Artist: Sir London
New Release: Mirror2020
Genre: Hip Hop
Located in: London
I would describe my music as the ‘golden era’ hip hop meets new school hip hop; I pride myself on lyrics and bars but then again, great music to me isn’t about being the most technically gifted, it’s about a feeling.
I came up mostly listening to the likes of Biggie, Lox, Hov, Nas, Dipset, 50 Cent, State Property, Papoose, Ali Vegas, Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep, Cormega, Foxy, Flip Mode, Saigon, CNN, Nature, Fabolous so you will always hear those influences in my music.
It’s different times though, so I like to make sure I’m in tune with what’s going on out there now. I'll come with different flows depending on where the beat takes me but I’m always gonna give you London at the end of the day. Every track I do, I mean it so I’m different from a lot of artists that record to put out lots of music for the sake of it.
I don’t really like to put myself in a box, but if I was to sum up my rap style, it’s mostly gully underground s*** (I liked to switch it up though too) and I would probably categorize myself as a ‘Slick Talker’ type rapper.
As far as this new track – ‘Mirror2020’, it’s more of a commercial joint. The instrumental by one of my favorite producers at the minute – Jaywan Inc and it’s kinda dark and melodic, almost trance-like/hypnotizing but then it’s also got a nice bounce to it cos of the bass. As a matter of fact, on my first mixtape – Hacking 4 Beats, I did a freestyle track called Reflective King.
I’m a very reflective person, and that particular track best shows that side of me and probably gives you a really good insight into what I’m about and where I’m coming from. Mirror2020 is like a continuation of that but on a bit more of a superficial level.
On one hand, it’s kind of a statement of intent to let people know that I’m here, that I’ve arrived, and what my vision is for the future – as well as what I’m about to bring to the game for that time that I’m here. And, on the other hand, it’s a celebratory song and about knowing who you are, focusing and elevating beyond all the BS and life's distractions. I would say this is a real-life soundtrack for all the 'go-getters' and like-minded individuals out there who are transitioning in life (from their old) and are about their business.
As I said, this track is a statement of intent. It's been a lot of blood, sweat and years - like the OG Soul B says, so it's no turning back for me after this release....I'm all now. There was a time when I wasn't even gonna put out music but I wasn't hearing enough of the type of music I like so I only decided to get back into the business in 2016 after 11 years away. And, my first mixtape was more of an experiment to see if people were rocking with me which is why it's taken so long for me to drop any new music as I had to sit back and decide what direction I wanted to go in as an artist. When you look at groups like the Migos, they're artists (and superstars) first and rappers second which is great and something you can be these days. This track is more on my superstar s*** but I've got a lot of more gritty stuff in the works too.
Right now we are...
It's all Mirror2020 right now, and I'm putting 100% of my energy into this at the minute - so we'll see what's next. I've got another few joints in the clip, but Mirror2020 is the motive right now.
How does music touch you?
Without sounding cliche, music is almost something spiritual to me as an artist. When I hear an instrumental that speaks to me, it’s like I go into a stream of consciousness and the words just come to me (Sometimes I even laugh to myself and think...where did those lyrics/words come from?).
What do you think music does for us all?
I think it means something different to the individual. But for me, it’s the soundtrack to my life. Music balances me out, gives me energy and motivation to keep going. It empowers me and even gives me a sense of nostalgia at times. I guess it would probably mean something similar to other people who are music lovers or musically inclined.
How important is it to be authentic with lyrics?
I don’t think it’s important to everyone, but it’s important to me as an artist (even when I was a kid rapping). There was about a year or two where hip hop was all about how gangster you could be, and most of the older members in my crew at the time starting rapping with more street-oriented lyrics. I was still young and I found myself doing it to because it sounded nicer on freestyles (as that was still the peak of the era of the mixtape), but it didn’t feel right after a while, which is part of the reason I stopped rapping at the time. But I can say hand on heart that all my lyrics now are all factual/reality-based. Of course, as an artist, you add a bit of dramatic effect, but I pride myself on rapping about things that I know about or have experienced myself.
Why do you make music?
Music is a form of expression and an outlet for me. It’s was the first thing that I was interested in as a child – other than boxing. Once a musician, always a musician in my opinion (at least deep down).
Even when I stopped rapping for 11 years (btw I started rapping at 8 years old); I was still writing almost every day or every other day. Being an emcee always meant showing off your best rhymes and letting people know how nice you are with the bars – so if I’m honest – a bit of why I make music is probably also to do with ego and my inner competitiveness. But then it’s also the fact that I like words, and painting a picture using my lyrics and the instrumental; there was a period in time when I could only communicate in slang words, but I taught myself how to write and better formulate my words.
I like the whole creative process, from hearing that ‘perfect’ instrumental that speaks to me, to writing the lyrics, to being in the booth and recording a new track. It’s also to do with affecting people's emotions and exciting them with bars, my flow, creativity or just the vibes I’m able to bring. As well as the sense of validation you sometimes get when people feel your music – not that I need validation but it’s always nice.
In fact, the main reason I got back into the rap game was because I wasn’t hearing enough of the type of raps that I like to hear....the type of rap bars that make you scrunch your face up because their so good (not to say it wasn’t out there somewhere but I was hearing much of it). I almost felt like most of the rappers had pretty much the same story and the same bars. I’ve always thought the genius of a ‘real’ emcee comes from saying things that no one else could have ever thought of saying and coming with a totally fresh perspective/sound (that was 50 Cent when he first arrived on the scene commercially, that was Eminem when the world was first introduced to him, Nas the same, Jay-Z over time, once the world eventually woke up to him, Papoose with all his mixtapes, Ali Vegas with “The Specialist”, the same with ‘Beanie Sigel when he first signed to Rocafella, Juelz Santana when he was first coming out, Young Chris the same, and Lil Wayne when he started to become more of a solo artist. These are all greats I’m talking about obviously, but my point is whenever I make any track – it’s about coming with a unique perspective and bars that are actually personal to me – that no other rapper in the world could come up with because we’re different people with different life experiences and perspectives, and then for me it’s about bottling that all up and giving it to the world.