After featuring as one of our Top 5 UK Rappers, we recently sat down with Scor-Zay-Zee, the man with the Midas touch who’s as underground as they come. We talked films, Nottingham, mental health, boxing and a whole lot more with the famed British lyricist.
Hi Scorz, for our American readers explain a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’ve been spitting since 1994. My name’s Scor-Zay-Zee because as kid I used to watch Goodfellas everyday on VHS. I started rapping at local jams in my area in Nottingham, then went onto open mic nights in London in the 90s, which then made a name for myself with my crew Out Da Ville. We then started getting played a lot on radio in London, like The Tim Westwood rap show, DJ 279 in Brixton. Then we dropped one of the best UK Hip Hop videos ever in 2000 that got us all over the world on MTV.
You might know me from being in Hip Hop Connection magazines and front cover CDs. I was voted into the Top 10 rappers of 2001 by the readers of HHC and I did a joint with Estelle before she blew up over there. I’ve dropped a few good releases on vinyl that are collector’s items now and I did a song called “Great Britain” that made the newspapers over here, it was controversial enough to get talked about in parliament, with the government trying to ban it. It basically predicted all this mad s*it that’s happening now.
You can catch my older stuff on YouTube, I just did an on beat battle with Don’t Flop legend O’Shea which went down pretty well.
I’ve also been in a couple films over here in the UK, one of them being Le Donk and Scor-Zay-Zee which features me in a supporting role with acclaimed actor Paddy Considine.
On my album I got verses from Tragedy Khadafi and Ali Vegas, two of my favourite emcees from the States. You might need to listen to my stuff twice because of my Nottingham accent, but trust me don’t let that fool you, Nottingham emcees have always been about the craft and the science of rap.
So if you want to hear something that’s in another accent, go check for it. For those who love Donald Trump, I’m a quarter Ukrainian, quarter Italian, half English and a white emcee and occasionally Muslim when I’m not being judged by the self righteous.
As a member of Out Da Ville, you achieved notoriety as one of the most talented rap groups within UK. Do you feel Hip Hop’s time in Britain was then and there and has had its time?
The history goes way before Out Da Ville. We were like a super group, like the Juice Crew. But you got Slick Rick, Monie Love, London Posse, Hijack, Blade, Mark B (rest his soul) so as Hip Hop developed you always had the British side doing their thing.
There’s so many emcees and rappers from the UK who don’t actually rap over Grime music which is the creation of the next generation of the 90’s babies. I can spit in my own accent but still in a style that goes over hip-hop.
I actually love Grime too and I’m proud that the next generation took that style and genre to the world. For me to just turn round and start spitting on Grime only (which I can quite easily and have done) just for the sake of new ears wouldn’t make sense to my origins. Hip Hop is still alive here man, go search out the amount of people still spitting over Hip Hop and you will see for yourself. The vinyl market has boomed, every town has numerous Hip Hop groups all in different accents and own styles.
Hailing from the relatively unknown city of Nottingham, what makes the city so unique and powerful to you?
It’s a small town but the people are street wise, coming from a small town sometimes people can end up playing themselves and thinking that where you’re from determines your intelligence or something.
We just had Pharaohe Monch here as well as Redman and Method Man, there’s always been a strong Hip Hop community since the breakdance days. Rakim’s been here, Kool G Rap, DJ Premier, we know Hip Hop inside out.
Nottingham emcees have always been nice off the top to, we used to freestyle all day in thirty man cyphers. If you’re in the States then I guess Robin Hood is the connection. We been ill since Robin Hood robbed Prince John!
Since going solo you’ve achieved phenomenal critical acclaim, for your tracks “Great Britain” and the wonderful LP “Aeon: Peace To The Puzzle” released last year. Was it the best decision you’ve ever made?
It was always natural to me to continue spitting and doing solo stuff, the other members are all still active in some sort of creativity. I always used to finish the shows with solo stuff for like 30 minutes on my own. I tried to do enough features on vinyl releases that stamped me in that bracket of being a solo emcee.
My album Aeon: Peace To The Puzzle is a 28 song double-LP. It was funded via Kickstarter, we hit double the target so I doubled the songs. I did my own mixtapes before and just uploads online but I never did a full studio album until this Kickstarter thing.
