Maxwell D is a veteran East London who has passed through Jungle, Drum & Bass, UK Garage, Grime and Funky House while occasionally touching on R&B and Hiphop. Maxwell was first introduced to music by his father, DJ Natty B from Choice FM. Maxwell used to perform at his father’s sound system gigs where he would MC and soon learned the skills that he would use later in his career.
It was the emergence of the Drum & Bass scene that captured the heart of Maxwell and his friends, "We used to sneak into clubs and watch the MCs; they inspired me to be something." He could chat to reggae dancehall, but realized a dream of being an MC could be reality through Drum & Bass.
His dream soon began to come true, Maxwell was in demand at every house party in his area and also many club events. He managed to get a slot on a pirate station, Rinse FM, with his friend, Nikki Slimting. Their regular hangout was the Orange Club at the Hippodrome and by 1997 Maxwell was a regular on the Drum & Base circuit.
In September 1999 Maxwell was introduced to Relentless Recordings who immediately noticed his talents and signed him to their label. Maxwell's debut single Serious was released and tore up the UK Garage dance floors. It also successfully made it into the national UK charts. Things happened fast for him at this stage of his career from coming out of prison, to being a big name on the garage scene, to starring in his first solo music video within a year and a half.
In 2001 he joined a group of friends Wiley, Target, Major Ace, and Plague and formed the Pay As You Go Cartel. Their underground status was massive and their debut single 'Champagne Dance' was signed to Sony Music. It was a huge success reaching number 13 in the UK national charts.
By this time Maxwell was in high demand, he collaborated on a remix with Ms Dynamite (Mercury Music Prize Winner) and top selling international artist Ludacris, with his number one smash Southern Hospitality which was released on his UK edition album Chicken and Beer.
Still in demand, Maxwell was signed to EMI publishing, who sent him to work in New York with US producer Punch. Meanwhile back in the UK negative publicity meant Garage became unpopular in clubs, so the scene began to lose popularity. Inward divisions caused the spilt of Pay As You Go Cartel.
After the crew went their separate ways Maxwell D went on to East Connection with other Pay As U Go members God's Gift and Major Ace. East Connection gradually died out after Major Ace split apart from the crew to create new grime crew Special D. Maxwell's career began to fade considering he was one of the better MC’s in the Pay As U Go Cartel era. Finally Maxwell started up his own crew and record label called the Muskateers who managed to get a Thursday night headliner set at West London’s Freeze 92.7 FM. The Muska camp featured MCs such as female grime veteran Lady Fury and Ashman the original 14 year old mc that should have made it but never did as the Grime scene was still just beginning to take off and such giants as Logan Sama were not yet promoting it on Kiss 100 yet.
Not only is Maxwell D a talented musician, he is also involved in a variety of organizations. He is a spokesman for Kidscount who raise awareness on gun and knife culture in today’s society. He recently spoke at a seminar with Prime Minister David Cameron about strengthening families. He also regularly visits schools giving talks on issues of life and music trying to encourage kids to follow the right path.
Maxwell D is currently working on a new album which offers a more versatile sound and has more appeal to a mainstream audience. His recent success with his smash hit track 'Blackberry Hype' and ‘Text Text Text’ has seen his popularity dramatically increase over the last 18 months. He’s also ventured into business and currently has his own clothing line and energy drinks. Maxwell D’s recent partnership with a PR/Management company is set to put him back in the mainstream media and the future seems very bright for the talented musician. 2011 is set to be a promising and exciting year for very gifted MC Maxwell D.
BBC Never Mind the Buzzcocks
Friday Night Project Channel 4 with Kanye West TV performance
Channel U Unthugged TV performance
City Showcase Southbank musicians
BBC Electric Proms TV performance
Various performances MTV Base
Aston Villa FC Performance
CBBC TV performance
BBC Top of the Pops TV performance
Faking It (C4) TV programme
Popworld TV performance
Miami conference performance
Rapture TV performance
Live Performances last 6 months
1xtra Live from Ayia Napa (Mista Jams show)
Twice As Nice Ibiza Closing party
Skegness Twice As Nice Weekender
Love Dough Leeds
Essex Circus Tavern
Sheffield Heaven @ Static
Work @ Hidden London
Southampton Club Junk
Bournemouth Blackberry Hype Madness
Rochester Under 18s Event
Stratford Arts Centre
Glasgow Arches, Scotland
Club Zinc Stoke
Talk club Essex
Club Amadeus Kent
Club static Sheffield
Bubblin Over / Bar Rhumba
Faces Night club Gants Hill
BB Hype on The Hill / London
Love Bugs Huddersfield
Club Vybe Sheffield
Southampton Club Soton
Club Traffic Holborn
Club Goochi Wood green
Grays Essex Urban Energy Dance Comp.
