|Southern Suspects - This Is Me, This Is Us, This Is PHD CD [PHD Recordings]
Who is in the crew and what are your aims and objectives?
Introducing... Silable, Linx, Nemesis, King-Pin, Si-Fi, DJ Off-Key & LJ. We are "The Southern Suspects". 4 MCs, 2 Producers & 1 DJ. The plan of action, to take it where the listener hasn't been yet. Powerful productions and talented writing have enabled us to make a name for ourselves and build up a following. The last 8 months have been big for us and things can only get bigger. Ain't nothing blocking our vision, we focused and prepared for the hard work that lies ahead of us.
Why this name? What is the meaning behind it?
Most of the group hails from South London (Battersea, Grove Park, Catford & Forest Hill. Si-Fi now in Bromley). With the exception of King-Pin and DJ Off-Key (Three Bridges & East Grinstead - Crawley). Southern: relates to where we're from. Suspects: because we are anything but Suspects. Although the media at the time constantly categorised every one as a "suspect".
Do you play live at all?
We have done a lot of PAs in and around Brighton, Kingston, Eastbourne and York. Ultimately, we would all love the chance to perform with a live band. Nothing like hearing your track being performed by a live band. We're being lined up to appear at Inspire @ Rouge Night Club with a 5 piece band in February 2005. that will be something special.
What is PHD Recordings?
Our own label. Not just The Southern Suspects, also Mighty (Producer/Rapper) & QT (Singer/Song-writer/Musician). All about pushing PHD Recordings to the forefront and cut out the middle men of the industry. Far too many people just waiting to take "a cut" of your hard earned money. Everything you see and hear from us is controlled by us and that is how we want to keep it.
Can you break down the Band History and how it evolved?
(The place: Brighton, 2002) Si-fi and King-Pin were doing a music course together in Worthing. They had the productions and wanted vocals. Si-Fi at the time lived with LJ, Silable and Nemesis. Linx was in Brighton as well, all of us studying. LJ has known Silable since 1992 when they started secondary school. Silable came to Brighton and met Nemesis and Linx. Few years later, LJ followed the trail to the South Coast.
We all hooked up, put down some vocals down for King-Pin and Si-Fi. The track was then used at Sussex Uni's 2002 Culture Show and we received good feed back. After that show, King-Pin & Si-Fi saw the opportunity to form a group. With that, The Southern Suspects were born. We became regular acts at Sussex and Brighton Uni's annual culture shows. DJ Off-Key is a long time friend of King-Pin. He came into the picture in summer 2003 as we needed a DJ to spin for us as we were headline PA for Brighton Uni's Freshers Ball in October 2003. That was our 1st big show and since then, we ain't looked back.
Who or what are your main influences?
Too many. Everyone in the group has something distinctive about their musical upbringing. Hip hop is not the only influence.
So, the Southern Suspects have put together this massive 21 track CD of which the fist 8 tracks make up the This Is Me, This Is Us, This Is PHD compilation and the remaining 13 tracks being the Right Here Right Now Mixtape. All in it is an impressive display of skills and shows what heads can do when they work together. Each member of the crew appears to bring something unique to the table in terms of skills whether they be lyrics or production wise. The whole affair kicks off with a heavy brass stab driven, heavy impacting track Come Better This in which the crew dare anyone else to test them. This is the way artists should kick off their demos with strong powerful tracks that grab your attention. Each MC steps up in turn and they sound a little back in the mix when compared to the rowdy chorus. P.O.A. (Plan Of Action) continues on the same vibe with a beat which changes drastically after the intro. Keyboard guitars give a hard edge to the production for the Southern suspects to lay down their manifesto. Each of the tracks has a UK, or South London vibe to the lyrics and Vinyl Solution utilises a bassline which should be fairly familiar to anyone who listens to Drum & Bass. Down in tempo, the bass adds a menacing vibe for the Suspects to drop all sorts of UK references like the Royal Mail, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal as well as saying that they are repping for the UK and even get a chance to question the fact that Scor Zay Zee has retired. I'm feeling this crew and Crowd Control mixes up some new sounds - yes this is sound modules, but it ain't on no corny level of Casio keyboards. There is an element of sounding a touch housey, but with the raps you are left in no doubt as to what you are listening to. Take A Look At Yourself (The Blairfix Project) is another strong track which features Martina Tiziami. A complex backing lets the MCs to point out many things they see around them that don't make a whole lot of sense. This is the sort of intelligent raps I want to hear. R U Ready is a tasty slab of ass slapping from the Usual Suspects as they drop lyrical fire and rapid fire electronic sounds help the verbiage penetrate into your brains. Keep On Moving samples up some female vox and injects a big bass tone alongside some fresh cuts for a heartfelt track produced by Elan Vital. The final track from their home produced portion of the CD, What You Want is another stab heavy production which bumps along utilising fat stabs and bits from Schooly D or the earlier Grandmaster Flash's Adventures On The Wheels Of Steel, or even the original Flash took it from. Rocking and bumping, this is a fresh way to end the totally homegrown section of the CD, leaving the listener fiending for more.
The remaining tracks are a series of beat jacks and remixes which sound real fat and their choices of beats show that they are just on my level and no doubt many of yours as well. Although this is called a mixtape the beats aren't mixed and I wonder how these youngsters can be so mixed up about such terminology. Regardless, the lyrics are across a variety of topics including girls, life in Great Britain, reaching for the stars, struggling to live under Tony's regime, etc. The usual topics, but done to a higher standard than many wanna be sound-a-likes and delivered with panache and flair. Some of the MCs sound a bit like they are speaking their lines under their breaths, not flinging them out as MOP might do, but because of the mixdown they still stand out in the mix and this is just a lyrical style. All in these guys have lyrics for days and can turn their hands to many different subject matters and styles and are therefore versatile and able to get their points across to the listener.
This large cohort have their direction mapped out for them selves and with so much quality material are set to bust out and do big things. Their initial work sets high standards and one can only hope that they can live up to their potential.
2000 & Beyond