Despite the dominance of grime in the West Midlands of England, hip hop has held a strong presence in cities like Birmingham and Wolverhampton, with crews like Wolftown Committee and Moorish Delta 7 repping the region. Over the past 10 years, there’s also been a good run of emcees repping Brum Town and surrounding areas. The unique accent combined with mic skills delivered by the likes of Sonny Jim and Trademark Blud provide a sound which is unmistakable! One of the latest emcees flying the flag for the Black Country is King Solo, a rapper whose passion and boom bap influences have a powerful impact on the listener. We recently spoke to the artist also known as Soloman Gehazi to discuss his dope new project, his thoughts on the West Mids hip hop scene and what he’s got forcoming for the rest of 2018!
Stream the EP ‘Wise Men Hear, Evil Men Despise’ here and read our interview with him while you bump it!
What was your main motivation for becoming a rapper and how did you take your first steps?
I grew up listening to hip hop and it was always something I loved way back in childhood. I would listen to Nas, 2pac, De la Soul and all the stuff in the 90s, and always felt rap was something I wanted to do. In my teens U used to freestyle with friends or in cyphers until I started writing, and eventually went studio and began recording. I had no support or promo at the time so it took over a year to get some live show bookings. I hooked up with D7 and Tricksta round about this time and things just took off from there.
I kept writing and performing at live shows, and earned myself some good opportunities. I have warmed up for Dead Prez, Ocean Wisdom, Bronze Nazareth, Klashnekoff and many more, and have a rep on the Midlands hip hop scene. I am always looking for opportunites to improve, and I’m grateful the opportunities I’ve been given.
The EP’s title is very thought provoking, whats the story behind that phrase?
The title has biblical connotations. Wise Men will always listen and absorb information. Evil men will always despise the righteous. So yea it’s kinda deep still.
The beats you use in the EP are an international effort with you working with producers from around the world. How long has the project been in the making and how did you choose the names you got involved on there?
This was the first time I did a project where I worked with different producers instead of doing projects with just one. I started work on this project April 2017, and it’s the first of three EPs. I didn’t intend this one to be solely produced by overseas producers but it just turned out that way.
How would you say your own style has developed since you began and what do you see for yourself in the future?
I think every year I am developing as an emcee, and still have improvements to make. As long as I’m progressing I’m happy. The future will be making more music and doing more shows hopefully I can get bigger shows in the future. Would love to play more festivals and large shows.
You feature a few rappers local to you on the EP (Synikal, D7 and Kapes). What do you think of the current scene in the West Midlands and how does it compare to the rest of the UK?
The West Midlands scene is getting stronger every year, and growing. The Midlands has been known as a mainly grime area but it’s good to see hip hop is still relevant here and growing
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?
More shows and more projects. You can expect a new album from Soloman and D7 produced by Micall Parknsun, and a new King Solo EP. Also I will be warming up for live shows from Jeru the Damaja, The Herbaliser and Eternal from Killa Beez. I usually average around 20+ shows a year all over the UK, so expect more of the same! There will also be about 4- 5 music videos out from these projects. Hard work pays off !