Durrty Goodz is a name you will probably hear and think, ‘Hmm, I know that name from somewhere.’ And you would be right. Goodz is another exponent of the grime scene at the time when Dizzee and Wiley were still making their names. Goodz was then also vying for his share of the spotlight and was known as a fierce lyricist able to battle anyone with his flow that seamlessly flits from straight up grime to bashment rhymes.
After a spell of imprisonment, subsequently cleared of all charges, Goodz is back with only one focus – to reach the levels his talent suggested before the interruption. His new album Overall is harsh in every sense of the word. Opening track ‘My Life’ is a stripped-down look at London life, with enigmatic flows over a simple beat; but on the other extreme, ‘Oi Wat U Lookin At’ is grime at its purest as he drops bars and chants bashment style with serious purpose. Flavour catches up with the London MC to talk about his music life now.
Is it good to be back?
It is not a back thing, I have just been on a journey and some of it is coming to life right now.
So better not to beat about the bush… Were there issues with being in prison and so forth?
Yes, I was remanded and then I was freed after 13 months. The timing was ridiculous because I had just finished recording an album, Born Blessed, which was about to get released on a major label. So the outcome was supposed to be nice, but life is life and so now I am here continuing on that journey.
What was going on for you emotionally and mentally?
Well, it really hurt me because I feel I am a good guy and so I did not feel like I needed to go to prison to be good; but while I was there you take up certain things and you learn certain things.
What did you learn, apart from not wanting to be in prison?
Definitely learnt that. I was in Belmarsh, and you definitely do not want to go there, but I think it helped me recognise that in many respects I am blessed. The biggest issue was not being able to have the liberty and freedom to make music for those 13 months.
Did you feel creative while there, with that time?
I feel creative every day, and every day time was passing and I could not express my creativity properly.
Of course there is the whole issue with your stepbrother Crazy Titch, what’s been the impact on you?
Yes, it is a crazy impact and it is life, but I am trying to move on. It definitely felt like it took a bit of the power away from me, and for a while it felt like I did not even want to make the music if it is going to be bringing me all this kind of drama; but then I realised who I am and that this is what I have to do.
This was a time for grime, there were a lot of things going on…
Yes, this was when the scene was being pioneered and people did not even really think it was a scene. I thought it was just everyday life, and in truth, the whole making money from grime never really entered my head or other people that I knew.
What is your impression of the grime scene now and have certain aspects been watered down?
The scene is more of a young scene now. Most of the over-18s and big people really do not listen that much to the grime scene; it is not touching people and a lot of the artists from the grime scene are not really saying anything or getting the right message across that adults want to hear. That is why I made the album Overall, to show people how grime music is supposed to be made.
Has grime been watered down, do you think?
To be honest, I have not seen any grime in the charts. I see people that came from the grime scene, but people have diversified and now try and make good music.
The album is heavy and the first track, ‘My Life’, is simple but heavy and powerfully profound.
Yes, it is definitely a simple track, and I wanted to use it as an intro because when Dutch Pot made it I said it sounded like a movie soundtrack, and so I wanted to make my lyrics as clear as possible, so I just sat on the beat. I speak about life on the estates and how it is difficult for people to break out from that world.
So why did you choose Overall as the album title?
Well, the album name is because it is grime overall, you are not getting better than that, which is my opinion. I have been saying that line for some time, I said it in some of my well-known tracks and I am also saying that overall I am the grime MC.
And on that point, ‘Oi Wat U Lookin At’ is quintessentially grime to the core.
Yes, it is grime out and out. I am an independent artist and I know people are not really spending money on a track that is so dark in a sense right now.
We like the way you seamlessly flit in and out of bars and bashment style – where do you position your flow?
I just work with the natural vibes, in truth. I have a couple of albums already done, but I am working with whole new artists on something new at the moment.
‘Battle Hype’ on the album – we heard that all the MCs are you, is that true?
It is all me.
Well, we have to admit it was like all different people and that was like 13 minutes of bars, respect is given.
Thanks, that was the aim of the game, to make it seem like different artists, and it was quite easy to do and it was fun. It is not something I do (tapping into another man’s style). I also thought it was another way of showing how tight I am as a writer and, indeed, morphing into another artist and then writing his bars tighter than him.
And can we ask what the next single will be?
Next single will be ‘Don’t Ask Me’. It was going to be ‘Imagine’, but the guy who I was meant to shoot it with was taking a bit longer than I thought so I decided to go with this because I had a video already shot.
Lastly, what’s the five-year plan?
I am dropping the next album in November or maybe January, but I want to show my high work ethic at the moment. At the end of the day, though, I will be just making music and I do not really have any five-year plan.
‘Overall’ is out now
Interview by Semper Azeez-Harris