Storyteller, poet, rapper, theatre maker
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Paul's blogging again

New blog, old habbits, new bars

Yes

This is the first of this new blog section I’m going to be (in)frequently contributing to. I set the site up, back in April, in time for the launch of my book - had two snow days off from my school job (which was a right touch!) so I sat in my trackies and banged it out. It’s been good for shifting the book, what with all the e-commerce functions and that, more importantly though, it looks and runs a lot better than the old one. However, being the simultaneously busy, lazy, scatter-brained and technically naive young (ish) man that I am, I haven’t done a lot with it since. To be honest, most of these artist sites seem to be just about having a web presence online, in case potential originations, that I might work with, want to have a butchers’ to seem if I’m ligit. I was happy to run with that idea, for what a website should be, until I remembered, that I consider myself some kind of a writer and I’d previously enjoyed writing a bunch of blogs on the old site, so here we are (well, me, I), with a blog. At the moment, my ideas for the blog are updating it with what I’ve been doing (and trying  my best to not make it as dry as that sounds) and publishing some of the articles from my old blog, as I thought that some of them, were alright.

Which brings me to the bars. Before all of the poetry, spoken word and theatre malarkey, I rapped. I still rap, I’ve never stopped rapping, it’s just that the other stuff mentioned above, over time, took prescience. I began writing, around 17 years of age, as an MC, writing bars (lyrics) intended to be rapped over Garage and Drum and Bass music, then latterly hip hop and grime. I’ve spoken about this a lot, over the years, highlighted in this spoken word piece called Jungle warfare, so I won’t bang on about that too much.

Things were a bit different back then, us, wonna-be MC’s, weren’t writing verses and jumping into booths to record them over tracks (not many people had access to recording equipment) - you wrote your lyrics and then went to bedrooms; sheds, parties, clubs and worked with a DJ, normally for an hour or so and effectively hosted their set, intermittently rapping your lyrics, when the moment was right, over whatever tunes the DJ was playing, that was the idea anyway. For me, after doing it for a while, I found I weren’t so keen on the hosting bit, hyping the crowd up and that, didn’t really feel that was me. What I did love though, was the writing and rapping part.

Over the years, I’ve written countless bars, most of which having never gone further than the bedroom they were written in. In more recent times, a lot of my rap writing has been focused with the work I do with Beats and Elements, for our shows. What never stopped though, was the process of me writing them. As the spoken word and theatre stuff took over and the music stuff dried up, there wasn’t that pressure for me to write them anymore, yet, I continued to write them. It just went back to being fun for me again and a welcome break from everything else. Writing wise, it’s my first love and I always find myself going back to it, old school style, pen, pad and some sick beats. Love it, mate.

Last Christmas (2017) ((I gave you my heart)) for the first time in a while, I found myself with a bit of spare time. The book was in the final stages with the editor and everything else was on a bit of a hiatus. Through living with bass music DJ, Bus we’d be hanging out, talking about and listening to grime, which we both love. I decided there and then, that I wanted to write a whole load of bars again. Over the next 6 months, in my spare time, I sat there writing 16 bar verses for every letter of the alphabet. Reason for the ABC thing, back when I was regularly MCing over Drum and Bass, I’d often find myself, mid-performance, with the drop fast approaching (the bit on the tune where it goes nuts and the MC starts rapping) I’d suddenly forget all my lyrics, so I devised a memory strategy, where I’d write bars for every letter of the alphabet, so when in that situation, I could just think of a letter, then quickly recall the whole verse, and for the most part it worked.

And so, the video below is the first lot of bars, all filmed by Bus, on the estate we currently live on, it’s an amazing place. For each video, I select a classic beat that I like and put together two 16 bar verses, we put the beat on and I just rap, just like that. They’re very raw but that’s how we like it, it’s a lot of fun, just can’t believe I didn’t do it before! Long live the bars! (and the new blog)

Peas and taters

Paul