Slick Don: “It’s good that Birmingham is now getting recognition.”
The story of Christian Brooks (a.k.a. Slick Don’s) rise through the ranks of the music business is somewhat a fantasy. Having honed his craft since the age of 14 as well as working with the likes of Mr V, DJ Q, Toddla T and many more. It was back in 2008 when he won the award for Best Bassline MC, and also the Best MC Challenge title in his hometown that placed him on the musical map. We caught up with the rising star who is shaping up to be the next big name on the UK Bassline scene, to discuss his musical journey, inspirations and growing up in Birmingham.
You began your career on the grime scene before deciding to experiment with Bassline. How would you describe your sound to people who may have never heard of you before?
The keyword I would have to use is unique. This is because I have a different voice to anyone else that is out there right now. I also bring something new to the table with a whole new dimension and sound.
Who are some of your biggest musical inspirations?
To be honest I only have a few, and they are Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.
How old were you when you first put pen to paper?
I was 15 years old when I started writing my lyrics down on paper, but in reality I started MC’ing at the age of 14 and at that time, I didn’t actually know about writing lyrics down…[Laughs]
Growing up in Birmingham has that affected you or your music?
I wouldn’t actually say growing up here in Birmingham has affected my music. However, If were relating to Birmingham being the second biggest city and the problems that may occur here, then we must remember that every city in the world also has their negatives points. Birmingham being the second city next to London, again I wouldn’t say it has affected my music growing up here. Realistically, London as a whole is better off musically and the reason for that is because it’s the capital, and they have all the resources that’s needed. It’s most likely that a musician who is not from London would have to work twice as hard to get in the same position.
We recently saw other Birmingham based artists such as Trilla and Og Niki gaining huge popularity. How does it feel to know that you are also among them? Would you also like to work with them?
Well, I think it’s good that Birmingham is now getting the recognition that it deserves. I am also glad that the spotlight is on us for once as it’s creating opportunities for all the other talented artists who would have never got the chance otherwise. Would I like to work with them? Would you? [Laughs]
You have featured on many records with the likes of Burgaboy and DJ Q, how does it feel to be finally stepping out on your own?
It feels good! I mean it’s not much different from before to be honest as I am still receiving just as much support as I previously was. When I was doing my own records as well as also appearing on their songs, I didn’t mind because they are two of my favourite producers. I will never really forget my roots, which more or less is Bassline but in terms of stepping out with my own single it feels really good. I actually feel as if I am at that stage now where that’s what I need so I’m just going to allow nature to take its course.
You’ve so far reached this point with your music without a major label, manager or PR support. How difficult a journey has it been to get to this point? Would you have done it any other way?
I am now actually being managed, but beforehand it was extremely hard and my journey is nowhere near complete. At the end of the day having a music career there’s so much that has to be done behind the scenes these are steps that have to be taken in order to be on top. It also takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but it’s not just me, there are plenty other artists in the very same position I was in without any management or PR support. Some don’t have the patience or guidance and a lot of them end up quitting due to that, but I’m the kind of person who if my heart is in something then I have a passion to pursue it.
Tell us a bit about your brand new mixtape ‘Everybody Hates Slickz’.
Well, it will be available both digitally and in stores at the end of May/June.
What’s your music collection like?
My Music collection… [Laughs]… If I had one word to describe it, I think it would be random. It doesn’t matter what genre you name it from Dizzee Rascal to Slimzee tapes and old skool reggae, I listen to everything!
What are your future plans, where would you like to be in the next couple of years?
Good question! Basically, I would just like to be making the same music comfortably that I am right now. I would also like to take things worldwide. I know it’s a lot to ask for but that’s where I would like to be in a few years providing that I continue the hard work and remain focused.
Interview by Noel Phillips
You can follow @SlickDon on Twitter or for more info check out www.slick-don.co.uk