Media Press Coverage
News of the World
The Voice Newspaper / online
Urban World, current
Da-Mjuzik, Dec issue
Kix Magazine, Dec issue
Musicology Magazine, Dec or January
Creative Vanity Magazine
BlackBerry Hype / EMI
Text Text Text / EMI
Serious (Single) ? (5 versions) 4 Liberty Records Ltd ...
Serious (12") 4 Liberty Records Ltd, 4 Liberty Records Ltd
Serious (12") Relentless Records (2)
Serious (12", Promo) 4 Liberty Records Ltd
Serious (CD, Single) 4 Liberty Records Ltd
Serious (The Remixes) (12", Promo, Ltd) 4 Liberty Records Ltd
Favourite Part Of Me (12") E-Mancipated, E-Mancipated, BMG UK & Ireland
Ultimate Warriors (12") AIM Records
What U Gonna Do ? (2 versions) Relentless Records (2)
What U Gonna Do (12") Relentless Records (2)
What U Gonna Do (Remixes) (12", Promo) Relentless Records (2) 2002
Time Wasters (Remixes) (12") Musketeers
Reasons (12") Solid City Records
Bun Dem (12", Promo) Perfection Records
Max Is Back (12", Whi) Solid City Records
Was It You That Said (12") Solid City Records
How It Is (12") Musketear Recordings
Merk Dem (12") Musketear Recordings
Ayia Napa - The Album 2001 (CDr, Mixed, Comp, Promo) Favorite Part Of Me (R... Ministry Of Sound 2001
Saturday (Oooh Oooh!) (12") Southern Hospitality (... Def Jam South 2001
Shake It Up! - Garage Sessions (3xCD, Mixed, Comp) Beechwood Music
The Avenger (12") Solid City Records
Crews Control "MC's Inside The Ride" (2xCD, Comp, Mixed) Ultimate Warriors, Lady Warner Strategic Marketing (UK)
I Can't Wait ? (2 versions) I Can't Wait (Da Grime... Polydor
Lady (12", S/Sided, TP) Sweet Boy Entertainment
More Fire Crew C.V. (CD) Back Then, Burnin You Go! Beat
Stand Clear (CDr, Single, Promo) Where's My N**** Not On Label
Where's My...? ? (2 versions) Where's My...? (Origin... EMI Records ..
Chicken -N- Beer (CD, Album) Southern Hospitality (... Def Jam South
Corporation In Session (CD) Ultimate Warriors Deuce Magazine
Tunnel Vision Volume 1 (CD) Pay As You Go Boy Better Know 2006
From A Place (12", W/Lbl) From A Place Adamantium Music
Shock To The System - The Album (CD) 10 Out Of 10 After Shock
Ahvid & Klahvid (CD, Album) MD Mania Lejal Genes 2009
FACT Mix 47 (File, MP3, Mixed, 320) Blackberry Hype (Terro... FACT Magazine
Tracks Appear On:
Ayia Napa - The Album 2001 (2xCD, Mixed, Comp) Serious (Street Vocal ... Ministry Of Sound
DJ Luck & MC Neat Present ... III (2xCD, Mixed, Comp) Serious (Jameson Remix) Universal Music TV
Darker Than Blue (2xCD, Comp) Serious (Street Vocal ... Union Square Music
Garage Nation Summer 2 (2xCD, Mixed) Serious (Original Mix) INCredible 2001
Pure Silk In Ayia Napa 2 (2xCD, Comp, Mixed) Serious (DJ S Special ... Pure Silk Records
Shake It Up! - Garage Sessions (3xCD, Mixed, Comp) Serious (Original Mix) Beechwood Music
4 Liberty Gold Series Volume 3 (2x12") Serious (Blessed Love ... 4 Liberty Records Ltd 2002
Crews Control "MC's Inside The Ride" (2xCD, Comp, Mixed) What U Gonna Do (Bun V... Warner Strategic Marketing (UK)
Garage Nation 02 (2xCD, Mixed) Know We, Serious (Bles... INCredible
Road 2 Power (CD) Serious (Jameson Mix) Phonocat Records
Summer Of Dance 2001 (CD, Comp, Promo) Serious Disctronics, The Tip Sheet
Channel U Vol.2 (The Sickest Sounds From The Urban Underground) (2xCD, Comp) With U GTV 2008
The Pum Pum Riddim (12") What The Girl Want, 2 ... Not On Label
UK Garage Innovators 4 (10xCass, Mixed + VHS, PAL + 2xCD, Mixed) Sun City (2)
So Solid crew
Masters of Ceremonies
Curtis Lynch Jr
Nana from The Architects
Nu Brand Flex
Ru (Birdcall productions)
Punch Adam F and Little Mo
Pay As You Go Cartel
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TRUTH ABOUT MAXWELL
[+ Show ]
