your borough or for your country I mean if that was the case you might as well just make tapes for yourself and play them to your friends in your house and not bother putting music out. I feel music is for everyone and if you’re a good musician you should be able to get your message across to anyone that can appreciate music. That particular track was me and the legendary artist from back in the day Grand Daddy IU. What we are talking about is stuff that we grew up seeing as in our environment and just basically saying to stand up and keep your head high and your feet above water whatever your circumstances may be. I dropped from a point of view from being a young inner city kid growing up in the 80’s in my neighbourhood and IU addressed it from his birthplace in New York. Its uplifting don’t let people put you down go for your goals, I feel especially in the UK we have a habit of downplaying ourselves and expecting less and we shouldn’t do that because if you set yourself something that is low your always going to feel low. I mean even if you get halfway there at least you went for it you know.
Kwaku: I mean the killer cut I think for a lot of people is the track with Killer Priest, I mean obviously you knew I was going to get there what made you want to do that joint?
Nomadic P: That joint is called ‘Struggle’ and its based on the struggles we go though as minorities being locked into certain conditions and situations once, Killer Priest is an incredible MC first and foremost and he came with the perspective of where he sees life coming up in Brooklyn and what brothers go through out there. My perspective was from the point of view of how the system is suppressing certain people out here and also from the point of view of how I was being perceived by the general public after the events that happened in New York such as 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings. I felt a different vibe from people that didn’t know me and saw an Asian dude with a beard and thought that I am a certain way. From the point of view of like the line where I said, “who is the guy right next to me with the bag to his chest or the man perched behind the desk”. Basically I am talking about whose a threat a guy sitting on a train with a bag or the guy who hides behind a government desk making decisions that affect all the people? Obviously I did not agree with any kind of killing of innocent people it’s not my thing but at the same time we have to question ourselves as a society. The government has to question itself as to what they are doing in certain other territories and all the stuff is a reflection as to what is going on in different parts of the world.
Kwaku: Tell us about the Track “My Life”?
Nomadic P: That song there is a very personal song, that really is my life when I got into Hip Hop I really wasn’t aware of any other Asian kids that I knew of that were into Hip Hop. Then I am also talking about how my parents came to this country as the first generation Asians and all the bullshit that they had to put up with and the racism and discrimination that they suffered. And me being a second generation Asian was the result of my parents raising me in this country, it’s from a unique perspective because its something that has not really been addressed and now you have third and fourth generations of Asians and Afro Caribbean’s growing up. No one has covered this angle as an Asian artist British born so that was kind of a unique song to me. I feel that people will be able to relate to that especially people from Asian and Afro Caribbean backgrounds.
Kwaku: Do you feel it’s your responsibility to clear up the misconceptions that have been put out there regarding young Asian men like yourself? Who represents the culture of Hip Hop and set the record straight so to speak?
Nomadic P: Yes I feel it is important for me because first of all how many other mcs out there do you know that are Asian or are actively involved in Hip Hop. And coming from my background I would say very few and having been in the game for a minute and having that responsibility and that platform. Its only right that I represent so, that’s what I do, I definitely try to show a different side because whether I like it or not I never chose to be a role model. But I am in a situation where young kids will look up to me especially young kids from an Asian of ethnic minority background. I get stopped all the time, people see me in magazines or have heard me on the radio and they ask me questions. I am quite surprised at the amount of young kids that are aware of my music and this is from various backgrounds, so I feel it is my duty to clear up any misconceptions at the end of the day, I do not have the backing of a big TV channel or a newspaper so when I do get the opportunity to get on the mic I speak the truth.
Kwaku: Once again I would like to thank you for taking time out to do this interview, do you have any shout outs?
Nomadic P: Shouts: I would like to give a shout out to Amen Rays, Junior Sass, GinSu Dean, Oxygen, DJ Winchester, Dom G, Travis Blaque and everyone out there reading this interview.
Nomadic Poet “A Travellers Tale” is released 29th June on Red Sea Ent.
Written by: Kwaku
You can reach Nomadic via email on: