Wrap Up And Watch Out: Rival
East London’s Rival is a thrilling DJ-turned-MC, who in recent times has received a lot of attention for his fiery lyrics and incisive wordplay. With a wealth of projects in the pipeline and a steadily brewing hype surrounding the lyricist, The Wrap Up’s Errol Anderson caught up with him to talk grime, 'Lord Of The Mics 3' and, erm, Floyd Mayweather…
The Wrap Up: So, who exactly is Rival?
Rival: Rival is a creative MC hailing from east London. Wordplay, I like to say I’m good with it. I talk a lot about violence, but I can animate the violence and make it more fun for everyone to listen to.
TWU: You used to be a DJ, right? What made you change and become an MC?
Rival: I was never planning to be an MC, I was always just a DJ and just used to mix on sets and then I heard Footsie’s ‘Scars’ instrumental and the words just came. One day I just sat down in my room, played the tune and thought, ‘Let me try something’ and started putting words together. The first lyric that I made wasn’t the best, but it definitely wasn’t the worst, so after that I wrote about three 16’s and sprayed them to my friends and they liked it. From there, I just carried on working and here we are now.
TWU: What first got you into music?
Rival: For me, grime-wise, it would have to be Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and listening to Déjà vu sets, but in terms of actually listening to music in general, it was probably 90s rap music: the Biggie and Tupac war, NWA and stuff like that. My sister used to listen to them, so I grew up listening to Eazy E and stuff like that. I would say that Eminem is my biggest influence, because the stuff he was saying was outrageous and everyone used to look at him and say how he’s causing a lot of controversy, but he’s talented. You can tell that with the direction he goes with his music, he knows what he’s doing and he knows what boundaries to push. The guy is a genius!
TWU: Okay, so how would you describe your style?
Rival: My style is of a typical boy around my age with dreams about doing music that can speak about things that other people might not have gone through. I can blend that in. I’d say my style is creative, because every time I get in the studio, I think to do something mad. It’s just very creative.
TWU: Recently, Jammer announced the ‘Lord Of The Mics 3’ line-up and you’re up against Desperado. How are you feeling about that?
Rival: I feel like Mayweather right now, and the reason why I feel like Mayweather is because he gives it all the talk and still knocks brothers out. Obviously, Desperado was good at a time, but sometimes with the old people, you just have to knock them off of their walking stick and show them about the new talent and that’s what I’m planning to do.
TWU: From the line-up that you’ve seen so far, what do you reckon is going to be the most exciting clash?
Rival: The OG Niki and No Lay clash is going to be hype! That should be very interesting. From the ‘Warm Up Session’ alone, you can tell it’s gonna be a mad one and we haven’t had LOTM for so long, everyone’s excited anyway, so it doesn’t matter what clash comes up. Big up Jammer for bringing it back. Obviously, I grew up watching it and now I’m a part of it, I’m just happy to be a part of it. I think it’s a good look that he brought it back now, because the grime scene has developed so much in terms of lyrical ability. Whereas back in the day with grime, you could get away with chatting rubbish and one-liners, now everyone is writing proper lyrics, so the clashing is going to be intense. I reckon it should be at its best!
TWU: If we’re talking retrospectively now, what do you reckon is your favourite LOTM clash?
Rival: It will always be the Kano and Wiley clash. They’re both sick at what they do and it was an intense clash, even now I don’t know who won. But those two going at it was so hard, just constantly back and forth for so long and it just carried on. The hype was definitely there.
TWU: What are your views on the state of the grime scene at the moment?
Rival: It’s good that we’re all coming through at a time when people are claiming that grime is dead and everyone is bringing something new to the table. It’s great that we have newcomers as well as the older generation, because younger kids get to hear what we’re doing now as well as older fans and we’re trying to bring something new. The grime scene is looking healthy. Obviously, we’re moving with the times as well as any other genre, so hopefully we can just progress. The more publicity we get and the more listeners that we get, the better.
TWU: Finally, we’re now half way through 2011, so what are your plans for the latter half of the year and beyond?
Rival: ‘Lock Off The Rave’ is out July 10. Shortly after that, I’ve got a free mixtape called ‘Biscuits’, just giving the fans a little something to digest, hence the name. I also love biscuits (laughs). I’ve got my second mixtape, ‘Constructive Violence’, dropping and I might do another EP too! I’ve got the ‘Rival Vs Nypz 2’ coming out – that’s a dubstep project that I’m working on with Nypz, he’s a big producer. I’m currently working behind an entertainment team, ‘Grind Game Entertainment’, which works on people’s artwork, visuals and stuff like that. I’m getting in behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera.
Stay up to date with Rival on Twitter – www.twitter.com/JusRival
Rival's single, 'Lock Off The Rave', is out July 10.
Words: Errol Anderson (@Elzan1)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)