I think the reason people backed it so hard was because I’ve always been hard to pin down or find. I like to do music naturally so I’ve always just appeared and re appeared. I was very proud of the fact that we delivered it and people were happy with it. It has that warm 90s feel to it, it wouldn’t make sense throwing a trap beat on there or a grime beat, I stayed true to those few loyal supporters who like me for what I’ve always done.
Being an outspoken sufferer of mental health, do you feel more needs to be done in our society to give people like yourself a voice and a corner to turn to?
Yeah man, I took a few years out to recover after I was diagnosed with Schizophrenia, which is not just an illness that is related to crazy people doing mad stuff. People see that word and just think of people who hear voices but it’s way more complex and affects people in different ways.
I did a song called “Luv Me”, it told the story of my diagnosis. I actually had so many people in the same circumstance getting in touch with me and talking and getting help after they heard it, which was one of the realest moments of my musical history because the song actually did some good in reality. I was helping people through their days when they were feeling bad.
I do like talking to people who listen to my music because having a small following enables me to interact personally rather than some PR team sending out tweets and adverts. I think people who suffer from mental health need more support because it can affect you different on different days, so you can’t just stick them in a fast food joint and expect them to cope with stress.
The cuts over here in the NHS by these Tory maniacs are cutting people down into so much stress that people are killing themselves because of the lack of funding and help. But in truth they are millionaire kids who have been brought up by the elite Wall Street mentality, they don’t give a shit about people, they are simply cold reptiles hunting for rabbits.
You’re a huge boxing fanatic; tell me about your passion for it and some of the greatest fights and fighters you’ve witnessed?
I love boxing but I think hardcore fans would still consider me a casual fan. I used to think boxing was boring, my dad would sit up late with me and watch Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike Tyson fights.
The time I actually fell in love with it was when I used it to lose a 100 pounds in weight. I was boxing everyday and then I started actually going to fights, I recently watched Carl Frampton V Scott Quigg, which was bit disappointing. I’ve seen Amir Khan, David Haye and a few other fights live and one of my heroes is Carl Froch because he was from my neighborhood in Nottingham and I used to see him running like Rocky.
I watch most of the big fights, I’m looking forward to Khan v Canelo, I think it’s a brave fight for Khan to take on so we’ll see how that pans out.
I really love GGG (Gennady Gennadyevich Golovkin), I hope he gets some big fights, he is the best pound for pound boxer on the planet in my opinion.
I also love boxing podcasts too because I like to hear fans on what they really think. My favorite podcast is The Boxing Coalition, those guys always entertain me on my long walks with the dog.
Who has been the biggest single influence on your music and how you perform your art?
My mentor Trevor Rose who was like what Cus D’Amato was to Mike Tyson. I started rapping at a community studio and Trevor has built generations of artists. He looked after me like a second father, schooling me on Hip Hop but also in life. He’s still got the studio and has 50 kids a day passing through, going on to become talented artists in Nottingham. There needs to be more people like him.
What are your plans for the future and any special messages to The Source?
I’m about to drop a whole new concept on the world; my crew Gangsta Wraps a.k.a. The GM unit. We are a food brand taking out McDonalds, KFC, Burger King and all the nasty little players in that field. We just shot a video where we kidnap Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders. I got these young actors all spitting about food with food parodies to try and teach the youth how to grow their own food using education.
The whole concept is taking the influence of gangster raps from the 90s and then giving it a twist. It’s actually a real food brand too, the wraps are delivered from a T-shirt gun in a plastic tube via a big black truck. If the customer chooses the drive by experience then they have to wait until they get a text and come outside and get the wrap shot in their front door. We have so many different blends and sauces, the menu is looking really strong. Everything from the drinks to the ingredients is people friendly, no chemicals and natural bread.
My message to The Source is maaaaan, I NEVER THOUGHT I’D BE IN THE SOURCE! When I was 14, I had to get the shop owner to order it for me, he only ever used to get one single copy just for me and the first page I went straight to was the quotable page.
Thank you Jack and thank you to The Source for dropping some ill adverts of Master P cover art when I was young. To all the peeps in the States, I hope one day I can come out there and confuse you all with my Nottingham accent. Peace to you all.