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Interview: P Money

P (No name, just a letter motherfucker) Money is back, fully equipped with his first solo offering for some time. Not only do we get a single, but also a new 5 track EP, Round The Clock. We caught up with the south London MC to discuss the death of pirate radio, his RnB days and putting grime on the map.

Planet Notion: Can you describe your new EP ‘Round The Clock’ using the 4 Pics 1 Word game format?
P Money: Ok… first, I’d have one of those old school clocks that go off and you have to hit to make it stop.
A road sign… something to do with a corner… or telling you there is a corner.
This is hard, man. The first question as well! I like it… [Laughs]
A roundabout.
And a picture of me on stage.


PN: There is a house track on the new EP. You do know MCing over house is unofficially banned in the UK?
PM: I don’t actually MC over the track. I don’t like MCing over house either. I’m not really a house fan but when I do listen to it, I can’t hear an MC on it. The producers, Cause & Affect, have made a way of taking certain parts of the vocal and putting it in different places, then building the beat around it. It actually goes well together. It’s a track you can vibe to. It’s hard to do that with an MC vocal, it’s easier for them to do that with a singer, but they’ve made a way of getting an MC vocal, chopping it up and making it work.

PN: Speaking of genres, your foundations are in grime, but you have also dabbled in dubstep. There is an argument amongst grime fans that grime MCs need to claim grime, rather than distancing themselves from it, in order for it to grow. How do you feel about that?
PM: I think if you start out by saying you’re just grime, then you have to be claiming that. You have to be doing that, but I’ve never ever done that. The first ever mixtape that I made didn’t have just grime on it. I even had an RnB track on there…

PN: Really? Did you sing… did you have a dance routine?
PM: [Laughs] No, I had a friend singing and I did a verse. The beat was much slower. It was still a grime lyric, but I just slowed it down to fit the track. I even had dubstep on there, this was my first ever mixtape in 2006-7. So when people say, ‘oh you’ve moved to dubstep’ I’m like, ‘mate, I had this on the first ever CD I ever did, when you first ever heard of me’. It was Joker, ‘Gully Brook Lane’ it was one of the biggest dubstep tracks at the time. I’ve never been a person that says, ‘I’m just grime’, so I never really feel a way when I hear that argument.

I do believe if you come out with ‘yeah, I’m just grime’ then yes, you should be doing that. I also believe that someone needs to claim it, which is why for this EP I did the track ‘Mad’ which is more grime based, more of a grime style. That’s the next track I want to push. Grime needs to be pushed. There isn’t anyone doing grime videos and putting out proper grime tracks… apart from JME, he’s the only one and I 100%, all the time, big him up for that. JME got a top 40, just on his own, with a grime track. It had no chorus. It was just a grime freestyle. Not a lot of people realise what he has actually done there… it can work, so… hopefully, with the ‘Mad’ track, it will make people think, ‘I can actually do something with this’ and it will hopefully send a message, and people will start following through.

PN: Did you see what Dizzee Rascal had to say about Radio 1, what are your thoughts on that?
PM: Someone showed me it. I don’t know… one of the tweets I saw was along the lines of, ‘American rappers come over and Radio 1 playlist them straight away and their songs have profanity, but the moment we do it, it’s a problem’ In a way it is true, but I don’t know if that was the right reaction. I reckon there is something that has happened that we don’t know about, like there’s something he’s not saying. Dizzee isn’t the type of person to just go on a rant just over profanity and lyrics. Radio 1 have supported him and I know for a fact he did rate them highly, so something else has happened there that we don’t know about. I don’t really have an opinion on that, but you do sometimes think as a country, we look more to the USA than our own country. We pay £80 to go and watch a rapper on stage for 1/2hrs – sometimes less, but we won’t pay £20 to go and see a rapper from the UK. We struggle to sell out here, rappers from across the world don’t. To me that doesn’t make sense. When you listen to radio, you do hear more American rappers than you do UK rappers or MCs. When you go to America, all you hear is American. Over here you can hear 6 American tracks in a row before you hear any UK support. I don’t know if that’s what Dizzee was getting at, but you do see these things.

PN: How do you think underground scenes have been affected since the death of pirate radio?
PM: It has definitely slowed the growth and it has given the youth less hope if I’m honest. Pirate radio plays a big role in the game from the get go. Once you get on a station you’re heard instantly, a whole area will know if you’re good, a whole area will start talking about you. It gives you that drive to do more and to take your career further; not just be an MC that spits lyrics, you want to start writing songs and get your songs played on radio now. The same way us as artists get excited about going on Radio 1, young people felt that way about pirate radio. It’s just the lower stage, or level. It gives them that drive to get up to Radio 1 level. And it’s training. I feel like that has disappeared. It does affect young MCs. It gives them less opportunity to be heard. That’s almost how clashes start. People start thinking, ‘I’m better than that person, so why is he getting all this attention?’ and then they do a diss track. They feel like they have to do a diss track now to be heard.

PN: Do you think clashes and diss tracks are used as a tool now, part of the marketing package so to speak?
PM: To go on ‘Lord of The Mics’ [for example] for exposure, isn’t a bad thing depending on what stage you’re at. I think if you have no buzz, no CD coming, nothing happening… then I don’t think you should just wake up and say, ‘do you know what? I’m going to diss this person’ because at the end of the day… it’s fun, its entertainment, its music… but at the end of the day you’re dissing someone. You are disrespecting someone that you don’t know. They have every right to take offence.

PN: It’s just lyrics, words…
PM: No it’s not. People say, ‘it’s just music…’ but is it? If someone you don’t know wakes up tomorrow and says, ’you’re this, you’re that’ are you going to be fine with that? What gives them that right?

PN: By retaliating aren’t you just fuelling their attempt to get into the limelight?
PM: it depends on how you retaliate. If you retaliate by clashing or dissing back, then you’ve taken it to that level where you clash, but at the same time people have feelings. People might not want to clash at that point. People might be focused on something else and you turn up just saying rude things. For me, I’m not really fussed because, I understand as a human being, or a young MC, that sometimes you get frustrated and just want to do that. That’s all you have left. You feel like that is the tool, ‘the only way I’m going to get heard right now is to diss this person who is being heard’.

When I hear a young person dissing me, or someone I know, I always tell them not to worry about it. If you don’t want to say anything back now, do what you need to do and come back to it. Don’t let it go completely, because at the end of the day you have to show that you still do this. You have to prove there is a reason why you’re getting this attention. If you can’t, that slyly gives them the right to say whatever.

PN: Aside from your verbal altercation with Ghetts, I’ve noticed that you are slightly removed from any kind of ‘scene’, is that deliberate?
PM: Yes, it is. I don’t choose not to work with anyone, because I don’t like anyone… It’s just, I like doing me. I’ve realised… not that the industry is fake or anything, but one day you could work with someone and then tomorrow you are against each other, because of a situation you have no control over. I don’t like that. Sometimes, even when you look at people on their Facebook or Twitter, the way they talk is completely different to how they are in person, it makes you dislike them. I’d rather not dislike you. I’d rather not follow you on Twitter… because you talk weird. I’d rather know you in person and know how you are with me, so every time I see you that is the friendship, or memory, I’ll have. I stay away from all of that, I don’t really get involved. I’m naturally a quiet person too. I like to analyse.

- Trina John-Charles

Round The Clock is out now and you can buy it here

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