Skip to content
Oct 12 / Prinza

Akala on London, Ms Dynamite, and US hip-hop

Akala is one of the new wave of talented British hip-hop artists, part of a strong London-based scene along with the likes of Kano, Sway and Plan B. The opinionated rapper, real name Kingslee Daley, and adds a rock edge to his hip-hop, creating a genuine crossover style which is as musically aggressive as it is lyrically insightful. We grabbed ten minutes with Akala for a chat about the current UK scene, his approach to lyricism, and his new album “It’s Not A Rumour”, which hit record shops in Europe on May 1.> Click here to launch Sound Generator’s Akala media player, for clips from the new album.You did a couple of live dates in London recently (Notting Hill Arts Centre and Barfly), how did those go?Really well man, I mean the live side of things is my favourite part of this whole thing they call the music industry. I just love performing live, I love letting the music connect with the audience. It’s so pure, and it’s probably the only time in my life where my head’s clear. I’m always thinking of something, I’ve always got something on. When I’m on stage, all that matters is me and the audience, and that’s it, and I love that. Some people need to go on holiday to escape – I don’t, I need to perform.’Bullsh*t’ tackles a lot of domestic and London-based political issues, do you see yourself as a political artist?Not particularly, I mean if by political artist you mean someone who’s got an opinion on politics, then yeah – but if you mean I’m trying to be a political activist or set up any kind of government resistance I’d say “not at this point”.I have an opinion on politics, and I’d rather express that on record that talk about how much champagne I’ve got!’The Edge’ is a genuine rap/rock crossover, is that something that features heavily throughout the album?Yeah, it is. I mean the first four tracks are all guitar-led, and there’s two more guitar-led tracks further on in the album. S yeah, the album’s very guitar led basically, and that’ll be apparent when you listen to it.How do you see the current state of the UK hip hop scene?”I think the UK hip hop scene is as strong as it’s been, in the sense that the artists that are out there and that are visible are very different – if you look at Sway, Kano, Dizzee Rascal, they’re all completely different personalities – you couldn’t confuse any of them, whereas the reason why American hip hop has become so stale is cuz everybody’s the bloody same.After all that, we’re still a million miles away from where we need to be in the UK in terms of record sales and revenue, and even to a degree in terms of the music we’re making and the videos we’re making, we’ve still got a little way to go before we’re quite there, but these are encouraging times.American hip hop’s never been so shit in my entire life, so there’s never been a better time for us to take over, ‘coz there’s nothing out there to buy from the hip-hop market. Which is why my album is so heavily rock influenced, because for the last five years, all the records that I’ve bought have been rock records because, there isn’t a rapper that I would be interested in buying, other than Kanye West”The album features a collaboration with your sister Miss Dynamite (‘Why Do’), could you tell us a little bit about that?That was actually one of the first songs we recorded for the album, believe it or not. Originally, my verses were all completely different to that, but because we recorded it so long ago – at the time we recorded we I didn’t even know I was making the album, I was just recording songs because I love to record songs. At that time, I was putting out a mixtape. So I recorded that song, and then I re-visited it, probably about a year ago, and I thought “This song is actually quite good” – but I needed to re-write my bars, cuz my flows not quite,,, it wasn’t how I would deliver a song now.So I re-wrote it, and as soon as I heard it, I thought of her, I thought yeah – this is a song that Niomi (Miss Dynamite) would sound really good on.You must be very proud of what your sister has achieved in music, has she had any advice for you along the way?Yeah definitely. I mean, the main points that she’s advised me about has not been musically, about the kind of music I make, but about the industry, and just to be wary. The reality is, in this industry people are not your friends, and the moment you believe that they are, you’re in trouble. And it’s unfortunate to say that, I don’t want to sound bitter, but the reality is – when you’re hot you’re hot, everybody loves you and when you’re not you’re not. And as long as you can accept that, you’re fine, but if you can’t then you’re struggling.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.