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UK Hip Hop: International
Rising Son
Rising Son
Rising Son
Phusion and Rising Son
One MC to look out for in the near future is Rising Son. He's worked with Phusion and the Phu Good Men clique and made a bit of noise. Now he is almost set to launch his solo project and blow up, so read on to get the low down on his career so far.... 

Can you tell us what your name means to you or if there is a meaning behind your name? To me Rising Son represents someone who is learning and progressing fast in their chosen field, and is perhaps destined for good things. Could you identify with that? Is there another angle?

I wanted a name that best described my lyrical angle. I see Hip Hop music not only as a form of entertainment and maybe a means to an end, but also as a form of free expression and as a way to communicate with my people. When I say "my people" I'm not speaking of a particular Race or anything like that, I mean the people who identify with the things that Rappers talk about as well as being moved spiritually by the vibe that Hip Hop music gives. As an Emcee/RAPPER I try to cover all angles of the music from being the "entertainer" to real things, and real situations. I try to address important social issues and try to offer an answer. If I can't give an answer then I will definitely give my listeners a thing or two to think about. I believe that in these days and times there is much which is in the dark, which is why certain people need enlightenment, and THAT is was "Rising Son" is all about. You see, when the Sun rises it sheds light onto the world. In Ancient Egypt where the first religion was developed, the Sun was worshipped as God. Now, I am NOT trying to put myself on the same level as God (THAT is trying to achieve the impossible), which is why I say "Son", because I am Manchild, a SON of God (or Amen-Ra) as we all are. So by calling myself "Rising Son" I am saying that I am a child of God/Amen-Ra (the Sun god) and my purpose on earth is to help the Father spread the light unto the people. My ruling planet is also Mercury "The Winged Messenger" which is why my symbol is the Phoenix, as the Phoenix also represents the Rising of the Sun and the carrying of the message.

OK, how did you first get into Hip Hop? What were those early experiences that turned you on to this sound?

I got into Hip Hop from about 1983. Before that I was into Michael Jackson, the Isley brothers, and what my parents listened to which was mainly Reggae. The first tunes I heard were things like The Roxanne series by UTFO and Full Force, Roxanne herself, Roxanne Shante coming back and dissing Roxanne, Africa Bambaataa's Planet Rock, and Electro. I used to Break and Pop so much that me and my crew used to walk around with this LITTLE Tape player and a square of lino! I used to lie to my mum and go to Covent Garden at age 8 or 9 to go watch the Breakdancers! It was just the whole Vibe of the music that touched my spirit I think, and from there I used to tune into the radio and listen to Westwood from WAY back then.

Back then, what sort of acts would you bump in your walkman?

I had like, 100 tapes of the Westwood show coz he had the Bombest tunes from day. When Breakin became second to the Rap side of things, I graduated to people like Run DMC, The Beastie boys, LL Cool J, and Public Enemy. I used to really check for P.E. because by then I was checking and understanding the lyrics. They moved me.

What were the clubs you would frequent and who were the DJs and MCs you would go out to check?

Haha, I never used to go to clubs, I was too young!!

I understand that you started out making tracks around 1993, when you were called 2 Tone and were in a group called "Da Kabianz". Can you tell us a bit about the other members in the group and how you got together to record?

"Da Kabianz" (pronounced "kay-bee-anz") was the first Rap group I was ever part of. There was 3 of us - 2 Tone (me), E-Twist (commonly known today as Sobernow), and KMC. We invented the word Kabian to describe the one thing we all had in common which was the fact that we were all mixed race between Caucasian and Nubian. So we merged the two words and came up with the word Kabian. This kind of gave us all a sense of identity and is a word I will carry with me for the rest of my life. We recorded a few songs together and did some live performances at WKD in Camden Town and attended Open Mic sessions whenever we could.

Like so many other crews starting up, you apparently had some problems. What sort of bad experiences did you endure?

We made a demo which got us interest from a management company, and that was where it all started to go wrong. First of all they wanted to turn us into Kris Kross and be all on some fake s**t like we don't know what's going on in the world. Secondly, they didn't like me for some reason, so the next thing I knew, they sent my boys to tell me I couldn't be in the group no more. So I left the group with no hard feelings (well, not many anyway) and started to record my own solo stuff. Eventually, "Da Kabianz" split up and we all went our separate ways. I remained in contact with my boys though, we were too big to let the industry break up our friendship which is a very hard thing to avoid.

