Share your life story with us.

I was born and raised in West London, living in Shepherds Bush, Brentford then Hounslow. I played football a lot as a kid and would’ve gone pro if I didn’t get injured. When I did get injured I lost a lot of love for the game and got into a lot of other stuff, especially music. My brother was a Garage DJ so I used to watch his emcees come by our yard and spit, and I knew I wanted to do that. When I fully got into Hip Hop heads like Wu-Tang, DMX, MOP, Nas, Big Pun and Tupac I knew Hip Hop was the music I’d express myself through, I connected with it more than any other type of music.

I grew up mixed race in the 90’s in London and had a lot of problems with racism. My father’s Grenadian and my mother’s English, so I got a lot drama growing up, especially from police. They used to terrorise me and my friends. So when I heard Dead Prez, and found out about Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and The Panthers I knew how I needed to live my life and the kind of music I wanted to make. I’ve spent my life doing that, community organization, protesting and making music, working with young people to focus on productive activities and educating myself and others in the history of my people and our struggle.

With my group First and Last I built a good reputation on the Hip Hop scene in London and around the UK, performing at spots like Deal Real, Speakers Corner and End of the Weak as well as Jungle and DnB raves and started getting shows and press in Europe. After releasing 5 underground mixtapes and projects and getting a master’s degree, I put out my first solo album in 2013 and got a crazy reception. I got a 4* review in Mojo magazine, was nominated for Wordplay magazine’s album of the year and got attention in the US and South America as well as Europe. I got involved with I Am Hip-Hop Magazine and interviewed Hip Hop legends Dead Prez and Onyx.

I wanted to broaden my opportunities and my world, so I started travelling, I’d already been home to Grenada and to Ghana, then I took up the opportunity to go and live in Beijing. After a few months I got involved in the Hip Hop and Bass music scenes, performing at festivals and on line-ups with international artists like Perfect Giddimani, OG Maco and UZ. I built strong ties with some of China’s most talented home grown and China-based international artists like emcee Jackson Turner, Reggae singers General Huge and King Lion Miguel, DJ and producer Conrank, up-and-coming Chinese rappers Dungeon Beijing and the pioneer of Chinese Hip Hop MC Webber. I toured China twice in 2016 and 2017 and performed at spots across Asia including Japan.

After returning to London, I got deeper involved with GlobalFaction, the production house that’s made a lot of my videos and have supported Jedi Mind Tricks and Big Noyd of Mobb Deep, interviewed Vinnie Paz, Natty and Ghetts, recorded a reasoning session with the legendary Junglist Congo Natty and performed at the End of the Weak world finals week in Prague.

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Share your press release.

My new release is an EP “All and Nothing” that I dropped in September 2017. The EP captures my creative and artistic growth since leaving London, both in my lyrics and the sound. It’s still Hip Hop but I’ve brought in elements of DnB, Dub and other Bass driven styles. There’re features from MC Webber, Jackson Turner, General Huge, King Lion Miguel and OMeza Omniscient from First and Last. There’s production from OMeziah, Polish beatmaker Frank Freeman, Irish producer GI and DnB DJ in:theory and the EP was mastered by veteran producer Chemo.

I’ve released “All and Nothing” through Design Chaos the label we’ve release all the First and Last material from, but it’s also been released by DB Bros Records in China, the label created by MC Webber and General Huge based in Beijing. We’ve had a great response across the world so far. Our 3 music videos for ‘21st Century Enslavement’ ‘Flying High’ and it’s remix, filmed across Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia and China are getting a lot of love on GlobalFaction’s YouTube channel and DB Bros platforms in China. My collaboration with MC Webber and Jackson Turner ‘Music Souljahs’ is on over 500k views in China so far.

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List the names of those that have assisted you so far in your music career and use this opportunity to thank them.

I’ve been working on music for over 15 years with OMeza Omniscient, we started our crew First and Last together in school and everything I’ve built as a solo artist has its foundation on the work we put in in those early days. Our first projects were with the dope producers Craze and Hoax, who’ve gone on to massive things; I definitely owe them a lot. We also worked a lot with a crazy producer Nikel who’s worked with some of the biggest UK Hip Hop heads and now’s based in Kenya, he produced out first real banger ‘Fade Away’. All the emcees, producers and artists I worked with over the years, Le Hornet, Aurahkel, Seaper and Paradox (who are huge comedians now), Yellow King, Son of a Queen, Kyra, GI, Frank Freeman, in:theory. All the older G’s and heads of my generation who supported and brought me in on things, Da Flyy Hooligan, Manage, DJ Snuff, DJ Steaz, Kissy K, eMCee Killa, Amy True, Logic, Oliver Sudden, Hasan Salaam. HS Pro and Biggerman and all the other Itch FM DJ’s like Sammy J and DJ Madhandz. Everyone I’ve organised and protested with over the years – you know who you are – especially Raspect Fyabinghi who’s taken it to another level with G.A.N.G – Guiding A New Generation. Urban Elite did amazing things for my debut album and everyone who supported through that campaign. Archetype, Frank Freeman and Gem who played in the band for that album – you all killed it. Mike at cHip sHop for putting me on and Yeti for making that link.