He’s been shot at, spent time behind bars and was once a member of the popular pay as you go colle...
He’s been shot at, spent time behind bars and was once a member of the popular pay as you go collective. Now Maxwell D is back with a mixtape, appropriately titled: Misunderstood
Despite his success with garage hit Serious and his rise to fame as part of the popular garage collective Pay As You Go, Maxwell D earned more notoriety back in 2004, when he sold a story to a leading newspaper about his steamy affair with Birmingham-born pop princess Jamelia.
The backlash to this story becoming public resulted in his car being shot at following a show he did in Birmingham.
But despite all the drama of recent years, the well-known MC – and son of Choice FM DJ Natty B – returns with new mixtape Misunderstood – but exactly who misunderstands Maxwell D?
“What I’d like to get across is that I’m a nice guy! But people who don’t know me – and make their judgements from the outside looking in – tend to misunderstand me.”
Ah, I see. Well, this mixtape – released through his own independent label Musketear Recordings – aims to set certain records straight and provides the perfect opportunity for Maxwell D to tell it like it is on a variety of issues, from record label dramas to family dramas to the Jamelia drama and much more.
“I had some tracks put down already, so it didn’t take long to put the mixtape together. Last year, I didn’t put much music out but I put videos on Channel U and MTV Base, just to get myself back in the rat-race of the music industry. Then, it made sense to put together the mixtape, so I could reconnect with my fans. I’ve just spent the past year or so trying to get myself back together. And things are good now.”
That’s good to know – particularly as his career path seemed to be regularly tainted by drama. Having originally emerged as part of the drum & bass scene – performing at a number of club events and earning a slot on pirate radio station Rinse FM – Maxwell D’s rising career came to a halt when he was sent to prison.
After serving a year-and-a-half behind bars, he came out to find that drum & bass had been replaced by garage. Realising quickly that he could be a part of this new scene, he released the 1999 hit Serious and joined Pay As You Go cartel, who enjoyed success with their hit Champagne Dance. Eventually, the group disbanded.
Maxwell D recalls his memories of being part of the much-loved garage collective…
“There were about nine of us, so that was nine egos all trying to work together. Everybody wanted to do their own thing so we didn’t always work well as a team. To an extent, us being strong-minded individuals made us stronger as a group ‘coz we each had something to bring to the table. But in the end, that kinda caused our downfall ‘coz there were too many of us wanting to do our own thing. But there’s no bad blood between me and any of them ‘coz it was all a long time ago and everyone’s moved on. Wiley’s doing his thing, I’m doing my thing and there’s no-one from the group that I don’t talk to.”
Unsurprisingly, someone who he doesn’t talk to is Jamelia. But he has no problem explaining why he chose to sell his story about his dealings with the singer…
“I was approached by the paper when I was going through a bad time. Financially, I was in a bad way and I needed the money. My back was against the wall. In some ways I regret it, in some ways I don’t. It was a choice I made at the time but I wouldn’t do it again. That situation brought out a lot of haters – people who I’d previously thought were my friends. All I did was tell the truth – and the truth didn’t look nice.”
