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Q & A with Foreign Beggars
Rap, grime and dubstep group Foreign Beggars pop in to live chat to answer your questions on their inspiration, what they got in their GCSEs and how they keep fresh on stage.
Metropolis FB: Hi guys
Vulgatron FB: Hi
norah: So what is it you guys do?
Metropolis FB: Hi norah, wwazzzurp! Well we're basically a hip hop outfit based in the UK. We started out making straight hip hop music but we're now working with a lot of dubstep, grime and drum and bass producers.
Jrdnwlms: Best tracks of 2011 so far?
Metropolis FB: My best tracks of 2011 so far are ... I'm thinking, ok...
Vulgatron FB: Lady Luck and Jamie Woon for me.
Metropolis FB: I'm listening to a lot of beats from Los Angeles at the moment. There's a guy called Ras G who's put out an EP.
Jrdnwlms: Oh yeah, I've heard of him, I'll check it out.
Vulgatron FB: There's a tune by P-money called Slang like this and maybe Flux Pavilion Bass Cannon.
llb: Do you guys want mainstream success?
Metropolis FB: I'd love to have mainstream success with underground music like the Prodigy did back in the day and then still rep in the charts with hardcore music. But mainstream success isn't essential to me. As long as I can make music I love and be recognised for it and be able to feed my family, I'm good.
Vulgatron FB: I think music is coming back round, whereby mainstream doesn't have to be so over-formulaic and we can actually put our own stamp and style on the music. I wouldn't want to necessarily do a Black Eyed Peas thing but still would like to take Foreign Beggars to stadium level without having to use auto tune!
reelfire: Contact came pretty close, huge hit!
Metropolis FB: No radio play for Contact though. A lot of the guys you hear in the top ten nowadays still make underground music. They dip in and out like that. I'm enjoying the new challenges modern music has presented me as a writer - challenging my versatility and developing my art on a different level.
kL30r: What about your next project?
Jesse: Yeah, isn't there a new one with Noisia on the way?
Vulgatron FB: There's two projects we've got in the pipeline. We're doing an album with Noisia, a second EP project on Never Say Die records and we're doing an EP with Kid Knieval.
kL30r: That sounds sick.
Jrg: What's your fave collaboration on the next EP?
Vulgatron FB: Eeerrrr, for me, I would have to say Lazer Sword and the Skrillex, and the Alix Perez.
Metropolis FB: Fav collab for me is the joint with Lazer Sword, What's good. Also the one with Alix Perez which is a banger and I know you lot will love that.
Jrdnwlms: What's the most fun you've had shooting a video?
Vulgatron FB: Wow, there was one video that hasn't even come out yet, and it's never going to come out! We filled out a hot tub/paddling pool and we put it on a building in Marylebone and had a 360 degree view of London. We had all these blow up dolls with us and I had this wig on. It started to rain but we carried on filming in the rain and there was lightening hitting the building.
reelfire: I want to see that vid!
magic cats: Are you voting yes or no in the AV referendum in May?
Metropolis FB: I'm definitely voting yes. In my opinion first past the post is flawed, too many wasted votes.
magic cats: What did you get for your GCSEs?
Metropolis FB: GCSEs? I got two As, four Bs, three Cs and a D for Geography. A for English... get me!
Vulgatron FB: I got two As, five Bs and three Cs.
Metropolis FB: Damn, beat me, shucks.
llb: What's your view on mainstream hip hop like Lil Wayne, 50 cent. Massive lack of lyrical content?
Metropolis FB: Good question. Yes, there's a lack of lyrical content in the mainstream, but a lot of these guys have come up and worked hard over the years and deserve to get their dues.
Vulgatron FB: Personally I think there's a lot of rap music that isn't hip hop any more but I feel a lot of the artists that are up there have paid their dues over the years. Although a lot of the mainstream is bad in my opinion, the actual skills of the MC's, their work ethic and production quality are world class.
Metropolis FB: Yeah, that said, there are still a lot of guys with great lyrics in the music game such as Common, Outkast and Talib Kweli, plus a plethora of underground guys doing it for you to salivate on (not literally).
Vulgatron FB: Mainstream hip hop is always very underground, even though Lil Wayne does a lot of cheesy stuff, I'm glad hes up there, I'm glad people say Justin Beiber and Lil Wayne in the same breath.
Metropolis FB: The only time I ever listened to any mainstream music was when I was around 12. I don't even really know what's in the charts now - everything I need is online, or in record stores. So as far as I'm concerned they can do their thing, but there is still good music out there.
Rileysends: Too much rapping about money, cash and hos, not enough reality!
