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Hello, as most of my readers know I decided that I would like to play my part in music and help promote upcoming hiphop artists with unique, hard working and star struck talent! I sent out a forum, messages and posts about doing an interview with artists/groups from the North and from the South. Unfortunately I did not get any nominations so I decided to scout the talent myself! I found Leddie and Smoggy, who are an underground hiphop duo from Middlesbrough!

They have both performed all over the UK at venues and festivals, and even supported big artists like Lowkey! They both write music about their opinions, ideas, views and experiences. They do their best to show everybody that hiphop is not about ‘diamonds’ and ‘gangstas’ but infact is a culture, a voice for the voiceless and is a way for many to express themselves freely!

They have released a mixtape called ‘Calm Before The Storm’ which is available at a link at the bottom of this page, they also have an album which is due to be released. Leddie and Smoggy are not the usual hiphop artists that you see rapping about how they are rich, Leddie and Smoggy do not sell their talent and dignity for a life of fame and wealth…Leddie and Smoggy are one of the remaining many that use hiphop how it should be used!

This interview took place on the 18th September, 2010. Please leave comments, subscribe and email me at tomtalksthetruth@hotmail.co.uk for any more information…

1. Before you both came together, you both made your own individual tracks. How did you both discover, in your seperate lives, that you had a passion for this type of music?

We were in a 6 piece Hip Hop group together before we became a duo, and as well as working together as a group, we wrote our own individual tracks. After the group split because of many reasons, Myself (Leddie) and Smoggy were left and decided after a lot of idea development, conversations about possibilities and arising opportunities, to work together.

2. How did Leddie and Smoggy meet and come together as one?

Like i said previously, we were in a 6 piece Hip Hop group before we decided to become a duo. A few members left because of lifestyle choices etc, Then with 3/4 of us left within the group, we found that there was 1 member we didnt really feel the need to be associated with anymore because of the hurricane of negativity surrounding them, and so finally became “Leddie and Smoggy”.

3. I understand you are both in a movement called ‘The People’s Army’ along with other artists such as Lowkey and Logic. What is the movement actually about and what point or objective do they want to achieve using their music?

Yeah, The Peoples Army, is a worldwide movement (Of artists, producers, video directors, photographers, web designers etc) that carry the same ideas and frame of mind. We basically believe on speaking out about what we see, and what is going on in the world. For years we’ve allowed society mould and shape our views and have been manipulated by TV images, fashion and propaganda,Our culture has been watered down by disposable Art of little or no substance and we want to ressurect the Hip Hop culture and its sole purpose.

4. Have you performed together many times? What was your most memorable performance together, and why?

Weve performed together alot, all over the country, so there has been a few memorable performances, some good, some bad …Our most memorable so far would have to be performing at the Peoples Army launch night in 2008. We had the privilege to support some of the artists we look up to as role models, such as Logic and Lowkey, as well as Chester P from Taskforce. The whole atmosohere and networking there was unbelievable. To go from Middlesbrough (Our Location) where there is no regular Hip Hop nights, to Brixton, London and be embraced by so many people was amazing. Afterwards, we were offered a lift to Chiswick from Lowkey’s close friend, Wordplay (Check him out!) after spitting bar’s in the back of the car, we were followed by police, which then lead to being pulled over and searched …So, this was pretty memorable for our first London gig!

5. You give the impression you both believe in supporting charity and other non-profit events, have you done many charity events/gigs?

Yeah, we support independant and individual charities, as opposed to these ‘major’ charities in which the cause never see’s their profit, or if it does, its a small fraction of the amounts raised etc…So, Yes, weve done quite a few charity gigs.

6. Hiphop music is different from what it use to be and many artists are exploited within the commercial world, what is your opinion on this?

