Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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Bashy & Skepta
Bashy & Skepta Bashy & Wretch Black Boys crew

What started out as a standalone single to mark the occasion of Black History Month has become one of the most prolific and far-reaching tracks in the history of the British hip hop scene.

Bashyâs âBlack Boysâ is now receiving at least two new remix treatments each week, featuring cameos from other high-profile MCs on the scene, and recently spawned an all-star video shoot. The single has resulted in a spirit of unity rarely seen on such a scale in the homegrown hip hop scene, and created the largest cast ever assembled on a âposse cutâ track.
Lyrically, âBlack Boysâ promotes positivity and optimism within the British black community generally, and within the music scene specifically. When originally conceived, it was intended as a solo track for just Bashy himself, an MC hitherto known primarily for his highly-energised grime output.
âI would say Iâve grown up and matured a lot this year so my outlook on things is different,â Bashy tells B&S. âI wanted to do something positive and aspirational, and something thatâs not been done before.â
Itâs standard practice for hip hop tunes to receive a remix treatment after a few weeks to retain their longevity. But the âBlack Boysâ concept caught the imagination of so many artists, that before long, two new treatments were being released via download links every week, each featuring cameos from other key players on the scene.
âInitially it was just supposed to be on the track,â Bashy explains. It was my managerâs idea to do a remix with some other MCs featured. So I started calling a few people. Before long, a whole load of other artists had got wind of what was going on from the lyrics at the beginning where I say âsend me your e-mail and Iâll send you the beat so you can breathe on itâ and were asking to be involved. Durrty Goodz was the first. It became a case of everyone recording their own version remotely then sending it in via the internet, just like in the lyrics. Once weâd got 16 artists on board, we realised we were creating a little piece of history.â
So far, over 20 artists have graced the Naughty Boy-produced beat with their own lyrical interpretations, including Akala, Ms. Dynamite, Ty, Sincere, Scorcher, Wretch 32, Narstie, Bigz, Chipmunk, Swiss, J2K, Mike GLC, Styla, Tinee Tempah and Jaja. The most surprising inclusion is Top Of The Pops and Radio One presenter Reggie Yates who, it turns out, is seeking to pursue an alternative career as a MC under the stage name of No Bizzi.
The video shoot for the single took place in Deptford, South East London on 1st December, and was notable for managing to entice almost all the guest MCs to turn up for an appearance. In addition, artists Skinnyman, Nolay and Skepta wrote their own verses especially for inclusion in the video. This is now receiving heavy rotation on MTVâs The Lick.
âThe videoâs had over a quarter of a million plays on Youtube,â adds Bashy. âThe pace of it all is incredible. Shocking. The song started out marking Black History Month, but itâs gone far beyond that now as a kind of anthem for showing black people in a positive light, and thatâs something Iâm very proud of.â
Thereâs a further chapter to come. A deluxe âBlack Boysâ DVD box set is scheduled for release on 11th February, consisting of the full length video, exclusive pics, behind the sceneâs footage, freestyles, all the remixes and much, much more!
Words (((B&S)))

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