I had a chat with one of Grime's pioneering artists Killa p to talk about his inspirations, motivations and the evolution of the scene. Killa P is unmistakably one of the UK's respected artists due to his involvement in the rise of Grime. He began his career as a bashment/reggae artist, going on to work with other legends in the scene like Skepta and Wiley. As someone who is very knowledgeable in the industry Killa gives us a great insight into the evolution of Grime in the UK and talks about perceptions of rap music then and now.
What initially interested you in music? How did you become involved?
What first interested me in music, well I was born into music weirdly. My whole family is musically orientated, I have uncles and cousins that are great musicians in the reggae industry from the early 80’s,70’s coming up so I was kind of born into music you know. I always had it around me. My uncle was a DJ, my other uncle was a big singer in Jamaica, Errol Dunkley, also Ken Boothe is another one of my cousins. There’s always been music running in the family.
So, you’ve been about in the scene since day one, how would you say the rap scene has evolved in the UK?
The rap scenes definitely evolved I’ve literally been in the music industry way before there was a Grime scene. Originally I was a reggae Bashment artist, how the UK has evolved for me I would say the UK rap scene has got their own identity now, they’re doing their own thing and it’s very evident that they’re not trying to sound like the Americans. Like The UK rappers we had back in the day everyone wanted to sound like a Nas, or a DMX or flipping Mobb deep, one of them guys. Now there’s a lot of guys who want to sound like us because we do our own thing. We got our UK slang thrown into the rap, UK drill all of this stuff is home-grown now. Before we was following now we don’t even use their instrumentals, we’ve got great producers like khan, Boom production we’ve got producers like Steel banglez .You can’t ignore the fact that we have now created our own platform, our own template and our own formula, and for me I think that’s evolution at its best.
How do you think perceptions of the grime/rap industry have changed? Would you say there was originally negative attitudes towards the genre?
There were always negative attitudes toward our genre, but at the same time you’ve got to remember we were the first generation of grime MC’s and artists coming up. We didn’t actually know what we were doing, firs timers init it’s like someone having a child for the first time. You don’t know how to be a parent so we didn’t know how to govern what we had. Its only now that we are 10 years plus deep in the genre that people look at us and say rah some of us have made millions out of grime. people now take the genre serious and take the UK artists serious because we decided to take ourselves serious and we can see that the whole world is respect of what we do. So now we understand that there is a business behind what we do, it’s not just go into a pirate radio station and spit bars. We’re actually releasing albums, eps, doing great videos and collaborations. Were no longer in a space where it’s just Grime, Grime artists are linking up with artists like Drake and top producers. We’re in a good spot, it’s what we do with it from now that matters.
Do you think it’s easy to gain attention in the scene?
I don’t think anything’s easy in life, people can do silly things to gain attention, outrageous things. But in terms of talent, Your talent can bring you so far, but music is about having the full package, knowing how to communicate with people, knowing how to conduct yourself in public places. These things help you to be in the best place, best position, have the right people around you, team of people who can help you. Some people get big headed because they have talent and know they can spit a few lyrics, they can make it look fashionable and got the respect of people which isn’t a good look. It’s easy to say it’s easy but it’s hard to put yourself in the right places and maintain this. Everything’s a challenge, you’ve just got to want it as much as you want it.
What motivates or inspires you to make music?
I mean everyone’s drive is different, I’m very passionate about music. It’s very hard to get recognised in the scene as there are so many people doing it and its very competitive. So 9 times out of 10 people go into a mode of I’m going to clash this guy on lord of the mics just to get attention. In reality, all you need to do is network with the right people and make good music. What motivates and inspires me is the place that I come from, the place that I come from was never nice you know and when I was making music back in the day I never saw that there was a future and that music will take us out of certain conditions. So now that we’ve acknowledged that years down the line we can’t play games with it now this is our life this is our future. I have no side job, music is my life and full time job. It’s been this way for 15 years I wake up every day and bills have to be paid, I have 5 children that need to be fed, clothed all these things. These are the things which motivate me to continue to do what I do. I don’t need much motivation I just need to continue receiving the right productions and I’ll always be in the studio putting in the work. You know what I mean, that’s where it’s at. But listen, they say blessed is the child that has his own things. It’s always nice to go to a studio record but it’s nice to know you have your own studio at home where you can put down the rough template of your ideas. Always good to be self-sufficient and great to have self-drive and respect it helps the journey.
So what’s your future plans? Any up-coming projects to look out for?
There’s always projects popping off with Killa p forreal, I’ve still got the album sitting on my desktop waiting to be submitted. So look out for killa ink stink when I drop the album will be a madness. Inbetween that I’ve got a billion singles dropping with all sorts of producers like Pinch, Khan and Neek , I’ve got two, three songs with Spyro, tune with Chimpo about to drop. I’ve got tunes with Scratcha DVA. I’ve got a million singles about to drop with many different record labels. So, look out. None stop work, every day I’m working so you can bet your last dollar that there will always be productions every other week Killa p has something releasing. From record labels in China, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Japan, Amsterdam, Italy bounce right back to the UK. You can bet your last dollar that you’ve not heard the last of me. Also don’t forget the Killas army ep, we’re working on that.