The foul mouthed rapper/emcee/lyricist takes a time out to talk to Consciousness about his up and coming debut album and his take on msanzi Hip Hop.
sunchild – Firstly can you tell us about your alias and how it came about?
foul-play – Foul-Play is a metaphor for murdering the Hip-Hop industry… The definition for Foul-Play is actually a criminal act involving murder. I also took on the title as it has symbolic meanings too… ‘Foul’ represents the raw element of Hip-Hop and hardcore rapping, while ‘Play’ symbolises the creative playful side of my rhyme structures.
sunchild – How would you describe your style and sound?
foul-play – My style is versatile… I can and have done everything. I have touched on every concept and ironed out a lot of content. I do not limit myself with style or sound because I’m constantly tying to push myself to the next level. Growth never stops in music… Even Quincy Jones admits he is learning something new everyday. So that alone can tell you, my style is not labelled yet because it’s still got a long way to go. I work a lot of different flows and rhyme structures into my concepts and each song on my album sounds different from the last. So technically no, I can’t really describe my sound or style. Or …maybe I should look into that a little more haha.
sunchild – Can you tell us whether you call yourself an emcee, a rapper or a lyricist as so many artists these days choose to define themselves in so many ways and what’s the difference?
foul-play – A rapper is an emcee and an emcee is a lyricist as they do the exact same thing… There is no major difference between them in a big scale but if you want to separate emcee with a fine-tooth comb… An emcee is the more conscious artist, one who touches on issues that most people can and will relate to. A rapper is one of those artists who are just in it for the image and not the culture of Hip-Hop. A lyricist is somebody who is creative with words, how they structure rhyme patterns and flows… If I were to be classified as anything, I will go with lyricist but at the same time I consider myself all of the above. There isn’t anything that emcees, rappers or lyricists do that I can’t do…but my album will showcase this.
sunchild – What makes you different from every other artist out there trying to make it in the music industry?
foul-play – Nothing really… That’s me being honest. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you and claim I am the best there is. I know that there are emcees out there that are better than me; I have them in my crew but they are in my crew because of that reason hahaha. Look, my passion and drive to make Hip-Hop’s culture fruitful is something that a lot of people don’t have and I have skill and knowledge on top of that. If people read my album reviews I do for HYPE Magazine, they will know where I find my inspiration and they will also know that I am all for Hip-Hop and its culture. With anything musical, there is competition but I don’t want competition between rappers… I’m out to make Hip-Hop grow further in S.A. but that doesn’t mean I’m backing down here… I’ll still gladly chew any emcee who wants to try me haha.
sunchild – I understand you are in the process of finishing your debut album, what was that process like and how is easy is it to release an album in SA.
foul-play – My album process has been long. It was a learning experience as well but it was worth it. My album is very personal because I made songs about issues I was facing during the making of the album. I have had a strong team backing it so I have no doubt it’s going to be a solid release and I am aiming for a classic album.
foul-play – It’s challenging and fun at the same time… Being an independent artist is the hardest job ever, and most artists will agree with that. You never really know until you are really in it. On an independent level it is easy to have an album…but getting it out is the main problem due to marketing and funding. A Hip-Hop album in S.A. also doesn’t peak in sales because of the bootlegging movement that has killed the music industry. So most artists with albums in store or not, focus a lot of energy on live shows.
sunchild – Are you signed to a label?
foul-play – No… I am part of a brand which is going to be a label soon though. I am looking at a distribution deal with a certain label but it’s still in talks right now but that’s as far as being signed goes.
sunchild – Do you think that there is enough opportunity in SA for an artist to move forward positively in the underground scene and is there a large enough following to make a decent living from it?
foul-play – Like I said, sales of actual product do not do as well as most would like, so a decent living on sales alone is something you can rule out but living off live gigs yes… S.A. is growing right now and we have some artists from here getting signed to big international labels…the world is watching. It’s all about how an artist applies them self and what frame of mind they are in… These are the key factors to moving forward in Hip-Hop, not only in S.A. but worldwide.
sunchild – Do you think South African music is behind the rest of the world in terms of production and quality in music?
foul-play – No… We are good; we have top notch stuff coming out of S.A. right now. Overall quality has improved a lot and our production is on point as well. We have a lot of nice producers setting a standard like TitusTrack Productions, Hoodlum, Octave Couplet and Ameen for example. Our creative levels are really insane too… There was a period in S.A. where music seemed somewhat stagnant but we are out of that and moving strong again.
sunchild – Would you say that your music has a following and do you have following?
foul-play – Yes, my music is Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop has a huge following…was that question rhetorical? I also have a bit of a fan base. Taking into consideration this is my first official album, I have gained rep merely off the streets. I do have a mixtape which I did with Cloneproof but I really dislike that project… I wasn’t doing things I am doing now and I was limited to creativity. So this album is going to change my numbers and earn a number of fans haha. I have also gained some fans overseas. So yeah, I got a following.
sunchild – Where have you performed recently and do you have any gigs coming up that we should know about?
foul-play – This year we haven’t had any performances because we have been trying to finalise two products first. There is a huge event coming up in May called the Mzansi Hip-Hop festival… We will be rocking the crowd with 40 other local acts and one big USA artist. I can’t reveal who it is until they have the press release. I’m hustling to do international shows too so hopefully something materialises from that.
sunchild – Where can people find out more about you and hear or buy your music?
foul-play – I am on Facebook like most people are, Foul-Play Monteiro… People can either add me or join the TitusTrack Productions group. I should be making more appearances on the web with video interviews and such. I already have a mini interview on another website…am I allowed to name drop?? Hahaha…but yeah, people just need to keep their ears to the ground and their eyes on the screen. When the album is done, people can order directly from me until we have a definite on the distribution but I’ll keep in touch with www.consciousness.co.za so you guys have an update of the process and progress of it. People in S.A. can also catch me and my stable performing in and around Johannesburg areas in S.A. and if there are any international promoters looking for S.A. artists, GET AT ME!!!!!!! Oh and we do ship our orders overseas too…
foul-play – Just expect a warm winter… Foul-Play: Constructive Brainstorming drops July/August 2010!! Thanks to you for the interview and thanks to the readers for sitting through this ordeal haha. Keep the culture alive!!!!!