Get to know the MCs on East Man’s Prole Art Threat

Anthoney Hart launched the East Man moniker as a way of exploring Grime experimentations and the wider political narrative around the sound. Releasing his highly regarded debut album ‘Red White & Zero’ in 2018 on the esteemed Planet Mu label, East Man returns with his second LP ‘Prole Art Threat’. This project is made up of Caribbean and African influences, sound system culture, pirate radio and the rhythms of Grime, Drum & Bass, Techno, and Dancehall. Showcasing the importance of the mic, ‘Prole Art Threat’ is centred around different voices from London and Brazil. Selecting some of the most exciting MCs in the scene right now, the album features East London’s Darkos, Eklipse, NyNy and Mic Ty, West London’s Lyrical Strally and South London’s Whack Eye and Streema as well as Fernando Kep, an MC from the bubbling Brazil Grime scene. These lyricists bring their own stories and experiences to the album, documenting what it means to live in their city, with life under the scrutiny of the Feds, the double standards between the sexes, and their personal frustrations towards the scene.

Speaking about the collaborations, East Man says, “the MCs on this album are, to my mind, some of the best contemporary MCs around today, all of whom are unafraid to vocal virtually anything I throw at them, regardless of style or tempo. Compared to some of their more well known musical forebears these MCs are the ones who are really carrying the torch and moving Grime forward. None of them are content to stay still and stick to one style or pattern, and this is why I enjoy working with them all so much.”

 

Mic Ty

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

Yooo, I’m Mic Ty/Tyson. Reside in Stratford Newham, growing up my dad was a serious drum and bass head, with my cousin around me too when Grime was first about, we’d mess about and have 16s there, write our own bars and stuff, so I’ve always had a connection with music from young.

 

What does music allow you to do?

Music allows me to speak my mind – especially now in terms of where we are in the world in social media. I always think music is the best way to let things out, not in written form but actually expressed through art.

 

What is your connection to the album?

Straight raw east London energy. As soon as I heard the riddims and the plans and direction of the album I associated it with that rawness you associate with grime.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics?

So my song is called – everybody knows. I based that on grime sets/raves/roads, where I’ve built up a name to a point where everybody knows it & what it’s capable

 

Who inspires you?

My people around me always inspire me, also my environment and things I see/go through whether positive or negative inspires me. Also, music, whether old or new.

 

What is your dream? 

My dream. To be a global name off what I do, not short-handing my self.

 


Fernando Kep 

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

My name is Fernando Ramos, Kep was added because I was doing Graffiti and on the streets, I only signed with that tag. I started rhyming in 2011 on the freestyle wheels in the interior of Rio de Janeiro and I improved more each year. I participated in several rhyme battles and was champion of one of the most important in Brazil in 2012. Since then I started working on my music and have released several singles and participations, the CD “Sinestesia (2014)” with my old Group of Rap (collective Barefoot Feet), the solo EP “Chama Raul (2018)” and lastly “Mixtape VADE MECUM (2020)” cited as one of the best albums of the year by the media specialized in the following and by some critics.

 

What does music allow you to do?

The music allowed me to be more sensitive to feelings and emotions. It made me rethink about my existence, my role within the world and the way I relate to society. Through music, I met the people who are now my best companions, and I could believe that I am capable of doing something that would change lives or worldviews. Art is not limited and music proves that everything is possible and infinite when creating a unique and particular story.

 

What is your connection to the album?

East Man met me on the exponent YouTube program “Brasil Grime Show” that had me, Antconstatino and Erickão, both from Rio de Janeiro. My connection with the album came from the invitation to participate, I researched more about East Man and became a fan of his work and his ideology. The threat of the art of the proletariat is sustained as a threat from the moment that artists express their realities and the bourgeoisie is threatened if there is any revolt on the part of the workers. “Ouroboros” is the personification of cycling everything that goes back and that can be disturbing from the point of view of the “threatened”.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics?

My worldviews about my experiences first. I like to always do self-criticism when talking about me and my defects I can learn more from them and share with people the feeling that everyone is wrong and we are susceptible to the nuances of life. I usually write about things that touch me, and that can vary according to the government crisis, a relationship and even a momentary moodiness.

