Wrap Up And Watch Out: Mdot-E
Still relatively new to the UK scene, Mdot-E has put in a large amount of work, creating four mixtapes and an album in a short space of time. Mdot-E has also fast become the go-to guy in the UK rap scene for collaborations, lending his productions and smooth hooks to the tracks that help win over the ladies. The Wrap Up’s Tobi Oke caught up with the ambitious south Londoner to speak on his origins, musical style and much more...
The Wrap Up: Firstly, tell us the story behind your name?
Mdot-E: I was initially called ‘Tinchy’ five years ago, and then Tinchy Stryder came out and then blew up with the name, so changing it was obviously the easiest thing to do. I was thinking of a name that would represent me as a person and I came up with 'me' as in, Mdot-E.
TWU: You produce your own music as well. I’m guessing you were originally a producer first?
Mdot-E: Yeah, I started producing because I done a production course at college and I used to be an MC, but the whole grime thing just wasn’t me. I was more into hip-hop, I always wanted to rap but I wasn’t really that good as a rapper – I was just making beats for all of the artists around me that were good.
TWU: So, what made you decide to start rapping?
Mdot-E: I always used to rap, but I never had the confidence to put stuff out until my friend, Rhymer, told me: ‘You should just put stuff out; you shouldn’t care about what anyone thinks. Your beats are banging and people won’t really notice.’ So I started and I’ve just been building since then.
TWU: Now, as both a producer and an artist, you must spend a lot of time in the studio. How long does it take you to produce a beat and how long to write and record a track?
Mdot-E: It’d take about thirty minutes or an hour to create the basics of a beat and I’ll just build from that. To write and record a track, it’s maybe two or three hours. I’ve just got so much material right now.
TWU: Which of the two do you enjoy more?
Mdot-E: I’d say producing. Without a beat, there’s nothing, there’d just be an acapella, so that, for me, is the main thing. If the production is good, then I’ll start writing straight away for it.
TWU: Over the last 18 months, you’ve worked with several top rappers in the UK scene, such as DVS, Gunna Dee, Blade Brown, etc., and you always seem to either produce or feature on a particular track which is aimed at the ladies. Do you see this as your speciality in the scene right now?
Mdot-E: As an artist, that’s the direction I’m going in. The ladies thing is what I’m trying to lock down, which no one aint really doing at the moment. I remember when DJ Ironik came out, he was doing the same thing and I remember thinking, ‘He’s got it and he’s gone with it’, but now he’s just gone quiet so I don’t know. Keeping relevant has got a lot to do with it as well and, going back to what you said, when it comes to that certain sound, the top artists holla at me for that because they know when they need a certain sound, they need to holla at Mdot-E (laughs).
TWU: Would you agree that your fanbase is majority female?
Mdot-E: I’m not gonna lie, at the moment it is majority females. Because of the female attention, guys jump on board anyway.
TWU: Of the artists you’ve worked with, who has been your favourite to work with?
Mdot-E: Blade Brown is the only artist that comes to my studio and we build the track from scratch. He won’t even have the lyrics, no beat. I’ll make the beat, write the hook and then he’ll put down his bars. Also, Troy (formerly of RD), she’s actually here right now in the studio. Me and her, we have that chemistry. Instead of sending out beats and waiting for the artist to record it and send it back, I’d rather be in the studio with them – that’s just how I work best.
TWU: You recently supported Big Sean at his show in London. How was that experience?
Mdot-E: That was one of the best experiences! Definitely one of my biggest achievements. The amount of people that came to show love and support and see me, not just Big Sean, I was amazed. I had people saying, ‘I’m not even here to see Big Sean, I’m here for Mdot-E.’ It was such a good look.
TWU: People are starting to tip you as the next one to eventually crossover to the mainstream with your image and sound. Does this put pressure on you?
Mdot-E: Nah, not at all. What I’ve been delivering comes natural, it’s not like I’m forcing it, and it’s my sound. It’s all about consistency and it shouldn’t be a problem, not saying that it won’t be, but it shouldn’t be. With me, making that mainstream sound wouldn’t be a problem, everyone can relate to my music, whether you’re a guy or girl. Sometimes, only the road man can relate to other main subjects in UK rap but, with me, I can make a whole song just about me liking a girl and my granddad can listen to that and say, ‘Rah! I remember when I first met your nan.’ My style is more open, it’s for all ears.
TWU: Who in the UK do you still have on your wish-list to work with?
Mdot-E: Erm, I’d say Chipmunk. I haven’t worked with Wretch 32, I produced something and he jumped on it, but I wanna actually work with Wretch. Skepta is also another one; I’ve been recently trying to get him on my next project.
TWU: What are going to be your main aims and goals for 2012?
Mdot-E: More visuals for next year, more for TV and definitely more shows because I’m enjoying the live shows at the moment.
Stay up to date with Mdot-E on Twitter – www.twitter.com/MdotE
Words: Tobi Oke (@TeflonTobz)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)