Spitting straight out of London, Sway comes packing an above average rage of ability and abundance of charisma. Building off the momentum and credibility that Dizzie Rascal and The Streets have brought to the UK Hip-Hop scene, Sways debut solo album This is My Demo is set to drop in Europe in September. As Sway ponders his position in the global Rap scene, he reflects on simpler times when he and Hip-Hop were both young and it was cool to where your jeans backwards. Check it out as AllHipHop.com furthers our reputation for crossing seas and continents in search of the real ish! Peep game.
AllHipHop.com: What have you been up to lately?
Sway: Loads of stuff, shows all up and down the country, interviews, finishing up the album. Ive got a joint with the Mitchell Brothers and Mike Skinner. I went on tour with Dizzie. Ive been shooting videos and recording basically. The ball is defiantly rolling. I am trying to keep as much control on the things that are going on as possible. My featuring slots and videos are still getting played on MTV Base over here and Ive got the twelve-inch about to pop off. My new album is set to drop September 19, 2005 in the UK.
AllHipHop.com: What was the UK Rap scene like when you were younger?
Sway: There were a couple of shining stars. Overall, it wasnt something I was trying to be involved in or aspiring to. I didnt want to be in a second rate scene. Hip-Hop is my first love, and at the time, the Hip-Hop scene was small. I wanted to be respected on a much larger scale.
AllHipHop.com: What was the part of Hip-Hop that you related to the most when you were first getting into it?
Sway: It was defiantly the hood element. Ive always liked all different kinds of music, from Wu-Tang to UK Pop, Hip-Hop always seemed more authentic to me.
AllHipHop.com: What albums first inspired you to rap?
Sway: Kriss Kross Totally Krossed Out. It was crazy, they were just some kids, they excited me. I felt like if these guys could have an album and a video out when I was rapping, then I thought I could have my own as well. I had my jeans backwards until my mom started telling me off. I was into Bone-Thugs and Harmony. Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Quik. They all became a part of the music I was going to make from then on.
AllHipHop.com: One reviewer of your mixtape This is My Promo Vol.1 compared you to Ludacris, who do you compare yourself to?
Sway: Its hard, I can see why people would do that. Ive always been very charismatic and animated. I flow at different speeds. I was born in London and was taken to Ghana and lived there for a minute, but I came back to London for school. I have a lot of influences, I was good at Drama and English at school and I was bit of a class-clown. No one wanted to get into [the dozens] with me because I would make fun of them all day. No one was safe from a practical joke. I carried that with me up onto the battle stage when I was rapping.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of Hip-Hop buzz in the US is generated through bootlegging and street mixtapes, is it the same in the UK?
Sway: Yeah, definitely, Ive been building up for years. I was selling CDs outside clubs in 2000. I was in a group called One, a group of eleven guys, and we were doing it. My mixtapes have got me the opportunity to be in the next position. Im probably one of the biggest mixtape artists in the country right now. Here in the UK; DJs arent the emphasis, the mixtapes are artist based and the rappers, DJs and producers are usually entrepreneurs here. The game is so small, people are taking on a lot of the work themselves. I used to even manage myself, but now I have a team behind me.
AllHipHop.com: Youve talked a lot in previous interviews about identity, how much of your music is part of an image or really represents a specific style or element?
Sway: My music represents a combination of different parts of my lifestyle. If you ask the UK Hip-Hop cats, theyll say that Im a grimy rapper. If you ask the grime cats what I am, theyll say Im more of a UK Hip-Hop artist. I have a lot of people that respect me. My style is that I dont have to talk about negative things that go on around me. Id rather focus on better things in society. I make a conscious decision when I write lyrics. We are entertainers and that is why we sell records. I try and bring all of my experience into my music. Some rappers, especially in the UK, forget that it is entertainment. Trying to keep it real, makes them not be themselves. Trying to be more hood or more humorous then they really are. People are going to see right through you. I try and bring out the positive side of things.
AllHipHop.com: How did touring with Dizzie Rascal affect your career? What is it about your music that will be different from his?
Sway: Dizzie is more from the grime element, Dance music, Garage. His thing was once more Brum & Bass. I was always in love with Hip-Hop. Dizzie is really street. He is a good representation of the London youth. I come up in a different area from him, there are different extremes, Im bang in the middle of a good and bad area. Through communicating with different types of people Ive connected with them through music. I speak clearly when Im rapping, I want people to really really understand what Im saying. Dizzie does what he does. I do what I do. Touring with him was a good experience. It helped me because I had someone to be compared to. Because Im not typical UK hip-hop or grime. Putting me next to him elevated the contrast. Id say 30% of the people at the shows had heard of me, so Id have to gain the respect of the other 70% of the crowd whod been waiting all night to hear Dizzie.
AllHipHop.com: Your single Flo Fashion is about adventures in overspending, what was the inspiration behind it?
Sway: London is just like New York, everyone is rushing to try and make money or get in a certain position. When youre in the city, its all about trying to make money. People walk fast; everyone is on their grind, trying to keep up. I wanted to make light of how people will over spend when they dont have the means of paying the money back. Trying to get the hottest clothes or the freshest kicks, trying to live a certain lifestlye. Id dropped out of Universtiy to concentrate on this music thing, I wrote the lyrics when I was watching all the credit card commercials, thinking about all the people who would be taken in by interest rates and what not.
AllHipHop.com: What are the benefits of rapping and producing your own material?
Sway: You get to give the people 100% of yourself. It allows you to be as creative as you want to be and I think that every rapper who is creative and equipment competent would be making beats that suite them to a T. Thats why some of the best Rap artists are the best producers. I wasnt meant to be a rapper; it wasnt part of my initial plan. I always wanted to be the man behind the scene in the chair. A lot of people are amazed when they find out that I produce a lot of my own tracks. Its like Kanye West or Havoc from Mobb Deep, they are the only cats who know how to spit over the tracks they produced. They can do it perfectly.
AllHipHop.com: What is the name of your new album and how does it play out?
Sway: The album is called This is My Demo and its filled with all different kinds of madness! Im not scared to rap about anything. I have a rhyme about domestic violence, where I rap like an abusive husband who beats his wife. I rap about being in car crashes.
AllHipHop.com: What parts of the album will directly translate to the global hip-hop audience?
Sway: I wont say anything. I hope the whole album will be able to translate. I dont want to put it on one track particular. In the end Im an artist rapping over beats, Id like people to think of me as a rapper from the UK who is raw, rather than a British rapper.