Genesis Elijah is part of that group of UK rappers that were inspired by such figures as Rodney P and Roots Manuva. Genesis has been plying his trade for some five years or more and now he is back with a hard core slice of UK hip-hop that sees him tearing up the mic like some crazed Tasmanian devil.
His album Before I was Famous gives us a background to the artist and it is a brilliant album that engages and cajoles your emotional spectrum. It is evidently an album that looks set to take his brand of hip-hop and flow to a much wider audience.
Has UK hip-hop progressed or indeed has it regressed?
Krate Krusaders (1Step): I think it has progressed because if we are here talking about it then it means people are still doing it and it is progressing. The media attention progresses and regresses I mean people are dropping hip-hop in different sub genres. Look at UK Grime scene which has been influenced by UK hip-hop. For us it is in a strong place at the moment.
Genesis: The mad thing is music itself has regressed because the music scene is not the way it used to be. The market is so saturated and no one really has space. The progression is like this: back in the day you did not have people like Bashy or Giggs on the side of a bus and so we love that. Timing is everything is about timing and so at the moment you have big artists fighting for that small piece of real estate back in the day they would have been eating properly.
People now have the opportunity to be independents but the whole thing is I expect a double edged sword.
Krate Krusaders (1Step): Definitely but the UK scene has progressed because we have things like Grime which is UK’s brand of hip-hop and so it is good.
Krate Krusaders (Badhabitz): I think the big thing is branding which is the distinguishing factor. It is about creating a brand about your name. The smart people are branding their names maybe collaborating with a clothing line or something like that.
The big thing is definitely about the business of music.
Genesis: Of course and I have always been on that from the day I started rapping. Every single aspect of what I do the marketing aspect of what I do is there from the name to the head wrap no one else is doing that.
You have worked with some big UK names like Blak Twang and Skinny man what have you learnt if anything from these guys?
Genesis: Well from Blak Twang I had his first album and he is a really hard worker but he was very much a UK artist but who also looked at the global thing and he had had a sustained career. Ty is another rapper is great. Ty you just cannot put him in any category he is off the hook. Skinnyman you can learn tow things which is how not to do things by staying out of the streets and keep moving in the music and also how he conducts himself.
I think Skinny should have or should be bigger.
Genesis: Skinny was about timing. If Skinny came out now the game is over he would absolutely be blow-up. These labels now would kill for what he does. Skinny is a real dude he was so ahead of his time. I mean I remember back in the day the hype about Skinny and I heard him spit a verse and I was like oh my gosh.
Who are your top five UK emcees at the moment?
Genesis: In no particular order at the moment Klashnekoff, Giggs even though I hate off that (he laughs) Black the Ripper has to be there, Lowkey and Terra Slim. There other people I could put in the spots but this is who I am listening to right now. I could throw Akala in there sway, wordsmith there are just so many.
Krate Krusdaers (1Step): For me it is all round, Ty, Mystro for a live performance, Roots Manuva, Lowkey and of course Genesis he inspired me to work.
Krate Krusaders (Badhabitz): Syrus Maliki, M9, Flinty Bad bones and I would drop producers John Phonics and Skits.
How did the hook up happening with you guys?
Krate Krusaders (1Step): I do bookings and so I was a fan of him and I approached him to do bookings. I then thought why don’t we put a project together to get more bookings? Gen was cool with that we sent him over some beats and Gen was cool with that. We made six tracks in one day and then it took Gen two days to write them. It was going to be an Ep and then Gen being Gen he said no let’s do more and so that is what we did to make the album.
What was the whole idea behind the album?
Genesis: When I heard the beats they sounded like classic hip-hop sound. It is kind of a throwback sound but it is also like letting people to know my journey. It is a real personal album I mention family and ex girlfriends’ names and how I came up. I wanted people to know me a little better. When I did Dep on The Road it was more focused on my negative sides but this I wanted it to show me more positives….it is autobiographical.
Doing My Damn Thing is it a statement of intent?
Genesis: When I heard the beat the flow just came the hook just came “Here we Go”. That is the ethos I am just doing my damn thing.
Are you looking to take things outside the UK?
Genesis: We want to get as big as we can get. This is a career so I just want to take it there.
Doin My Damn Thing out now.
Words by Semper Azeez-Harris.