FGM [Future Grime Music] boasts the combined talent of Grime artists Maxsta, Dot Rotten, NASA, Kozzie and Scrufizzer with DJ Cameo at the helm. Speaking to SB.TV about the group’s latest offering Win, Cameo is joined by Kozzie and Scru to speak on unsavoury internet comments, MOBO Award winners Krept & Konan and taking Grime into the charts…
So tell us a bit about the track Win…
DJ Cameo: Win is the second track from the Future Grime Music collective – FGM – it features Kozzie, Scrufizzer, Maxsta, Dot Rotten and NASA on the vocals, and is produced by Paperbwoy. It was a summer project, the whole point of Future Grime Music is to keep to the traditions of what Grime is regarding the emcees but change up the music, the beats and the vibe and try to appeal to a bigger audience. So you’re gonna get the dark underground tunes like Hold Up and you’re gonna get the big commercial ones. Whichever side that we do it will be professional, polished – really giving a quality product and showing that our artists have stepped up a level. We’re taking the Grime baton from the legends that have done so much for the scene and elevating it, trying to fulfill the dream of making make Grime music chart.
There are a lot of purists about, what does this more mainstream Grime offshoot offer them?
Scrufizzer: In the Garage days you could go to a club, you could enjoy yourself and dance to the music. I think sometimes that does get lost with a lot of freestyle battling, so we’re doing the freestyle battling but we’re also bringing music for the clubs and the television. Win is for the television and it’s to let people to know there is more to Grime than what people think – like the usual darkness, violence etc.
I actually didn’t know Kozzie and Scru would be joining the interview today, and so I ran out of applicable questions. I logged onto YouTube to take in some of the comments under the video for Win – and was re-inspired with new things to ask. Do you guys look at or take into account internet comments and stuff like that?
Kozzie: I don’t give a s**t about comments because with anything I’ve put out in my career, I’ve got an audience that judge everything that I do anyway. The majority of the time I might have more dislikes than likes on my videos but I’ve still got a load of views, so people are still interested and they still care. When people leave comments like, ‘oh, that’s too commercial, that’s not Grime, what’s this Future Grime Music stuff? I think it’s s**t , I think it’s Pop’ for me as an individual artist it makes me want to work even harder, it just gives me a bigger buzz to say ‘yeah? Cool, gonna prove you wrong anyway.’ It’s like petrol for me, it just energizes me to do more work. ‘Coz if no one was commenting? We’ve got a problem.
DJ Cameo: A lot of people are afraid of change, I was there when Wiley basically said to the Garage scene ‘I’m doing this now, because there is a new generation of people that want to do something else’ and that’s when he did What Do You Call It? and stuff like that. This is the same in the sense that when Wiley did that a lot of the people were not accepting it. They were like ‘what’s this guy on about?’
We’ve had ten years of under produced – but good – underground music that creates a vibe but it’s not sustainable. People can say everything they like but the reality is that your favourite Grime artists will do other music. If we don’t give them a platform within Grime that’s gonna sustain a living and create more fans and awareness across the UK – it’s gonna die out. In the future people will realise what an important thing this is for the sustainability of the scene because everytime we lose an artist to another genre of music it really saddens me and I don’t wanna see that again. Which is why I want to make sure that Grime can make a career for these emcees because they are talented and they deserve it.
Grime has given a lot of people a voice and so the fans are certainly protective and passionate about it – and it’s artists. Going back to some of these online opinions about Win – do any of you have any thoughts on the comment: ‘S Club 7 called, and they want their tune back’?
Kozzie: I didn’t even know that was a comment [DJ Cameo laughs] that’s how many comments there are. There are so many comments it’s hard to keep up but yeah [Pauses] I hear them, I hear them…that’s all I can say. I hear them…
Scrufizzer: That’s funny boy…
DJ Cameo: [Pauses] Bars like Kozzie’s ‘I’m south, and we’ve got villains out’ – I don’t think Bradley from S Club 7 would be saying that.
Kozzie: Yeah, I say “I’m from the south side and I can basically bring the villains out,” but they don’t acknowledge that, they don’t hear no vocals, all they hear is the beat and they’ve decided this is a commercial Pop track and that they don’t like it. If you listen to every person’s verse on the song you’ll know Maxsta swears on the track and I’m swearing on the song – I’m talking about villains. Dot Rotten is saying stuff but because the chorus is a certain way they say ‘na, this is too commercial.’ If anything we’re the smart ones because we’re the ones that have got it on the radio.
In our defence the main idea was to branch out to more people. If we’re gonna have an extra couple thousand more people listen to the music and judge it, it’s better than them not hearing you. The only people hating on that song are internet gangsters and young kids that go on the internet and live with sheep, with people who don’t actually listen to our music. Those same people will say ‘that song is sick fam’ when they see you on the road. So why you talking now? They are all fans realistically, that’s how the game goes bruv…
DJ Cameo: It’s really sad.
Kozzie: We made the video in a place that they probably couldn’t even pay the flight to get to, so how can you disrespect what we do? When the song first came out, I’m sure we had a season of War dubs. So when I was doing a commercial verse on a commercial song, a week later I was in the booth talking about killin’ a man – so I’m giving you the best of both worlds and so there shouldn’t be a complaint. They accept it when someone like Wiley does it because of how long he’s been in the game, he’s allowed to do Heatwave – so why can’t we do Win? It should be acceptable.
