UK Hip Hop: International
Mystro & Blufoot
Open Mic
Mystro and Blufoot - Open Mic 12
These two have been impressing recently and are making serious ripples. If you haven't heard of either of these two it is about time you did, so read on...
Firstly can you introduce yourselves and explain how you came by your names and the meaning behind them?

M: Yeah I'm Mys-Diggi, wassup - I got given my name when I was young and was probably something to do with me loving music.

B: Easy, I'm Blufoot and I was probably given that name because I'm white.

Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, who your crew are and who they are associated with?

M: I represent West London and my crew is the Natural Born Spittaz & I hope everyone had a very merry spitzmas.

B: I come from the country - Lightwater in surrey - I move with a lot of people, but technically I'm freelance.

How did you come to hook up? Are you old school friends, or perhaps other heads introduced you more recently?

M&B: We hooked up in 1998 through an old mate of ours - Scanky the Ashanti - (he's featured on the next Camshot 12") and started working on shit in the Pod - ( B: that's the name of my studio).

Are there any other producers or MCs in your crew to look out for?
Name Purpose Crew
Prince Valliant
Infinite Livez
Harry Love
Shape Shifter
Brother Ben
Riot, Louie
Young Gun
Verbal T
Dark Knight
T. Danger
Doc Brown
Little Angry Man
Spastic Monkey Fist
Extended Players
Steel Devils
Dupa Styles
Dupa Styles
Flo Pros
Double Impact
Double Impact

Poisonous Poets
Poisonous Poets
Poisonous Poets
Poisonous Poets
Universal Soldiers
Universal Soldiers

Mystro of the Natural Born Spittaz
Mystro - foreground, Blufoot - background
Bwoy, that is a lot of skills to look out for. Are you a proper group, or have you just come together for these Mystro & Blufoot projects? 

B: We just mix and blend whenever the need arises.

M: Yeah - we just take it as it comes, there's no contracts and no doo doo, just weed and music.

B: Whenever the smoke clears for long enough for me to see the sampler.

What are your individual roles within the group? Is it as simple as Mystro is the MC and Blufoot is the DJ and producer, or are these roles changing and developing over time?

M&B: All beats are produced & arranged by Blufoot, all lyrics are written and performed by Mystro.

That is simple enough then. 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?

B: Kind of near the start, I was one of those 'little kid' secret weapons that all breaking crews used to have, after Electro I was 'bumpin' people like Stezo, Public Enemy, X Clan, Master Ace, Cash Crew, Cookie Crew, London Posse, Tuff Crew, KRS One, Jungle Brothers, Cash Money and Marvelous, Digital Underground - and I just stayed into it from then. - you can ask my mum.

M: Right,...well, I remember going round to my mates house and he had bare Ice T records and we used to listen to them a lot - I remember getting into NWA, Doc and all that - I loved the De La Soul 3ft High LP, what else - arrrr yeah Public Enemy definitely, Special Ed, EPMD and the whole Hit Squad (as it was) they were bangin' - Ice Cube was bad when he went solo as well but it was only the Kill At Will EP and Amerikkkas Most Wanted LP where he really smashed it.

Right. Blufoot, what got you into DJing and producing? It is an expensive business, what with getting more gear and keeping up to date with the records! 

B: Well back in the day it was like you couldn't just be 'into' Hip Hop - everyone had a role to play, you either were a writer, a breaker, a beatboxer, an MC or a DJ - I did a bit of breaking and touched on beat boxing - I couldn't do graf and I hated the sound of my voice on a mic, so I decided that I would be 'the DJ'. I am a record junkie, if have money in my pocket, doesn't matter how much - if I go into a record shop I will come out penniless!

So you have put out mixtapes in the past - 1999's The Resolution Will Not Be Memorised. Can you tell us about them? Did they do well? How did you sell them? 

B: I put out a lot of mixtapes in the past and it just kind of grew, I started by dubbing them myself and just selling them to anyone I could bully into buying them - it culminated in me recording 'The Resolution Will Not Be Memorised' which did well and really helped to get my name out there, I distributed that myself so it was complicated to keep up with on top of my day job - since then I haven't had the cash spare to do another one (it is a bit pricey) but as soon as I do there'll be a new blu banger knocking on your noggin, cos I just love doing tapes.

