NC Epik & Mistah Bohze

Episode  5:

NC Epik & Mistah Bohze

The Scottish Hip Hop Show Episode 5 NC Epik & Mistah Bohze
About The Episode

In this episode, NC Epik & Mistah Bohze talk about how they got started, creating platform and record label Southside Deluxe and discuss why Scottish hip hop hasn’t had more mainstream support. Their selected songs are “Hong Kong Hijack (remix),” “Quiet Storm,” and “Worth.”


{music starts}


Mistah Bohze: There’s something in hip hop that’s just universal for me.


NC Epik: If you’re not authentic, you’re not doing hip hop right.


Host: Immaculate Reception presents a showcase of Scotland’s finest hip hop producers, MCs, beatboxers and DJs. This is The Scottish Hip Hop Show. This duo are MC, producer, DJ and record label legends. Introducing NC Epik and Mistah Bohze.


{music ends}


NC Epik: So I go by the name of NC Epik aka Noize Creator Epik aka Epik aka The Boom Bap Kodiak. I started off as an MC. I got into production, DJing. In fact, I was a DJ before I was an MC. And I’m from Glasgow.


Mistah Bohze: I’m Bohze. I got by the name of Mistah Bohze on a Sunday. Beat maker, producer, writer, MC, break dancer, graffiti artist extraordinaire. Ahahahah!


NCE: In my early years, I was based. I lived in the far east and we used to listen to American radio stations and at some point, I must have heard “Rapper’s Delight.” I must have heard “The Message.” You know? But a conscious kind of like, “Yeah, I want to know more about that” is “Walk This Way” by Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith. Because before then, I was kinda right into like hard rock, heavy metal, that kinda thing. And just when that happened, I was like, “Ooft, this is rock, but it’s, it’s not rock. There’s something else going on here that’s kinda like. I like it.” You know? So.


MB: So in the summer of 1982, man, at school in Govanhill everybody got into robotic dancing. Everybody – boys and girls – robotics was the big thing, man. And there were like two crews already in Govanhill: The Hip Hop Breakers and The Body Rock Breakers. I was affiliated with The Hip Hop Breakers. Yeah, that was my first introduction to hip hop, man. Breakdancing.


NCE: I can’t remember when I started writing rhymes. It must have been. I think it was like second year so something like that. So ‘88 or something like that. Then I just started recording and I was like, “Ok so I’m the only rapper I know. I don’t know any other MC.” But I felt like I could let other people hear it. So I started to let other people hear it and they were like, “Oh, have you heard of II Tone Committee?” And I’m like, “Nah who’s that?” You know? “It’s a Scottish hip hop group.” And I’m like, “There’s a Scottish hip hop group?” Ahahaha!


MB: There’s something in hip hop that is universal for me. It’s like you understand the guy straight away who’s talking. You know, you understand the vibe right away. And it’s just like we could do that. I could do that. My earliest memories of trying to create anything musically or what have. It was having an Adam and the Ants album on the left hand turntable and on a completely separate turntable on the right having a Musical Youth turntable and just moving them about with the torque off. Like trying to play with beats and just, ”How, how is it we do this? The one thing I do mention a lot and I do kinda go on about this a lot. Hip hop had that big an influence at the time that the people who were going about hitting each other with bottles and bricks and stones stopped and started dancing against each other. I mean these wee hardcore, you know, ruffnecks all started dancing against each other. That’s the impact that hip hop had, man. It’s just like, “Wow!” So you hear the music and you just want to get right involved in what it’s all about. Because everybody’s dancing to the music so it’s almost like a natural progression.


NCE: That is a really difficult question. How would we describe the music? I mean for me it was like a progression, right? Or an evolution. See the first time I heard II Tone, right? It was like I’d never heard hip hop like that. All I’d heard was American hip hop, right? And the mad stuff I was doing in my room, right? But when I heard II Tone, it was like, “That doesn’t sound like any hip hop I’ve ever heard in my life.” And then I realised the more I’d heard of II, the more music I heard, it’s like, “So it doesn’t need to be just funk breaks.” It can be prog rock breaks. It can be classical or it can be XYZ. Whatever. So it was a real. It was like a expanding. The universe expanded a little bit. And I’d heard II Tone before I’d heard Hardnoise. Before I’d heard Gunshot. Before I’d heard any of these. You know, that was the fastest hip hop I’d ever heard right enough. So I guess Sentinalez came about early 2000s and it was just like guys getting into, trying to figure out how to work Reason, the music programme Reason. And just battering in any sort of breaks. I keep having Monty Python in my head because I don’t know there’s an element of Monty Python in it as well! Ahahah!


MB: Sentinalez is all Monty Python, man! All Monty Python man! All Monty Python. But The Sentinalez is. That was. It was really experimental, man, and it just went everywhere.


