Iceberg Slimm's uncles played in steel bands and so he was influenced by music from an early age. His inspirations come from opposite ends of the spectrum and help us understand where he is coming from. He cites Michael Jackson - the pop entertainer, and Redman who really got him turned onto Hip Hop when he dropped 'Time for Some Action' as two of the main ones. His first crew 'Execution Squood' was formed with his cousins whilst still at school. They started off quite raw and tried a lot of styles, but being influenced by the likes of Kriss Cross unsurprisingly they went in a more mainstream direction. The group disbanded and upon leaving school and wanting to progress in the music industry Slimm attended a sound production course and formed another crew - Frojak, - with other Eastenders: producer Skillagan, J-Fabulous, Royston and singer Perry Morgan.
Iceberg takes his name from the Robert Beck, aka Iceberg Slim autobiography 'Pimp'. When we asked him why he chose this name slimm said, 'Yes he was a pimp but it has nothing to do with the reason why I chose his name. He influenced and inspired me through his personal life. His parents separated when he was at a young age and him learning how to fend for himself and growing up at a young age was similar to my personal life which is why I took on the name. RIP the real Iceberg Slimm'. The book is about a man battling to survive in America's ghettos, Slimm explains, 'It's about good times and bad times, of having to make decisions. Sometimes the right ones, sometimes the wrong ones'.
London's Subterania is the jumping off spot for so many artists and in November 1999 it was Iceberg Slimm's turn. He wasn't going to miss his chance and so to draw attention to himself wore a Union Jack suit and a huge Stetson. About the 30 minute show Slimm says, "People were freaked out," and adds, "But they were focussed on me, too. You're up there on stage and they're expecting you to entertain them. That's when you feel the rush." It was at this show that he was spotted by Polydor.
Iceberg appears to be set for a promising career doing his brand of unashamedly pop orientated Hip Hop. Having signed to Polydor, and subsequently dying his hair purple to celebrate? He now has the backing to produce expensive videos and be marketed to the mainstream. His debut single 'Nursery Rhymes' dropped on September 18th 2000, after having received heavy rotation on Choice as a demo immediately charted at number 1 in the Music Week urban chart. The release includes a couple of versions and the video which features Slimm rapping to kids in a classroom and taking them off to a club. This is a well produced release, but like Jay-Z features children singing and although it is catchy it is nothing more than a pop tune. This release could potentially signal the next wave of major label investment into the homegrown. However this comes at a price and concessions appear to have been made in order to pay the record company back for their investment. These concessions include watering down the lyrics and going for a more teen/pre-teen oriented market.
Slimm hails from Hackney and has drawn a lot of attention
from people like Westwood, who put him on at carnival, and even Sara Cox because
of his Busta-like growl and ragga influences. He's an unabashed supporter of the
what people like Puff Daddy and Jay-Z have done to Hip Hop aims to follow on
their recent success and play on the interest the music industry is currently focusing
on the UK Hip Hop scene. He also has a number of performers in his crew and
says, 'Like Puffy and Jay-Z have done in America, we wanna bring other new artists through with us. It's about giving
something back to the community, about giving others a chance'.
We asked him about how he saw himself and the role he can play in UK Hip Hop, 'I wouldn't say a major role I'd say I'm one of many to open the door in UK hip hop. If it means taking criticism for what I do and I can help other acts to get signed, then criticize'. To finish up Iceberg added 'Yeah, stay focused and positive in anything you do. Don't let anyone mislead you, follow your heart, friends & family and you will be whatever you want to be'.