Can you let off some of your production techniques? What sort of equipment are you using both to make beats and to record?

B: I like to keep shit simple - PC, sampler, digital multi track and that would be my advice to anyone starting - just keep it simple.

What clubs have you played at, and can people come to see you rock a crowd live on the regular?

B: I haven't played out live for a while now but I'm now concentrating on music full time and hopefully the single will bring a few slots my way.

From your press release, reading between the lines, it suggests that you are also a photographer. Would you agree with that? Is it just a hobby, or is it more serious? Have you had any photos published?

B: What it really means is that I'm constantly on surveillance missions, gathering blu-footage on dvc - when my website is fully functional we're gonna have some tasty audio visual shit for UK heads to devour.

Over to Mystro for a minute. You too have been around for a while, but haven't really broken out until now. Was 'Kiss That Ass Goodnight' on Deal Real Records your first time out on Wax?

M: That was my first my first official release on wax yeah, but before that I featured on a remix for Cane that didn't get a proper release.

Mystro constructing beats
Mystro and Blufoot in the Pod.

Can you tell us about how that came about and whether you got what you wanted out of that release or not?

M: Well funnily enough , Blu told me to go down to Deal Real cos they were having an open mic, so I went down there - spat - then started meeting different people in there - one of the Deal Real guys approached me, offered me a drink and then said he wanted me to feature on a single as their first release - and I'm pleased that I did it.

On that record you also featured Jargon, and together you are the Natural Born Spittaz. Is that right?

M: Sure is.

I love that name. What plans do you have for that group, if you have any?

M: We're planning to leave spit stains all over the planet, so stay tuned.

You are doing so much. You have also become a core ingredient in the Low Life Records Live shows and have featured alongside Braintax on some of last years outstanding tracks, including - Free The Walls (Wordlab 2) and Don't Drag Me In (Biro Funk). How did that all come about?

M: It came through Harry Love, he suggested to Braintax releasing some of my material and we met up, his studio isn't too far from where I live - I liked his beats so we ended up doing some madness in the studio and it worked like that - Brains had seen me live and suggested draggin' me in on his travel show.

Do you feel that these experiences have helped you get your name out and taught you about the business?

M: Yeah, definitely.

You are also the host for the Kung Fu nights, in Camden. Is there anything you want to let people know about that? It has moved from WKD's to the Underworld hasn't it? I suppose that is because it was a success and had outgrown the smaller venue?

M: Yeah, Kung Fu is a monthly Hip Hop event that is in the underworld, Camden High St. I host the night with DJs spinning, such as Kevlar, Sarah Jane, Harry Love - we have open mics, live performances, kung fu flicks, drinks and chicks and all that good stuff.

What are your best memories of the night, or notable shows people have put on? I remember Harry Love's Birthday party being a tremendous night, with all of the Low Life Crew ripping it up, as well as the Poisonous Poets and the MUD Fam etc. 

M: I have too many memories to mention, I think Harry's birthday bash was a definite landmark in UK Hip Hop and I wanna shout everybody who stepped up and the Kung Fu crew for putting it on.

OK, I have heard a lot of people talking about the MI5 group, but don't know anything about them, so can you let us all know what is going on there? Who is considered to be in the group and what are the future plans for the group? Is it just a live thing, or will there be records too?

M&B: MI5 is a trio consisting of Jargon, Valliant and Dilligence - all MI5 information is classified, I thought you'd know that!

Haha, I should have guessed. How do you manage to devote enough time to all your projects? Do you intend to follow the path that is most successful and maybe drop some stuff in the future, or will you try to do it all?

M: First and foremost I'm an MC and a rapper or lyricist, whatever, after that I'm a human being and we've all gotta eat.

You also featured in the Dark N Kold UK Hip Hop Untapped Video? For me it was great to see all the freestyles and that, but it did come over as a bit of a long advert for Dark N Kold. I guess it was just another form of promotion for yourself?

M: Yeah of course - apart from the fact they spelt my name wrong.

