Have You Met.. Subculture Sage

North London Hip Hop outsiders Subculture Sage ​return to our site following the release of the latest single ‘Tapestry’. This time, we take things a little deeper, as the group join our famous Q&A series, where we learn a little bit more about the artists behind microphone:

Where are you from? Describe the kind of creative culture within the city you were raised in?

SAGE: We’re from London, UK. It’s a cultural melting pot and even though corporations are the big blocks of the city its all us creatives in the cracks that give London its heart and soul. The whole world is in London, you can go to different sides of the city and find different cultures from all over the globe. From music, food, art, its all here.

What made you get into music, who were the people around you who influenced you?

SUBCULTURE: I started playing the drums when I was 11 and was busy playing in bands for most of my childhood. I was particularly obsessed with Questlove and Travis Barker and was a huge Timbaland and Neptunes fan growing up. In the band I grew up playing in, we were always obsessed w the idea of working with a producer and I always felt growing up that a producer would be the answer to my band’s problem – that we never sounded as good in the studio as we did live. I was also largely influenced by other bands in the scene and the mainly old Rock and Jazz that my dad used to play round the house when I was a kid.

Are there any producers/artists you work with really well, what makes your relationship work?

SAGE: We’re a MC/producer duo so we got most of it covered. We love working with our friends though and it’s always the good vibes we share that you hear in our music.

What were early experiences in music, did you start with playing instruments or go straight in to making beats?

SUBCULTURE: Though I was only really playing drums, I was always obsessed with the structures and arrangements in songs. It was only in my later teens that I started producing on my computer, chopping up old funk beats and audio rips from my favourite movies.

Are there any other musicians, and DJs we should be paying attention to? 

SAGE: Rocks FOE is one of the best and most underrated artists in the UK. He’s a beast with the bars and makes all his own beats. Go sesh him NOW!

Are you signed to a label, if so what’s your relationship like, if not, has that been out of choice?

SUBCULTURE: Subculture Sage are unsigned and we self-release our music. Self-releasing for many years can teach some very valuable lessons about running release campaigns, the importance of creative control and the power of money saving. I think at the start we self released due to lack of options, though now with a pretty heavy streamed catalogue with all of our royalties still in our possession  we can really feel the financial benefits of having funded and released everything ourselves. Though it can be tough. Outside of this project, I do also run my own label – Twisted Hearts Records.

How have you changed your approach from your previous single two years ago, to your most recent project

SAGE: Yeah, we don’t really care anymore. We just wanna make our music.

I really like the single ‘Tapestry’ which sees you guys nicely link up with Illaman. What about his ability made you decide he’d be the right fit for the track?

SUBCULTURE: Illaman is a great friend of ours. He featured on one of our older songs ‘Happy Like The Sunking’ and we are both personal friends of his as a person and an artist. We all chopped it up at my Brixton studio a couple years ago and Tapestry was the outcome of that day.

Have you got any plans in the pipeline following lockdown, any future shows?

SAGE: Not really, we’re just making music at the moment. We like doing shows and performing our music live, meeting our fans etc but staying in the now it’s just all about creation.

If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Tapestry, you can below:

UK Hip Hop Artist, Idris Miles Releases His Gritty New Single, Fall

Based in Essex (UK), Idris Miles is an artist and songwriter who fuses the sounds of Rap, Trap, R&B and Hip Hop. Valuing music that shares a meaningful and powerful message, he is summed up by tight flows, lucid concepts and sheer passion. Idris has built strong momentum for himself in the past year.

Taking on a monster beat from multi-platinum, ​Grammy-nominated​ producer ​TheBeatPlug (Drake, Mac Miller, Yung Thug) Idris Miles spits his immaculate diction atop a dark production with his first single of the year ​‘Fall

The release accumulated 10K+ streams in its first week and was recently co-signed by Roc Nation’s Earl Johnson

Have a listen to the single below, and let us know what you think:

Idris Miles also featured in our Q&A series previously which you can find out more about him here

First Thoughts: Ric Flo – The Rise of the Phoenix

Somewhere amidst the juggling of creative outlets and community projects, Rapper and Creative Director Ric Flo managed to find the time to record and release ‘Rise of the Phoenix’. Taking lessons learnt from past projects and personal experiences, Ric Flo (who only recently released an album with his rap trio Jungle Brown) has self-released his first solo project in 6 years, hinting that we’ll be hearing much more of him this year.

