Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, who your crew are and who they are associated with?
Buttafingaz: We are from all over. Buttercuts is a label, based in London. Within it is an ever-growing bunch of crews. Live acts. Producers. DJ's. Graffers... Etc. Doing all kinds of things. Making all kinds of art. We ain't picky about what. As long as it's truly dope.
There are a lot of crews out of South London. Do you think there is a reason for this, and can you explain it?
Buttafingaz: Big place. And I suppose they are slightly less stoned than the North too.
Are there any other producers or MCs in your wider crew to look out for?
Buttafingaz: Fraid I ain't gonna reveal shit...
Other than to say...
Uncle P is the gin. Code:breaker is the juice. And that's just the appetitive.
When did you first get in to Hip Hop? Who were the old skool acts you bumped? What was it that turned you on to this type of music?
Buttafingaz: Me personally (Buttafingas).. Well I suppose I was part of the huge collection of people that really first liked Hip Hop after Soul Assassins made their mark on the wider world with Cypress Hill, House Of Pain and Funkdobiest.. N always loved stuff like Kriss Kross, MC Hammer ... But until I was 16 I really knew shit all about it..... And then..... Well .. A new best friend came along, and he was carrying 36 chambers with a big grin on his face.. And that was that .. Game set match.
Uncle P: Well it was my cousin that exposed me to Hip Hop, the likes of 2 Live Crew, Run DMC a long time ago. After that I went through a massive heavy metal phase and came back to Hip Hop again once I'd got rid of all my teenaged angst and started burning nuff weed!
What are your thoughts about the current state of UK Hip Hop?
Buttafingaz: Jesus Christ the million pound question... We'll were putting some proper money on it.. I think maybe it will grow and grow and people round the world will start separating us from America in a positive way rather than the negative they are used to. It seems weird that homegrown Hip Hop is less successful still than American.... And I know arguments wage to infinity about whether their accent lends itself better.. Or that we have all been brain washed.. But to me the bottom line is .. They are damn good at it..
We are getting better.. And I fucking know that we got something to say when you hear Chester P drop a verse that makes you wanna cry .. Or Skinnyman makes you smile so hard your jaw locks.. Or Mr Breaker just busts you in two... Cos he's so tight and so right all the time.
Uncle P: Well it's a state at the moment. There's a good feeling going round at the moment that it's gonna blow up, but yeah, whatever. I'm content doing my thing as best as I can for my own enjoyment. If the rest of the world likes it too then that's a bonus. I'm confident that what we've got is a prime slice of fat UK Hip Hop. Those who hear it won't be disappointed!
Buttafingaz: But there is still a lot of confusion in the UK Hip Hop world in both sound and direction.. .. and to be honest with you.. that is one of the reasons were are focusing on putting out our Hip Hop as opposed to other types of music is that we know we got a sound and angle that is good or even better than 99% of the competition.. .and we reckon that if it's clear and simple.. we could really make a mark and help UK Hip Hop really grow.
Do you think it is going somewhere or is it stagnating? Is this a good time to be coming out?
Buttafingaz: Damn your questions are tough.. Hmmmmm.. As far as I can work out.. Business is always stagnated.. Always slow as fuck.. The world moves pretty slowly when it has to sleep half the time.. Shower.. Eat.. Look for women.. And get high.. Is this the right time to come out? Hell yeah.. There ain't no wrong time.. You just gotta come out and keep coming out.. Cos no one is gonna come knocking on anyone's door if you sit on the other side waiting.
Uncle P: I don't think there's a good or bad time to come out. At the end of the day the Hip Hop game is a business.... If you have a good business plan then you're gonna be more successful than if it's shit. We also feel that we have a good quality product to sell.
I guess you chose to make Hip Hop because you love it, but you could have gone into the much more popular Garage scene and maybe made more money. Did anything like that ever cross you minds?
Buttafingaz: I'm not sure how to reply to this without going on for hours and hours about how not into the fact that music is,,,, like everything else...... Ruled and ruined by money.
Uncle P: Not for me personally, cos I'm not really feelin garage too much. The darker shit I don't mind so much, but none of the MC's really grab me. I know Code Breaker could have a fat pad, a Ferrari and 65 bitches, had he gone down the garage road!! No joke! Crossing over to another scene to make more money doesn't really appeal to me. I have a lot of ideas in my head and it may take 10 years to get those ideas out in the form of music. I ain't gonna write Hip Hop only 'til I die.... No way, there's other musical styles I would like to conquer. With the creation of this new music, you never know but I could be one of the forerunners to spurn a new musical genre!! Well it's a nice thought at least even if a touch far fetched!! But that sort of idea appeals much more to me than jumping on a bandwagon. I want to create something new!
Buttafingaz: Sufficed to say..
in a world of bullshit........ music is all that really matters.
Who are the UK artists you listen to and admire?
Buttafingaz: Personally (Buttafingaz) - Task Force, Jehst, Braintax, Def Tex, Rodney P, Nextmen, Villans have their moments. Oh and when Ronin started out they were super dope. Scratch Perverts and Plus 1, they are all Dons and of course Skinnyman, Mud Fam...
Uncle P: Aspects, Lg and Lopez, Science Venom, Gunshot....
Who or what are your other influences?
Uncle P: Great food, squat parties, sporadic debauchery, and grade 'A' bud!
Sound quality is of paramount importance and your EP sounds well engineered. As a crew can you let off some of your production techniques? What sort of equipment are you using both to make beats and to record?
Uncle P: Well believe it or not 90 percent of the material is all sequenced and recorded on a home computer. Not a very good one at that. I have a good mic and good front end and that helps. Recording Illtime was a joke. No vocal booth, nothing. Just hard work from me trying to make them sound vaguely decent. In my new flat, I build a vocal booth out of blankets and duvets and it works pretty well. But at the end of the day equipment is expensive and I can't afford that shit, so I make the best out of what I've got. No fancy toys here!!
You only just came out quite recently, did you know each other for a long time before, or did you meet at college or something?
Uncle P: I've known Ben for years, we were at school together. Andy was at uni with Ben and lived in the next-door room. That's how we met. Alain cropped up around the same sort of time. Code Breaker hooked up with us through an ad! It was the one good demo we got sent out of hundreds!!!
It seems like the combination is working well, are you all similar people, or does each one bring specific skills? Is there a hierarchy?
Uncle P: Nah, no hierarchy. Just a good working team. We're all similar minded people and appreciate many of the same things.
Do you like to make beats first and then write rhymes to them, or do You prefer writing a rhyme and creating a beat for it later, or does it all happen at once? What are the reasons for this?
Uncle P: Well all of the above really. Wildeye has pages and pages of lyrics with no particular beats in mind. I sit in my hovel and bang out beats willy-nilly.... When the MC's hear them they know which beat is for them! Code Breaker does both. He writes beats and rhymes.
Was there a concept behind your EP? Can you tell us a bit about each of the tracks on your EP, what they are about, what effects, moods or Messages you were trying to create/pass on?
Buttafingaz: There was no initial concept.... Just a bunch of tracks we were happy with and wanted to put out. Let the people hear them the only effect we wanted was a big 'Oi!!! we're Buttercuts and check out our shit.'
So you have some rapping in French on there. What is the reason for that? Is it just that one of you can speak the language well or was it a ploy to try and get more exposure in Francophone territories?
Buttafingaz: Not really a ploy,... just the fact that Cultcam is ruff!!! He has some deep shit to say too, but if you don't understand French then you'll never know.
What has been the reaction to the EP so far?