I think Hip Hop has definitely changed and has become a lot more commercial within the mainstream industry, because people see these rappers making their millions, buying expensive houses and apartments, jewellery and cars and want that, as opposed to seeing the respected culture behind it. I believe that whilst people are supporting the exploited and commercial side of the culture, more and more people all over the world are still wanting to hear more music with more substance and technicality. Ive also found that it helps people identify between the ‘real’ and the fake, so to speak. I mean, If you claim to be a ‘Hip Hop’ fan, but are only interested in cheesy beats and weak lyrics with no substance, what does that say about you?

7. Many people in society look down on hiphop as a bad influence and as thug music, what is your opinion on this?

I think that people within society use things as a scapegoat, rather than being responsible for themselves. Theres ‘bad influences’ within TV, Movies, Computer games etc and within Music, as a whole. I dont believe that Hip Hop is a bad influence or that it is thug music, at all. I believe that some ‘Hip Hop’ artist’s promote negativity, guns, drugs and violence …But, so does TV, Movies and Computer Games. I dont think people should have the right to tar every Hip Hop artist with the same brush because were not all the same, I also think those who believe this, are very close minded. Theres many subgenre’s within Hip Hop – Intellectual, gangster etc …same as TV, Movies and Computer game categories, and i think its time people become responsible for their own thoughts and actions, as opposed to placing blame onto an exploited, and commercialised genre they see within popular magazines, hear on popular radio and see on popular video stations, which does not represent the Hip Hop culture.

8. I understand you both have an album which is coming up soon, when will it be due? And what do you hope to aim from this album in your music?

Yeah, were currently writing and recording our debut album and have no idea when it will be due …Our aim is to show people what were capable of, as the mix CD is full of older solo tracks within a compilation, and a small handful together. Now that were pretty much in the same place music wise, were ready for people to hear our new material that seems to be taking so long. We want to be happy with every bar we write and deliver, as well as the mixes, because were doing everything ourselves …So until then, keep your eyes peeled.

9. Where do you see Leddie and Smoggy in 5 years time from now?

5 years from now, id like to be living off our music. I dont think about, or see myself doing anything else, just making music. Im a great believer in that, if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life.

10. There are many talented people such as yourselves who are afraid to be themselves. Have you any advice you can offer to people who wish to follow in your footsteps?

I, personally, dont understand why people are afraid to be themselves. If people close to you dont like you as you are, then why are you with them? …Every single person is completely different. You can always guarantee that not everyone will like/love what you do. You cant please everyone, You can try aslong as you want, But you’ll just exhaust youself because you will never, ever succeed in trying to achieve that. Be yourself, its easier. Id much rather put my own character, my own opinion’s and views within my music and gather support through people appreciating what i do, and how i do it, as opposed to forging a new character, new opinions and views to please others.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” ~e.e. cummings

Salute, and thanks very much for the support

Leddie x

Catch us at;

http://www.Youtube.com/LeddieAndSmoggy (SUBSCRIBE!!)
http://www.Reverbnation.com/LeddieAndSmoggy (BECOME A FAN!!)
http://www.Myspace.com/LeddieAndSmoggy (UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!)
http://www.Twitter.com/LeddieAndSmoggy (FOLLOW US!!)
http://www.LeddieandSmoggy.Bandcamp.com (FREE DOWNLOADS!!)
http://www.LeddieAndSmoggy.BigCartel.Com (BUY CD’S – MERCH COMING SOON!!)

A special thanks to Leddie and Smoggy!

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What is the point of the police force, what is their purpose?

Their purpose was originally to enfore the law, stop crime and help the public. Now they spend their shifts drinking plenty of coffee and letting the streets develop into little ghettos.

Today I was watching ‘Daybreak’ before I began my day and it came on the news that the police have giving up against ‘yobs’ that roam these streets. They have took over and ruled the streets in the last two decades and they have grown within the community. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Dennis O’Connor has admitted that the police have giving up on them and have ignored them and their crimes. There is apparently too many and the police can not simply investigate them all, in my opinion this is just a petty excuse once again.

In work it can get hard, sometimes there is a lot of paper work to catch up on, then you have meetings or sometimes you have other jobs that need doing…do you simply give up and just go with the flow? No, you get the jobs done, work wasn’t meant to be easy. Even though their job is hard enough dealing with other crimes, they simply can’t excuse themselves from solving any crime possible. They took on the role, so they should do their best in it. Despite what they say, this isn’t there best. I understand that it can be extremely difficult to respond to every single crime as there are an estimated 14 million anti-social behaviour crimes that take place every year, there is one every two seconds. However, they can respond to as many as they can.

This though maybe a cry out for help. As many of us know, the government are planning on cutting back at least by 25% in the police force, which is less jobs and a less chance to get in. I personally don’t think we should do this, but infact increase it by 25%. Yes, I know we haven’t got the money but they need to get their act together otherwise when they do cut it back this country will be a war zone. I suggest that the government take a look at rates of crime, fires, casualties etc, and then decide what is the worst and then increase that service. In this case, the crimes are high these days so they should increase the police force by 25%. To get the money they should cut wages of officers as they get paid a lot, get more special constables and give PCSO’s more power on the streets. This could save a lot. Another thing to do is actually give these ‘yobs’ more things to do, many may disagree but if the communities come together; schools, parishes and local clubs. We could raise money together and pay to have more events set up for these ‘yobs’.

They only do what they do because there is nothing else to do! We need to set up events and activities to help them learn respect, team work and independence. We need to set up football tournaments, basket ball teams, cricket teams, more boxing clubs and other things that they will enjoy. It could teach them so much and could change their ways. I personally liked David Cameron’s idea of doing a course which was a bit like the National Service, that could really teach youngsters a lot.

However we deal with this situation we must deal with it now. The police force have said they ignore these anti-social behaviour crimes and don’t respond to them. Last year, a woman killed herself along with her disabled child because she simply couldn’t handle the torment she recieved from these ‘yobs’. Do we really want many more tragedies like this? I think not. The police need to fight back with the best of their abilities whilst they still can, they may not be able to stop all these crimes but like Tesco says…every little helps.

I have very strong views and opinions on our country and it’s ways. If you have any opinions please leave a comment or if you want to ask any questions or contact me personally, please email me at tomtalksthetruth@hotmail.co.uk

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Thankyou.

I recently just caught up with the beef that Lowkey and Chipmunk had, which started out over Twitter. I do believe, from my sources, Chipmunk started it all by ‘dissing’ Dot Rotten. Shortly after Lowkey tweet – ‘If @itsdotrotten doesn’t duppy @ChipmunkArtist with a riddim, I might have to Baghdad style. Stay humble.’

Chipmunk then replied, out of curiousity – ‘@lowkeyuk who are you…’

Lowkey tweeted – ‘@ChipmunkArtist Ask about me. U don’t want it.’

Chipmunk, then been very defensive, replied to Lowkey’s taunting tweet – ‘@lowkeyuk Shut ur mouth! U shouldn’t even be alowed to tweet me!’

Lowkey laughed and tweeted – ‘@ChipmunkArtist hahaha done the twitter hype. Im not Wiley or Dot Rotten, watch the airwaves young buck.’

This tweet clearly suggested Lowkey had a diss track coming, just for our little Chipmunk! I was right, when 2 days later, a track was posted called the ‘Warning’ to diss Chipmunk. If you want to take a listen, click here >>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUWdk1uhYMA&feature=related

This track was brilliant, everything Lowkey said was true. The thing that made Chipmunk look like the fool, from my point of view, was the fact Lowkey stated that his talent isn’t sold to make music that doesn’t even have a meaning! Lowkey has dignity, Lowkey has probably the best talent in England, Lowkey can write with every word you could possibly imagine (as already proving in ‘Alphabet Assasin’) and Lowkey is the one of the only artists, along with Logic and the People’s Army, who tells us the truth! If every artist was like him, hip hop would be recognised more by other audiences and wouldn’t been seen as a bad influence on society, as we all know, a lot of trouble is pointed at hip hop. The world is very prejudice.

