SlewDemMafia

From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.9

What Is The Most Meaningful Song You Wrote/ Produced And Why?

That's a tough one! There's so many, I've got to pick more than one! The first track would have to be, 'HARD DAYS,' which was taken from Rage's mix tape, 'Streets Of Rage' vol 2. I think it was around 2008-2009, I was going through a '80s music phase, I was listening religiously to a lot of it, trying to incorporate that style into my grime music to the point where it started becoming the norm to me!
When you listen to '80s music, it's proper melody driven, that's why I think it connects to more, that and gospel music, endless melodies and realness! Peeps like the Clarke Sisters, Teddy Riley, Roger Troutman and Phil Collins real musicians!!! plus they use a lot of funky sounds; back in them days them stiff kicks and chunky snares! You can get them from a Casio keyboard looool Them bait general midi sounds!

So, anyway like I said, when I made "Hard Days', I was trying to capture that same '80s feeling, down to the melodies, and drums, the whole atmosphere; Rage added the final touch! The rest as they is HISTORY. Go check that track out though, 'HARD DAYS' on Streets Of Rage vol 2 (Click Here to Listen); and the rest of the project, it's good music!!!

The last track, gonna keep it short, is 'FLEXIN!' (Click Here to Listen) the amount of love that riddim is getting is unreal! Plus, it proves to me that, "TOPS you still got it brudda!!!' Big up everyone supporting especially the DJs

Top Dolla 


Wow that's a deep one, because I feel every song I write is meaningful in it's own way.
Like you have the rawness and aggression of a song like Duppymaker (To listen Click Here) that can get you hyped up, but then you have a song like Political Musical with a calmer tone and powerful message that will make you think about life.
With that said all my songs mean a lot to me but I guess some songs mean that much more so here's my top 3

3) I'm going back to my first cd "Streets of Rage vol.1",to a song called " Streets raised me" (Click Here To Listen)
I picked this song because it tells my story, but also the story of so many others who grew up in poverty.
This is like a glimpse into the mentality of a young black male growing up in gang culture in London.
I just feel it's a powerful track and represents a big part of me as a person and how I grew up.

2) This song in my eyes should be joint most meaningful for sentimental value alone, a track from Streets of Rage vol.1 "In Memory Of" a song dedicated to my friend Big Jay who passed in 2004. (To Listen Click Here)
I never thought I would be a writing R.I.P song in memory of one my closest friends, it was my way of still keeping him alive even if it was just a song.
There were so many good memories it was hard to fit them all into one song but I feel I done a good job.
Rest in paradise Jay Middleton aka Big Jay gone but never forgotten.

1) At this moment I would say "Political Music" (To listen Click Here) simply because I feel the message will be relevant for a long time. It's all good making wavy turn up music or punch man in the face hype music but a lot of that is based on emotions which are temporary.
Every now and then I like to express my more conscious side and speak on facts of life and things with more substance, Political Music is a song where I did that.

Like I said before every song I make is meaningful and special in there own way.

Rage


Dear Diary (To listen to the track please click here)


I choose this song because at the time I wrote it quite a few years back. OK well a good few years back, lol. But this song resonated in me quite deeply. I felt there are a lot of issues when becoming of age that aren't spoke about in a way where people will listen . When I was growing up it was all , shotters, robber man , clicks , rolling 8 deep minimum and just lots of street trouble . I felt I needed to come out of the current mind frame and put my self on the receiving end of anybody going through stuff and what they might think . Take for example, the chorus goes "Dear Diary, I'm troubled and I got a troubled mind. Please let me write in you and show me what I can find." Now hearing that you can get a feel of what the song would be like .. I go on to talk in 3rd person being the different people in question on the song . Such as a troubled teen who joins a gang through following and ends up in jail for reluctantly stabbing a women to be accepted in the gang . 
At the time I felt to just approach music on a different level and to be fair st that time nobody had anything remotely similar to dear diary.

Kraze


To Read From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.8 please click here


From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.8

What Has Slewdem Done For The Scene?

In my opinion Slewdem is the backbone of the grime scene.
I don't even think Wiley the godfather himself can deny the impact that Slewdem has made in the scene.
From influencing some of the biggest stars like Wiley, Skepta, Dizzee Rascal, Jammer, Newham Generals and a whole lot more to being part of the most epic moments in Grime history Risky Roadz dvd, Non stop working dvd, the legendary radio shows on Deja and Rinse FM to name a few of the moments, the name Slewdem will always be synonymous with Grime music.


Slewdem is part of the reason why Grime is so Grimy, really doing the things that MC's talk and fantasize about.
It's not just lyrics with Slewdem, you get a sense of realism that can only come from people that have lived that type of life.
When a lot of artists where trying to be more commercial and water down their so called Grime music, Slewdem stuck to their guns (literally) and stayed true to the essence of Grime.


Rage

You buy the Single from Rage ft Footsie " Listen" for only £1 click here


Alot! You can't mention grime without mentioning SLEWDEM!!! We did a lot, sometimes it gets over looked, peeps tend to forget or it gets swept under carpet. I remember From 04 to 06'ish I feel like we had the scene in a chubb lock, riddims everywhere, different artist coming to the studio, we had the radio sets popping off! Basically everyone wanted to be around us some for music because they rated us highly and some for their own AGENDAS! Some guys were playing the Whitney role while others played Kevin Costner! If you know what I mean...

The type of energy we was dealing with was different a level, not to mention we had one of the biggest tracks in grime history and more. I feel like the songs we made they stood out, we wasn't making your typical grime songs even up to now you can hear how the Slewdem sound still plays a big part in the grime scene because it was and is authentic.