 

Who inspires you?

Life mostly. I listen to Rap since I was little, I have always been filled with revolutionary ideas from different groups and national artists, such as: Racionais Mcs, SNJ, RZO, Don L, Emicida, Mc Marechal among others. Among the internationals, I am inspired by Wu-tang-clan, Notorious BIG, Skepta, D Double among many other new musicians within the Rap, Grime and Drill segment.

 

What is your dream? 

My dream is to give autonomy to people like us, dreaming and struggling. It is possible to make real art without encouraging consumerism and violence among our peers. We need to focus on what will save us and keep us alive. In general, my dream is to make everyone’s dreams come true, especially my friends and my son to come.

 


Lyrical Strally

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

I am Lyrical Strally of West London, I originally got into music through my cousins who listened to a bit of grime then that became the only genre I was listening to! Then wanting to be like the MC’s I was listening to I started writing bars in secondary school and never looked back.

 

What does music allow you to do?

Music has allowed me to travel to various parts of the world and meet new people but most importantly given me an outlet to express my feelings and emotions

 

What is your connection to the album? 

Prole Art Threat connects with me as it comes across as very “anti-establishment” esque album. My track Ten Ton Riddim is very anti-establishment and so am I so everything came together nicely.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics? 

Ten Ton Riddim is based around people taking shots at me and my mates and us not having any of it and giving it back and having each other’s back.

 

Who inspires you? 

I am always inspired by the people around me and what they are doing because their dreams usually coincide with mine and we call on each other when we need help/or make music. Outside inspirations I would say people like Anthony Martial because people doubted him till he worked hard and persevered through it to prove them wrong. He always had the talent but needed to work harder.

 

What is your dream? 

My Dream is one day being able to use my success to help others being successful in their dreams. And to be able to express myself freely while earning a living through my music. If people can learn something or have their view changed by my music that would also be great.

 


Ny Ny

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

Hi, I’m NyNy aka YnYn, I’m a rapper/singer from East London. I’ve been singing and rapping from when I was little as I have a real musical family, there wasn’t a day music didn’t play in my home. I used to go to youth club and MC, these were times Grime first come out and jump on the mic at home but I never really took rapping seriously I just knew how to do it and always caught a vibe. I used to sing way more than I rapped but confidence always got in the way of my singing. I started rapping more seriously in 2006 when I joined my collective CLAP4ME.

CLAP4ME stands for Constant Love And Passion 4 Music Entertainment, consisting of rapper D.Tail, rapper/singer/producer Raggz, and myself. We released our first video in 2011 called ‘Mind Control’ from our mixtape ‘Shower Caps’ which we released in 2010 and I had my first solo release in 2018 with my EP called ‘Nyself’.

 

What does music allow you to do?

Music allows me to express, release and vibe whilst staying 100 percent myself and allows me to show the world that its cool to be yourself and not have to be like other artists in the scene.

 

What is your connection to the album?

East Man has a real dope unique sound, I love the uniqueness and I’m all about being unique so when I made the song ‘Who Am I’ I knew instantly that I had to approach this riddim differently and just give it a unique energy.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics?

Whenever I write, my lyrics reflect me. ‘Who Am I’ expresses exactly that. It states who I am, what I’m about, who my team is (CLAP4ME & Female Allstars), and that I stay true to me, walk my own path and it doesn’t phase me who likes it or not.

 

Who inspires you?

My parents, my dad was the one who taught me my first ever lyrics. My children, they push me to be better and do better and never lose sight of my vision. My siblings as we were always vining together and singing/rapping together, but my brother Mastahh Marvz in particular as my brother was my partner in rhyme from when we were little. He also joined CLAP4ME later down the line. My team CLAP4ME as I grew with them in music and they pushed me to level up. Then there are my favourite artists Lauryn Hill, Andre 3000, MF Doom, who have been a big influence on my music. I could go on Vybz Kartel, Michael Jackson, The Mighty Diamonds, Missy Elliott plus a few more.

 

What is your dream?

My dream is to spread my music across the world, for people hearing my music to feel good and be able to vibe with my music and in turn spread positivity and give people the confidence to be themselves and embrace themselves.