Has he seen Jamelia since?
“Nah, I haven’t seen her. I don’t have anything to say to her.”
So what’s the future for the budding MC?
“I’m just concentrating on making as much music as possible and building up my fanbase to the best of my ability. If a record company wants to sign me, I wouldn’t say no – depending on the deal – because I know what I’m doing. At the end of the day, they have the power and the tools to promote an artist – if it’s done properly. If I got a deal, I’d invest the money in my record label, which would enhance me as an artist in the long run.”
‘Misunderstood’ is out now through Musketear Recordings
Blackberry hype! - Interview with Maxwell D
[+ Show ]
Blackberry Hype BY Joel Campbell With Maxwell D fronting the hit tune Blackberry Hype, we exp...Blackberry Hype
BY Joel Campbell
With Maxwell D fronting the hit tune Blackberry Hype, we explore why so many people have bought the nifty device.
IT SEEMS apt that one of the hottest tunes on the UK Funky scene at the moment is called BlackBerry Hype, especially when you consider the success the must have gizmo is experiencing at the moment.
Bucking the current trend which is seeing people hold onto their money for longer before parting with it for any of their most desired goods, a BlackBerry seems to be the recession proof must have gadget of 2009.
Reports over the last couple of months have seen a steady increase of BlackBerry users and their presence in the Smartphone market has forced the hand of Microsoft and Nokia to join forces in order to stem the pace of their growth.
Helping to boost sales in the urban demographic is Maxwell D, whose club banger has been the single biggest motivating factor in people obtaining one of the charismatic handsets.
Talking to Here, the former Garage MC explained what compelled him to put pen to paper and come up with the BlackBerry Hype.
“The riddim was on my computer for a while, I’ve got loads of them and every one was jumping on the UK Funky thing so I thought I’d do a couple of tracks as well.
“Then I bought a BlackBerry phone. Before that all my friends were saying I should get one and I wasn’t really caring because to my mind a phone was a phone. But they kept telling me I needed it to do my emails, Facebook and promotions, so I decided to check it out.
“I had bad credit and no idea I was going to get one but when I got one I went home, got emotional and I was on a hype. I’ve got a studio in my house so it was one of those things that just came together.
“I kept saying I’m on a BlackBerry hype and it stuck. I said to one of my mates make sure you email, text me, I’m on a BlackBerry hype and he turned around laughing and said ‘that’s a good line you know, you should use it’.
“A couple of days later I was back in the studio with the hook, completed the tune and put it out there as a free download.”
Maxwell says he knew the tune was going to be a banger when he was inundated with requests from DJ’s asking for a specially recorded track featuring their name.
His experience with former Garage collective Pay As You Go, who had hit tune Serious reach number 41 in the charts, gave Maxwell an indication on just how far and wide the BlackBerry Hype tune was reaching after only a few months. He admits he was blown away by the response.
He said: “The first man I sent it to was Nicky Slim Ting and he said he played it in a dance and people didn’t even know the tune and they were going mad. The whole rave was skanking and I was like ‘whatever, I’ve got a million tunes on my computer, you can’t be telling me that’s a hit’.
“After that it was one report after another. I’ve got a video production company with some of my friends in Leeds called Max and Ramps multimedia and they played it up there and confirmed that it was going to be one that people loved.”
The success of Blackberry’s seems like a no-brainer but just last week Nokia admitted that they had been slow to produce a handset that rivalled the Research In Motion product.
Indeed, Nokia have announced an ‘aggressive’ marketing strategy of their new products which they hope will peg back the dominance of the BlackBerry and they are not alone. Microsoft linking up with Nokia is, in itself, an admission that they have little or no foothold in a market place most would have assumed they would.
The ‘catch up with BlackBerry plan’ which doesn’t exclude the Apple iPhone is understandable when you see Research In Motion sitting pretty at the top of the Fortune Magazine list of fastest growing companies for 2009. The rapid growth of RIM has shaken the foundations of the Smartphone market and caused the kind of hype that helps the layman understand why Maxwell D’s tune blew up in the first place.
