Mic Righteous Interview
If I’m telling the truth I was slightly nervous about this interview with Mic Righteous, I had been listening to his music and watching his videos but had no idea what to expect from him in person. I was very glad when I had the opportunity to interview him, and I needn’t have worried, he was easy to talk to, respectful and decent. We met outside Goodge street station, London, sat on a bench out in the open amid pigeons and people. As a matter of fact, listening to his music became an even bigger pleasure after meeting him…so let me share.
So, how did it all start for you?
I started out just writing lyrics on my own and I spent a lot of time with no one to rap to so I just built up an archive of loads of songs and stacks of lyrics. That’s where it started for me. I went to my first studio when I was 14 years old, it belonged to a friend of a friend who I didn’t really know at the time but I managed to worm my way in there, and then after that I met the guy that owned the studio now he’s my manager and one of my best friends. I didn’t have anyone to rap to, but now I’ve got a bit of an audience I feel privileged.
Who are your target audience?
I don’t really have a specific audience, not any particular race or sex I just want to appeal to anyone that can relate to my music. Some old, some young, that’s what I love about my music there are so many different types of people, after I did one of my shows people were coming up to me and saying ‘I don’t really listen to rap but what you’ve done up there was different I liked that.’ I don’t know how I’m achieving that, but it’s actually working I’m doing something right. I don’t want to target any specific audience, just anyone who feels my music.
So you’ve noticed it appeals to everyone and not just a specific group of people? (He laughs at this point)
Well, it doesn’t appeal to everyone, some people hear it and they don’t like it. But I think a wide range of people, yeah. It doesn’t have to be a specific type of person I just think you have to have a certain amount of experience.
What about males and females, do you feel more males might listen to you?
I think at this time more males might listen to my music because sometimes it comes across as a bit aggressive but at the same time it surprises me how many females listen to it, I wouldn’t think they would listen to a rapper like me but they will be in the crowd and know every word of the song, it’s just mad.
So why wouldn’t females listen to your music?
There is no particular reason, it’s just that my music is really aggressive and sometimes I can imagine that maybe girls are put off by that, the barking might scare them. But I welcome all people to my music if you can relate to my music. I’m delivering my message, I feel like my purpose is being fulfilled, doing what I was sent here to do and that’s just to give people music that they can believe in, and feel like there’s something talking to them. That’s what I had when I was younger. I had artists that I could listen to and it felt like they were talking to me. So I had someone there for me, I didn’t have anyone there in the physical sense but in the mental I could put on a CD of 2Pac and they would talk to me. So that’s what I’m hoping to achieve with my music, I think that’s what broadens my audience, a lot of people in this day and age have been through a lot, and if you’ve been through a lot you can relate to my music because that’s what it relays back. What I’ve seen and what I’ve seen others go through, surely there’s millions of people that can relate to that whether your man women cat dog…(my cats really in there with your music)…Yeah my cat loves fire in the booth…(jokes).
The reason I asked about gender was because I noticed that throughout your music women aren’t generally portrayed as positive figures.
Okay, in my life I never had my mother she was never around for me, I hardly speak to her. I was raised by my sister at a time when I didn’t have no mum, no father, no brothers, my sister brought me up and she sacrificed her childhood. I’ve got the utmost respect for women across the world, good decent women, there are so many girls out there that have got pure hearts and I can see that. But at the same time I’ve been scarred. Sometimes I speak about women in a negative way. But it’s not misogynistic? The reason I’m asking being that I don’t want the female readers or listeners to be alienated. No, I support women so much, without women who are we? They create us we’ve got women to thank for everything. When everything fell down for me my sister picked up the pieces, she brought me up, I didn’t have anyone else there, she sacrificed her university career, and she sacrificed her childhood to bring me up. So I’ve got love for women, they are like my sisters. But there’s a difference, there are types of girls, I suppose you can only blame society and what they grow up around and what they see as normal to them. But I’ve got love for everyone really.
I was hoping we could go in to detail about specific tracks.
The track demons represents the battles that we all face sometimes, the demons that can bring us down like relationships, drugs, alcohol any form of addiction or anything you know is the demon your fighting. We all have that one demon that we fight, that’s what it basically represents, the fight and the demons coming back from your past, not letting them in and at the end of the song theirs a message, it’s so easy for these things to get in to your life and it’s so easy for them to affect your life, at the same time it’s a lot harder for you to fight them off, but once you actually achieve that you know you’ve accomplished something and defeated the demons you battle with, your so much stronger and they can never come back, that’s what it basically represents, the battle with the demons.
