If you don’t know him by name, you’ve probably seen this larger than life character staggering around various gigs all over the country. Stig Of The Dump is the best thing to come out of Newcastle since Newcy Brown Ale and we caught up with him to get his views on battling, making music and his unique style.
Phil: Well we better get the formalities out of the way so here goes…Where are you from?
Stig: I escaped from that little part of your brain that filters out the inappropriate. Via a whole bunch of post codes. I live in Hackney, but I rep me n mine. Newcastle is where I call home.
Phil: How old are you?
Stig: 26. Probably the half way mark!
Phil: How long have you been involved in the hip-hop game?
Stig: I’ve been listening since around 89/90 and I’ve been rapping for about 8 years: telling everyone I’m the mut’s nuts for the last 4, and had my first release a few months ago.
Phil: Hopefully that bit was fairly painless. Now onto (hopefully) some more interesting stuff…
You dropped the “Homeless Microphonist Ep” recently and it’s getting released in the likes of HMV and a few other mainstream stores. Are you happy with the success of the e.p?
Stig: I’ve got no sales figures… just a lack of money in my bank account. Its actually gone really well so far. Its sold pretty well. I just need people to keep buying it to keep me in beer and take-aways. Oh, and a house.
Phil: Do you think that there is a lack of British hip-hop getting onto the shelves in shops like this?
Stig: I dunno. There is definitely a lack of support from the music industry but then no one owes us a thing. I think there is some dopeness on shelves at the moment. Beggars, Manage album, Kashmere and Jehst are all in chain stores as well as independents. I think the problem isn’t the distribution, it’s down to the size of the scene and the lack of product. If it ain’t good enough, why the fuck would people stock it? Don’t get me wrong, there are some dope heads about, but I also think the scene is tiny and only a small percentage are releasing sellable music.
A lot of the shit you get people trying to force on you at jams is gash, which is why they have to sell it at jams. I mean, I sell my shit at jams. So do ‘nuff heads, but if its got some wack-arse photoshop cover and you’ve written on the CD in permanent marker, why the fuck is anyone going to give you coin for it?! I think there’s too many heads not putting the work in, not waiting until they’re ready before trying to get shit heard.
I’m all for doing for self so I’m not knocking the hustle. But a lot of the music I hear is plain gash. I believe for the most part, if the music is dope enough, it will get heard and no doubt be picked up eventually.
Phil: Many people will no doubt hear the name Stig of the Dump and think “battle rapper”. Was there an element of trying to prove yourself as a sick all-round rapper when you produced the E.P?
Stig: Not really. I don’t see myself as a battle rapper so didn’t feel I needed to prove myself otherwise. If you’re one of them pigeon-hole fuckers who need to box everything feel free to call me a battle rapper, but that’s on you. I’m not going to pay that shit any attention. I was conscious that it may happen and understandably so if that’s all I was known for. So obviously knew this would go some way to change that, but it wasn’t my plan from the outset: to dispel some bullshit category I never saw myself as part of.
Phil: You wrote the entire E.P in just 7 days and it’s an absolute banger. Many people can dedicate their whole lives to trying to make just one good track. What does that say about Big Stig?
Stig: It says I had a drunken idea and acted on it, while also saying I’m too fuckin’ dope at what I do! Ha ha! Nah, the 7 day thing wasn’t some angle to work. Or a "look at what I can do in 7 days. Imagine what I can do if I really try". It was to mark a time in my life and a concept behind it all. And it did that. It served its purpose. Personally listening to it, there are a millions things I would change. But it was a set time in my life I chose to mark out so fuck it.
I find it hilarious though that some people think its a lie, or ask me if it really was. I don’t need to prove it. Me and my people who were with me and witnessed it, the people who stayed up ‘til stupid- o’clock with me, and let me sleep in their studio. They know.
I’m not trying to make an excuse for its lack of quality. Because I don’t feel I need to. It doesn’t lack in quality. However, my new LP will shit on it from a great height. The thing is, why is it hard for people to believe? If you’re a dope rapper, why shouldn’t you be able to make a track a day? Especially if you can freestyle? Don’t judge me on the standard you judge yourself or the next man.
Phil: Who influences you in your music and who, if anyone, do you look up to in the U.K?
Stig: I don’t look up to anyone. I make music that reflects me and who I am, so don’t look to other people for inspiration in that way. I may be influenced by the heads I grew up listening to like Redman, Nine, Big L, Slick Rick, Wu etc. etc. But I’m not trying to emanate them at all. I’m being me.
At the same time, I definitely have a huge level of respect for certain peeps. Beggars are gankstuh when it comes to their business and constructing a live show. I’ve learnt a lot from them. It’s that sort of thing I look to learn from. I take inspiration from people’s work ethics but I’m not following anyone. I never have. I listen to ‘nuff music and enjoy it for what it is. But when it comes to making it, I can only write what comes out of me.
My biggest influences are actually comedy; the jokes I have with my fam and the absolute arseholes I see mean-mugging people all screw face. I love going to a jam where I’m unknown and having people think "who the fuck is that bummy fat fuck". And them seeing me have fun while they screw face me and try and judge me. Then getting up and smashing it. 99 percent of them either hate on me more and just cuss me out, or just shut they’re mouths ‘cos they can’t front.
