Stig of the Dump is the self proclaimed ‘sexiest fat man in show business’ and makes what he terms ‘Fuck you music’. While these facts may sound tongue in cheek and throwaway, they go a long way to describing the swaggering, humorous and carefree attitude that for me personifies Uk Hip Hop within this skint lyricist. You might have seen him stumbling around heckling people at your local venue or destroying mc’s (notably Asher D- that was a funny one) at battles and he’s certainly a character you won’t forget in a hurry. Louise Brisbane caught up with him to breeze about all things from his collab with R.A the Rugged Man, living in London and hating on the music industry.
Louise: Firstly tell us a bit about your life, how did you end up in London?
Stig of the Dump: That’s quite a long story… I’m an army brat, my old man was in the forces, and I was born in a military base in North Yorkshire. Then I went to Germany, Cyprus, back to Dover, back up to Newcastle, I was there until about six and half years ago and I just got sick of it. I got cold feet so I decided to move [down to London] to “chase fame and fortune”.
Who are your favourite artists to collaborate with?
I’m fortunate that a lot of my close friends are my favourite artists. A lot of my favourite rappers, certainly in this country, are the likes of Jam Baxter, Sonny Jim, Dabbla from London Zoo…all these people I have gravitated to naturally as a person; we’re all quite likeminded, similar sense of humour and we all like to get messy!
What about Syntax? You and him seem pretty tight, are you two still making music together?
No, unfortunately not. The way we became friends was similar to the other guys basically, I met him at a show when he played at Newcastle with Foreign Beggars, we went back to a party afterwards ended up drinking until a stupid time in the morning and we both got on. When I moved to London I had a show in Brighton, which is where he was living at the time, I eventually became homeless and during that period I ended up sleeping on his sofa for a few weeks whilst we were touring together. We ended up living together after that. He lives in Manchester now and he’s still making music with Pete Canon, who produced a lot of my album, I know he’s doing a project called Matinee Hype which is jungle, rave music.
You’ve won End of the Week global and UK competitions twice which is no easy task but where did it begin for you in the world of battle MC’ing?
In all honesty I just needed money, battling was never something I wanted to do but I was in London, I was broke and a couple of battles came up so I entered them. The EoDub thing itself is a different kettle of fish. Battling isn’t something that interests me anymore…it’s like Friends on telly, I’ll watch it if it’s on but it’s not what I’m into. I still watch a bit of battling but it’s not something I’m interested in returning to. Whereas End of the Week in itself isn’t battling, it’s not one guy versus another insults it’s a showcase of style. There’s five rounds first round you do a verse and a hook off a track to show how good you are at writing music, second round you do an acapella, third round you freestyle blah, blah I’m not going to go into the whole thing but yeah its more about a test of your skills to see if you’ve got what it takes to be a decent rapper. They test you on stuff like mic control, crowd participation rather than just ya mum jokes and calling somebody gay. I’m a bit bored of it seeing as I’m not 14 anymore.
You had a battle with Pro Green a few years ago and he’s gone in quite a different direction to you now, is this something you’d want to emulate?
Nah. I’ve got a lot of time for Pro Green, he’s a really nice guy. The dude can definitely rap, he’s got a lot of skills. I’ve got a lot of support for him and his career and that’s his decision if he wants to go down the commercial route and chase superstardom but it’s not something that interests me. I definitely have no interest in chasing commercial success, I mean I’ve just started branching out doing dubstep and I’ve just been asked to front a band that does hip hop, rock and dancehall. Fame is fool’s gold, I’d hate to be famous. Money doesn’t interest me and material possessions don’t bother me.
Your first EP The Homeless Microphonist gets quite deep in places what’s the story behind that record?
As I mentioned earlier I was homeless for a period of about 9 months, when I say homeless I don’t wanna give the impression I spent every day on the streets I would say of that 9 months I was actually sleeping rough for about 2 weeks. I was on friend’s sofas, slept in the Foreign Beggars vocal booth amongst going to parties and shows just so I could have somewhere to crash. For a period I was kind of at a low bitching about how I’d just moved to London and wasn’t really taking advantage of the opportunities and I hadn’t released any music either. At the time I met a guy called Newborn, who ran a label that used to be around called Beer and Rap, we were all drunk and he said ‘I’ll pay for you to go to the studio. If you make it I’ll pay for it you can have an EP done in 7 days,’ and for once we actually acted on a drunken idea and 7 days later I had an EP done. It was really really low budget, I’m pretty sure all the beats are MP3’s, mixing and mastering was minimal… it was all chucked together and then fortunately I had a friend doing work experience at a PR company at the time he took it on and did it as kind of a project. We got the printing done at cost rate, everything was super budget and it was all just so I could get a deposit to get into a place. That’s how that came about.
You’ve encountered some hardships along the way in the past couple of years has it been a driving force for your latest album?
Not consciously. It’s not as if I look back and think oh I want to reflect that but ultimately I think they’ve shaped me in a massive way that’s why I’m uncompromising. As I said money means fuck all to me, I refuse to chase fame they’re hollow goals. I think going through what I went through is the reason why I’m so militant against [money and fame lifestyle]. I have tattoos on my hands that say ‘art over money love over everything’ and that’s definitely what I’m all about. I used to work a job that was really well paid, really easy and I fucking hated it! I despised every second of it. I realised that while we live in a world where money’s a necessity it’s not something I strive for I’d much rather have experiences with my friends an my kinfolk. I’m not trying to speak to other people who have gone through what I have gone through, I’m just trying to get shit off my chest and if people can relate to it then that’s a positive.
