Break to the beat recently had the honer of catching up with and interviewing one of Hip Hop in the UKs godfathers Overlord X. Overlord X along with the X Possee put their home borough of Hackney, London and the entire UK on the hip hop map back in the late 80 and early 90s giving us 3 outstanding LPs that were not only an inspiration but for many an introduction to British rap music. Overlord X’s contributions to the UK music scene over the years have been nothing short of outstanding and has provided us with both thought provoking intellectual lessons in life as well as timeless hip hop classics. Any readers not familiar with Overlord X & The X Possee’s work should check the Overlord X Discography & Review article posted a few months ago on break to the beat.
Taking things right back to the beginning before you started rapping and producing records please tell the readers how and when you discovered hip hop music?
I really started to get into hip hop music from Africa Bambaataa and the soul Sonic force, back then hip hop was in the style of Electro and they were the ones that grabbed my attention to start even thinking of making music. At that time I was a young break dancer and DJ producer just being a big fan and follower of the movement. I was looking for a rapper to spit over my beats but there were very few Mc’s around so I picked up the mic and started creating rough demos at home. Continue reading →
The Late 80s was a very interesting time for hip hop music both in the US and over here in the UK. I remember as a kid getting in to the hip hop culture by watching the film Break dance as well as hearing the Fat Boys, The Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. At the time I would have been about 8 or 9 years old. However when I really fell in love with hip hop was a few years later in 88 or 89 when I first heard artists like Big Daddy Kane, Public Enemy and De La Soul. Along with the US rap superstars there were a handful of UK rappers that at the time had the same impact on me as a fan of the music. One of these UK hip hop pioneers was Overlord X. What I respect most about Overlord X is his consistency in making quality hip hop tracks, plus on every 12″ single he released there was at least one different track that did not appear on any of his albums. In 2012 this may not seem like a big issue but back in the late 80s and early 90s music (especially hip hop) was not as accessible as it is now. Even in 1990 hip hop records used to get filed in the dance or jazz section of a record shop.
My point is that on every Overlord X 12″ or single there would be a unique track making the singles as much of a worthwhile purchase as the albums. Overlord X along with his DJ Sir-Preme-Tee were one of the few early hip hop crews from the UK to make hip hop their own in terms of not rapping in an American accent. Overlord X‘svocal style and music are somewhat unique to him while alongside his DJ Sir-Preme-Tee paved the way for a lot of UK hip hop DJ’s (on Wax especially) with tight and super funky scratches and cuts. Overlord X also had a crew of rappers, DJs & Performers called the X Possee who were from the East London borough of Hackney. I have decided to take a look back at the recording career of Overlord X to give some well deserved props and recognition to one of the UK’s classic hip hop Pioneers.
Here is a chance to see a video of an unreleased Demon Boyz track when they were still recoding with DJ Devastate and the Twilight Firm. Original Demon Boyz vinyl changes hands for big money amongst ragga hip hop collectors, but this is unavailable on record or CD. The track is called “No hocus pocus” and would appear to be the original version of the track entitled “Hocus pocus” that appears on the Demon Boyz second LP “Original Guidance” that was released in 1992 when DJ Devastate had left the group and they were working with the Rebel MC, DJ Pogo and Cutmaster Swift. This video was made by two film students in the summer of 1990 who were fans of the Demon Boyz. There was no record company involvement or budget for the video and it was filmed in and around Tottenham and Camden Town in London England. If like me you were a fan of the Demon Boyz “Recognition” LP then this video is definitely worth checking out. DJ Devastate‘s scratching is as on point as ever, as are Mike J and Demon D‘s lyrics and delivery.
For those people reading that are not familiar with the Demon Boyz. Their career started when they were in there early teens and won a rapping competition on Dave Pearce’s Radio show by rapping down the phone live on air. Demon Boyz (Mike J and Demon D) went on to support Derek B, Faze One, and T-La Rock at Camden Palace and shortly after recorded their debut track “This is a jam” which was released on the Music Of Life compilation “Hard as hell vol 1” Also on the same compilation were early tracks by MC Duke and Overlord X. To my knowledge all the tracks on the LP were produced by Simon Harris. The Demon Boyz track also features Derek B on the cuts. Continue reading →