‘Rise of the Phoenix’ sees Ric Flo team up with several producers to experiment on his latest recordings, merging a variety of styles, genres and vocal arrangements in an attempt to firmly establish himself as a solo artist. The project starts with mellow pop like beats that layer synths around a thumping kick and bass, allowing harmonious and optimistic vocals like ‘so much in store’ and ‘see past the bullshit’ to float through the background. It’s clear from the first couple of tracks that the rapper is both accepting and grateful for what he’s managed to achieve, setting the tone (at least that’s what I thought) for the rest to come.

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The EP then arrives at Major, a surprising shift in pace as the project is injected with a grime influenced track that cleverly showcases Ric’s flow. The muffled drumbeat, distant percussion and momentum in the lyricism firm their place and prove how diverse the rapper can be. However, the EP then deviates in style again to finish strong with ‘Therapy’ and ‘Fam‘, in what feels like Ric’s most comfortable position on the project. Returning to his hip-hop roots with a groovy bassline and wavy keys that flow through a boom bap beat – the effortless emotiveness of his bars really rings true here. The clear references to personal experiences provide a fantastically intimate end to an EP that highlights how far he’s come since A Boy Called Ric.

You can listen and purchase Ric Flo new EP, Rise of the Phoenix here:

News: K THE INFINITE Releases The Official Video To Hit Single, ‘Such Is Lyfe’

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K THE INFINITE releases the official video for his hit single, ‘Such is Lyfe’, featuring vocals from soulful singer Aneesa’Marie. Set it what looks like a old 1970s disco venue, with a glittering disco ball, and rustic tone in the video quality. The scene seems to match K The Infinite retrospective lyricism, as he begins by reminiscing his relatable struggles of his life, from debt, wages, and living

The track draws on influences from the likes of Sampha, Kendrick Lamar, Kojey Radical and James Blake. K THE INFINITE combines laid back – yet intricate flows – with gripping lyricism over hard-hitting beats. Aneesa Marie expertly compliments K’s soulful voice with her elegant vocals.

Check out the amazing video below and let us know what you think:

 

UK Artists To Watch In 2019

 

Blue Lab Beats

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With a hefty 18-track first album to their name, which combined two of their previous EPs, decorated with a number of exciting artists from the UK, Blue Lab Beats are an amazingly talented duo. Multi-instrumentalist Mr DM, and Producer NK-OK make-up the pair, drawing influences from old school jazz and hip hop, combined with some heavy synthesised melodies and basslines. The pair topped off their year with a sold show at Oval Space, and I’m intruigued to see which direction they take music to in 2019.

Check the visuals for the stand out track ‘Pineapple’:

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Che Lingo

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Che isn’t an artist you want to sleep on this year. With three solo projects, and a number of solo singles releases in 2018, and with his EP release date set for January 18th, the seeds have been sown for a very exciting year. Why does Che stick for me? I’m a lyrics man, and the attention to detail from nearly every track I’ve heard from him is pensive, thought-provoking and honest. His most recent project Charisma painted a quite vivid, open picture of his reality, which I found to be relatable, and refreshing. Che’s clarity and ability to rapidly change his lyrical flow like he does in Feet Your Feelings’, and ‘Zuko’ really shines through for me.

Check the visuals for his recent track ‘CIRCLES’:

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Handlestdnb

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Handles’ persona and charisma shines above all else, but from speaking to him, and learning he’s personally pushed over 60 thousand copies of his music revealed more about his ambitions and diligence to push his own music. 2018 saw Handles release his debut EP titled; SUI GENERIS, which debuted on the iTunes hip hop album chart at number #7, as well as, headlining his first performance abroad where he was the Headline Act for Midnight Sessions in Dusseldorf, Germany. As an independent artist, Handles has amassed a strong reputation in the fashion industry with top brands, super models and fashion bloggers, 2019 should prove an exciting year of growth not just in his Music, but as a public figure.