In fact even if you’re not into the whole UK Funky scene just walk down the road, use the tube or stand at a bus stop and you will bump into someone sending an email or deeply engrossed in what is on their 2.8 inch colour touch screen.
Having a BlackBerry isn’t all good though as research by Peninsula, an employment law firm, would suggest. A recent study by the UK firm of 600 BlackBerry subscribers recently revealed that they are likely to be working an extra 15 hours longer than their non-BlackBerry counterparts.
There are fears that EU guidelines on working hours are being breached as a result of employers expecting those that work for them to be available on their BlackBerry’s after work.
There is no doubt that the age of the Smartphone will enable a lot more people to engage in the new phenomenon of cyber networking as social network sites become instantly accessible.
Taking advantage of the new ‘CrackBerry’ era Maxwell D has launched his BlackBerry Hype Tee shirt as well as Blackberry Hype energy drink.
Talking about the surprise surrounding the success of the two concepts, Maxwell D’s business partner Michael from D Star Promotions said the requests for the drink and the merchandise had gone crazy.
He enthused: “It started as a great concept and we were really excited. I think the main reason it has done so well is because no one has done this before. People thought it was just a joke then they saw the drink was on sale and wanted to taste it.
“We done a taste test at the Slough Ice Rink recently with people from the age of 13 to 30 taking part and most thought the BlackBerry Hype drink tasted better and less harsh than Red Bull, so were really pleased with how the product has been received. Were currently waiting for another batch to be delivered from Russia and we are looking for a UK distributor but were happy with how things have gone so far.
“The tee shirts have also sold out, but we’ll be ordering them by the thousand from now on so everyone should be able to get one soon.
“Maxwell has a lot of support out there from back in the day and I think people have a lot of love for the fact that we are trying to bend the rules a bit and bring another dimension to this whole music game.”
Here! has teamed up with Maxwell D and D Star Promotions to offer five readers the chance to be in the new BlackBerry Hype video, which is scheduled to be filmed at the end of September. If you’d like the chance to be involved answer the question below:
What group was Maxwell D a part of before his solo career?
A, May as you go
B, Pay as you go
C, If you like you go
Answers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by midday on September 28. All entries must include a name and daytime telephone number. Editor’s decision is final.
Front Page Feature
Front page feature
[+ Show ]
From the tower blocks of east London comes the thrilling sound of grime. By Chris Campion Chris ...From the tower blocks of east London comes the thrilling sound of grime. By Chris Campion
Sunday 23 May 2004
Friday night at Pals Bar & Brasserie in Croydon. A battle cry curdles through the venue. 'You doan wanna war wid whoo? War wid mweee!' MC D Double E lurches towards the crowd as he hits the mic. Bodies surge back towards him, smashing a low glass border in front of the DJ booth. Only minutes before office workers performed boozy slow dances around this suburban pub to chart hits. Now the energy in the room has turned. It's getting grime-y.
The crowd, now overwhelmingly young, black and male, is clued in and keyed up by the maddening noise blasting out of the PA - a mash of shuddering sub-bass, clattering beats and queasy synth-lines. D Double's microphone is feeding back like crazy. The shards of glass that have fallen inside the booth rattle in sympathy with the grinding percussive rhythm. This relentless assault and battery only serves to inflame the audience further. Hands primed like guns are thrust in the air to bust off imaginary shots in appreciation. Cigarette lighters and illuminated mobile phones are brandished like beacons. A mosh pit forms towards the edge of the dancefloor and several alarmed security guards wade in to break it up. But before they can the DJ, Danny Weed, spins back the track and kills the sound.
This is 'grime', a hybrid of American rap and Jamaican dancehall filtered through Britain's rave scene and powered by a raw punk energy all its own. Grime's first big star is Dizzee Rascal, whose Mercury Award-nominated album Boy in da Corner described a jagged, disenfranchised world alien to the experience of most Britons. Last month, Dizzee's mentor Wiley - the undisputed king of this new scene - followed him into the limelight.
But behind these two there's a large ragged army of hungry MCs spitting blood and fire about the grim reality of everyday life. Banded together in crews (with names such as Nasty, Boyz in da Hood, Roll Deep and Black Ops) they engage in their own brand of warfare in which reputations can be won or lost in 16 bars. These are the bastard sons of Blair's Britain, trapped in long abandoned pockets of the country where violent crime is rife and the street economy holds sway. Music is their only way out of the grime.
