Club FRSHRZ brings together over 20 artists for its debut compilation album BlXCK Playlist.
TBB Talks caught up with one of its founders, Chasney Maturine to get more insight into this ground breaking project.
Introduce yourself …
My name is Chasney Maturine (aka SKANDOUZ) my heritage is Jamaican & Grenadian. I am a Hip Hop Artist and educator. I founded a youth Organisation called WISDM (We Inspire support Develop Master) as well as being 1/3 of the Hip Hop supergroup FRSHRZ. I also run a record label called Club FRSHRZ.
Tell us about the BLXCK Playlist album – how did it come about?
Club FRSHRZ Presents… The BLXCK Playlist brings together over 20 artists for a powerful compilation album filled with empowering and relevant philosophical verses over banging beats, the project ranges from Spoken word to Hip Hop to reggae to Soul with lush choruses and tight flows all mixed down to perfection.
This is a conceptual project based on a 10-song playlist where every song has the word black in the title. Black spelt BLXCK emphasising society’s need to censor such a powerful and beautiful word.
The BLXCK Playlist was initially inspired by a song called BLXCK Pride, which we wrote in tribute to a close friend who had lost his life long battle with Sickle Cell at the age of 33. We used the song to spread awareness of Sickle Cell Anaemia and to raise money for the Sickle Cell Society. We intentionally left the song off of the recently released FRSHRZ EP as I felt it served a greater purpose and subsequently decided to build the BLXCK Playlist around this song.
The decision to go with a Playlist rather than a traditional Album release was inspired by Drake’s More Life Playlist and since we live in the streaming era where playlists are everything right now. The decision was made to step outside the box and create a playlist rather than an album. We gathered a strong collection of songs featuring various guest UK artists.
Why did you pull together these particular artists for this album?
Selecting the artists for this project was an interesting process as I was originally open to working with American and international artists. As I got into the groove of putting the project together I was overwhelmed by the quality submissions from UK artists that it was no longer necessary to venture any further.
This project was used as an opportunity to showcase both established and emerging artists across the 10 songs.
There are over 20 featured vocalists and producers on TBP including FRSHRZ, Mikel Ameen, Mohammad Yahya, Coco7, Kevin Mark Trail, Nate the Lyricist and many more. Everyone shone and blended together harmoniously.
What is the intention behind BLXCK Playlist? Are you challenging today’s state of Hip Hop?
The Intention behind the BLXCK Playlist was simple. Be the change you want to see. As artists, we have a tendency to complain that we don’t have enough Positive and Conscious music in the mainstream for our young black boys and girls to listen to.
As a parent of both and as an artist with a label now, a clear decision was made to keep this project clean and positive: This meant no profanity, specifically no use of the N-word.
This project was tailor-made to be played for all ages. I can play this in the car with my children and not feel like I need to skip anything. In an era where a lot of our music can be labelled generic and disposable, I shouldered the responsibility to curate a legacy piece that will live on for years to come.
The BLXCK Playlist is here to challenge the state of Hip Hop and in terms of subject matter and has a lot to say. Starting off by questioning black perception, encouraging the support of black business, celebrating black queens, identity and so much more. There is a lot of content to unpack. TBP is uplifting, empowering and filled with a positive spirit that is refreshing and feels so much more than just a regular Hip Hop album. This is great British Black Music delivered at a time when it is so needed!
Where were you when you discovered Hip Hop? Who were you?
I was 8 years old when I first discovered Hip Hop. I was in the car listening to the radio with my Dad and “You can’t touch this” by MC Hammer came on and blew my mind. I was sucked in and the connection was instant. I remember learning all the lyrics and rapping them to anyone in earshot lol. This would later lead on to me writing my own little raps. As I developed my skills and evolved the quality of Hip Hop I listened to, my life long love affair with Hip Hop culture was solidified.
When was Hip Hop at its greatest?
Interesting question. I genuinely don’t believe we’ve seen Hip Hop at its greatest yet. Hip Hop culture is still relatively young. For example, Hip Hop is a global phenomenon, which continues to break down cultural boundaries and speak on social injustices around the world. Who’d ever thought we would see a Hip Hop President with Barack Obama? Or have one of the highest grossing actors of all time with Will Smith and the highest streamed artist in the world with Drake? The popularity of Hip Hop Culture is undeniable.
So with that being said, the future is so bright for Hip Hop and there are so many more boundaries for us to break. Let’s see if we can get a Hip Hop Prime minister in the UK!
My all time favourite Hip Hop artist changes all the time. Today it’s Jay Z. For me, he is the pinnacle of what being an independent Hip Hop artist is all about. Owning his masters and doing business on his own terms while consistently breaking new ground for Hip Hop with his various business ventures.