"Yes, there's a lack of lyrical content in the mainstream, but a lot of these guys have come up and worked hard over the years and deserve to get their dues."
llb: Same, I just worry the music is coming from industry suits, telling them how to act and what to spit. Hip hop has always been, and will always stay, about the truth, not putting up front and talking about being loaded.
Metropolis FB: That's true, but there's enough great artists not talking about that for you to focus on.
Vulgatron FB: Good hip hop is coming back to the mainstream now, if you take Cool Kids for example, or the fact that Gigs is a mainstream rapper, for me that's cool.
reelfire: Anyone in the world, who would you collaborate with?
Vulgatron FB: I'd like to do a tune with Meshuggah.
llb: Will you ever make a pure hip hop EP again with no dub step or drum and bass?(Not that I don't like the mix of production.)
Metropolis FB: We're definitely not done working in the hip hop genre. I'd love to make some more good hip hop but I will never make an album that sounds like what we did in the past.
Vulgatron FB: Yeah maybe, we've got some more hip hop joints coming up. Really we just do whatever we feel like. We've got a lot of dubstep at the mo but definitely want to put some more hip hop out. There's a bunch of international collabs we're doing.
Metropolis FB: We're all about evolution and pushing boundaries of what we do as rappers.
llb: A part of me just died, I get where you're coming from though, lol.
Rileysends: To be honest it's all about doing what you want to do not what anyone else tells you, that's why I respect groups like you guys so much, there's more to the music.
reelfire: What's your process for videos, do directors come to you with treatments and whatnot and whatever sounds awesome you go for it?
Vulgatron FB: We're up for people proposing stuff to us but generally we have to wait until we get enough budget for a video and then it just comes together sort of organically. We've been really lucky with the last five, we've just been in touch with some wicked people.
Metropolis FB: So far people have heard the track and had a dope treatment to work with. For the Contact video we came up with a really brilliant idea in collab with the director but we didn't have enough days to shoot so the idea didn't translate so well. Still smashes it though!
kL30r: If your influences are punk and metal as you say in a video I've seen, why don't you record something heavy like that?
Vulgatron FB: I guess because it's something I did for a long time. I'm a rapper, I have done some metal vocals on a track called The Fray and I used to play bass in a metal band. It's a fine line with rap metal but I want to do some metal grime soon.
Metropolis FB: A lot of you have been asking when and where were playing next so rather than answer those all individually we thought we'd post a link you can check for updates. For all gigs and information please go to www.foreignbeggars.com or www.myspace.com/foreignbeggars - then come straight back to TheSite.org!
Vulgatron FB: They're all on our Facebook page as well! We're working on a show in London for the summer, we can't say anything just yet but there are a bunch of shows in the pipeline.
freezy: I've got quite a strange question, how do you manage to keep it fresh at every gig without being bored or tired of the show?
Metropolis FB: Good question freezy.
Vulgatron FB: Cos we ruule! No, it's hard and there's a lot of freestyle element. The parameters of the crowd are different every time so we adapt the set to work with the people who are there - so everything like your intonation and body language changes to work with everyone there.
Metropolis FB: We keep it quite loose to a certain point. The show has a certain structure, but we always reintroduce new elements to keep it fresh. The show is also dictated by the music we just made, so that's how it develops.
Vulgatron FB: Things change every twenty seconds, like doing a new verse or new track or new drop.
Metropolis FB: Also the varying quantities of alcohol imbibed before the set have some minor influence!
llb: FB I am out, has been amazing to talk to you guys, truly hip hop heroes!
Metropolis FB: Thanks llb, amazing talking to you too. We wanna do this more often, maybe do some debates and things.
cMunky24: I am from the states, but I've become a huge fan of UK hip hop and FB is one of the best, period. I feel that US rap is really falling off and will continue to get worse, do you think UK hip hop will step up and start to take over the charts eventually?
Metropolis FB: I do feel you on the US scene, it has become stagnant. The problem is that if the UK did come and take over the stateside charts I think the same thing would happen.
Vulgatron FB: Finally UK rappers are getting recognition in the states which is nice and I think British MCs are lucky because they have loads of genres of music that are rap-related like grime, hip hop and drum n bass - they have a wider pool of influence. But I don't think its fair to say any nation's rappers are better than another really.
Metropolis FB: There are already signs of this happening with Dizzee and Tinchy, but I don't know how that's really representative of the real UK underground as it is.
Jo7: Ok guys, were going to have to wrap up now.
Nag: I will personally start up the dance floor at All Out Dubstep Stockholm! You boys make my mornings!
Jrg: Thanks for your answers guys, stoked for the EP and album with Noisia, hope to see you again soon!
thehiphopstomp: Good luck with everything! Have an absolute stormer.
Metropolis FB: Thank you guys go much!
reelfire: Keep it up FB!
Vulgatron FB: Thanks loads!
cMunky24: Keep shining FB!