INTERVIEW : RAS KWAME

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Ras Kwame’s influence on the UK urban music scene as a whole is not one to be exaggerated and goes beyond the typical Broadcaster/ DJ/ journalist. The London born, Ghana raised disc spinner has become a stalwart of the music industry practically since he began his career some 15 years ago when he began DJing at university before he founded Sugar Shack record store in 1997. 

Inclusion on his award-winning BBC 1Xtra and Radio 1 shows has proven to be the first crucial step in an artist’s career; just ask Mercury Award winner Ms Dynamite and recent nominee Estelle, while all the major labels have used his tastemaker expertise to create remixes for their hottest acts. Not forgetting his iconic DJ sets in the world’s most enviable locations; from Cannes to Ibiza and Glastonbury. Coverage in publications from RWD to Hip Hop Connection have already given him incredible coverage through his career, while Channel U asked him to host their new music show, Spit TV after the popularity of his Showtime slot. “THE WEEKLY DIARY ‘s”  contributor ,”Dean Perretta  ” had the chance to interview  British musician, record producer, radio DJ and presenter , Ras Kwame . 

  

  

  

TWD: With a unique three hour show on Choice FM every Sunday (4pm) – What can listeners expect overall?  

RK: Listeners can expect a real authentic wave of international sounds wrapped around a solid drop of the finest homegrown UK music and talent. That, plus catch ups with the hottest and most relevant music and entertainment personalities from the UK and beyond.

TWD: Being largely instrumental in the UK homegrown movement, what does British urban music need to focus on to maintain its lofy standard? 
 

RK: I don’t believe UK urban music has peaked just yet. It’s set some lofty standards more rececently in Emeli Sandé, Wiley, Taio Cruz, Tinie Tempah, Dizee Rascal, Wretch 32, Estelle, Rita Ora…but there’s more to come I think.

The scene is set to continue to churn out more huge talent, as the barrel has been opened with successes over the last two years. The genie has rubbed the lamp, and now a lot of people are interested to see what else this lamp can do; which in my experience is a lot, not just singularly artistically either, but sometimes with an entire influence on the global sound (i.e Dubstep).

TWD: How often does an unsigned artist ask you to listen to their work on a weekly basis? 

RK: That’s all day and everyday on a daily basis lol

TWD:  Who is your favorite UK grime artist currently? 

RK: Wiley is my favorite grime artist, and has been for a long time now. He sounds like grime on any type of production he’s on (i.e he remains himself). I fully appreciate an artists versatility, ability, strong persona, plus an almost superhuman quality to remain current at all times.

TWD: With a well-respected eye for talent on the cusp of stardom – Who’s your selection for the urban breakthrough act this year? 

 RK: Well, there’s a few. If I had to name a couple: Parker Ighile, Paigey Cakey, Jacob Banks Stylo G, all are hot ones to watch for 2013.

TWD: ‘Open Mic’ has showcased primetime talent – Can you inform the audience when ‘Open Mic 2013’ will be next taking place? 

 RK: Peep their website please at www.openmicuk.com

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TWD: As the instantly recognizable voice of ‘I Luv Live’, how does hosting live on stage differ from that of broadcasting live on air? 

RK: An ‘I Luv Live’ session is just an excellent spot for everyone, me included, to kick back, catch a juice (or two) and check out some good homegrown talent perform live; live being in the true sense of the word, as there are no backing tracks.

That’s how it strikes me when hosting. I am there to be entertained and see many an artist first time truly live; I just happen to be the guy telling you who’s coming on next.

In that respect, it’s a bit more relaxed than broadcasting. A brother ain’t trying to waste no air time with fraff, justpure musical goodness and relevant messages lol

TWD: During those formative years of your professional life, you entertained crowds for Gang Starr, Wu-Tang Clan, The Fugees and Public Enemy at the Subterranea club in London. Where do these moments rank for you personally? 

RK: That era has grown to be a straight career highlight for me!

I had the pleasure of being exposed to, and hanging out with, many an icon of the genre before the shiny lights came in. They came to be the pillars of the game that they were.