Check the visuals for ‘Surreal’:

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Idris Miles

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Based in Essex UK, Idris Miller a.k.a Idris (pronounced Eye-Dris) Miles is an artist and songwriter who fuses the sound of R&B, Rap and Hip Hop. He takes inspiration from a wide variety of artists such as Chance The Rapper, Kojey Radical, Octavian, singer Sevdaliza and Little Simz, with the meaningful and powerful message she always brings to her verses. Idris has a huge amount of stage presence, and an energy which is infectious. He caught my attention during an open Mic session at the Ritzy, and he recently headlined an amazing show at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch, so I’m excited to see where his journey moves to next

Check his latest single ‘Samurai’:

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Jevon

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Another exciting talent to come out the UK and to look out for in 2019 is Jevon. First grabbing my attention of his lyrical prowess, and production skills with several tracks from, the New Gen compilation. Jevon has a great ability to adapt his flow and tone cohesively to differently paced beats, and for it not to seem out of place. His daring nature to drift on high tempo momentous beats, like the track; ‘Redemption’, but then turn away to more jump on more dancehall beats like the recent single release ‘Judas’. 2019 is expected to be an exciting year for him, with an EP expected early in the year, and hopefully some more live performances.

Check the visuals for ‘Wagwarn’:

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Jvck James

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It’s been a little while since the UK has had an exciting male R&B artist. In spite being only 19 years, Jvck James seems have a level of maturity beyond his age, as well as, respect for music before his time. Having released a number of singles this year, and performed around the country, this year looks to be the foundations for an exciting future for Jvck James. 2019 sees him supporting the USA’s latest R&B star in Ella Mai, who’ll be touring the UK and EU in January and February.

Check his COLORS performance:

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Kojey Radical

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The growth and work rate of Kojey over the past couple years has been admirable. This year saw him make an impressive number of features, with Jay Prince, Mahalia, MJ Cole, Ghetts, and 808 Ink to name a few. As well as, a terrific UK/EU tour to close the year, which was topped off with an incredible sold out performance at KOKO. An inspiring feat for someone still young and independent in the music scene, and with an album already teased for 2019, I’m exciting to see which direction Kojey takes his artistry with the new album, having taken on so many different features in 2018.

Check the visuals for IF ONLY/WATER:

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Layfullstop

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Someone to mostly definitely look out for is Layfullstop! Hailing, from the creatively charged city of Manchester, Layfullstop is one of the latest artists to bubble out of the city. 2018 saw her feature on tracks with The Mouse Outfit, Children of Zeus, as well as, releasing a solo debut album. Her debut album titled; Colour Reaction, carried some heavy, captivating lyrics, as well as, a certain weight of consciousness which is thought-provoking and powerful. Her stand out track ‘Boeheim Queen’ addresses the misconceptions of women, spirituality and what it means to be unconventional in today’s world.

Check her track Bohemiem Queen below:

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Obongjayar

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Nigerian Born, Obongyjayar has managed to mesmerize me with every song he’s created so far. Take his more recent track; Adjacent Heart, where he describes a time of when he fell in love.  The transitions from raspy, deep spoken word, to more eerie high-pitched tones in the hook within the track is quite special and captivating. Naturally one of his influences is the Afrobeat legend; Fela Kuti, but as he describes in an interview with Daze, “It’s about using those sounds to create something new”, and, with his roots firmly tied to Nigeria, his lyrics thoughtfully seem reflect his experiences in London. I feel an album is on the cards from Obongyjayar in 2019, so he’ll be worth keeping a tab on.

Listen to Adjacent Heart Below:

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News: Respected DJ & Producer; Eric Lau Returns To First Word Records With Examples Volume Two

Returning with a plethora of sonically pleasing tracks, touching on influences from, jazz, hip-hop, and soulful beats. Picking up where he left off with Example Volume One, Eric produces 28 tracks of digestible rhythms and beats which showcase his amazingly expansive music knowledge.  Eric Lau is without a doubt one of the finest producers in the UK, having produced 4 instrumental LPs before his Examples volume series. In addition, he’s mixdown  a number of albums over the past few years, including Yussef Kamaal’s ‘Black Focus’, Mansur Brown’s ‘Shiroi’, The Playlist’s ‘Chasing Goosebumps’, DJ Jazzy Jeff’s ‘M3’, Masego’s ‘Lady Lady’, and Kaidi Tatham’s ‘It’s A World Before You’, released on First Word recently.

Check it out for yourself below, and support the artist via Bandcamp: