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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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