Is it safe to say that religion is a theme that runs through your music, in Demons and in other tracks to?
I think my religious views are portrayed in a lot of my tracks, there will always be a bit of that in all of my songs, and I speak about it quite a bit. But my religious views are probably not what people expect, I do believe in a higher power, I’m just here doing his work but I can’t believe in any form of following or religion because I’m just not fit for it, I’m not up to it, I can’t dedicate my life to a certain religion but I believe in whoevers watching over me. Rap is my religion music is my religion and that’s what I give back.
Rivals is just depicting scenes from my community,’ yob culture’ was the theme of the CD and basically the whole ideology behind ‘yob culture’ is that I found that UK artists at the time that I was writing, that I was listening to, were really influenced by Americans. Because I come from a predominantly white and Asian community, I saw that sort of lifestyle. So seeing that a lot of these other artists are inspired by American music I brought the ‘British’ to the actual game the ‘yob’ because that’s what we are, they had the thug life, 2Pac had the thug life, we live ‘yob culture.’ I believe everybody has that side to them, they just forget what they do and go mad. There’s a switch inside everybody, that’s the yob switch and when it goes off it goes off and that’s basically what that track is representing. I think the best way to display conflict in communities is to bring out the raw pinnacle of it, and the more you can paint the scene the more it puts it out to the audience, it’s the shock factor, that’s the only thing that’s going to make people realise, to make them think ‘that’s crazy is that really going on?’ people need to know about it. It’s a lot of peoples favourite and it deserved a place on the CD, you don’t always hear me rap like that, but it definitely deserved a place on ‘yob culture’ because that’s what yob culture is, it sums it up in such a violent way, but that’s what it is really.
Runnin was a feeling I had in me at the time, I wasn’t really anywhere in my career, a lot of people were looking at me and thinking that this was a boyish childhood dream, they didn’t really have the full belief in me. Obviously my team who have always been there from start to end they’ve always believed in me, but the other people around me I don’t think they believed In what I was doing, I think it’s just clearing up the issues. I’m not scared of the trials and the challenges that I face, I’m just going to embrace them with my full potential and try and overcome them. And the fact behind the song is that I’m not running to get away from them, I’m not running to leave a certain thing behind, I’m running because I’m actually going to get ahead of the rest, I’m running because I want to be first, but I’m wondering if I’ve got anything left, running out of steam but I keep going, it’s the motivation, I think it’s the one that keeps people going.
Can you tell us about the lyrics ‘Free Palestine’ being censored from your ‘Fire in the booth?’
The whole issue with Palestine being censored obviously upset me that lyrics of my song were being censored, and something that’s so important to so many people. I put my heart and soul into an thirteen minute freestyle and there are a lot of positive messages in it, so it also gets to me a bit that people just pick that part out.
Did Charlie Sloth know it was getting censored?
This is the thing, it’s completely out of my and Charlie sloths control as far as the censoring goes, there’s nothing we can do about it, it got censored by whoever decided to censor it. In a way, I’m glad it did get censored because I think in the end it bought more attention to the freestyle and in turn the Palestinian cause. As I say I’ve always had the same beliefs and I’ve always stuck by my guns and Il never change my views on this, this is the person I want to be, this is the person I became through my music and I’m not going to change that for anyone.
So what are we to expect from you in the future?
World domination, (laugh) no but as long as I’m alive I feel like I’ve got a job to do. I’m just going to try and fulfil my purpose and my full potential and just keep pushing and keep making decent music and keep experimenting with music. Just to make music for no other reason than I feel like I’ve got to give something back. I’ve been given this talent, I’ve been given this gift and its only right that I actually deliver it back to people that I think need it and as long as I’m alive I’m just going to keep doing that. So you can expect just music from me, hopefully my career will excel the more people listen to me, and hopefully the plan comes together.
Lastly would you like to give a statement to the Pulp readers?
I want to big up all the Pulp readers, their a wicked audience I want to thank you for the support, thank you for your time and thank you for reading this article, thank you very much.
Visit Mic Righteous at: http://www.micrighteous.com/ also Mic is starting a ‘KAM-PAIN’ in late February, so look out for that and meanwhile visit him at Twitter:@micrighteous.