UK rapper Lethal B chats music, east London, and what is and isn’t “dench”.
Though better known for his collaborations with the likes of Wiley and Donae’o, the grime emcee has been around since the early days of the scene, finding chart success with Oi! as one third of the More Fire Crew trio.
In 2004 he formed Lethal Bizzle Records imprint, releasing the comeback single Pow! (Forward) otherwise known as Forward Riddim at the end of the year. Produced by Dexplicit, Pow! entered the UK charts at no. 11, earning him a MOBO for Best Single and a nomination for Best Newcomer. Though massively popular, it ended up banned by many major radio outlets and clubs for causing general mayhem and fist fights. ...We decided the interview would go better without music.
There are so many artists you started off with who no longer make music, yet you seem to get stronger. What's kept you going for so long?
Starting my career with a song like [More Fire Crew's] Oi! gave me a platform to meet big stars like Cliff Richards and others on Top of the Pops. Having these connections to carry on, having top ten records, and seeing the way people respond to my music has always made me keep the passion.
Whenever I'm in a club and your songs get played – especially Pow! – people start dancing madly. How do you feel knowing your music gets this reaction?
I think that’s why I do music – to make people respond, and create moments like that.
You’re known for your catch phrases; how's it feel when people use them?
East London is known for making up words. "Wasteman" was made up by this little guy from my ends. MC Ryder made a track from it, and now everyone’s using it. It’s a good marketing ting.
Got any favourites?
"Swayze"; that’s [footballer] Emmanuelle Frimpong’s boy, [Alexis] Sanchez, from Arsenal. There’s another from one of my boys called Cedric; he says, "I’m having a Cedi." Not too sure about that one. Then there's "DTF" – don’t force it. My favourite is "Swayze" still.
You didn't say "dench". Gutted. I wanted to find out what's dench and what's not. Let's play a game; I'll say a word, you say "dench" if you agree "leave it" if you don’t. Margaret Thatcher?
loooool Leave it!