{music starts}


Voice: This is The Scottish Hip Hop Show.


{music ends}


MB: Sentinalez remix of “Hong Kong Hijack.” Looking for something that would document the history between Ben and myself creatively and this remix just stood out. There’s a lot of nice little switch ups in it. There’s a particular bit where Ben’s verse drops and switches. Just comes up. It’s just awww. It’s beautiful, man. So obviously, we’ve got Chuck as well. Krash Slaughta on the cuts. It’s a nice remix, man. I thought that would be one to document the history nicely, man.


[music, “Hong Kong Hijack (remix) by Sentinalez}



MB: So how did Southside Deluxe come about? I mean there’s reference to this back in The Sentinalez days where we’re talking about things like Toy Control, the Universal Bench Collective, Glasgow Southside, Southside Deluxe and all these kinds of phrases and stuff being bandied around, man. And having them as kinda mantras. Do you know what I mean? But it just seemed like a logical step. I think, I mean I don’t know if you can call it coming out of retirement or whatever, but when the Blastoid McGonagle album was being prepared and whatever, it was just like. It just seemed like the logical step that we should be running this label as a continuing. A, making Southside Deluxe an official thing. It’s not just a mantra. It’s no just a crew. It’s actually a label now. Do you know? Just kinda. We’re going to use it as a vehicle to try and just do our thing.


NCE: Huh huh.


MB: Yeah, man. And that’s pretty much what it was. That was back in 2011, 2012. Just getting the whole thing prepared, but. Yeah, I mean, Southside Deluxe itself has been a vibe for years. Years and years back. It’s always been a wee thing maybe on a graffiti tag or something. Some Southside Deluxe or something like that. Yeah, man, that’s kind of where the name and the vibe and the idea, for me anyway. Live man.


NCE: I echo everything that Bohze is saying about where Southside Deluxe came from. But I do remember one day. I can’t remember if you were still in your day job there, Bohze. I was certainly in mine


MB: Yeah.


NCE: and we were chatting over Messenger.


MB: Mmmmm.


NCE: I was absolutely. I was working in IT at the time and I was absolutely scunnered. I’m like, “Why am I putting all my energy into something that I’m just not really interested in? See if I put my energy into something that I really loved, you know, we could make something happen.”


MB: Yeah.


NCE: So and Bohze is. I don’t know if that was. That was around the time that Bohze’s album was probably getting near completion or was at some stage of Blastoid happening and I was like let’s


MB: It was finishing up, man. It was there. It was like, “This is gonnae finish.”


NCE: let’s get a vehicle that can put that out and just see where it goes. And it went from there to. Who was next? Was it Loki next?


MB: Loki was next, I think.


NCE: So Loki came on for Edging God Out. Then I think it was Scatabrainz.


MB: Yup.


NCE: And then what?


MB: And then you’ve had. There’s been Epik releases. There’s been Bohze releases. I think there’s been Toy Control releases.


NCE: Toy Control. Toy Control. That was the next one. And then most recently Dunt, which, pfffffff.


MB: That Grace Clones mob as well! That mad Grace Clones mob!


NCE: Oh aye Grace Clones. So it’s a whole bunch. It’s not just, “Aye this is a hip hop label. It’s a kinda, this is a label for good music, you know?” Music that we like and you get to do what you want on it.


MB: The reason I suppose that Scottish hip hop won’t have or hasn’t had as much, or any mainstream, really, success is because at its root, it’s really protest music and the mainstream are not going to entertain protest music. This is really what happens so. For real hip hop it’s just not a viable option to become, to sell out like that. And I think that the message would have to become diluted. There’s no way that you could take some of the tracks in Scottish hip hop – how politicised, how locally, colloquial, the language, the – and play it on the radio. It’s just because it’s so raw and so gruesome and so true. It’s just, it’s just it’s not for the mainstream’s airwaves. It’s just, it’s not acceptable for them. I got partially invited to go onto STV one time and I’m sure they had a look at what they might have had coming and it just got quashed. And I mean, I’m not the most political or most gruesome or most, you know, what’s the word, crude or whatever out there. But it was just like, “Naw.”


NCE: Ahah.


MB: So the mainstream, it probably makes real hip hop suspicious, you know? To me, I don’t think that hip hop and it’s message, you know, most of the time where it comes from and the mainstream, for me anyway, I don’t think. It’s like oil and water. Almost. I don’t think that they mix.


NCE: Mmmm.


MB: You’d have to dilute it. If I was to become somebody who tried to do or whatever, I’d have to change my thing completely. It’s just. Maybe if that’s who you are already


NCE: Uh huh.


MB: that’s alright. Most of the time you’ll find the hip hop artists are real, you know, people who have been in real struggles. And like me back in the day when they saw people making music like “White Lines” and stuff, they thought, “I can do that.”


