With one of the most infectious, yet highly controversial rap songs of 2008, south-east London born and raised Giggs met up with Flavour to talk about the positive message in his music, the storm surrounding his music and being a one-hit wonder.
Firstly, explain what your aliases Giggs and Hollowman are about?
My nickname when I was younger was Giggler as I used to smile a lot. Giggs is short for that. Hollowman is because nobody can ever find me hence I’m invisible (or hollow).
Why choose rap rather than jump on the grime bandwagon?
Because rapping is more emotional to me. I personally think it allows you to express your feelings more.
The UK rap scene is pretty much underground, why do you think you became so widely known?
Because I’ve been working hard and I’ve been dedicated to music for years now. The fact that I’m talented is just an added bonus.
Why did you decide to call your debut album Walk In The Park?
Because to me that’s what this music thing is. It’s what I do.
What have you been up to since the release of the album?
I finished the SN1 mixtape (Another Quick One), opened the SN1 Shop, shot the video for You Raised Me and won an award. Nothing much! (Puts his head back and laughs).
Why has been so much controversy surrounding your music?
A lot of industry people don’t believe in second chances. They have the mindset ‘once a criminal always a criminal’ and they refuse to see my achievements as something separate to my life before my music.
What would you say to those who feel that your music contains too much road talk?
That’s where I’m coming from. I could talk about somewhere I’m not from and things I haven’t gone through, but that would prove the people who believe my lyrics ‘are just talk’ right.
Experiencing the violence that you talk of in your lyrics, how did you manage to stay focused?
I just got on with it really. It wasn’t too bad. It’s not violence every single day of my life. I get Sunday’s off!
Despite all the negative press about gun and knife crime among young people, your music has received a rave response from the youth. Why do you think this is?
The youth can relate to my music. I have to make it clear though, there was violence before Walk In The Park so there isn’t a link between my music and the rise in violence. Don’t try throwing that in my direction.
OK, so with so much of the youth looking up to you right now, are there any positive messages that they can take from your music?
Yeah of course, I mean something that should be taken from my music is that no matter how negative your lifestyle is, you can always make it into something positive.
Would you ever change your image and lyrics to make yourself more marketable to record labels in pursuit of money?
No never! I need to stay true to me and that’s what I intend to do.
What was it like to win the BET UK Hip Hop Award 2008?
It felt magical. I was moved by all the love and support I got from people that supported the movement and I just find myself wanting to thank all of them and show my deep-routed appreciation every chance I get.
Do you hope to get a major record deal at some point in the future?
Yeah, everybody does! But the difference is I don’t want one of those ‘puppet on a string’ deals.
Is there any specific label you’d be happy to represent?
Yeah, the label that’s willing to show me the right cheque. Ideally, I would like to turn SN1 into a label because that’s what I represent all day, every day. That’s a big part of me.
For those that might be thinking Giggs was just a one hit wonder, what can we expect to hear from you in the near future?
You can expect proof because talk is cheap. Make sure you look out for Joe Grind’s album out in July!
Words by Simone Byer – Giggs graphic by Vince Frazer at Morpic Art