All posts tagged new york

My New York adventure

Okay, because of I don’t like things to be messy I will attempt to sum up the entire 3 weeks. Please note, this will be difficult as I haven’t been keeping track myself what with all of the timezone changes and whatnot.

“The Chancers Inc” – Season One. The TV show I got picked for, will be shown on T4 on Channel 4 after Hollyoaks on a Sunday. Should be starting at the beginning of September.

It all began on a Monday, I think. Whatever day it was I caught the train up to London and dropped my single suitcase off at the hotel room. I found out that one of the girls that was in the final 6 (Dutchy) was also staying at the same hotel (ready for our 6am flight) so I gave her a call and we met up and went for cocktails and a smoke. She had a friend with her, and we spent most of the night speculating on what New York might entail. Both of the girls told me I should be a model and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the trip.

So yeah we crashed out at about 3, up at 5 and met by the camera crew at Heathrow at 6am. Filmed, at 6am! It wasn’t fun, but then we got upgraded to First Class and got to chill out in the VIP lounge at the airport with Serena Williams so I perked up a little. Slept through the entire flight, like a baby. When we arrive in NVC before we could even drop our shit off at the hotel/apartments we had to go to some super ultra cool whatever bar and meet Scoop and his team and Joe Buddens and rap in front of them and all that funny stuff. Then we went back to the hotel and got a reasonably early night, knowing we’d have to work hard the next day.

Ok so now I’ve totally lost track of what happened on which day so I’m just going to give little undated snippets of what I can remember. I’ll list the people just in case I make reference to them:

Camera/production/direction crew: Jade, Emily, Emma, Serena, John, Adam, Simon, Ben, Phil, Sonya, Jess.. and more I forget. “The Chancers Inc.” 6: Me! Dutchy (female singer), Tempa (female rapper), Angel J (female singer), Bronz (male rapper), Damn Trouble (producer/dj).

We were then taken to the AV8 studios on 9th Ave. (which was to be our home for the next 2 weeks) and we had to record a jingle for Scoop’s show on Hot ’97 FM. Easily the biggest hiphop/r’n’b/urban radio station in the world. We were split into 2 teams and to cut a long story short the team I was on made a better jingle and it got played on Hot ’97 the next night. And a good few times since, I believe. Whilst in and around the studio we bumped into/interviewed/met Wyclef of the Fugees, the Madd Rapper, Punch, Elephant Man, Mobb Deep and Steve Dent (Puffy’s brother-in-law, one of the best engineers in the game, and our engineer for the 3 weeks).

I was quite shy at the beginning, especially in the presence of celebrities so Scoop decided to whisk me off to Germany with him for a few days while he did some shows. I had a fucking blast. The first one was at a big hip-hop club in Frankfurt and they got me up on stage with them in front of about 2000 people and I kicked a verse at the end. At the airport just before that I met Tony Touch and he gave me a copy of his new album and I interviewed him and shit and it was great. He’s a cool motherfucker.

So yeah being on stage at the club was rather exciting, I got a decent response and I really enjoyed it. Totally wasn’t expecting it. Scoop’s brother Kendall was teasing me on the plane saying that Scoop would drag me up on stage but Scoop was adamant that I “wasn’t ready” so I didn’t sweat it. Glad I did it though. Got to chill out in the club after the set and enjoy the attention with the obligatory “By the way, I’m famous” towel wrapped over my shoulders.

Then the next day we went over to Stuttgart for the big MTV HipHopOpen festival and I went on stage in front of over 10,000 people (like, just after Xzibit!) and kicked another verse. The crowd response was fantastic and I loved every second of it. That time around I really wasn’t expecting to go on stage because unlike the previous night Scoop didn’t bring me on stage for his set, instead he just called me out afterward and introduced me. I was crapping myself but as soon as that mic was in my hand it was just autopilot, and I fucking rocked it! Had like 10,000 with their hands in the air, apparently. I was too busy rapping to notice.

Then I had to sign autographs and stuff and we went to the afterparty and it was all a bit surreal. That same night we had to fly back to Frankfurt and from there fly back to New York. So in Germany I got to stay in 2 beautiful 5 Star hotels but didn’t actually sleep in either, simply dropped my bags off. Such a waste. Oh yeah, we had some trouble at immigration and I almost didn’t get back into America but Scoop sorted it all out. At the MTV event I met the Yin-Yang Twins and they even showed me some love after I went up on stage, which was nice.

And oh, the day before I went to Germany we had a big photoshoot with a guy called Jamal who does The Roots’ covers, and the photos came out really, really well. I’m just emailing him now to see if he’ll send me them for personal use or whatever. He said he would.

So yeah I went straight from JFK airport in NYC to the studio and wrote/recorded verses for the singles we had been asked/told to make. I felt a little out of the loop having been gone for 4 days but everyone welcomed me back in really quickly and it was all lovely. After we’d done the singles we were told to make a mixtape and basically had 3 days to fill a CD with original music (bar the beats, of course). We did it. I loved every second of the mixtape because I got to showcase my individual talents and whatnot.