Everyone at I Am Hip Hop and No Bounds who’ve supported me from the moment we met. My brothers at GlobalFaction, without their vision, talent and platform I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am. My brother Al Lawson, an incredible engineer and mixer. Chemo for mastering my EP. The fam around the world at EOW, especially Mas Law for bringing me in. Shouts to my man Slim and Jimmy Chiba for ridiculously dope videos. To Dave Jackson for the advice and help.

After I moved to Beijing I got incredible support from my brothers MC Webber aka Raddam Ras, General Huge and Flo at DB Brothers Records and my brothers Jackson Turner and King Lion Miguel. They helped with everything from recording to touring and everything in between. Simon Yu for an incredible video production. My Syndicate family, Blackie, Clir, Kay C, Tonk, Chole who put me on ridiculous platforms. Nasty Ray and Conrank for all the bring-ins, Oshi for the support, my fam at Unchained for the crazy tour, Siesta for helping that happen, Passenger at Electric Underground for always supporting, Paul P from for starting it all, the organisers and the brothers from In3 for showing so much love, promoters who’ve booked and Yangbae and Kailin for their translations.

Everyone who’s been posting, sharing, buying copies of my music, reviewing, coming to shows for years all over the world – love and respect.

My wife and my family for all the unconditional support.

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Narrate your experience while recording in the studio or while touring.

The studio and the stage are home. They’re where I feel best. Creating is one of life’s greatest aspects and getting to share that with people around the world is a beautiful thing.

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Go into detail about your songwriting process.

I like to quote CeeLo Green here – “listen to God then write”. Even though my lyrics are definitely cerebral and conceived in the mind, I get in the zone by channeling higher forces and letting them flow through me, I attempt to tap in and translate what I can. I aim to find my rhythm within a beat, then align the feeling it brings out in me with that rhythm and what it is I want to say. Sometimes those things change as I write, but that’s the beauty of the process.

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Brief us on what you have on the way for your fans out there.

I’m working on a bunch of collaboration EPs with some dope producers, some Hip Hop and some branching more into Bass music, especially DnB. I’ve got a lot of collaborations coming out on other people’s projects, especially with DB Bros records and should be heading back to Asia to tour again soon. I’m traveling to the Venezuelan Amazon with the Roots singer Natty to film a documentary on a spiritual journey he’s bringing a few of us on, really looking forward to that.

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Tell us what you are doing to increase your fan base.

I’m trying to work with as many talented people as I can, and truly trying to take my music global. I’ve been blessed to be brought in to GlobalFaction who’ve put me on to opportunities like the film I’ll be doing with Natty. I’m trying to take every single opportunity that’s coming my way and make the most of them. I’m trying to make the most of my life while I have it and I think people are responding to that.

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Tell us that point in time that you just feel like giving up on your music career.

When I left London and moved to Beijing I didn’t have music in my plans. All I wanted to do was see the world and learn from it, but the way I connected with people was through music and Hip Hop culture. Both transcend language and connect the people who are connected to them. The fact that I was on a different continent in a completely different culture but still found people who I got on with like we’d grown up together reaffirmed my love for music and Hip Hop. That, alongside all the incredible things I experienced in different countries put me back into the creative process stronger and more inspired than I’d ever been.

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Go into detail on how you make your instrumentation or melody.

A lot of the beats I make myself are based on samples, or samples that I recreate myself. I usually hear something that really speaks to me, cut it and try to really draw out then accentuate the part that spoke to me and build it into something it wasn’t before. I try to take things that are far from what people might associate with Hip Hop or Bass Music and bring it into the spectrum/culture through my production.

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Tell us the best way to get in touch with you on social media.

I’m most active on Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/apex.zero/

You can get me on FB here

https://www.facebook.com/apexzero00

And on Twitter here

https://twitter.com/apexzero00

Also check my team GlobalFaction at

http://www.globalfaction.com/

– all the socials are there.

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Give us the links to your various stores.

You can get everything from here:

www.apexzero.co.uk

– links to iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp etc. are all there.

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Tell us your favourite genre of music.

Hip Hop has always been my heart, but Hip Hop is interwoven with so many different branches of the tree that’s rooted in Africa – from indigenous art forms, to Reggae, Dub, Dancehall, Soca, Jazz, Blues, Jungle, DnB, Grime, House – I love it all.

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Tell us the subject matter of most of your songs.