You probably get asked this all the time but what was it like to work with the legend that is R.A The Rugged Man?
That was fun, yeah I don’t wanna say he’s a friend, I mean we don’t hang out or call [each other] up but R.A’s a really nice dude. I supported him on a couple of occasions. Newborn got him over to Brighton where I hosted and supported him. About a year later he did a tour in this country where I ended up being the support for a couple of dates. I also supported him out in Germany… you know I’ve just met the dude a bunch of times, about half way through those experiences he said we could collab when we was over in Brighton. I paid him some money and we got in the studio. It’s funny to watch other people’s recording and writing techniques. I discuss this with my friends sometimes; certain people have certain ways of writing, I write the alphabet across the top of the page before I start writing whereas when R.A’s doing it he thinks of the flow first. He’ll literally have the beats on in the background and go along and just fill in the gaps. It’s interesting to watch his technique.
He’s worked with some of our heroes of our time such as Biggie, did you feel any pressure at all when you were doing the track with him?
I can’t say I did. I don’t wanna sound arrogant but I really don’t feel pressure when it comes to writing or performing, it’s the one thing in life that I feel really comfortable with. I’ve done it long enough where I’m at a level where I know the art form, I know the skills it takes. While I’m totally open to people thinking he’s much better than me I just don’t care you know what I mean? I do it for my own benefits, it’s not like I’m trying to do this to get everyone to big me up and boost my ego I’m just doing it because it’s much more fun than having someone tell me what to do 9-5. I’ve never dealt with stage fright either, I get over the top adrenaline which makes me kind of anxious but I don’t really feel pressure. It’s the one thing I love doing more than else so I was just happy with the opportunity.
If you had to go to a desert island and could only take 3 albums with you what would they be?
Snoop Dogg – Doggy Style, which was one of my obsessive albums when I was 13 years old.. I’d say that was probably the most consistent albums ever released. Every track is a banger. That’s probably the only hip hop I’d bring, I’d try to bring a compilation but if that’s not an option then it’d be Doggy Style, Til Shiloh by a guy called Buju Banton and then Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life.
You said a bit about you doing a dubstep band can you tell us a bit more about that?
Yeah it’s a band called The Foot Clan. Their a band that were established before I entered the frame. They’ve been together for about 6 years. Leeds based although the bassist now lives in London. The bassist is part of another live dubstep band called Submotion Orchestra that are doing really well, I think he kind of wanted to have more of his own project. They recently got a load of hype on BBC York, Radio 6 and they played Glastonbury at the BBC Introducing Stage. Unfortunately a couple of days before the girl who used to front them was taken ill, I don’t really know the whole story but two days before Glastonbury they decided they needed to replace her. I happened to be living at a friend’s house at the time alongside their acting manager; I said I’d always wanted to perform with a live band. I just happened to be saying these things to my friend as it was all unfolding with them, he contacted them and the bassist asked me to write some tunes. They had 3/4 tracks with her on that I had to re-write with my own angle, that’s how it came together. Nothing’s really happened yet though, we’re meant to be playing BBC Radio Yorkshire in August sometime though.
Good luck! Is there anything you really dislike about the music industry?
There’s very little I actually like about the music industry. The term industry industrialises the music; it’s all about money not about the art form. Unfortunately it’s a necessary evil but I ultimately just want to have the opportunity to rap live and I have to pay my rent, over and above that I don’t really care about the financial and business side of it. I’m very fortunate with the situation I’m in with Mike Lewis and the label. He’ a really nice guy, he’s very much about the music and in other interviews he’s stated he doesn’t take a penny from the recordings, everything he makes goes back into the label. The situation with me and him was the best offer I had when I came to release music you know, I could’ve gone to a bunch of other people but Mike is really good dude. I’m not just saying it for his benefit he is very much about the music. He’s not trying to sell me and get my name up in lights, that’s why I run around with him, but once you deal with other people you’re part of a machine. Their concern is about generating revenue. For the most part there are a few labels that aren’t like that but certainly the further up the game you get it’s just about the product. Which is why I said before that I have no interest in chasing commercial success because at that point it’s not about what I want to do it’s about what will sell. Pretty much without fail every major artist that’s ever been in the charts has quite a formula to their album; they’ve had to have a lead single that’s had a very ‘singy’ hook, that’ll appeal to a certain cross section of the audience and then they have to have certain other angles… you know a song for the girls, a song for the clubs, you want a song for heartbreak, mums, whatever but I’m not interested in ticking boxes, I’m not interested in being a dancing monkey performing for peanuts. Very few bands historically have had their own vision and ran with it. Rage Against the Machine are probably the most successful uncompromising band and that’s the kind of shit that I want to do. If it blows up and it’s successful then brilliant I’m ecstatic about that but if it doesn’t who gives a fuck you die at the end of it. The time I’ve wasted chasing fame and glory is all going to come to an end.
Tell us a weird fact about yourself!
I’m a fucking weirdo! I hate moths. I’m pussy scared of moths.