Estranged from its mother culture, British rap has always suffered from something of an identity problem. Grime draws from 15 years of dance music - from house through to jungle and the two-step garage sound popularised by So Solid Crew. It has its own culture, one that is almost entirely self-sufficient and bypasses traditional avenues of distribution and promotion. As well as specialist magazines such as RWD - born three years ago with a £2,000 grant from the Prince's Trust and now the second largest dance music magazine in the UK - the scene also has its own version of MTV in cable station Channel U, which broadcasts roughly hewn homegrown promos for grime tracks alongside ultra-slick American rap videos. The pirate radio network is paramount in promoting and popularising the scene. In this culture, an appearance on 1Extra, Radio 1's digital urban music station, is about as overground it gets.
'This is an underground thing but its roots are in unadulterated capitalism,' says Matt Mason, editor of RWD . 'If you go to any young crew just coming up in the scene they'll have a whole business plan to help build up a reputation and product. There's more hype in garage than any other kind of music; whether it's two MCs having a clash on a pirate or just the lyrics and the way they say them. It's just pure hype.'
The desire of each crew to carve out its own territory in a crowded market has led some of them to tag their sound with its own particular brand name. The generic 'grime' or 'UK garage' just won't do. Wiley and the other 10 members of his Roll Deep Crew describe their sound as Eski (or Eskimo). Jon E Cash's Black Ops have Sub Low. Others define their music in metrical terms: 8 Bar, 2 Step or 44.
MCs have to play the same game to make themselves heard above the tinny gaggle of voices that crowd pirate transmissions. D Double E's idiosyncratic vocal style has made him one of the most recognisable and popular MCs on the scene. He only has to let out his call sign, a deliberate corruption of 'It's me!' sustained into a noise somewhere between a whoop and a grunt, for the audience to cotton on to his presence. 'At raves, sometimes I don't even have to MC, bruv,' he grins. 'I just go on stage and hear the echoes coming out the crowd. It's a deep signal.'
When D Double handles the mic his whole face tenses up with concentration and his teeth are bared to deliver lyrical threats of extreme physical violence designed to riddle the confidence of other MCs. But despite his merciless street persona, it's hard to see him as a bad sort underneath it all. The voicemail message on his mobile phone is a touching home recording of him coaching his two-year-old daughter to mimic his vocal style. He lives for the music and has done for 10 years, since he started out MCing at jungle raves at the age of 14. Up until the beginning of this year, D Double was the lead spitter in Nasty Crew. Now he's going solo. He spends much of his time rolling around his manor in a second-hand Rover, playing his own tracks on the car stereo over and over again as he bounces between the studio, pirate stations and raves. D Double's reputation in his local area is so well established that he can get away with referring to himself as the 'Newham General' with absolutely no sense irony.
Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney in east London - the last two rank in the top five most deprived boroughs in Britain - are to grime what the South Bronx is to hip hop. Rhythm Division records has been a fixture of Roman Road in E3 for nearly 10 years. Owner Mark Prutton recalls many of today's names patronising the establishment as youngsters. 'They didn't have any money in those days so they'd come in, crowd around the decks and ask to listen to loads of records.'
Many producers bring white labels of their latest tunes fresh from the pressing plant and sell them exclusively at Rhythm Division before distributing them elsewhere. A hot tune will have been a staple on the pirates and at raves for months before its official release and may shift a few hundred copies in just a week. Wiley claims to have sold up to 50,000 last year out of the back of his car.
Ten minutes from here is the estate where Dizzee Rascal grew up. Built in the Seventies and, by the looks of it, left to decay ever since, Crossways is one of the most impoverished council estates in London; an unforgiving residential wasteland dominated by three 25-storey highrises known locally as 'Three Flats'. The long-deserted concrete playground outside has become a graveyard for discarded crack vials.
Pirate station Rinse FM, on which Dizzee cut his chops alongside many of the scene's leading figures, used to broadcast from high up in one of the blocks. Sitting there, it must have felt as if they were transmitting their angst across the whole of London.