[DJ Cameo briefly leaves the table at this point to attend to his vehicle whilst I chat to the two emcees]
Kozzie, a few Grime fans expressed surprise at you and Maxsta even coming to together for FGM to record material, because of your past altercations with him…
Kozzie: Me and Maxtsa had a problem with each other at 16/17 years old, I’m 23 next month – how can I still have a problem with the man? At the end of the day no matter what happened, it happened – it blows over, you grow up. I’m sure he’s like 21 nearly 22 now, those fans must think me and him should be outside fighting one on one [Scrufizzer laughs]. No, what we should be doing as two good artists is collaborating on songs. F**k what happened before, it’s irrelevant – he doesn’t want to kill me, so we don’t need to have a problem. Since starting this movement there are things I’ve learnt about the different artists in the group that I didn’t know before, it’s brought me closer with them and we’re more bredrins now.
It must’ve made the two of you happy to see Krept & Konan pick up Best Newcomer at the MOBO Awards…
Scrufizzer: I’ve known Krept & Konan for a long time and I think that for them to pick up Best Newcomer, it’s good for everybody – for the whole scene – because it means that people are taking note of them and our generation.
Kozzie: When was the last time an independent artist from our scene won an award at the MOBOs so early on in their careers? It doesn’t happen and I don’t want to hear about So Solid Crew because they did that time ago…
Scrufizzer: They did that years ago.
Kozzie: I’m gonna be honest with you, I cannot put on a show today and sell it out. They can and so whatever they’re doing is right, their fan base is strong. They’ve been working hard for years, every success they get now is earned.
Scrufizzer: I think it’s totally earned, and you’ve got to remember that a lot of the artists that come up from the Hip Hop scene – a lot of people don’t believe in them. Just like artists from the Grime scene, there are people that probably don’t believe in me – because they’ve got doubts in their own selves. I think with them doing what they’ve done they have proved a lot of people wrong and shown the younger people that there is a way out.
Kozzie: They showed you how to do it independently and now I suppose they are going to show you how to do it on a major level. Everything that an independent artist wants to do; get big YouTube views, make good videos, sell out shows on your own and win a MOBO – they did all of this without anybody saying ‘here’s the P and we’re gonna build you.’ They did it with just a strong fan base showing independent artists that it can be done. I’m up for a UMA for Best Grime Act and for me it’s just as good as, it shows me that people are actually aware of what I’m doing.
[Emcees Kozzie and Scrufizzer leave the table as DJ Cameo swiftly returns]
Cameo, looking back at the situation during the summer in which Wiley attacked you and Charlie Sloth with slurs online for apparently using underhanded tactics to try and outdo him abroad in Napa – where does he stand with you today?
DJ Cameo: To be honest with you, I’ve never had a problem with anyone let alone Wiley. It just seems like Wiley perhaps doesn’t like me for the fact that I always give new people a chance. Being one of the pioneers of the scene that Wiley is [Pauses] he is erratic and maybe doesn’t agree with what I stand for. I don’t stand for ‘I’m gonna bring you in because you’re my mate, or you could do something for me, or you’re my cousin or you roll with this guy.’ I don’t do that, if you’re a good emcee no matter where you’re from, what you do, your colour, age or gender I will play you – and sometimes that pisses people off.
I’m totally independent and always on the look out for new artists and sometimes that can be threatening to people who feel like they control the scene. When I was a little kid coming through I remember Westwood telling me from the start he said, “right you’re gonna become big, you’re gonna become a massive DJ. Just remember Cameo, don’t try and say you own a scene always remember you’re part of a scene.”
So you feel that maybe Wiley is trying to own the Grime scene?
DJ Cameo: Yeah, and maybe he has the right to think that but what I always say to him – and I’ve said it in public and on Twitter – is that if you do feel like that then it only constitutes the Eski sound but you can’t say that about Grime because the very first Grime tunes like Pulse X byYoungstar, Jon E Cash’s War and U Ain’t Ready by DJ Eastwood – these weren’t Wiley tunes and they sold a lot more units before his tunes did. People like Heartless Crew, DJ Fonti were playing those tunes on Freek FM and helped to blow it.
I will tell you this one story – because it’s time that I say these things: Years ago in J-Sweet’s record shop, which used to be called Big Apple in Croydon – he changed it to Mixing Records. I’ll never forget I stood there with Wiley in the shop. I used to sell Wiley’s records for him, and every Friday I’d give him a cheque for £500 from Uptown Records. He’d walk across the road and buy his new Akademiks tracksuit – vinyls used to sell it and it was a good industry! So we were standing there and I said to him, “Wiley, you are such an inspiration. I love your music, you’re so sick. Let’s work closer together and try and build more things.” He said, “na, you know what Cam? I love you and I’ve got bare respect for you but y’know what the problem is?” So I asked, “what’s the problem?” and he replied, “The problem is that you’re like me. You’re a leader, I don’t want that. I want Yes men around me and I know what you’re like Cam. You will do whatever it is you wanna do to help people and nobody’s gonna really be able to control that. I want people that are just gonna say ‘Yes Wiley.’
That conversation has always stayed in my head and if you look at his actions since then and the people that he has surrounded himself with I think it’s self-explanatory [laughs]
Looking into the future with FGM, are you indeed looking to be become something like the UK DJ Khaled?
DJ Cameo: Definitely. At the end of the day I’m just a normal guy, but I feel people like myself should be that. We’ve spent ten solid years building this scene from the ground up. I was on rooftops putting up f**king rigs, holding up aerials, nearly dying. So I’ve seen it grow from nothing to where it is now, and my heart is truly in it and nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see artists do well and I have a great relationship with them and I feel proud to be one of the children of this amazing UK scene. Damn right I should be the DJ Khaled of the UK, I’ve been giving people platforms for years. I could’ve easily stopped doing this and jumped ship but I believe in it and I want to see it through. You need people like DJ Khaled in this country; you need DJ’s with the power to basically break tunes. That would help everybody, the artists, the audience, the infrastructure – it’s something that needs to happen.