Introducing Deadkings, Manchester's creative hip-hop movement

07 December 2015

Introducing Deadkings, Manchester's creative hip-hop movement

Pear Shaped Manchester Deadkings Rap Hiphop

Musically, Manchester has always been an influential city. In recent years more and more northern mc's have started to emerge from an ever growing Mancunion Hip-Hop scene. We catch Up with Pete Obsolete, Seymour & NCK, to find out what's going on in the world of Deadkings.

1.Firstly, How did you guys meet and what brought you both together to collaborate on Deadkings?

S: We met at my club night, Golden Egg in 2013, and it came apparent that we both had similar upbringings in boom bap hip hop, poetry and art. 

O: It happened really naturally, I was checking out some local nights and found Golden Egg, we chatted and I ended up being the creative on team for all the promotional material. We started freestlying and writing together, and the rest is history.

2.How did you both get started in the music industry?

S: I’ve been running GE since 2009 as a platform for the hip hop community who wouldn’t necessarily have a stage to perform at other venues. My first performance was at Hogsozzle Festival, which is now in its 5th year and is going from strength to strength. Originally, I performed with BEATSUM which is a hip hop/funk/soul group in collaboration with vocalist Sister Mary and DJ, Tommy K, and over the years have performed and recorded with many of Manchester’s MC’s, but its time for the DeadKings! 

O: I’ve been illustrating and designing for many years under the name of Pete Obsolete, and have worked, as an artist /graphic designer/art director. for a lot of the hip hop families in Manchester on a variety of projects. My love for the art and writing has always been there, but it was writing battle bars for Don’t Flop that got me back into writing hip hop. It has been almost solely down to Seymour (as well as Cheech from The Bluntskins and Leon ETV) that meant I had the fuel and the direction to write and perform officially. My first on-stage experience was choking at a live freestyle battle night for Don’t Flop in Manchester, and it was terrible! It was a good learning curve, and as well as rapping with people like Blizzard and Mothership Connection, you learn very quickly that practice is everything!

3.Why Deadkings? Is there a deeper meaning to the name? 

S: We wanted a name that reflects both our approaches and our interests in a dystopian future. My job gives me a strong political opinion, and we both believe that music should sound good, but lyrical content is important to us. ‘DeadKings’ is a comment on the fact we don’t need to be fearful about death, that life is for celebrating and we can help each other to start new beginnings. 

O: It does exactly what it says on the tin.. By admitting were ‘dead’, we can speak from any chosen perspective, about life, death, the past, present or future. As ‘Kings’, we represent the people, and try to convey this in anything associated (beat, hook, verse, video etc). Together, Me and See want to create a world for DK, overseers observing whats happening, but actively wanting to change things (like a poltergeist)

4. Your track "An Evening With" vents a lot of frustration with current day to day situations/events...If Deadkings were put in charge of the UK for a day...What changes would we see?

S: How long have we got?? There are too many inequalities in todays world. There are people who live with excessive wealth, whilst others struggle every day of their lives to support themselves and their families. Theres too much to say, but we need to balance the scales of what we really need, and what people actually have.

O: Well See just said everything.. I would reflect that by making sure we address the worsening homeless problems in our major cities, recognise, address and put to bed the flaws in the education system, and start representing the people and the independent companies that make our cottage industries survive (including art, music, food and entertainment)

5. Music's a huge part of Manchester's history...What's it been like growing up there and who were your influences? 

S: Manchester is an amazing smelting pot of talent, and we’ve been lucky to meet and work with some amazing musicians along the way. My fondest memories of gigs are seeing GangStarr (when Guru was still alive), Kalashneckoff at Sankey Soup and Broke ’N’ £nglish at the Mint Lounge. What has really fuelled my love for the scene has been watching people perform who we can now call friends, TNC, Taste The Diff’rence, In The Loop, Mothership Connection and more recently the ETV collective.

O: Well, I’m from Nottingham! My upbringing in Manchester came from my Manc friends at Uni, showing me the usual spots for good hip hop, Sankeys Soup being one of the first places I went to, and the first time I saw what I’d consider a real hip hop night. Seeing Broke ’n’ £nglish, Guru & DJ Premier, Skinnyman, The Executioners, Rahzel, all under the same roof was the best introduction a Notts boy could get. My friends used to run a hip hop label in Nottingham, so moving to and into the Machester scene was a great way of seeing how its done in the north. From there, I’ve been keeping an eye/ear open, and collaborating with as many creative MC’s and producers as possible, delivering personalised artwork and video work whenever possible, which means you’re around the people that both inspire you, and will give you the opportunity to create. 

6.There's a lot of good artists rising from Manchester right now, who should we be watching?

S: Room2 Records and their familia, especially Free Wize Men, Sparkz, Ellis Meade, Deepo, Mothership Connection, Dubbul O and Cheech the Grim reefer should have something up his sleeve in the next few months!

From other collectives, look out for The Natural Curriculum, Conscious Poet, Bobby Hanzo, Chedeye Nights from Liverpool!

O: The Mouse Outfit have been burning stages since 2012, so any of their collaborative MC’s (Sparkz, Dubbul O, Fox, Ellis Meade, Dr Syntax to name but a few), Flex (Room2), the LEVELZ posse, Black Josh & Wordz, and keep one eye on General and Mister O (FORHIDDEN PROPHECIES), as well as the producers behind the music, Kydro, Mankub, Aver (TNC), Pro P (Bluntskins), WRZL, Blu Beatz (Chedeye Nights). 

7. Mankub produced "An Evening With", how did you guys meet and did you record the track locally? 

S: We recorded the DeadKings EP at the Room2 Records studio under our recently created ‘Egg Collective’, Ive known Mankub for 5 years through social media, and whenever we met, we realised we were likeminded in our approach. 

O: I met the man behind the beats in my Arthouse shop in 2014, and since his rep is nothing to shake a stick at, let alone being a gent, it was a natural collaboration. Its an honour working with someone so prevalent in the wider world of hip hop, and we can only look forward to recording more with Mankub and building on the foundations we already have.

8. Lastly, what's next for Deadkings?

S: The DeadKings EP will be out by the end of this year, with more videos and features to come from people around the UK and abroad. We have a collaborative EP coming out with General called ‘Urban Camouflage’, as well as having a number of tricks up our sleeves for 2016! NCK, our live DJ and 3rd member of DK, is a man of many skills, and were very excited about the collaborations he can bring.

O: First things first, the EP needs to drop! Once the videos and the EP are ready, we’re planning a lot more creative link-ups with like minded people, as well as working on videos and concepts that reflect the ideology of the Dead Kings. We’ve had the pleasure of working with so many amazing artists and MC’s, it humbling, and we’re are always looking to collaborate. 

You’re listening to the DeadKings talking.