Three Flats is also home to Wiley's new protege, Ruff Squad's Tinchy Stryder, so called because although small in stature he takes big strides. Dizzee calls him 'Tantrum', however, because that's what he sounds like: a flurry of lyrical menace. A charismatic child soldier who looks far younger than his 17 years, Stryder carries himself with a natural confidence and composure that outshines his Ruff Squad peers.
Unlike Dizzee and Wiley's music, there is neither hope nor humour to leaven Ruff Squad's sound, just an oppressive dread. 'Tings in Boots' is a stone-cold ghetto anthem which (in case you're wondering) has nothing at all to do with hotties in knee-high boots. 'It means things in car boots,' says Stryder, 'nothing to do with girls. The lyrics relate to a few people in the underground scene who carry this and that. It's not meant to mean just guns, but weapons generally.'
The suggestion that those in the scene are not immune to violence is borne out by a series of events that occurred in February two months before Wiley's album was due to drop. Rumours started to fly around that Wiley had been rushed by an up-and-coming crew and stabbed several times in the melee.
The next day, he cancelled all further press interviews and proved increasingly difficult to nail down. A few weeks later, he was stuck again by the same crew while out shopping. All of this went entirely unreported in the media but was alluded to by several of the people interviewed for this piece. Even his record company, XL, seem to have been kept in the dark as to what happened.
Flyers for many UK garage events specifically advertise 'No Grime!'. Crews such as Ruff Squad are forced to perform in out-of-the-way suburban clubs in places such as Bedford, Croydon, Luton and Sheffield. 'Most of those things that happen on the scene exist without garage [music] and without the MC,' says Stryder. 'But sometimes people get too carried away with the vibe at the rave. The tempo is fast so everything is up, not really laid-back. Sometimes people get bottled or rushed.'
In general, however, grime works to ritualise and contain aggression between crews through battles and clashes in which the aim is to 'merk' rival MCs on the set - kill them lyrically in the most inventive way possible. To the outsider, even the vernacular used by the grime MC seems impenetrable. 'Every time you go on the radio it's like you're warring with someone,' says Stryder, 'so everyone's trying to be on their best form.'
One Saturday afternoon, word has got around that Nasty Crew are doing a set at Heat FM , a pirate that operates from a back room on a north London council estate. More than 25 people are crammed into a space barely 12 foot square. Only nine belong to Nasty. The others are members of up-and-coming crews Meridian and Venom. The atmosphere is thick with weed smoke and charged with anticipation. Electricity is patched in from next door to power a set of decks played back through a cheap boombox - the only actual equipment in the station.
Nasty's most formidable MCs - Kano, Sharkey Major, Ghetto, Hyper and Stormin - form a huddle around the mic and pass it back and forth between themselves to keep the other crews from muscling in. As he rhymes, Ghetto bucks his wiry body spas modically back and forth like a boxer sparring jabs. His hoodie is pulled down so low over his head that the only visible parts of his face are the gold teeth that glint in the light of the bare bulb hanging from the ceiling.
When a member of Venom finally wrestles control of the mic, the rest of his crew shout out a bizarre, tooled-up version of Madness's 'Our House'. The chorus runs: 'Arms house in the middle of the street!'
Afterwards Marcus Nasty, Nasty Crew's shaven-headed capo, is not impressed. 'The problem is there's no class in the game,' he spits. 'Years ago you wouldn't find people jumping up on stage with Nasty or coming to the stations for our show. People knew you couldn't do that. We are the top boys.'
Nasty Crew used to operate under the patronage of top producer Jammer. But in November 2003 Marcus Nasty emerged from prison after a two-year stretch for unspecified offences to resume his position in charge of the crew he co-founded in 1999.
'If it wasn't for this music, I'd be in a lot of trouble,' he says. 'Grime keeps me on-road. It's keeping a lot of other kids out of jail, too. Rather than shooting each other, they all come down here and war lyrically.' When Marcus Nasty got a new lease on life, Jammer ducked out. Depending on to whom you talk, the crew's reputation was either built on Jammer's production or vice versa. But either way, there wasn't room for two heads in one crew. D Double E left soon afterwards, also citing differences with Marcus Nasty.