I try to rep the true essence of Hip Hop – empowering people that government and oppressors aim to disempower, aiming to free people who are supposed to be controlled. My main goal in life is to help my people and those like us anywhere in the world live free, to be able to determine their own life and strive for their own goals, individually and collectively beyond manipulation. That, and to challenge people to think, question our existence and to celebrate and live their lives.

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Tell us all we need to know about this song.

My newest track ‘The Way’ is a reflection on the thoughts I run through constantly about the human condition – dealing with being conscious of our existence, our eventual, inevitable (physical) death and struggling with questions we’ll never fully know the answer to. I’ve learnt over years that lots of people spend time looking for one definite answer to these questions and there are infinite answers given from different people or sources. It came to me a few years ago that maybe they all have elements of truth in them and that none of them are completely right, so in a sense, everything is right and wrong. That seems to be a contradiction or a paradox, but that’s what life is, so maybe that’s the answer, which itself is probably right and wrong.

The beat was made by a dope Irish producer called GI who’s worked with a lot of heavy emcees over the years. Soon as I heard it I knew I wanted it and he hooked me up. The video’s directed and produced by GlobalFaction and as always they’ve created something that perfectly captures the vibe.

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Tell us what you think about digital distribution and streaming.

I fought against it a lot when I was younger as a lover of vinyl and CDs, and I do think something’s lost from not being able to touch a physical copy, but it’s incredible to have access to almost the entire world’s music instantly, and I think that makes it worth it. It also makes it a lot easier for someone like me who’s determined to stay independent to get my music to the world.

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Tell us various ways that artists can boost their revenue.

Best thing I ever did was move country, find a scene that appreciates me and make links there. The more I’ve moved around, the more I’ve met people and connected with heads who feel me in different places. The world is much, much bigger than your city or even your country, and there’s heads who might love what you do all over it, so go find them.

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Tell us your thought on self-training and going to educational institution to study music.

Most of what I’ve done has been self-taught, but I do have some basic training from institutions. I think both are valuable, depending on where you go, what you do, what you can afford and what it is you want to achieve. I think if I’d gone to some better institutions I might have more links to things that might have helped me, but then I know people who did and don’t have them either. I think it really is about the individual, those who know what they want and drive towards that as early as possible seem to achieve the most, especially if you don’t have family in the industry – for those who do its clearly a lot easier. For those of us who don’t, take every chance you get, but like I said, figure out what you want as soon as you can, then go in hard for it.

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Go on at length on what it takes to write a hit song.

I couldn’t tell you about writing hits, I’ve never done it. It also isn’t my focus or my skill. I think to make a track that is universally appealing is an incredible skill, but I always seem to prefer artists and tracks that push boundaries, are honest to the creator, that blow my mind when you hear them, even if it’s not a hit. That’s the kind of music I aim to make.

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Tell us what you will buy if you want to build your own studio.

A good quality mic is essential and all the acoustic gear to make the quality as high as possible. But that isn’t my area. I’d say, unless you want to be an engineer, don’t build a studio, and find a good engineer who feels what you’re doing because their passion is making you sound good, like your passion is creating the music. Same as videos, artwork etc. Unless you really enjoy those elements, try to find someone who does and you can work as a team, collectively you can achieve more. Even if you do love all of it – creating, engineering, designing, promoting, find someone who loves it, is already doing it and learn from them.

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Go on at length on what it takes to gain the attention of the audience while playing live.

First and foremost, it’s talent, then a lot of practice. I think there’s a balance between preparation and spontaneity that the greatest performers find perfectly. Each performance should be individual and unique. I think stage presence comes from charisma, practice, interacting with the audience and not holding back. You can see, hear and feel when someone genuinely loves performing and is completely in the zone when performing, it can’t be faked.

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List your five favourite songwriters.

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh

Erykah Badu

Lauryn Hill

Big Punisher

M1 and stic.man from Dead Prez.

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List your five favourite music producers.

The Rza and Wu-Elements

DJ Premier

Havoc

Raphael Saadiq

Nujabes

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Describe in details how you feel when you hear your song on the radio.

It’s a beautiful thing. It’s a real sense of achievement and it’s dope to know someone feels your art enough to play it. I’m always very critical though, so I’m usually comparing it to the tracks around it to see how it fits in terms of quality. I think that’s normal for independent artists when you’re played among tracks that have been made in some of the world’s best studios or mastered by the best engineers.

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Describe your best mood to write a song.

In tune; when I’m properly in tune with a beat, or my inspiration, or a sample, or my thoughts or feelings, or what I want to achieve. I think the best tracks come when it’s not forced at all. You can get yourself into the zone sometimes and that works too, but when you just find yourself in it and are ready to channel the creativity, that’s when the best art’s produced.


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