Bruva, Where Art Thou: L Dot Man
Once one of the most entertaining characters within both the UK hip-hop and grime scene, L Dot Man was a more diverse and professional artist who seemed destined to make it. Despite his success with deep cutting concept tunes like 'Pushin'', the south Londoner slipped out of the scene around 2010. Two years later, L Dot Man is back and raring to go! I managed to catch up with him to discuss his return to the scene, his new EP, and how he could give K Koke and Benny Banks "a run for their money."
The Wrap Up: L Dot Man, it’s been a long time. Where on earth have you been?
L Dot Man: You know what? I’ve just been taking it easy, I had a son. I felt like I was putting in too much with music and I weren’t getting anything out of it. At the time when I was doing it, they didn’t understand – they didn’t know what to do with artists, man. A lot of underground people were getting signed but only to small labels, not the majors like Polydor or Virgin. I took time out and now I’m seeing all the white boys are getting signed up (laughs). The record labels now know how to push them.
TWU: With UK rap thriving at the moment, I was always expecting to see you pop back into the scene...
L Dot Man: People keep on saying the same thing to me. It was going places when I was touring but I was meeting fans that had more money than me, fam. I was broke, bruv. I’d put in all of this work and I couldn’t even eat. I weren’t looking after myself right.
TWU: What was the last big thing you did music-wise?
L Dot Man: The Skinny Man ‘Smoking Ban’ tour was the last thing, seriously. At the same time, I dropped ‘New Age Army’ – which came out in HMV and did really well. I was signed to an underground label called Love Dough from Newcastle. We sold 21,000 copies of ‘New Age Army’, which was a big look back then for an underground artist to sell so many units.
TWU: I can understand how having your son put a hold on everything, even after selling 21,000 units. Was that a major factor when deciding to take a break from the music?
L Dot Man: Yeah, especially after the way that I’ve been brought up with no mum and dad. My dad was born into a children’s home and I was brought up in a children’s home, so I thought, ‘I’ve got to break the cycle’. I have now done that. I’m always there for him; my son knows who I am. Now I’m slowly getting back into the music.
TWU: The scene has changed a lot since you’ve been gone. What do you think to it these days?
L Dot Man: Erm, it’s good, I like it. It’s open. It’s open for a lot of road man who just used to do that but now want to do music. I’m not going to say that I’m the best lyricist in the world, but these it’s not about lyrical ability these days. The music has changed; it’s all about sounding banging on a tune nowadays. When I was doing my thing, it was about who can be the most lyrical at the same time, and we would always aim to hit that bar, but now it’s like people don’t know what it is to be lyrical.
TWU: I think now, though, there’s a lot more room for an artist like you at the major labels...
L Dot Man: Yeah, I think YouTube has opened up a lot of doors for people as well. It weren’t as big before, we were just hitting BBC 1Xtra and pirate radio stations, but now there’s a lot more videos and I know that I’ve just got to get used to that to get noticed again.
TWU: So, who are you rating these days?
L Dot Man: On the hip-hop side of things, it’s still Skinny Man and Klashnekoff. I’m feeling Young Teflon, and Blade Brown is big as well. There’s also a lot of copycatting going on. Guys think, ‘He blew so I’ve got to sound like that.’ I’m trying to show them that originality is the way forward! If you wanna get signed out here, you don’t wanna be sounding like DVS or K Koke because we’ve already got them.
TWU: Tell me a bit about your new EP...
L Dot Man: It’s going to be called ‘The Orphan Child’ and it’s got Klashnekoff, Big Narstie and Soldier on it. I’m not getting bare man, because I want it to be more my thing. It’s been about two years since I dropped the last one, so I wanna hit the streets in a big way. I wanna get my fans back! I wanna show them that I ain’t left them, I’m still here.
TWU: Are there any newcomers who you’d want to work with now you’re back doing music?
L Dot Man: I think doing a tune with K Koke would be big. I wanna do a tune with Benny Banks as well. These guys need a challenge, and I will give them a challenge. Not beef, but lyric for lyric I’ll give them a different type of challenge. A lot of people have got eyes on these kinds of MCs, but when it comes to lyrical ability, if I was to jump on a tune with them man there, I think I’d definitely give them a run for their money. They’re doing big things, I’m not gonna lie.
TWU: I look forward to that. Good luck with your return to the scene, sir.
L Dot Man: Watch out for me, man. I’m back. Peace!
Stay up to date with L Dot Man on Twitter – www.twitter.com/LDotManUK
Words: Jake Hanrahan (@OiJake)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)