With all the cartoonish behavior that permeates American hip hop, we often forget that there are full-fledged hip hop scenes in other countries that are killing it with their own amalgamations of the style. The UK boasts some seriously sick MCs that are coming up in the game and commanding legions of loyal listeners.
London-bred rapper PW visited NYC to work on music and bring his movement stateside. While here, he linked up with Karmaloop to shoot a street video for his skillful rendition of Drake‘s “Wu Tang Forever (It’s Yours).” Director @LILINTERNET talked to PW to get the word on new London slang and the life of a spitter from across the pond.
@LILINTERNET: What brought you stateside?
PW: I came to the states just to hustle, to take my career up to that new level. I always had the vision of being an international artist, so there’s no better place to start but here. Also, I’m working on new music out here, too.
@LILINTERNET: Most people I’ve played your music for say you don’t sound like a UK rapper. I think it’s because they usually think of grime guys who have disjointed flows and more aggressive vocal styling, whereas your flow is really clean. Is UK rap changing? Or is this just your particular flow?
PW: I focus a lot on my style, so I would say that it’s my particular unique style. I would say UK rap is also changing. Rap is more prominent in the UK than grime now, even though grime was a great time and was amazing for UK culture.
@LILINTERNET: Whats different about the hood in London vs the hood in NYC?
PW: Since being here and walking through inner city areas, I can see the poverty level over here is high. You’re either rich or poor there isn’t an evident in-between. I feel on edge more here. Maybe because it’s unfamiliar surroundings but the people in the hood seem more on edge. I put it down to the high level of crime going on.
@LILINTERNET: Fantasy rap battle–Which three UK rappers would you like to hear battle against which three US rappers?
PW: Wretch 32, Akala, and Skepta vs Common, Meek Mill, and Drake. Might seem like an odd match, but I believe all these guys possess particular wittiness. It would be good to see Meek and Skepta as they’re both well-known for famous battle raps.
@LILINTERNET: Whats the best punchline you’ve ever wrote?
PW: I wrote a few in my time. I don’t think I can pin point one that was like, “Wow, I wrote that!” But there’s one on “It’s Yours” I’m proud of. You’ll have to listen for it in the video!
@LILINTERNET: “IMAAAAAAGE.” I died when you said that. That’s the best London slang word I learned from you: “image.” What does it mean, and give us some more!
PW: That’s a word that originated in my hood. To have image is basically to stunt, to be fresh, to do something that’s showing off and being flamboyant. Thats image. The one I commonly use is “Calm,” meaning “that’s sick,” “that’s a good look,” or “that’s cool.” It’s kind of like a contradiction but works at the same time.
@LILINTERNET: How long are you in NYC for? Where should people hit you up for shows or collaborations?