Ash Law is a talented London based lyricist quietly going about his business.
This MC has so far, seemingly neglected to follow the popular ‘Grime’ or ‘Trap’ formula as a means of creating an instant buzz and instead stayed on a steady course of conventional UK Hip Hop.
Ash’s delivery is superb, coupled with consistently solid production; he is gaining critical acclaim with each release including Ghost and No Place like Home. His words are insightful, soulful and even spiritual as he centers on themes such as his Christian faith, the futility of street life and his dreams of achieving success in the music industry.
We had the opportunity to speak to Ash Law this week and here’s the best of his interview with TBB’s Albert Yanney…
Ash Law welcome to TBB. Can I start by asking about the meaning behind your rap moniker?
Well to be honest there is no deep meaning behind my name. ‘Ash’ is my first name abbreviated and ‘Law’ is my surname abbreviated. I first used it merely as an alias just to put on my BB Pin years ago as I’ve just never been comfortable with the idea of putting my real name on social media or anything of that sort. I was rapping at the time, although not seriously, under the name ‘TNT’ but then as I looked to start taking rap seriously it just seemed a good idea to assume the alias Ash Law which I have stuck with ever since.
Which came first for you – writing poetry or rap lyrics?
I started off doing Grime as a youngster. This gradually turned into rap as I got older; I was about 15 when I started rapping. At around 18 I was considering the idea of picking up poetry/spoken word but had not developed my craft enough so I was quite intimidated by just raw poetry. I got into poetry eventually at about 19/20.
Do you feel crediting yourself as a rapper/poet offers you a greater platform to express yourself?
It definitely does. There are some people who prefer rap to spoken word/poetry and vice-versa and I just happen to love expressing myself in both formats for different reasons. My motivation for doing both is mainly passion and not so much a tactical decision. However I do see the benefit of doing both when you potentially have a bigger audience to communicate to.
How do you feel about the current state of UK Hip Hop, is this a good time to emerge as a young and ambitious MC?
It is definitely a good time especially with social media increasing attention the UK is getting from across the pond and the increasing realisation that one could be a successful artist without the backing of a major label. To be honest though, even if it was a bad time for new talent to emerge I don’t think that will change much for me because my passion would still have me creating art.
Tell us about your music to date; especially your most prominent track releases Ghost and No Place Like Home…
I can literally write a book each on the experiences and feelings that birthed both songs; I may actually do that in the future. But concisely speaking, the song Ghost is me just venting for about 3 minutes about some things I have experienced over the years. It’s a very personal song even if that may go over people’s heads. It is mainly based around my relationships with different people in different contexts. No Place Like Home is an ironic spin on a commonly used phrased, which usually has connotations of endearment with regards to a particular place, but I’ve used it to embody the idea of me feeling like I don’t belong. You have to listen to both songs carefully and take from it what you will.
Do you have any key influences that have served to inspire you as an artist so far?
It is a very cliché thing to say… but life is my influence, all the complex details of it and everything pertaining to it
Lyrically speaking, you allude to steering clear of the ills of street life as well as your faith in God. Can you go into more detail about both?
Yeah, I’m glad you asked me that. I was born and raised on a typical council-estate which means I’m accustomed to being around crime, gang culture etc. I also grew up going to church regularly on Sunday. So whilst I grew up surrounded by madness I was also acquainted from a young age with concepts such as sin, the devil, the Gospel, being ‘born again’, etc. which can be quite obscure concepts for a young child. But even though I have been through my fair share of witnessing poor and abusive approaches to biblical matters in church settings, I could not help but feel that in the midst of all this there was a resounding truth, namely that I was a sinner, in need of a saviour, who needed to turn away from his sin and any skepticism I had. I could not ultimately reject this. So I accepted this truth at the age of 17 and haven’t turned back since. If anyone wants to press me further on that issue they can feel free.
Who is Ash Law’s favourite MC of all-time?
I like various MC’s for various reasons and sometimes over time my feelings may change. If I had to choose anyone I would have to choose Tupac. He was the first rapper I was fully introduced to (at about the age of 9). He touched on profound topics and his songs were very artistically constructed and had a weird way of just fully engaging the listener.
…and what you’re listening to currently?
Just a variety of different music, like loads so I would not even know where to begin with a list.
Do you have any specific working plans for summer 2016 and beyond?
I’m working on my mixtape which hopefully should be coming out this year and also performing spoken word at a few events here and there. I should almost definitely have more music videos coming out soon as well.
Where can your people find out more about your music?
What are you doing once this interview is over?
Probably something uninteresting.