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Music Interview

Skepta interview: 'It's time for me to make international music'

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Skepta


While we were all nursing hangovers on New Year's Day, Skepta was busy unveiling the first track - called 'Hold On' - to be lifted from his forthcoming new album The Honeymoon.

However, the big surprise was follow-up song 'Make Peace Not War', which samples C+C Music Factory's 'Everybody Dance Now'.

Intrigued by Skepta's decision to rework an iconic classic, Digital Spy caught up with the rapper to chat about the choice of sample, how the album is coming along and why Eminem bought one of his tracks.

Hello Skepta, how are you?
"I'm alright, just stopped eating my Cadbury's cream egg to do this interview, bro."

Oops - sorry about that!
"I'm sure you're respecting my dedication right now."

Yeah, that's a great work ethic!
"Yeah, I just went into the press office and I found it. It's obviously one that didn't get found on the hunt in the office and it doesn't go off until July so I thought I'd eat it."

Congratulations on the new single 'Make Peace Not War' - how have your fans reacted to the sampling of C+C Music Factory's 'Everybody Dance Now'?
"Thanks. At the moment I'm thinking what the f**k am I doing? I don't know, I was just making all different kinds of tunes because I came back from America. I went to clubs out there and I think to myself: 'How can a British guy really express himself out here when grime hasn't really kicked off out here?'

"It's just a nice way to show my skills and still sound as British as I could and when I came back I was making all kinds of tunes and when I made that song I just made it for a bio just in case a couple of people would play it, just like in clubs and stuff... I turned to my manager and was like 'You know what, let's do this as a proper single'.

"So I was like we're never going to get clearance on that, it was something massive. So we tried it and they were like: 'Yeah man, we like it' and they let us use it."

Skepta


Were you ever worried about using it? The original is so popular and is held as a classic dance anthem.
"Yeah, I know you always get those kind of people that have nostalgia towards the original and there is that 'why'd you f**k up our sample? You've taken our track and fucked it up! What's wrong with you?'

"But it doesn't matter man, I'm just [having] fun at the record and you know all my fans they're going to like it, all my support are going to listen to my music, they're going to like it anyway. I see stuff like that as paying respect. I'm not just ruining the record, I'm doing my best. I'm trying to make it as cool as I can."

How is work going on the new album Honeymoon?
"Yeah, it's good man. In the UK we've got this free single, promotion and album strategy, so I've been told. I've got one more single to get out the way before the album and then I'm going to go into the zone. I've made a few tracks, but I want the rest of the album to be really, really grimy."

So we can expect more grime on the record then?
"Just less party. I could make a grime song for the radio, but then the first song I brought out off the album was called 'Hold On', which was a motivational song to kick off the campaign.

"Then I started all the summer bookings like the Ibizas, the Magalufs. Every year I always go abroad with dark music and I'm going to these places and I feel like I want a party rep - I want something that everyone is going to go crazy to and enjoy and have a good feeling."

You worked with Diddy last year - is he going to be helping you out with your new album?
"I'm planning a trip out to the States to see him and play him some of my music and see what he thinks of it. At this stage in my career I do really want to be making international sounding, worldwide sounding, universal, bilingual music. It'd be nice to show him my stuff and see what he thinks about it."

Sean Combs aka Diddy hosts a Night in Las Vegas

© WENN

Eminem

© Rex Features / Jon Beretta



Last summer you tweeted that Eminem had bought your 'Dare To Dream' track - have you heard any more about that?
"I don't know what's happening with the track. The producers who made the track are in control of it and I heard that a few different people might use it. I don't know what's happening with it, to be honest."

Over the past few years, grime has kind of moved into the mainstream - do you think true grime can ever exist in the pop charts?
"No it will never because once it does, it won't be grime anymore. A lot of us who've made grime might be in the chart, but that is because of the country we are in. Britain is just a melting pot for every culture. Like a pot for every culture around the world mixed into one. Artists over here understand that more.

"I don't personally wish that it ever goes mainstream. Becoming a commercial scene? I don't think people in grime would be happy about that. It's hypocritical because they always moan about 'Oh why don't you do a grime track and make it go commercial?' If grime went commercial, they definitely wouldn't like it anymore."

Did you ever worry you would annoy your underground fans with collaborations with N-Dubz?
"I knew that they would but that's the mentality of people - I just don't let it effect me. No matter how commercial it is when I am on the track you get Skepta and I have the same views that I have. So it's not like I'm going on the N-Dubz track and I'm singing, 'Oh baby' - I'm not going on the track and doing anything that Skepta would not do and that was the main thing for me.

"I want to make big music, but I don't go on the track and say anything I don't believe in. So all the supporters say they know Skepta is just being himself, but on a different record. That was the main focus for me throughout."

Skepta's new single 'Make Peace Not War' will be released in the UK on May 6. Watch the official music video below:



Additional reporting: Clarissa Place

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