I enjoyed listening to one or two tracks from Chipmunk, but now after hearing all this, I have lost all my respect for him. He didn’t even have the balls to post a track back, but then again, he’s probably saved himself a lot more of embarrasement! At the end of the day, Chipmunk may have money and a record deal, etc. But he ain’t looked at as a real legend, he won’t be remembered, people like Lowkey will be remembered.

The actual animal, the Chipmunk, is seen as a harmless, small and very weak creature. Lowkeys the Lion, Chipmunks the rodent. From me personally, Chipmunk, sort your act out! I think this has taught you clearly not to diss other artists, because your terrible at it and artists who are the real deal, like Lowkey, will come around and make you look more worthless than a bag of rubbish. That’s all I have to say people, stay strong!

Hello everyone,

This weekend I have been enjoying two cultural, fantastic and meaningful events. The 70’s Night and the Mela 2010. Both amazing, both an experience to remember!

Well the 70’s Night is what I will start off with…

The 70’s Night is a night were everyone can go dressed up in an outfit to listen to 70’s music, drink booze and dance. Possibly one of the most sociable events you could go to. Everyone sits around on camping chairs, drinking cold fresh tins of lager and eating junk food. A time to relax and a time of laughter, especially for those who are more unsociable in society. Almost everyone turned up in an afro, 70’s dress, hippy clothes and the outfits of very familiar faces. I saw an Austin Power’s character, ‘Dr. Evil’, which was very impressive. I even bumped in to someone who was dressed up as ‘Velma’ from the ‘Mystery Machine’ in ‘Scooby Doo’. The outfits were so creative, interesting and for most of the people there, they brought back memories of the time of ‘Make Love, Not War’. Another thing about this amazing night which I noticed was there was just laughter, friendly faces, smiles, no fighting, no bottling, no idiots. It created an atmosphere of peace and harmony and that, I believe, is what seems to be so great about it! You can go there, drink and say anything in the world and you won’t wake up the next day with a black eye and a message in your head saying; ‘I wish I never said that.’

Something that did disappoint me was the liveliness, the festival seemed to not have any ‘boogyness’ to it and I overheard a comment of someone describing another person as ‘ignorant’, which to be honest shocked me considering everyone there might as well have been ignorant. Groups of people hustling together like tribes eating and drinking, it seemed like the night was going to be so quiet and miserable, I mean it’s a night where you will want to meet new people, make new friends or even more! However, when Abba decided to take it to the stage, things toned up a bit and soon after everyone was singing ‘Dancing Queen’. I was quite disgusted with the organisation of the toilets! Apparently last year, the portable toilets were shared with the dudes and dudettes. Anyway there was apparently a massive cue for each one and it took ages to get in one! So this year they gave the men urinals and some portable toilets and the rest of the portable toilets to the women, but I noticed us men having it so easy, just walking in, doing our thing and going back out. However, for the women it wasn’t as easy as they had to wait in huge cues, quite unfair. Soon after women tried sneaking into the men’s toilets, the events organiser really needs to make a better effort next year when it comes to facilities! To end the amazing, drunken and very much fun night, a nice display of fireworks was blasted into the air and couples kissed, kids laughed and cans clashed as they realised what a fantastic night it had been! Definitely a night in the North East to look out for, 9/10!

Now the Mela…

The Mela is a cultural, sociable, musical and family fun event. Pakistanis, Indians, British, etc. Everyone gathered in Middlesbrough’s Albert Park infront of a massive stage and are surrounded by rides, food and ethnic races. As I approached the event, I noticed Clairville Field was filled with cars and that was only early! When I walked in, Indian music was blasting, people were sat together on blankets eating sandwhiches and children lined up to go on the rides. I saw nearly every ethnic you could think of, it certainly proved that the Mela had already completed their mission, bringing cultures, races and religions together! An example of how well everyone can get on. However, I may slightly contradict what I have just said because there was one or two fights! One of them I was in the middle of!

