It’s been a pretty long minute since a hip-hop artist (other than Malkovich Music back at #90) featured here on FatKidOnFire – the MakeItGood x FKOF series seems to have picked up speed again. But all is not lost…
Zimbabwean-born and Norwich-bred Kulez hit me up a month back with a few of his links and his pretty amazing bio (check it on his SoundCloud). I’ve been listening to hip-hop quite a lot in the passed few weeks (on a side note, check Logic’s ‘Young Sinatra: Undeniable‘ or The Four Owl’s ‘Nature’s Greatest Mystery‘ – I’m probably fairly late to the party with both of those but been slamming them both recently) and Kulez’ music definitely caught my ear.
Kulez and I got talking; bouncing a few emails back and forth and ended up with the following interview – along with the amazing FKOF free download he’s given away…
Who is Kulez? Kulez is a Shona slang term that originated from ‘Sekuru’, meaning grandfather (but can be directed at male family relations such as brothers, uncles, cousins etc). Similar to the English slang term ‘bro’ or ‘cuz’. Visiting family back home in Zimbabwe I would often get called it and it stuck with me so I decided to carry it on as my stage name.
You’ve got quite a history in battling around the world – can you tell us a bit about your background for those that don’t know? What you mean history? It’s still present… Yeah, laughing in people’s faces and insulting their mums completely improvised grew out of what I did in the playgrounds to becoming entertainment for fans all over the world (even in that little place that isn’t quite Russia). I am a huge supporter of the freestyle aspect and I feel it is an artform that is being overlooked in the battle scene today. “Nowadays a free style is a free track” – a lyric taken from my forthcoming release.
How important has the internet and social media been in enabling you share your music? I am a fan of the internet and social media when it comes to music and I do think it is important. But I think it should be used as an aid and not your main thing.
Myspace got me into social networking and I generated just under 80,000 plays on my songs, but before I even had a Myspace I had sold records. There are people with millions of plays on social networks but in reality have sold 2 copies of their record – I think there is a need for a balance.
It is quite easy to film a video with some music behind and slap it on YouTube; but that doesn’t make you a musician or director, it just means you are quite creative. With platforms like SoundCloud I have uploaded tracks on there from Norwich and by the next day I’ve had downloads in cities I didn’t even know existed – so it’s very good for worldwide promotion but in my opinion is making artists of this generation too lazy to guerrilla-market themselves internationally.
What got you into producing music and writing rhymes? There was a hip-hop night near where I lived that was over 16 entry and a pound a pint of red stripe ’till midnight. It was those moments that made me want to make music for drunken teenagers with rebellious motives.
What does or will make your music stand out and distinguish itself from the rest of the hip-hop being dropped at the moment? I have a strange accent and am not afraid to experiment or change roles when needed. I perform well under pressure; I mean I have had releases promoted, press sent out, generated hype, without the release even been made yet. Jump in the studio 40hours before its due date and still achieved results to keep listeners happy. It is nice to have people with such faith in me.
How does UK music compare to what’s being released/ supported in the U.S.? Can British hip-hop artists compete on an international stage? I think using the word compete is already burning bridges. We need to work more together, the UK has a strong music scene with a stronger history and collaborating more with the US would only be for the better.
What’s your take on the global hip-hop scene at the moment? Who do you rate as artists/ producers? I really rate Viro the Virus who passed away last month, but left a great legacy of 5 albums. R.I.P. It’s not just hip-hop I listen to, I mostly nod my head to Kwaito.
Where do you see you and your music being in a year’s time? In the CD changer of a convertible Austin FX4 (with Lamborghini doors) and Ozzy Osbourne in the driver’s seat.
Where can people expect to catch your music? Are there any upcoming releases we can look forward to? The website is quite good for that. I have a lot in the pipeline this year so keep your eyes out.
If you could say something to your fans, what would it be? Likewise to your haters? I gots nuttin but love for ya! x
Top 5 MCs at the moment – and why? I would rather broaden the question more and make it Top 5 Artists. Top MCs are quite hard to choose, it just depends my mood. In no running order:
- Tracy Chapman,
- Lucky Dube,
- Nas and
- Ringo Starr.
Any shoutouts? Anyone behind Kulez at the moment, from press people, to public relations, to the clothing brands and local heads generally spreading the word banging my sh!t out in their stereos! One Love!
Kulez’ definitely a homegrown talent worth checking out (or more importantly, worth supporting!) – but if you still need convincing after his interview check the FKOF free download Kulez is giving away.
As reviewed by latest FKOF contributor Korrupt, ‘Wrong Number’ is truly awesome:
“Short but nice intro, the melody of this fine hip-hop track is soothing. The combination of the panned vox and the repeated piano gives it a soft touch, but listening to the lines Kulez drops tells a different story. Listen carefully, some harsh targeted sentences”.
Click to DOWNLOAD
If you have any thoughts on what’s been said in the FKOF feature with Kulez, or want to recommend a new brand or artist you’ve discovered – or even just want a chat about something you’ve seen on FatKidOnFire, drop a comment below or get in touch via email, Twitter, Facebook or the FKOF TakesQuestions page.