This summer, the BBC will launch a new national radio station dedicated to black music. Not yet named, but currently being referred to as Network X, the station aims to etch out its own identity and lead the way in youth radio by supporting new UK talent as well as showcasing the best urban music from abroad. As part of the government plan to phase out analogue radio (FM/AM/MW), Network X will be using a digital broadcasting system. This means that listeners will be able to tune into the station using digital radio receivers, digital satellite television, digital cable television, or the Internet and get near-CD-quality reception.
“It’s based on a personality and a goal,” explains 21 year old Kebbie Conteh about the meaning behind his hip-hop moniker Joker Starr. “’Joker’ was given to me by my cousins when I was younger, and ‘star’ is what I want to be.” Having been rapping seriously for only three years, it is impressive what he has so far been able to achieve.
Due to the modest financial returns it offers the majority of its artists, British hip-hop has had more than its fair share of casualties over the years. One example of this is the defunct collective Lords of Rap. After releasing a string of singles in the early 1990s with limited success, the London-based quartet decided to split up. Eight years on, the group’s main producer and rapper Def G now goes by the name of Soliheen and was the man responsible for producing two of the tracks on Ty’s well-received debut LP as well as crafting beats for new rhyme-slinger Joker Starr.