This kind of internecine dispute is all too common, the result of a constant tension between the drive for success and loyalty to the street, between satisfying the desires of the individual and the demands of the crew. One by one, the major labels are picking off the MCs whom they deem capable of holding the attention of a mainstream audience. Boyz in da Hood's Durrty Doogz has been signed to Sony for over a year. Nasty's Kano is set to ink a deal with 679 Recordings, who also put out the Streets. In some cases, the connections between the underground and mainstream are even closer. Details of MC Maxwell D's steamy affair with R&B pop sensation Jamelia were splashed across the News of the World. The canny 24-year-old (who used to be part of Pay As You Go Cartel with Wiley) exploited the kiss-and-tell He's put together a group which bears the same name as his label, Musketear, to bring through the next generation of MCs, which he likes to call the 'black S Club 7'.
The youngest member of the Musketears, Ashman, is a 12-year-old from the 'posh bit of Peckham'. Ashman gives a shout-out to 'my mum, Miss Lee' on his debut single, 'How It Is', and proceeds to relate how his street fame brought him the attention - 'She didn't want to know me... now she wants to blow me.' Ashman represents the future of grime.
Two generations down the line, D Double E's priorities have changed since leaving Nasty. He says he's tired of listening to 14-year-old kids chatting about guns - 'That's just noise, not music' - and wants to spit about things that are dear to him. He wants to rhyme about his daughter.
'All that stuff just seems like for little kids to me. And I'm not a little kid any more. I don't want to be spitting like that. I want to be doing things that they can look up to. I wanna be an artist, man.'
Jamelia has pop at ex-lover on Never Mind The Buzzcocks
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Jamelia got her own back on ex-boyfriend Maxwell D during a TV pop quiz. The singer was a guest o...Jamelia got her own back on ex-boyfriend Maxwell D during a TV pop quiz.
The singer was a guest on Never Mind The Buzzcocks when the rapper came on stage among a group of men in the identity parade round.
R&B star Jamelia, 28, screamed: “I recognise him. He screwed me over.”
Then host Claudia Winkelman and Jamelia’s team captain Phill Jupitus mocked Maxwell before he left.
A TV source said: “If anyone laughed, it was at Maxwell. He looked a bit of an idiot.”
An edited version of the incident is expected to go out on BBC2 next month.
The rapper said: “Talking to papers was what caused this. I love Jamelia and she’s cool.”
Jamelia and Maxwell dated in 2004 before he sold stories about their relationship.
Maxwell D Speaks about the Buzzcocks Incident
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In case you didn’t know, Maxwell D appeared on an episode of ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ the other da...In case you didn’t know, Maxwell D appeared on an episode of ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ the other day which happened to have Jamelia on one of the teams. This is interesting because Jamelia reveals that Max tried to sell a sex story to a newspaper about her and then goes off taking side shots about his financial status and other reasons why he may of done that. Shouts to dude apologising now though and he tries to justify explain why he did sell the story but I don’t think Jamelia is going to be so quick to forgive according to her tweets.
Now I didn’t know about any of this before so if you want to watch the strong par, catch it after the jump and get familiar like I did…
Maxwell on NME
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NME.com feature on Maxwell D including news, reviews, biography, youtube video, audio, concerts, tou...NME.com feature on Maxwell D including news, reviews, biography, youtube video, audio, concerts, tour dates, photos, pictures, commentary, album reviews and live reviews and cool facts
Jamelia, Buzzcocks, and Maxwell D’s Apology
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Our fave brummie, the MOBO & Brit award winning Jamelia appeared on the BBC show ‘Never Mind The Buz...Our fave brummie, the MOBO & Brit award winning Jamelia appeared on the BBC show ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks‘ last night and had a very odd encounter. The show has a ‘lineup’ section, where an obscure artist or band member appears along side four other lookalikes, and the challenge is to guess who the real artist is.
In last nights show ‘Maxwell D’, a London based MC, was star of the line up. It turns out he attempted to sell a story on Jamelia back in t’day. Jamelia called him out during the show, and pointed out she was happy he was in a lineup while she was the panel guest.
Today, the story goes a step further, with youtube and twitter abuzz with interesting viewpoints. Some focus on Maxwell D apologising, while calling the show ‘abit of a setup‘.
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