 

 

 


Whack Eye

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

Music is just one of those things that’s always stuck with me since I was able to walk – I used to steal my sister’s CD player and listen to all her early 2000s hip hop and RnB tapes. I became more hands-on with music when I started DJing in school at 12. It wasn’t until Novelist sat me and the mandem down one day and explained some of the game to us that I decided to actually take it somewhat seriously at age 16.

 

What does music allow you to do?

I’m not a big talker in person so music pretty much lets me get my points across to people without even having to meet them. Making music is very similar to gardening; starts out as a hobby for some kind of relief or escape and ends up being the one thing you see yourself living off of – it goes beyond just feeding yourself. The perks of notoriety are pretty cool too.

 

What is your connection to the album?

If anything I’m mostly connected to the other MCs involved with this album; we’re all similar in background and I wouldn’t surprised if some of our aspirations are the same too. It’s also my first bit of work with East Man and hopefully not the last, it’s probably my most professional collaboration to date and really set the standard as to how I should approach my collaborative project in the future.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics?

It’s basically just me being a cheeky clown. My flows are usually unorthodox in cadence and I often get asked: “wow, Wakz, how?”. When East Man first gave me a shout I’d picked a beat that I ended up getting beaten to, but still had no idea how I’d approach his style when I chose another one. I guess Wow How? is the end result.

 

Who inspires you?

In music, pretty much anyone black. In life, also pretty much anyone black. Can’t go wrong.

 

What is your dream?

To be honest it’s not too far from how I’m living now – health, wealth, friends and family has always been the focus. The dream is really to just remove the constraints that money (or lack thereof) brings me and my people.


Eklipse 

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

I’m Eklipse, a lyricist from Newham, East London. I’ve been rapping since I was 14. My Mum’s a renowned writer and poet. When I was young I used to get in trouble at school and was terrible at English, so my mum used poetry to help keep me out of trouble and harness my knowledge. I then jumped into rapping when I was in year 9 and have never looked back.

 

What does music allow you to do?

It allows me to express myself without feeling restricted. As a yout, I always used to get in trouble for just doing me. Be at school or outdoors, and that caused so many internal frustrations. Even doing poetry, at the time I was doing it and performing, there weren’t any young black boys doing that so I felt like I was ticking a box. Music allows me to express myself fully. Regardless of how angry, sad, thoughtful or happy I feel, I can always channel it through music. I’m forever grateful for that.

 

What is your connection to the album?

East Man is a guy I’ve always got time for. He is constantly reaching out to people in the scene without any ego or gimmicks attached to it. He’s just doing him and I relate to that. And having been on the last album, I was more than happy to be on this one.

 

Photo credit: Irene Arraez

What’s the story behind your lyrics?

The riddim is dark, and some people see that as my speciality haha. So I guess I just tried to embody some of the rage I feel toward the ego in the scene by turning it into a “crime scene”. I always let the beat guide me and I try to follow.

 

Who inspires you?

Not many haha just the people I’m blessed enough to be around. MicTy and Darkos are both on the album too and they push me to keep the levels up as fellow Newham residents. My brudda Dubz D and Jammz are also 2 people in the Grime scene that make me push to do better.

 

What is your dream?

To be the coldest and continuously improve, whilst being able to live off of my creativity. I’m a simple guy haha.

 


Darkos Stifre 

Introduce yourself – who are you and how did you get into music?

I go by the name of Darkos Strife and I got into making music listening to Deja Vu and pretty much listening to all the crews on there.

 

What does music allow you to do?

Music allows me to express myself with ideas and broadcast them to the world.

 

What is your connection to the album? 

My connection to Prole Art Threat is being a part of what could be perceived as a “threat” to the establishment.

 

What’s the story behind your lyrics? 

The story behind the lyrics in “Look & Listen – Part 2” is me wanting people to understand what I experience in my everyday life.

 

Who inspires you? 

There are so many people who inspire me so I will just say “everyone”.

 

What is your dream? 

My dream is continuous improvement. I always want to become a better version of myself.

 

‘Prole Art Threat’ by East Man is out now via Planet Mu – buy here.

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