Learning from that, do you have any advice for young cats starting out, who could be in a similar position to yours?

If you're getting involved with a group, make sure its with people you are tight with or have grown up with. Otherwise the industry WILL break you up and friendships can end. PERSEVERANCE is the key. Don't let ANYONE deter you from achieving your goal, DON'T give up. People will try their hardest to make you fall, even your friends. You will soon learn who your REAL friends are. STAY REAL. Don't come with no fakeness about you. Don't talk about things you don't, can't and wouldn't do. To be able to touch people musically takes maturity, which is why PATIENCE is the other key factor. Your talent will develop over time, which is why when people turn you down, or tell you your music is "not what we're looking for" or even tell you it's straight up Wack, you have to respect and accept peoples opinions and try to come back better.

So, what were you up to for the next couple of years? Did you step back from it all and lead a normal life, or were you just keeping it on the DL refining your skills?

I started doing more work with DJ Phusion who had just left the group "Silent Eclipse" prior to working with Da Kabianz, and was working on new sounds to reinvent himself. So I just used to go round to his house and listen to his beats and take some on tape to write to. I wrote a lot of songs which never got recorded and probably never will. We also used to sit down and discuss how to take it to the next stage, which seemed impossible at the time because no-one was really paying UK Hip Hop any piece of mind here. But still, we got creative and did that part of it. It was just like training for me.

Was your appearance on DJ Phusion's Phusion Philes Vol 1. your first time out on a recording?

Yes, I was very excited at the prospect of being out on a Hip Hop mixtape that other people aside from my friends would hear.

What did that mean to you?

It made me feel like it was all worth it, and made me feel good to know that I was worthy of putting on a tape which would be going out for the public here and abroad.

Phu Good Men So you are now part of the P.G.M. (A Phu Good Men) crew alongside Reveal, Doc Brown, T. Dangerous, 10 Faces, and The Phantom. I know you don't want to be called a group, but you know people will see you lot like that anyway! Are there any other producers or MCs in your crew that I didn't mention?

Correction, I WAS a part of that network. Unfortunately for now, P.G.M. is now well and truly dead, but I'll give you a little insight as to what P.G.M. was about. It started when Phusion wanted to put out another mixtape called "The Phusion Philes vol 2". I had already met 10 Faces and introduced him to Phusion who began to produce for him also. Around the same time, the Phantom had also been working with Phusion, so I said "why don't we make Phusion Philes vol 2 an album featuring me 10 faces and Phantom produced by entirely by Phusion". So this is what we started working on. I met Reveal at MUDLUMZ which was a Hip Hop showcase run by Mud Family and used to take place once a month at Dingwalls in Camden Town. It was here that I also met Doc Brown.

How did the all the hook ups come about?

I basically A&R'd the whole thing by meeting new emcees who needed to work in a serious environment with its own producer. I never wanted to be a solo artist, I need to have people around me so I tried to build a family type environment, a strength in numbers sort of thing as a sign of solidarity.

Can you break down what each persons role was? Would everyone have a say in everything, or would Phusion bring a beat and you'd all separate off and do your own verses to it?

Well Phusion and I started "Undisclosed Records" which was the label we started in the hope that the industry would take us more seriously. on the artist side of things, no-one held a higher position than anyone else, we would advise and help each other artistically and as friends. We were a normal crew. As far as beat distribution amongst us, it was simple - if u heard a beat and liked it, you rhymed on it. If there was like say 3 or 4 of us and we all liked the same beat, we ALL rhymed on it. There was never any arguments over beats as there was plenty to go round.

Who do you rate most highly in the crew and why? Most people I suppose would jump to mention Reveal.

Haha! Yes they would. Can you blame them? Reveal is one of the most talented individuals I've ever come across. That young man has got extraordinary skills and I'm not even exaggerating when I say that. In saying that, I didn't really place anyone above anyone else in my opinion. I respected each and everyone as individual talent and liked them all for different reasons. Phusion himself is a very diverse producer which is why I chose to work with him. He gave a different sound and another edge.

You are all hooked up with Undisclosed Records. Did someone sign you, or did you all get together and fund your own thing to get it out there?