Back to both of you. Was your first time out together on wax the Last Days track on the Raw Materials 2 compilation? Can you talk us through how that went? Did you have the track ready, or did you have to make one specially? Did Mr Lawson approach you directly about being on the record?

B: Yeah, last days was our first biscuit.

M: We dunked it in the Stonegroove tea cup and Lawson gobbled it up one time.

M&B: We hooked up with Lawson through Nomadic Poet from the Planets.

Did you get good feedback?

M: Yeah, we got very good feedback.

So Right now you have the Open Mic EP out on Camshot Records. They have done a good job with the pressing and making it all look very good. How is that going? What has the response been like?

M: First of all its not an EP, its a single with a bonus cut - Camshot did a very good job (shout out to Camshot, thanks for the hookers and the weed).

B: Yeah cheers Camshot.

B: The response has been amazing, its been getting a lot of airplay and good press, things have gone better than I could have imagined.

M: It was only supposed to be a limited press but now we've got foot and mys disease spreading across Australia and Germany, there's no cure for the disease yet and experts are warning of a possible global epidemic by the end of 2002. 

B: Wash ya wellies.

That is great to hear. Each of the tracks on the Open-Mic 12" has a definite concept. Can you tell us a bit about each/all of the tracks on your 12", what they are about, what effects, moods or messages you were trying to create/pass on?

M: Each track really speaks for itself, I was giving MCs an insight into how to use the open mic to your advantage - I sent a little message to my bredrin in jail cos I told him I would.

B: The burial was the first solo track me and Mys collaborated on, we recorded it during the same session as 'Last Days' and decided to put it on the 12" as a little bonus for the heads that supported us and remembered it from our live shows - its not gonna be on the LP.

Where can people pick up your stuff?

http://www.camshot.co.uk , HMV, MSM record store (Camden), Mr. Bongo (Poland St. W1), http://www.lowliferecords.co.uk, Turntablist World, http//:www.suspect-packages.com.

How do you feel you are positioned within the marketplace and is that through your wishes or with different circumstances, would you do it differently? 

M: Not sure yet, I'm still potty training.

Would you have rather signed with a more established label?

B: Neither of us are signed now but if I got offered a good deal I would go for it - that's what its all about isn't it? this making records thing. 

Mystro and Blufoot

I think that until people open their eyes a bit more UK Hip Hop needs to be separately categorised and exposed. I'm not saying that we should accept sub-standard UK Hip Hop, but I think many consumers wouldn't be aware of much of the great UK Hip Hop. Where do you stand on this topic?

M: Quality music is quality music man, if its strong enough it will take its path and reach as many heads as possible no matter where its from - music doesn't have any boundaries but everybody has a preference and its probably gonna stay like that, all you gotta do is try and bring people shit they wanna hear, that doesn't necessarily mean its gonna be easy but that's how I see it getting done.

Do you think people like Westwood could do more? Does his presence distort the scene in favour of the records he promotes?

M: There are a lot of people like Westwood involved in UK Hip Hop.

B: But that's just one part of the scene, everybody is trying to promote and elevate 'their' corner of Hip Hop, whatever it may be - Westwood serves an audience and they're pleased with what they get served.

M: That's right, Westwood gets targeted a lot because he has a large coverage, as far as I know there's nothing stopping us from sending him stuff that's good enough for airplay and I'm sure if he's feeling it he'll play it - there are individuals far more powerful than 'people like Westwood' who really control who gets promoted and who doesn't.

Good points. What do you make of Itch FM? Are they redressing the balance?

M: Most definitely, its refreshing to hear an underground station devoted to the music that you love.

B: I've known MK for years now and I've gotta give him props for him and A-Cyde's 'Show With No Name' 105.15 FM, WHAT WHAT, big up MK.

M: Also the fact that we (UK artists) can get a lot more airplay now its just adding more colour to the picture.

It might be good for you as artists to blow up and make loads of money, but would it good for our overall scene? What I mean is that at the moment we have very creative artists pushing the envelope, but we could become swamped with commercial jiggy stuff as it would appear the US is. 

B: You don't have to make jiggy music to make a reasonable amount of money - I think if I keep my music straight Hip Hop, but concentrate on quality, I will be able to make money, and I don't think anyone would hold it against me, look at Gangstarr or De La Soul, they're selling and they're definitely anti-jigg.

