A hip hop star is not a hip hop legend. And when I’m saying ‘famous people of the hip hop scene’, I mean real ones, people like me and my wife, that’s the most famous people of the world. I’m the only one that is one of many.”
But it hasn’t stopped him from talking about what it is to be famous in hip hop in the past – from his first interview back in the mid ’90s for the influential K-Rock blog “Djz” (a website now defunct). “I am only famous for hip hop. I did not do the drugs and have not had sex with girls,” he insists.
So is the hip hop star’s success an expression of blackness, of racism? Not exactly. “Yes and no. Hip hop is the main reason for that. You don’t need to speak on it. Everyone has the same dream – being famous or being famous for a few years. But a lot of the people from those countries, the people from the Arab countries, they are not famous. My dad was one of the first ones to rise in the industry in my era. That was a new thing in England. The first time, they were looking at people like me. I was like, ‘I’m not this special person.'”
He doesn’t feel like he has been forced into that type of status, however. “When I was growing up, in my area there used to be black kids coming in from the streets where they were begging. My dad was like, ‘You can’t get in those streets!'”
So he grew up with his mother in an environment without problems – but this doesn’t mean he isn’t aware of why other rappers have made music in that type of atmosphere. “I know from an early age, there was the fact that there were kids coming down from Manchester trying to make it.
“So I think at the time, it wasn’t the easiest place to be. But all these generations are gonna be there in 20 years time because of hip hop and the music that came from that era of the city.”
Hip hop can’t be easily dismissed, though – from his mother’s own words: “They were coming from more dangerous areas, so the atmosphere of ‘Oh, there’s only so many police, you want something to eat’ or ‘There’s only so many police to see you’, it doesn’t work. You need to get involved – get involved in