Undisclosed Records was our own thing we were doing. We all put our own money in as we had no other form of funding at all because people were STILL not interested in UK Hip Hop. Phusion has taped conversations with companies we spoke to about the reason for this, they're quite vexating to listen to. But like I say, Undisclosed Records is no longer running, and everyone in P.G.M has now gone their separate ways and is doing their own thing. It was a starting block for many people and I'm glad I offered that to the people I offered it to. I was never given that opportunity, I had to make it all by myself. So was eager to give it to others who needed it simply because I was in a position to. I have no regrets at all, and there are no hard feelings between any of the former members. I've got nothing but love for them, I wish them all the very best and I hope we all hook up again one day at the top. Right now it's important for me to do this on my own now, as it is for them to do the same, the more seeds scattered the more chance they have of growing.

What records have you put out so far?

Only two singles so far. We put out "The Truth Is Right Here" EP on Undisclosed as our debut in 1999. This went to Number one in Echoes Magazine and was also rated in various other magazine including Touch. We didn't get one bad review. The other one was "The Key", which was the album title track ("Phusion Philes vol 2 - The Key"). This featured Reveal on the B-Side on the track "Y2Kaos". By this time, the strain of running a record label had begun to take its toll on us and the record was only released for a limited time. The album was completed, but never released. You can listen to snippets of it at:
http://www.undisclosedrecords.com

and clicking on AUDIO.

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?

Right now I'm right where I want to be. I am in much more control of what I'm doing, I have more than one producer, and I have the aid of a manager to help me and push my music in the right peoples hands. I'm also at an age where I have to think about this as my career now and not just a hobby. I don't have anything else to fall back on. So I obviously now have to think about making those type of songs which sell units. Now there is a fine line between Compromise and "selling out", but I refuse to accept that Hip Hop should be kept to the streets. Artists mature and peoples styles and objectives change. So yes I may well find myself on Top of the Pops one day, but whatever I'm doing there I will make sure it's real and something people can relate to and not just saying "stuff that sounds cool" for the hell of it.

Are there any more plans for P.G.M. releases, if not is it something that will always just continue in the background or will it all be on hold for a bit?

As it stands, P.G.M. artistically has broken up. There won't be any releases in the near future as everyone is pretty much doing their own thing. I would LOVE to work with them again, but for now things need to be the way they are. If we ever did another record together, be it a single, EP, or album, we would not be called P.G.M.

Can you let us in on what each of the other members may be up to, or working on?

You have me going solo, Reveal, Doc Brown, T. Dangerous and Therapist have formed "Poisonous Poets" and are blowing up shows doing their thing. 10 Faces is still working undercover, Phusion is still making beats and can be contacted through the Undisclosed website, and the Phantom....well, He's just the Phantom!

For now though, it is all going to be about your new solo joint and forthcoming LP. Let us in on what your plans for this are and what people can expect from it? What is it called? Perhaps you could describe each track and what the meaning behind them is? And let us know of any collaborations...

Okay, well I can't give away too much, but I will tell people to expect a lot of diversity. I want to appeal to a range of different audiences, not JUST the Hip Hop heads. I want people who listen to stuff like garage, and drum and bass to be able to listen to my album and say "yeah, this is heavy"! Also people who like reggae, soul, R&B.

"Move Yuh!" seems to be getting a positive initial response, that must please you?

Yes it does. I made that track for a specific purpose and I'm still waiting to see whether or not its going to all go ahead. In the meantime we put it up on mp3.com where it has received a very positive response. It is an energy fuelled party track and is the beginning of the unveiling of my range of versatility which I've been working on over the past few months.

Rising Son Do you think that this is a good time to be breaking out as an MC in the UK?

Anytime is a good time for an emcee to break out once they've proven that they're ready to take on the full responsibility to be an ENTERTAINER as well as an artist and performer, regardless if they're in the UK or not. When an artist is ready, they're ready. It's not just about making tunes and going out on a stage and spitting lyrics. There's also the long studio sessions, working to deadlines and having to meet them, being able to Entertain a crowd of people and keeping them interested, the interviews, the traveling, the no sleep, being able to make records that will sell as well as get you respect as an emcee. There's so much else involved, so its a question of how far do you want to go? If the answer is "all the way", then there's a lot to think about.

UK Hip Hop seems to be getting a fair bit of positive press at the moment, do you think the interest will be sustained?

