Brighton young gun Frankie Stew’s not only one third of the hip hop crew Concept of Thought, but has also just dropped some solo tracks that stake his claim as a really talented MC that’s gonna be one to contend with in the future. His styles laid back, abstract and ridiculously eloquent and has me spinning back bars left right and center. I caught up with him to see where Mr Stew’s at, going and coming from.
Easy Frankie, tell us a bit about yourself firstly, what else do you get up to outside of Hip Hop?
Im seventeen, just enjoying going out and meeting different people, to be honest there’s not a lot to say apart from writing and seeing my friends.
What do you do if you’ve had a bad day?
After a bad day i dont know really, what do you count as a bad day? i like to stay as positive as possible about everything. thats the best thing to do otherwise nothing good will come from it.
You’re from Brighton, which has obviously got a massive Hip Hop scene which is thriving at the minute, what other artists from there are you feeling?
Yeah Brighton’s such a good place to live if you have a passion for making music or even just listening to it, there’s so much different stuff going on, especially in the summer. There’s a night called slip jam which has helped a lot of Brighton MCs get heard and get their name about, its run by Tom Hines who’s helped me and a lot of other Brighton based MCs out a lot by putting on shows and nights and all of that shiit.
I’m feeling a lot of people from Brighton as there’s so many. Rum committee smash up set if you ever go and see them live, if you haven’t I recommend it, Tc johnston aka Ceezlin is one to check out though he’s got some dope solo shit going on at the same time as all the committee stuff. Don’t really know where he’s from but Dirty Dikes living in Brighton at the moment and he’s been supportive of my concept of thought and solo stuff since the start.
If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could live somewhere else it would be California, simply because of the weather all year round and there’s a lot of good music from out there and always has been. If not there, somewhere like Mexico or Hawaii haha.
Desert island disks…. What three albums couldn’t you live without?
I can’t even name 3 albums you know! There’s way to many and if I had to name 3 I dont think any of them would even be from the UK. I’ll just name 3 at random for you…. Blu- Below the Heavens is nice. The production by Exile is madness as well which makes it what it is. J-dilla – aka Yancey is dope and always will be. Then something by Kev Brown I suppose, all that sorta stuff i could listen to all day.
You’re only 17 right? What got you into Hip Hop and when did you start rhyming?
Yeah man I’ve just turned 17. I’ve always been into soul and jazz music, and when I was about 13 I started hearing artists from brighton such as mad hatter sampling all of that and ever since then I got myself involved in the scene. I started rapping along to other peoples music when i was about 14 to other artists like Jehst, Micall Parknsun, and then just everything over in the US. I’ve always been into writing and poetry so I thought I’d have a go at it over beats by my friends, I would rap at parties for my mates when we were all licked and they rated it and told me to record some of it.
Are you still at school/college or what? What do the other people there think of your music? Have you had any trouble at gigs or anything getting IDd?
I should be in my first year at college but I had to drop out of that, it just wasn’t my thing. I might go back in september depending on what happens. I dont know what other people think of my music, my friends seem to like it but there my friends aren’t they they’re gonna say that, I dunno man I’m just making music I would listen to myself and if other people have the same taste of music as me then that’s a good thing. Most of my friends either have id or are old enough to get into where we play so that side of its alright, but there’s always something funny that happens at our shows.
Your style of lyricism is often pretty abstract and works around wordplay, what would you say inspires it and what do you do if your suffering writers block?
I’ve just got a passion for writing and seeing what I can do with different words and rhyming patterns over relaxed beats, because I feel that represents me. I write all my tracks outside! Parks, the beach etc, I can’t sit inside and write lyrics haha, well I prefer writing outside.
What beat makers are you working with?
Not a lot of producers get back to me, but there is a list of dope producers I’m working with at the moment, Harvey Gunn, Secret Other Family, Kerem Fresh, M Kozi, 184, Mad Hatter, Cloud9, and possibly Purist Beats. They’ve all been smashing it for ages, but Harvey Gunn is a new producer about to come with that crazyyy ish people aren’t quite ready for yet.
Your crew, Concept of Thought, is also going strong with some nice tracks, who else is in that and how did you all link?
Glad you like it! When I was 16 I formed Concept of Thought with two older boys called Ben and Sam known as Awfer and iIliterate, they were both 18 when I linked with them and we got to know each other through friends of friends, we both knew the other person rapped and we eventually got in contact and got some shit going.
We’re just doing our thing and playing lots of shows at the moment, we’re supporting all the High Focus team a lot and we have an upcoming show with Yungun, Mr Thing, and some other big names. Also one of my favourite shows was up in Norwich with Mystro and Ramson Badbonez. We’ve got an EP coming soon as well.
Would you say your rhymes on those tracks differ much to your solo output?
I wouldn’t say the rhymes are that different but the style of beats are more relaxing on my solo stuff. The crew stuff is sort of the shit you would wanna see at a show if you understand me.
Your latest track, Part of Me, is pretty cryptic in places, what would you say it’s about?
I would say its just about day to day things going on in my life, and my opinions and view on everything I see on a day to day basis.
What’s planned for the future, both solo and with Concept of Thought?
My personal plan for this year is to drop a lot of throw away solo tracks to get as much feedback and just get my name about in the scene a bit more. As for Concept of Thought, we’ve got our EP dropping soon, FOR FREE! We’re also gonna be working on a group album after that if everything goes well with the EP. With my solo shit I’m not looking to drop anything In particular, just gonna release as much shit as possible.