Incisive: I’m a rapper from West London. I’ve been making music since around 1992 when I was in a duo called I.n.A - Incisive & Adrenaline but it wasn’t until 1998 that we recorded our first first album and showcased our developing skills in the final of Choice FM’s Rapology ‘98.
Since then, I’ve nurtured and refined my skills by recording another two fully independent albums and securing regular airplay on pirate and mainstream stations such as Choice, Kiss and 1Xtra from tracks from the albums. A lot of my material is self produced not because I wanted to get into production particularly, but more because I didn’t have producers around that were willing to give away as many beats as I needed. So I learnt how to produce and record my own tunes through engineering for myself and others in a local youth centre and using the internet to teach myself how to play piano and guitar. Only through an informed choice, being aware that I wasn’t fully prepared and wanting to finish university was it that I didn’t push the radio buzz further.
Now that I’ve finished University, upped my game and skills, I feel I’m ready to show the world my music.
CB: I’m sure that you want to tell everyone about what you’re currently working on. You’ve got some singles coming out – tell us about them:
Incisive: My upcoming single is a song called ‘Release’ featuring an artist called Shax. The song is just about getting back home and after a long day and just kicking back, listening to your music just to ‘Release’. It’s produced by a real talented producer called Origimoz. I shot a video for the song directed by Jamie Cox (who shot Bashy’s ‘Black Boys’ video) which should be out in January ‘09 to lead the release of the first mixtape. That single was just featured in 1Xtras homegrown show as single of the week and was on the homegrown podcast as a free download for a week which is a good look.
CB: And they will lead to a mixtape or an album? When will those be coming out?
Incisive: Currently I’m working on two mixtapes, one being my own effort and the other entirely produced by another producer and also my album. My own mixtape will be out in the first quarter of 2009 with the lead single being ‘Release’. The other projects will be out later in the year - no set date but definitely in 2009. ‘Release’ is already available on iTunes, Amazon and all other good online vendors but is officially released in February.
CB: Who have you worked with on those? Have you had any good endorsements from big names in the game?
Incisive: My own mixtape was almost an entirely solo effort - I felt it was necessary for people to get to know me and what I’m about first before I start hiding behind features. I got some production from TE1 (www.myspace.com/te1productions) and Origimoz who also made ‘Release’ (www.myspace.com/origimozmusic). A vocalist I work closely with called Shax (www.myspace.com/shaxmusic) is also on the mixtape quite a bit but that’s more backing vocals because I like to incorporate that music aspect to my songs with backing vocals and extra more musical parts.
The other mixtape I am doing is sort of a Hi-Tek / Talib Kweli project in that it is entirely produced by producer TE1. Again, I got Shax with quite a bit of backing vocals on that, but I also got a tune with Kyza and also one tune with a Canadian artist called Muneshine.
My album is still in the making so we’ll see who we get on that.
I dunno about endorsements but I done a tune a couple years back called ‘London N.E.W.S (North, East, West, South)’ which featured artists repping each end of London all on one track, Sway repped North, J2k East, Baby Blue South and I repped West London - that was produced by longtime friend Nutty P (www.myspace.com/nuttypmusic).
CB: Who, in your opinion is really doing their utmost to promote real Hip Hop in our country?
Incisive: In this country at the moment, I think Bashy’s doing a good job in terms of making it cool to not be on such a badman ting with the whole Black Boys movement and his sound in general. Sway’s recent album was a real good representation of what good UK Hip Hop sounds like and he’s got the overseas Akon link so in terms of promoting real Hip Hop - yeah man, them two. Some might argue and say that Bashy, (and Sway to an extent) are not “real” Hip Hop because they dabble in grime as well but I think they are UK Hip Hop and so they embrace our music as well - it’s still all Hip Hop in my eyes.
CB: What is in your mind as you write a track? What inspires you and pushes you?
Incisive: One liners and punchlines come to me randomly during the day and I might get them down on my blackberry or whatever but when I’m writing a tune, normally I do it on the inspiration of an instrumental - it may not necessarily be the instrumental that I’m going to finally record on but it’s definitely off a beat of some sort. In terms of what I’m going to write about, I just start writing and whatever happens, happens - I don’t sit down and say, I’m going to write a “girl tune” or a “story telling tune” -– I just write and things seem to come together in the end.
Hearing other artists tunes - especially UK artist with GOOD tunes or freestyles on radio shows pushes me because that is my direct competition and I guess nothing pushes anyone more than a bit of healthy competition.
CB: How do you fit into the current rap scene and its trends?
Incisive: I think I fit into the current rap scene and its trends by filling that gap there is at the moment in terms of the more conscious tunes from the more average dude as opposed to songs from most artists who claim they are the “most gangster about” or tunes just designed to sell records quickly with some quick gimmick or dance. Don’t get me wrong, I listen to them tunes sometimes with the best of them but at the same time, you don’t ALWAYS want to hear those kind of tunes and at the moment, there isn’t that much options for alternative more conscious music that isn’t too extreme and backpacky - I think I try and strike a balance in between. Tunes like my upcoming single release are about “Just getting back to my yard been on my feet working way too hard...” It’s something that almost EVERYONE can relate to and identify with but at the same time, the beat is on the border line of backpack and more mainstream Hip Hop. I think there’s a space for me in the current rap scene and if there isn’t, I’ll squeeze in somewhere!
CB: What, looking back over 2008 have been the high and low points for Hip Hop from your point of view?
Incisive: The high point for me has been, I think, the Giggs freestyle. Not the tune in itself but its impact. Just seeing the reaction and love shown in the streets and in the clubs from almost... everyone... from a tune from a UK artist - I haven’t seen that before ever and I think it opened doors for more UK Hip Hop artists to be respected more as artists who are able to penetrate the streets and clubs to that extent and level - there’s always been a stigma over UK artists and I think that tune took us somewhere else.
CB: Which tunes have you been vibing off this year?
Incisive: I like listening to quite a lot of R’n’B when I’m at home. Robin Thicke has been on my playlist quite regularly with his older album - ‘Evolution of Robin Thicke’ . Amy Winehouse got quite a lot of airplay from me as well. I like R’n’B because of the musical aspect of all the live instruments and harmonies; I’m a real fan of music. In terms of Hip Hop, obviously Weezy - the whole ‘Carter 3’ album, but in general, in terms of American artists, I prefer the older stuff - old Jay - ‘Blueprint’ etc, Biggie…
I prefer to listen to UK artists so on this side of the pond: Kano’s ‘Hustler’ tune was big for me, Sway’s album was big, Wretch 32 as well - I like that ‘Punctuation’ tune.
CB: What are you looking forward to in 2009?
Incisive: I’m looking forward to hearing new good music from the growing pot of very talented UK artists around and I’m looking forward to finally getting my music out there for the people to listen to - nothing else really.
CB: Any last words?
Incisive: Keep an eye out for Incisive - My ish is the camp. Support UK Music. Nice 1.