However despite the disagreements some people had, basically the immature people. The Mela managed to throw a whole day without someone complaining about a certain flag been up or a certain clothing worn. Yes I am speaking about the latest stupid complaints we’ve had about the Union Jack been up and the Islamic women wearing the vales! The music was very interesting, we had Indian singers, Asian British music and the performance of the dance double, ‘Signature’! However, one group caught my eye in particular. It was a group of rappers; Christian ‘XTN’ Onwochei, Okan and an unfamiliar face who I believe goes by the name of Jav. Yes, all three of the performers really got the crowd going. I don’t know the artists but from what I know XTN and Okan both have released albums and are two of the biggest artists in the North East. I understand XTN had his album released in HMV and got himself a music video made as well. Jav had a soft R’N’B voice and really managed to grab the crowd with his voice.

The quality of the sound wasn’t very good unfortunately, I couldn’t hear it very well at one point, whoever engineers the amplifying did a terrible job at getting the music spread out and about! The food was interesting and new to many people, including me, Indian and Pakistani food was the favourite, spicy stuff! Then there was the local and familiar traders setting up stalls, a lot of them sold interesting stock! Something the event did capture very well was the cultures, I really enjoyed it when Pakistani people waved their flag in the air and danced together, it was amazing and was the perfect example of how people can be brought together and learn off each other and have fun!

Overall, the Mela was a very good day out and I enjoyed it thoroughly, 8/10!

You would never have thought of it but the North East can throw some good events! I really do suggest that people try and make it to these events next year, I know you will enjoy them as much as I did!

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Hello everyone, I’ve been listening to Eminem recently and I’ve been thinking about his career in the rap game…

Through the last 4-5 years, Eminem has seemed to bounce up and down from the rap game. He kept dropping the mic saying he’s going to quit, but soon after he’d come straight back up, whether this was a publicity stunt that really isn’t working or he just couldn’t resist making music again. I do believe, and have learnt that if your going to be a rapper in the urban music industry, you need to keep on your board, you need to keep it going. Keeping your fame and reputation is very important, the whole of the rap game seems to be a competition.

However, Eminem kept jumping off his board and then decided to get back on! I love his music, I can really relate to his lyrics and I do feel that the way he expresses his feelings is amazing, that’s why I loved listening to him. But even though he has talent, he can never be Lil Wayne, Jay Sean or The Game material. He’s messed about too much saying he needs to quit but then suddenly making a new track! First it was ‘When I’m Gone’, then ‘Crack A Bottle’ and ‘Beautiful’ and now it’s ‘I’m Not Afraid’. The truth is, these tracks are all very good but the listeners have moved on to more commercial artists, which is sad but understandable. Eminem has totally lost his fan base he once had and theres no way he will ever compete with the reputation and popularity of someone like Jay Z or Kanye West!

Another thing that has bugged me is this new song ‘Love The Way You Lie’ which features Rihanna. It’s amazing, but I clicked onto it straight away! He is really trying to get back in that position he was once in, so he’s going to do whatever it takes to get the fans to listen to his stuff? So that means he will try and find a key to unlock the gate, Rihanna is a perfect example! She’s so popular, everyone wants to hear her, she’s beautiful, her voice is amazing and she’s going quite far! Eminem knows that people are going to listen to something she sang, which means if she’s in his song, her fans will listen. Therefore he will make a load of money and get a load of listeners, but I still think that even if he does get his fans back, he will never be that once great rap artist who everyone loved. Face it, he was a hit but now he’s old news and everyones sick of him!

I think Eminem’s career should be noticed by other artists, it’s an example of what can happen if you decide to put the mic down, ruin your own life and then decide you want to boost back up. It’s not going to work. He ‘fucked’ the game up a long long time ago! Despite his recent achievements!

Peace out, x

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