M: I think it would be good for the overall scene cos then we could put money back into it. 

Fair enough. Who are the UK artists you listen to, admire and who perhaps deserve to have had more success than they have had to date?

M&B: Everybody.

Who are your UK influences?

M: The ones that come with stuff that's bangin'.

B: Yeah.

Who or what are your other influences?

M: Everything in life.

B: Weather & time.

You are a bit tight lipped there! How do you feel, as artists, about distribution systems like Napster or AudioGalaxy that are out of your control and for which you don't get any money? 

B: I try not to worry about things that are out of my control, but I'm a big fan of technology and the internet - if the internet brings about a new way of selling music, Camshot is perfectly aligned to go in that direction - they're more of a multi-media swat team than a record label.

M: Yeah.

Did either of you vote in the last election and why?

M: I voted Labour coz my mum told me to, and I always listen to my mum, you should always listen to your elders no matter how much shit you might think they're talking.

B: I didn't vote, but I didn't trust any of the candidates to follow through with they're promises.

Why do you think the urban youth and people in general are so pissed off with the government?

M: The government is in control of how our lives are running, a lot of peoples lives aren't as good as they want them to be - who else to blame but the people controlling your lives. That's what we were tryna tell people on the last days - to "keep it coming in" but to use your brain and be smart about things. 

What do you think is going on on our streets? Last summer we had several well publicised police shootings of innocent people and subsequent riots. Over Xmas and the New Year we have had a bloke stabbed in the head with a screwdriver when he tried to prevent his car being stolen and there was the girl in East London who was shot for a mobile phone. Why is this going on?

M: I understand what your saying, but shit like this has been going on for ages man, I've got mates that have been shot and stabbed and it didn't even make the news.

If you could do something to improve the situation what would it be and why?

B: I think the planet would be a more tranquil place with no humans on it at all.

M: I'd give everyone a bottle of Mystrogen to take home and meditate on.

On a lighter note, I think next Blufoot, you have the 'Light Water' LP planned. When can we expect it to drop?

B: We're looking at 2002 if everything rolls into position nicely but you never know- things don't always go as planned in this business.

Will that be on Camshot too?

B: Yeah , that's why its a bit of a balancing act - its hard for a new label to sustain that amount of releases so quickly - but I'm sure we'll pull through - the Camshot crew are dedicated.

OK, so, Blufoot, what can we expect from the 'Light Water' LP? Alongside Mystro you are working with other vocalists too. Who have you hooked up beats for so far? 

B: The next single has already been recorded and we're currently working on the media surrounding it - its gonna be a double a-side with Scanky the Ashanti on one side and Infinite Livez on the other - I'm sure we're gonna squeeze in a little bonus for the heads as well. For the rest of the album I've hooked up with Double Impact, Little Angry Man, Escapade, Riot & Louie, Mic Assassin and others - it's gonna be nice to hear some fresh voices out there.

Mys, what have you got in the pipeline? From time we have heard that you are putting something out on Low Life - 'Music Mystro! (please)', but nothing appears. Is that still going to happen, and if so, what is the hold up?

M: Yeah, I've got some shit coming through the pipeline! - I'm gonna do an EP on Low Life as named above, the hold up was deciding whether it should be a 12 or an EP, but its all been sorted now so look out for some shit later this year.

I understand that you have a 12" coming out that is produced by the Next Men and that you have collaborated on a track for the new Blak Twang LP. Can you let off any info regarding those tracks? When can we expect to see these releases? 

M: I'm not sure of release dates but we're about to set the next trend so you lot better liven it up if you don't know the half.

What is going to be keeping you both busy over the next few months?

B: I'm gonna be keeping my head down recording that album for at least the next few months.

M: Other than writing, recording and performing, I'm gonna be practicing tryna spit satellites out of the sky.

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

M&B: Look out for http://www.mysdiggi.com and http://www.blufoot.com both being developed later this year. 

Is there anyone else you would like to mention?
Mystro and BlufootCamshot Records
M&B: Look out for Natural Born Spittaz, Smash Brothers and MI5.

Thank you for your time.

Everyone: Phew.

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