Yes. Artists are getting better all the time, and more people are beginning to recognise what it takes to be successful. More people are becoming more unafraid to make tracks that are "radio friendly"! We can be kickass emcees and still be able to make good music to be appreciated by more people than just our immediate community.

I see you have a manager. What do you feel she can do for you and would you recommend that other MCs look to get some form of representation?

Yes. Definitely. Once you have taken yourself to the point where you are known by people, and people will pay to see you perform, the next step is to get someone to represent you. The reason is because industry people don't like dealing with artist themselves, so you will need someone who can talk to them in their language on your behalf, get you what you need and also help you put together the right type of demo tape to take to all the people they know. Don't forget, Managers have a lot of contacts on the industry side of things.

If it isn't too cheeky, what sort of a deal would a manager be on? A percentage? I guess it would depend upon their remit.

It depends on the deal you work out with your manager with regards to what they're going to do for you. It also depends on the manager. It's usually a percentage deal.

Outside your crew who are the UK artists you listen to and admire? 

Hmmm, Well, mainly people on the underground. Mans like Knightshift, The Suspect, MC Howie, Lequinox, Royal-T, DCI. Then there's Mans like Task Force, Mystro, MUD Family, Blak Twang, Roots Manuva, Yungun, Out Da Ville, Phi Life Cypher. There's probably more I can't remember right now!

Where can people hear your stuff?

Right now I have some stuff online which people can listen to. It's at:
http://www.mp3.com/rising_son

Other than that, I'm still recording newer and better stuff. It won't be much longer though. When the Son rises, you'll know.

Where can people pick up your stuff?

They can't. Haha!

Are you at all politically motivated? What do you make of what is going on in Afghanistan after what happened on September 11th?

No comment.

People will see your tattoos from your promo pic. How many do you have?

Well I got that one on my back which you can see in the pic. I got a Dragon and the Chinese symbol for Wisdom on my right arm, I got a Rising Son logo with a Phoenix underneath it, and my name under that on my left arm. I also have the Eye of Ra on the left side of my chest, and P.G.M on my right forearm!

Would you care to tell us what they symbolise and what they mean to you?

The one on my back was done in memory of my bredrin KMC (Keita Michael Craig) who tragically passed away in 2000. He was the person who inspired me when I was just starting to write rhymes. I aspired to one day be as good as he was. So I got it done out of love for my brother and as a mark of respect that I will carry his memory with me forever. In ancient Chinese history, Dragons were believed to be the guardians of the sky, therefore the Sun. The symbol for Wisdom because wisdom is the greatest gift in life and can only be achieved by understanding the knowledge. So I have that as a reminder that I am nothing more than a student of life and to treat every moment as a learning opportunity. The Phoenix symbolises the Sun rising in the morning. When the sun sets and is reborn when it arises from its ashes the next day. Something like the cycle of life. It is also the winged messenger of God. Blessed is the bearer of the symbol of the Eye Of Ra, the Egyptian Sun god, and the first deity to be worshipped as "God". Which is why it is close to my heart. As for the P.G.M. Tattoo, well, Pure Genius Mentality never dies. I guess I can also say the same for P.G.M. That was an era which played a big part in my career so far so it's just part of my history.

Do you plan to get any more, and if so what will the next one be and why?

No plans as yet.

OK. To wind this up, what is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?

I'm going to be recording a whole bunch of material. On my own for my solo album, as well as with some of my people from home ground, and some other more recognised artists from the US.

What are your longer term plans and objectives?

I have ideas for a single and a video. I'm recording a lot of music and trying new things, seeing what works, what doesn't work etc. It's hard work. I'm also planning to tour the UK next year, information will be made available as soon as everything is finalised. I'm also gonna put together a good Demo for my manager to take to record companies and see who offers the best damn deal!!

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Yeah, further information on me, my music, and availability for shows is available at:
http://www.niccicheeks.com

My email address is:
risingson@niccicheeks.com

Finally is there anyone else you would like to mention?

Yeah, go to the same website for information on the other NCM artists:
Black L.I.B, Amad Jamal, and Moorish Delta 7.

Thank you for your time.

It's been a pleasure.

Contact Rising Son @ Nicci Cheeks Management: http://www.niccicheeks.com
Direct Line +44 207 851 8534 :: Celly +44 7761 773163

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