Big up to my good bredrin and fellow DJ of the era for many of those shows, Dave Morrison. Shout out to Poortang, then at Mean Fiddler (Who then owned the legendary Subterranea club in West London). One of the best parties we had in there was with The RZA and Gravediggaz, with the full clique live on stage. Also special guest DJ, Funkmaster Flex (Hot 97), plus myself and Dave Morrison on the decks.

Oh my word! That party was super peak! Shout out to Tommy Boy Records from back then, R.I.P DJ Swing and everyone who caught a piece of that session.

TWD: Producing successful UK Garage anthems (M-Dubs ft. Richie Dan – ‘Over Here’) during the genre’s mainstream pinnacle is overwhelming and  noteworthy. Do you have any plans to re-enter the studio to create more musical magic? 

RK:  Lol Yeah man! I’m back on that thang fully from last year (2012). My new team is Orange Hill productions with J.R Tubby. Last year, we put out joints like ‘Wine De Best’ with Busy Signal, Fatman Scoop and Kano; still a massive tune in the club and also ‘Pon Time’ with Vybz Kartel and Sneakbo.

We have an album out this year ‘Electro Bashy’, which will include our new single featuring Mr. Lexx called ‘The Boom Boom’, plus new tracks with Cecile, I Octane, Stylo G, amongst others.

Check us out and cop the free download mix CD ‘Welcome To Our Sound’ here  http://www.electrobashyrecordings.com

We also did ‘London City’ for the London 2012 Olympics under the name WhoJax; which was a summer smash too…well every summer from here I guess.

So, I’m in the lab and the musical magic is beating out lol! Nowadays, I have different names for different projects I’m involved in.

TWD: ‘I Luv Live’ is the hotbed for some of the most gifted artists in Britain today; celebrating eight years strong in 2012. In the amazing alumni of acts who’ve performed at ‘I Luv Live’, who had the ‘it’ factor even before achieving superstardom? 

RK: The first Jessie J performance I saw down there (‘I Luv Live’) was stupid. She definitely blew me away, as I hadn’t heard of her at the time. She’d been writing in the US for a while, and came down fresh to buss out the place, and she did.

Many an artist had the wow factor and brought it to the table. Darren B definitely killed it, as he’d been away for a while when he appeared in 2009. The difference is, I know most of the artists, if not every single last one, so it was kinda hard to be blown away.

Doing a Ras Kwame show on Radio 1 live, or acoustic session, usually happened before they hit the ‘I Luv Live’ stage for a lot of the artists.

TWD: You are internationally informed due to being London-born and Ghana-raised. Do you believe Afrobeats can capture the imagination of the mainstream UK audience? 

 RK: I think that could definitely happen. Looking at it from just a demographics point of view – The West African community is growing exponentially out here (London), and so therefore will its influence on urban culture and music.

I’m pretty sure the list of descendants who connect to Africa has been well documented (i.e Dizze Rascal, Emeli Sandé, Lethal Bizzle, Tinie Tempah, Skepta, JME, Ms. D, Taio Cruz, Sway) without even touching on the DJ side of things, yet so as far as the raw sound continues to appeal based on these numbers, it will have its crossover moment, and is definitely a fun, vibrant musical style with pop appeal.

Ras Kwame Official Website: www.raskwame.co.uk  

Ras Kwame Twitter: @RasKwame  

Ras Kwame Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/raskwame 

Choice FM Official Website:  www.choice-fm.co.uk 

Choice FM Twitter: @ChoiceFM 

 

I Luv Live Official Website: www.iluvlive.co.uk 

I Luv Live Twitter: @ILuvLive 

I Luv Live – XOYO 

February 18 – London 

7.30pm 

 Host: @RasKwame 

Acts: @sincereartist @iamTanika @chasinggrace @ShanayHolmes @raphaellamusic @paneypane @official_yardz 

Special Guest DJ: @DJMelodyKane 

 

http://www.iluvlive.co.uk/events/1046/ILUVLIVE-LONDON 

 

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