NCE: Mmm.


MB: And you’ve got all the young crew coming through going, “I can do that.” And all their music is heavily, heavily politicised. Heavily politicised, man. So it’s for me, that’s why it’s not. It’s oil and water the two, for me. Don’t mix actually. You know?


{music starts}


Host: You’re listening to The Scottish Hip Hop Show featuring NC Epik and Mistah Bohze.


{music ends}


NCE: This is off the Blastoid McGonagle album by Mistah Bohze, which is the first release on the Southside Deluxe. I remember the day Bohze played me the demo. And we were driving in the motor and it’s just, the beat was relentless and I remember. I need, I had to pull over and I was like, “Mate, we need to do this.” Yeah, so “Quiet Storm” is a kinda continuation, It’s like a spiritual continuation of The Sentinalez.


{music, “Quiet Storm”}


MB: At times it’s been everything. Honestly. And at times, it’s been nothing. It’s really weird, right, but most of all I think that hip hop for me introduced me to a completely different way of life way back in the 80s when things were kickin off. I mean, you basically had a choice. It was become a football casual or you continued with your creativity, you know? And it just. That was. And I always. The creative process, honestly, the creative process for me sitting in room. My house. My living room, whatever. And the doors were here, man. You know, chopping up a sample. Betting a nice wee beat. It’s just home. It’s like, this is home and that’s what it means. I’m lucky that I’ve had something that I could lean on. Something I could, something I could actually go to when, when you need to, you know? And some people don’t have that. And I can, I totally appreciate that. So it’s kinda. This cold kinda cheesy cliche or whatever, but it actually. At points in time, it’s probably saved me. So it’s been everything, man. It’s just how I introduced young teenagers in Glasgow to creativity. In some ways, we’re just lucky enough that we found our thing through it.


NCE: Uh huh.


MB: You know what I mean? We found our. It might have lasted a couple weeks for some people. It could last a couple of months for others. But for others, it was just like here we are, man. We’re home. You know, man? So that’s what hip hop is to me. It’s kinda like home.


NCE: What Bohze was saying there around at times it’s maybe saved you. I can identify with that especially sorta in my, in recent years. I think there was a point when I thought like abandon music and go the corporate route because that’s the way that, you know, you know, you’re expected to go. And yada yada yada. And that kinda led to mental health problems for me, frankly! So I basically pulled that back and I had a. I took time off and I was reflecting on things and I was like. I realised it was like missing a limb. And so then I just started making beats again and my health improved. So it’s definitely, it’s definitely a part of me. It’s definitely a limb.


{music starts}


Voice: You’re listening to The Scottish Hip Hop Show.


{music ends}


MB: Oh, now this is going to sound quite ironic, man, but I think that the people from Scotland who understand the Scottish language and who like hip hop are going to benefit massively. Because unfortunately, man, the local dialect and the accent and the terminology and the colloquialisms are pretty much lost on people outside of, you know, Scotland. So it’s really. What it brings, I mean, I love some of the new stuff that’s coming out of Scotland, man. And I think what it brings, it’s just. It brings what Scotland is. You just get reflection of what your environment is, really, in the music. So I think that’s what makes it unique. That’s it. It’s just no other place is Scotland so the music coming from Scotland is going to be like unlike any other. However, one of the biggest compliments. Somebody thought it was a compliment and said, “Mate, your music doesn’t even sound like it’s even fae Scotland!” And I thought, “I don’t even know if that is a compliment or no.” I think he was getting, “Scottish music always sounds the same.” Or something. I don’t know. I just think that Scottish hip hop there’s a lot of. Aye man, there’s a lot of talent


NCE: Mmmmm.


MB: and the thing is about it’s just ever evolving. It’s ever growing. It’s just. I think that’s. It’s just, you know, it’s in perpetual motion. It’s just gonna keep evolving and that’ll be that, you know? When we’re long gone, man.


This tune is called “Worth.” It’s the, it’s off the new Mistah Bohze, the Epicentre Piece project. And it’s quite a kinda boom bappy track, man. You know, it’s not your typical boom bap. It’s kinda boom bappy and it’s featuring, obviously, my man Epik and Big Shamu and it’s recently just out the oven and we thought it would be a nice kinda way to reflect what’s been going down recently. What’s up and coming.


{music, “Worth” by Mistah Bohze featuring NC Epik and Big Shamu}


{music starts}


Host: The Scottish Hip Hop Show is an Immaculate Reception production and is generously funded by Creative Scotland and Audio Content Fund. The Series Producer is Delaina Sepko. Original music and production by Dunt. Graphic design by Kirsty Maclauchlan and marketing by Colleen Reid. Thank you to Sunny G Radio, shmu, K107 and 3TFM for their broadcasting support. Visit www.thescottishhiphopshow.co.uk.


{music ends}


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