Phil: You have been widely hailed as one of the best battle MC’s in Britain but do you prefer battling, or making music for release?
Stig: Making music. Hugely! Music is where your legacy is. I mean, I enjoy burning someone in front of a crowd of people, or even being hit with a good line, but for me you’ve got to have wax. Without wax / releases, you’re just a passing phase, just the latest hype. Every time you ask someone who their favourite rappers are it’s always people who have made music. They’re two separate arts. Plus no one is going to be bumping your battles on their IPod, or in their car, or in a club. For me, I am an artist its all about music.
Phil: Have you ever had anyone coming at you with beef after you’ve shot them down on stage?
Stig: Yeah, I remember one dude who tried to come up in my face because he had a squad of people with him. Like I was going to be shook. I never talk of fighting because I think its for mugs. Even if you win, there’s better things to be doing with your time than being punched.
But I was raised on army estates, and spent my teenage/early adult years in Newcastle where you don’t get in someone’s face unless your prepared to knuckle up. Its fuckin’ jokes man seeing some skinny high pitched pussy being held back by his girl, like he couldn’t get past her if he wanted to. It’s a rarity but it does happen. But I’m not going to stop because some whiney tit thinks he's hard. Fuck it man, if you’re going to jump in a fucking battle, you need to be able to take a diss if not your a fucking idiot.
Why would you battle, like you don’t know what’s going to happen! It’s only idiots who can’t rap for shit though: the clowns who step up and try to threaten you in their verses, but get made to look like the clowns they are. Fuck ‘em, they want to step up, I’ll burn ‘em in a battle. They want to step to me, I’ll boot their fuckin’ jaws off! (and some other threats that make me look dead hard. Haha).
Phil: You describe yourself as a “fat, hairy, homeless, Northern, drunken arsehole”. Does this mentality (i.e. recognising some of, what may be seen as, your “downfalls”) help you when you’re battling?
Stig: They aren’t downfalls. Why the fuck are they downfalls? That’s me for fucks sake! They’re down falls to some but fuck what everyone else thinks. Obviously I know what people are going to say. It’s obvious. That’s what you do as a battler: you pick up on someone’s obvious features and rinse them. The fact that that’s all people really say speaks volumes about their abilities.
If you have so much supposed downfall material to work with and still can’t win then it must be embarrassing. But like I said, I don’t fit into people’s perception of what a rapper is, or what a battle rapper is. But fuck them it’s their problem. Like some designer stubble, a six pack and expensive garms have got a fucking thing to do with your talent. Maybe your marketability, but on a skill level they bare no relevance what so ever. So keep your Avirex and your New Era hat. Like a bunch of no face clones who all look, act and sound the same.
I don’t want to fit in. I want to stand out. It really pisses me off that cunts are trying to all be identified by exactly the same shit and anyone who doesn’t fit that blueprint gets dismissed. Let them dismiss me. I want to be outed from that scene. It’s of no interest to me. Why the fuck would I want to associate myself with characterless muppets with no identity, who are all aspiring to be something or someone else. Serious man, you know what, it ain’t even a New Era / Avirex thing. That shit’s cool if that’s what you’re on. My point is that if your a knob who is trying to fit in, you lose your individuality.
People are too pussy to stand out anymore. I would be far less comfortable in a crowd of people who look and dress like me. But that won’t happen anytime soon. Unless they start putting extra calories in the water and some fashion mag says scruffy is the new look. Plastic wankers!
Phil: Obviously the Asher D battle will be a high point for you. Did you take any extra satisfaction in shooting down such a “big name,” or do you just see him as another feather in the cap?
Stig: It wasn’t even a thing of battling some famous dude or wanting to beef the guy. I was there, he offered an open battle, got a bit too confident and I was there to bring him back. I didn’t see it as even a serious thing. He isn’t known for his battling so I knew he wouldn’t be on point with it. It was just fun: something people seem all too eager to forget about.
Phil: Do you think anyone else can battle on a level with the Freestyle Masons?
Stig: Yeah, I think there will be a number of heads on a world level who can compete and beat us. And one or two in the country. Do I think anyone in the world is unbeatable or would rinse us easily… no.
Phil: Right. That’s about all from me. All that’s left to say is what’s next for Stig of the Dump?
Stig: Just live shows, dutty ho's and scruffy clothes mate. Ha ha. jokes…
May 27th, I’m dropping my debut single; "Braindead" from my debut LP "Mood Swings" which features R.A. The Rugged Man and is produced by Beat Butcha with a Jehst remix featuring Harry Love cuts, and Smoov produced “Intoxicated” on the B-side. Then hopefully another 12" later in the year before the full LP drops at the end of 07.
As you may well know, there’s rumours of me linking with Robbie Williams. That’s all a bit up in the air at the moment so don’t know where that is. But that’s a possibility. Basically I’m just trying to progress, live, and stay the fuck off the park bench.
Until that day comes, big up to everyone who has supported me and copped my music. Or come to see me feed my ego at live shows. Or bought me a jar of brewski. And thanks to those who try and stand in my way. I need the odd stepping stone.