Wrap Up And Watch Out: S-X
When S-X made the notorious 'Wooo Riddim' at 15 years of age, he probably had no idea of the impact that it would have on his music career a few years down the line. Now, the Wolverhampton-based hip-hop/grime producer is making beats for well-known chart-toppers such as Wretch 32, Plan B and Chipmunk, as well as shaking hands with some big names in the States. The Wrap Up’s Jake Hanrahan caught up with the rising super-producer...
The Wrap Up: How are you doing, S-X? Firstly, just introduce yourself to the masses…
S-X: I’m an 18-year-old music producer from Wolverhampton. Really, I make all kinds of music, but I mainly make hip-hop.
TWU: You famously made the ‘Wooo Riddim’, but did you ever expect it would launch your music career the way it has done?
S-X: Nah, man. I’m 18 now and I made it when I was like 15 years old, I made it time ago. I just left it, then I come back to it and people started rallying to it and it just blew up, man. But yeah, it really launched my career. I was able to just phone up Chipmunk and Skepta and be like, ‘Yo! Let’s work on a tune.’
TWU: In your words, why do you think your ‘Wooo Riddim’ instrumental became so popular?
S-X: I’m in Wolverhampton - which is a long way from London - it’s mad, man. I had to travel back and forth every weekend. So for me, I was just grinding, waiting outside of clubs to give people the CD and it got to the point where we stopped believing in it. Then a few big names jumped on it and then everyone else just jumped on it after that.
TWU: Who was the first person in London to vocal the ‘Wooo Riddim’?
S-X: The first in London might have been Frisco. I don’t even know how it just blew up, it started getting played on radio and SB.TV really helped to put it out there.
TWU: Do you think people’s attitudes have changed towards grime outside of London?
S-X: Yeah, I do think it has changed. I mean, as far as MCs go, we’ve got our own little thing and now everyone knows about Midlands MCs and now it’s producers as well. Like me and Bass Boy – he recently made ‘Amnesia’ for Skepta.
TWU: Which artists from the Midlands would you say are doing it right now?
S-X: StayFresh, they’re my guys, definitely watch out for them. Trilla as well, we’re all kind of linked up. In the Midlands, we’re all just doing it together, but obviously there are people who still want to do it alone.
TWU: The Midlands scene has always been more of a collective vibe, hasn’t it? Do you think this is the best way to work?
S-X: Yeah, most definitely! That’s what we’ve always done.
TWU: Some people say your grime sounds more like hip-hop that has been sped up. What’s your response to that?
S-X: That’s just my style and it always has been; I think that’s what makes it unique as well. That’s why ‘Wooo Riddim’ did so well because it is still hip-hop, in a way.
TWU: I think grime has changed a lot. People are into that sound more than they used to be...
S-X: Yeah, definitely. I think the whole grime sound has elevated, there’s a lot more people who do the whole hip-hop sound and there’s still people who do the old beats. You see how you’ve got hip-hop? Like, you’ve got the Dirty South style and then you’ve got West Coast hip-hop, and I think there’s gonna be a similar thing with grime. They might even call it ‘Midlands grime’ and ‘London grime.’ It’s good to have a varied sound, instead of hearing the same stuff in the club and knowing that my beats can rock up the club as well, it’s just crazy!
TWU: Obviously, you’re quite influenced by hip-hop, but who would you say your main influences are?
S-X: When I’m making beats, I don’t really get influenced by certain sounds, but styles and that, I’d say the usual: Dr. Dre, Timbaland and The Neptunes. There’re new guys as well, like Boy Wonder and T Minus - I actually know them two and we’re working on a few beats together. There are loads of people, even producers like Lex Luger, I am inspired by him. People say that my beats are similar to his and they are, in a way. I don’t copy anybody’s sound, though. I am me! You can tell when it’s an S-X beat; you can hear my style.
TWU: I think it’s just music fans being too critical sometimes…
S-X: (Laughs) Exactly, man. I don’t even call it a drama, you know? It’s just music to me. It’s my own sound. I don’t think anybody else has a sound like mine.
TWU: Are you featuring on any big albums?
S-X: Yeah, I’m on Plan B’s next album and I just did two tracks for Wretch for his album, and all Marvels’ singles as well. I’m working on so many things it’s hard to remember (laughs).
TWU: Who would you most like to work with?
S-X: It’s really the people who have passed away, but I’d love to work with Elton John, or someone like that. Imagine him on a grime tune! I’m working on some stuff in America right now and I want to be that person who can just go and call Lil Wayne and say, ‘Yo! There’s an artist over here called Skepta’ and then maybe Lil Wayne and Skepta could have a track. That would be crazy.
TWU: What have you got going on in America at the moment?
S-X: I can’t really say, but it’s going good.
TWU: Fair play. Where would you want to be in five years from now?
S-X: Musically, I just want to be in America so that I can make the UK sound big over there. I think it’s already happening, like, Britney Spears’ new single sounds like dubstep. I think it is going to happen, hopefully if I get the right links and do stuff at the right time, I can bring the UK sound through.
TWU: Okay. How can people get hold of your music?
S-X: My grime instrumental, ‘100 Bags’, is out now on iTunes, it’s coming out on vinyl as well. We’re going to do another little iTunes EP as well, just a remix of the ‘Wooo Riddim’. Ramadanman did a remix to ‘Wooo Riddim’ called ‘Wooo Glut’, that’s out on vinyl through Butterz. I’m just working on albums, really. Watch out for me, man!
Stay up to date with S-X on Twitter – www.twitter.com/ProducerSX
Words: Jake Hanrahan (@OiJake)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)