My favourite movement in Hip Hop would probably be the Afro-centric era.
As a Reggae baby who was raised on roots n culture, I’ve always craved music that feeds the heart, soul and mind. So groups like Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul & Black Star really resonated with me.
My favourite songs are ATCQ “Electric Relaxation”, Black Star “Respiration” (Pete Rock Remix) KRS One “MC’s Act Like They Don’t know” & Mos Def “Umi Says”.
UK Hip Hop Will always be a factor. Education is so important especially since there is a whole generation of artists in the UK who have no idea about the initial impact of UK Hip Hop: It’s real roots and origins. That is why we had to spark the conversation. When we (FRSHRZ) collaborated with the Legendary Rodney P for our single “LDN Posse” bringing back some of that old school UK Hip Hop flavour from the early ’90s. The song really stood out because of its throwback to an almost forgotten sound.
We are also working alongside Rodney’s “Of the People” movement to build the UK Hip Hop Archives, which I’m very excited about. This generation really needs to celebrate and appreciate the legacy that the original UK Hip Hop artists and forgotten pioneers have built as well as the doors they’ve opened for them.
*If you ever want to hear more about the Legacy of UK Hip Hop I have a radio show called the Connoisseurs Of Hip Hop on Mixcloud (Link below) where I’ve interviewed several UK Hip Hop Legends who can speak on this subject in greater depth.
You also work with young people, can you expand on the projects you are involved with and how you’re working with the youth and how Hip Hop factors in all of this?
I’ve been running youth projects since the summer of 2012 and under my organisation WISDM since 2013. From childhood, my Dad used to be a youth worker and I spent a considerable amount of time in various youth clubs across London. As a teenager, I always wanted to build an organisation like the ones I grew up with, such as WAC, Raw Material, Rising Tide, Community Music, Tribal Tree, Midi Music & The Roundhouse.
I initially joined them as a member, during which I would hone my craft as an MC, Producer and later a tutor.
I believe in the cycle of knowledge. I’ve been very fortunate to have some incredible mentor’s. I also have some very talented mentee’s and have always been open to sharing information. So a lot of the knowledge I’ve acquired from my elders over the years I’ve spun it with the intention of giving back to the next generation and so the cycle continues.
Using literature primarily and working alongside organisations such as Akala’s Hip hop Shakespeare, Small Green Shoots, FYA and Industry in the streets in London as well as other Partners based in Luton, Birmingham, Crawley & Ramsgate we deliver projects using Spoken Word, Hip Hop & Theatre. We’ve made a positive impact on the lives of young peoples that have worked with us up and down the UK over the years. We’re still fighting to deliver these projects and there is still much more building to do. But I am optimistic and excited about the future of WISDM.
*For a detailed rundown of all these project and guest tutors please visit WISDM.co.uk (Live Feb 2019)
You run an independent record label, it seems that ‘everyone‘ in music has their own label, what does it actually mean to run an independent label, and in today’s streaming culture how does an independent label survive?
Running an independent label is simply that …independence.
15 years ago I was offered a development deal with Universal. I sat down with my Lawyer to read through the clauses, which included one of them owning all the rights to my music up to 20 years after my death! I turned it down and vowed to just bask in the freedom of being independent remaining unsigned as well as learning about the business.
I went to university to study Music business, then attained my teaching qualification and then went on to teaching music Business.
I’m always astounded by how little so many of these amazing young artists know about the industry that they crave to succeed in. I’m also sick of seeing young naive artists get ripped off, so I do everything in my power to remedy that.
Club FRSHRZ is surviving as an independent label in today’s streaming culture by keeping our eye on the ball, continuing to work with gifted, hungry visionary artists, thinking outside the box and having the ability to adapt to the constant evolution of this industry whilst sticking to the fundamentals of getting paid by delivering a quality product.
If you ruled the world you’d … ?
I would allow direct flights from the West Indies to Africa. I would make it affordable and encourage black people to see the world, discover their ancestry and family history. I would make all the companies and banks that were built off the backs of the slave trade pay reparations and basically right as many of the blatant wrongs from history as I possibly can. Oh! And I’d also make the BBC to finally release the Real McCoy in its entirety for the masses to see!
Levelling Up for 2019! Promoting “The BLXCK Playlist” so lots of press!
Club FRSHRZ Presents… The
Nate The Lyricist – Buy BLXCK
FRSHRZ – BLXCK Pride
FRSHRZ ft. Rodney P – LDN Posse
Connoisseurs Of Hip Hop https://www.mixcloud.com/SKANDOUZ/stream/
WISDM on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQhn4N0CUwzG-rVCgVSpHuQ