For the singles we were asked to make one track that would be suited to a party, and one that would be suited to a club. We succeeded, but in doing so I had to turn myself into a generic pop-rapper and talk about the same old bullshit, and I formed a little alter ego that the others in the group named “Phobe Kenobi”, and that alter ego of mine bought so much jewellery that his arms ached when he wore it all (it’s SO cheap out there). It’s all good though, I did it with style and I showed versatility, and a willingness to be moulded without losing my roots, because after that I jumped straight on the mixtape and recorded a song called “My Life”, which is like half-heavy metal, half-hiphop, and 100% me. The amount of credible sources that have told me that that song will (not could, or might. Will!) reach the Top 10 in the UK is ridiculous.

At some point in there I also designed the graphics which were to be painted onto a minivan that was going to be driven around NYC as promotion. I stayed awake for over 80 hours in order to get the design finished by the deadline and after that I said fuck all the design shit and left it to the person who was paid to do it. The reason I took over was because the graphics he did first of all were fucking pathetic, and at least with me having done the van graphics, all he had to do for the flyers, posters and mixtape cover was re-position things, so really I designed it all, yet he got paid for it. At least I got to make it look good. And boy, did it! When we went out in it people would huddle around the van and take photos and ask for autographs and all that crazy shit. It was fun. Even giving out flyers on Times Square turned fun when my boy Bronz (the guy I was sharing an apartment with) battled a local emcee, and fucking ripped him.

Somewhere in all that there was a bit off hoo-hah and Bronz and I nearly fell out because I misunderstood something he was saying to me. He was telling me to just be myself but I thought he was saying I was fake, or something, but the only reason it got near a fall-out was because the camera crew were stirring to try and get some excitement, luckily Bronz is a very mature chap and we sorted it out off camera very swiftly.

Off yeah and we were VIP’d/backstage passed at a load of gigs and stuff, but we were so busy we couldn’t go to many of them. The ones I did go to I went and saw/met M.O.P, Talib Kweli, Kanye West, Slick Rick and Common, and it was fucking great. I got so used to being VIP’d that I started turning down nights out if I wasn’t VIP’d, haha. We were VIP’d and backstage passed at a D12 gig on Thursday and I was going to interview them and everything, but we were too busy. That kinda pissed me off.

As I went to Germany, Scoop gave the others a few treats to make up for it, between them they got to meet Ashanti, Irv Gotti, G-Unit, Ms. Dynamite, DR Period, Dame Dash and Mark Ronson. The camera crew were even luckier and got to meet a fuckload more people that didn’t want to meet us (The Chancers Inc.) like Nas, DJ Premier and Beastie Boys, to name a few. I managed to convinced on of the crew to get my some Beastie Boys’ autographs though and they came back with the autographs on a piece of the original fucking artwork for thier new album! I’m beyond chuffed and it’s so getting framed.

Err yeah that’s about most of it I think. Our singles got played on Hot ’97 and are being stocked as white labels in Beat Streat, Music Factory, and Rock & Soul, because we took the copperplates down there and played them to them and got some really fucking good (honest!) reactions. The last couple of days was spent promoting our gig which was on Friday and getting our tracks on the radio and other mixtapes and getting interviews and all that promotion stuff. The gig went rather well and despite what we were told would happen, we managed to rock the fucking crowd, and everybody knows that underground NYC crowds are the hardest to rock. Someone from Bad Boy Ent. came in to ask us to turn down the music (their studio is right above the club we performed at) but ended up staying and asking us to work with him the next day, but unfortunately we had to fly home that day, and apparently he was quite a famous dude.

So yeah we flew home last night and it really did suck to leave the other 5 at the airport. It sucked to leave NY period. We hadn’t formed friendships in that 3 weeks we were more like a family, but the cloud does have a silver lining because it’s almost a definate that they’re going to make a Season 2 of the programme and fly us back out there to make a proper album and release the singles and whatever if we all agree, and it looks like it may be a very tasty record deal indeed. If not we’ve all agreed to meet up and shit anyway.

Throughout this trip I lost count of the amount of times I was told I’m going to be “the next big thing”, or “the new Eminem, and not by character by popularity and record sales” and shit like that by very credible unbiased sources. Scoop himself said it. It’s hard to keep my ego sensible, but who says it needs to be when I’m looking at both a tasty collaborative record deal, and a VERY tasty solo record deal. We’re meeting up in the next week or two to talk business. I can’t wait, cause after one afternoon of super hardcore NY shopping, I’m broke again. Doesn’t matter, I got a ridiculous amount of free clothes on top and I even got a spanking new stereo aswell, just need a US to UK converter ting and I’m laughing.

Right, now I’m off to bed, and if you think that was a long read, try bloody typing it!

So I’m going to be on TV

Quite out of the blue I heard about a competition being run by Channel 4 and decided to send off a demo CD of mine. Somehow I managed to make it through all of the auditions and into the final 6, and now they will be flying us to New York City to film a documentary about us trying to make it in the tough NYC music industry.

I keep pinching myself to be honest and I’m ridiculously nervous, but opportunities like this don’t come around very often and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.