By Joseph 'JP' Patterson
There are only a handful of conscious MCs left in the UK hip-hop scene who people still give a damn about, and Mic Righteous, 22, is one of them. 70 percent of British underground rappers today motivate those living the "trap" lifestyle, while the other 30 percent stick their necks out on the frontline to tackle important social issues that the youth come up against on a daily basis – no matter how controversial the subject matter may be – and Mr. Righteous is in that minority.
Pop stars such as Ed Sheeran, Emeli Sande and Cher Lloyd recently asked the rapper to bless the remixes of their pop hits with some of his deepness, which in turn gave him that much-needed platform to take his righteous thoughts to the next level. With his new album Open Mic set to drop on February 11, RapFix got to know the rhymer of Iranian descent a little bit better…
I am… Mic Righteous, and I represent 21st century hip-hop. I also like to think that I represent the underdog. I grew up listening to all of the legends: Nas, Tupac, Biggie, DMX, Eminem, and the rest. Nas’ lyrical prowess is unmatched, Tupac was the voice of a generation, like Eminem, and DMX came with that raw passion. Biggie made gangsta rap expand, but he made it fun as well. All of those artists stood out for me as a young child. I was 14 when I was first exposed to UK rap, and soon become obsessed with The Kraftsmen, English Frank, Skinnyman and Klashnekoff. This was when hip-hop really became my life.
My music is… Well, I would like to think I'm one of a very few UK hip-hop artists who is able to appeal to an American audience, as I feel that through conscious and passionate lyrics, I represent my own struggle. I'm not mirroring the African American struggle. I am representing the European underclass at the same time as trying to revisit my heritage in the revolutionary Middle East – which a lot of the world isn't even aware of. I want people to take hope from my music, to get them to believe that hard work, dedication and sacrifice pays off. My story is true. I was poor in Britain and my music is a representation of the universal struggle of poverty. I would like people to understand that poverty effects people of all colors across all boarders.
I’m currently listening to… Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, Meek Mill and Chief Keef. I think they’re bringing hip-hop back to life in the States. I would happily work with any of the above. In the UK, we have amazing prospects, such as K Koke, English Frank, Prose, Giggs, DVS, and a few others who I hope to work with soon.
My competition is… Anyone and everyone! I’m a humble guy, but I think that my delivery is on par with everyone else out there. Of course, everyone’s unique and I wouldn't say that I’m better than all of them, I just don’t think that there’s anyone out there who I couldn’t keep up with. One should always strive to be the best in their art.
UK grime and hip-hop is… In a good place right now, but I would try and encourage us to really find our identity when it comes to lyrics. I think grime allowed us to achieve our own identity with the beats, and the world embraced it. I think with the lyrics, we still try to replicate the US. However, I do think we are on the right path to achieving this – for sure.
My favourite release so far has been… "Ghost Town." This is because it represents what I'm about, where I come from and where I plan to go. Shooting the video was sick! We called the ends out and had a kind off reunion, as well as inviting a couple of supporters down to enjoy the occasion. Also, "Ghost Town" – along with a couple of my other tracks – are made by a production unit named TDH, who everyone should keep an eye out for in the future. Their productions are next level!
My new CD is… Called Open Mic. I want this project to really open up to a new audience. I deal with a lot of topics on it, too. The process was a lot more production-based than my previous mixtape. A majority of the tracks were made with a band and live instruments, which was a great experience.
My plan for the future is…To become known as one of the best at what I do. The plan was always to get to a position where music would support us traveling around the world to help people who may be able to take something from my music. I will work tirelessly to achieve this.
RapFix's 'UK Rhymer Of The Month' is a column by UK-based music journalist, Joseph 'JP' Patterson, designed to give us a closer look at hip-hop across the pond. Stay tuned.