Top Dolla

Top Dolla's instrumental Flexin is still avilable for £1 click here or for a Dub plate special please click here


How Did Slewdem Get Started For You?

 

Well I can only talk for how my section started and that was YOUNGA SLEW DEM ... As I remember it I first met up with Esco through a mutual friend. He heard me spit and liked my flavor, these times we was one of the first "YOUNGA" crews to set the trend of youngas.

It was me, Shorty Smallz and Spooky, I had known Spooky through times in school and he lived in the same area as me. Chronik had Shorty Smallz and Esco brought me, Chronik used to joke around and call us Escos youngas! Lmao looool... But then he accepted us for what we were....

YOUNG MAN SHELLERS! We then started meeting the rest of the crew and we just all meshed from there, that then was the birth of Younga Slew dem.

Kraze

Have a listen to the promo from Kraze latest track "When I Let It Out" please click here


To Read "From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol. 7 please Click Here

 

From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.7

How did you get your names?

 

How I got the name Rage

The rage was with me from early, from a very young age I had a very bad temper.
I wasn't a bad person but I was a young hot head and used to get into a lot of fights.
Originally when I first started to write to music my mc name was FLAVA, inspired by my older sister Simone (R.I.P) who had come to live with us from America.
I was just starting to get into rap music so I used to soak up all the info I could about America.
She had been living in Flatbush, Brooklyn a real thorough part of New York well known in the rap community. She brought with her that fresh hip hop vibe, she knew all the good music she even had the accent and she could rap too.
So she was a big influence on me and my music, although I was only writing for fun them times it was the beginning of my journey.

Under the name FLAVA I never got past the level of a bedroom MC but all that changed when I started to get in to Garage Music.
This was around the same time I started to get involved in the street life and criminal activities, my bars started reflecting my lifestyle it was becoming clear I had outgrown MC FLAVA.
And then one day it came to me "RAGE" it just sat right with me it had depth to it, my whole life the one thing that was consistent was rage.
Rage against the system, rage from not having a father present, rage from being born poor, rage from racism and slavery all types of rage.

Rage

 


During secondary school, I think we were in year 8 or 9, Rage and me used to go to our friend's house, Sparkie and do a mixing session. It was Sparkie and me on the decks, Rage on microphone duties; them times I didn't have a DJ name so when it came to doing tape recordings I used to make up names on the spot. I remember one name though, I will never forget.

We were at Sparkies' house mixing it up, I think we were recording a tape that day, anyway towards the end of the recording we used to state our names and Rage asked me " So how do you feel that mix went," and I said something like "Nice, because I'm DJ NICE!!!" I don't know why I said that, but I definitely needed a new DJ name ASA!.

So, in the week Sparkie and me went back and forth trying to come up with different names but this particular name though, I don't know how or why he came up with this name, but it was a winner. I remember one Sunday I was at my grandparents' house, back in the day we had free voice mail, big up the one2one crew! I got a voice mail from Sparkie, he said "Yo, I've got a DJ name for you, why don't you call yourself Top Dolla?" I just sat down I was like, 'This is different', so I kept on repeating it to hear how it would sound; I left him a voice mail and said "Yeah, this is the name for me, this is the one." Till this day that is what I go by. Big up Sparkie aka 'Juicy Danger', because if it wasn't for YOU! there would be no 'TOP DOLLA.'

Top Dolla

 

When I was in school I had the worst stutter. (I know I know a joke right) but it was extremely bad, so I went by the name "Stutter K". This was in year 6 going on year 7, so I was roughly 12-13. When I started spittin (Mcin) I was half way through my first year in school and I was always told I was weird and quirky , kind of different , (as clichè as that is I actually think I am.) So then I wanted to be the new thing everybody wanted to hear , the new thing everybody wanted to know.

So I called myself Kraze, and ever since then I've never changed. I started spitting and kept up with it and the rest is iceberg history ...

Kraze

 


Visit are shop to hear the latest music from Slewdem click here

Have a listen to "What You Know About" by Rage and Kraze by clicking here


From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.6

When you listen to Slewdem there's a lot of "run up in man's house" talk, now I know many will say it's some "mad chat" but sometimes I think talk like this is needed because for those who are listening it's like a warning that to get involved in street stuff, real stuff can happen.

So what I was wondering, when your writing or creating this music where does your mind go to, what do you want people to get from your music?

 

The key word is authenticity, my lyrics reflect me and my mentality.

Yh coming up on the roads, I've seen and done a lot of stuff, some I can put into lyrics and some I can't.

With that said I always try and show a contrast between good and evil, right and wrong.

I'm saying street life isn't for everybody and I'm not here to glamorise it, just tell my truth

like Jay-z said"I LIVED THIS SHIT SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO"

The beats talk to me and I talk back, depending where the music takes me will determine how and what I write to a beat.

It's all about feeling and emotions, different beats give off different vibes, so I just work with the vibe of the track and do my thing.

What I want people to get from my music is realness, entertainment and vibes.

Every track should tell its own story or take you on a different journey.

I'm always evolving as a person/artist and my music should reflect that, if you go through my previous releases you can see my progression through out the years.

I'm not just an mc.

Rage


 

For me, it depends on your mood, for instance, I remember Chronik and me was in studio working on his solo material, we had made this track entitled 'LIFE.' (It was released, on a white label, Banks! Inside jokes, haha!)

I remember that whole process from start to finish, one of the best sessions, hands down! We had a early start, 8.00am. I jumped on the keys, while Chronik was writing down his lyrics; the vibe, the atmosphere was on point! I got all the melodies down, the bass, drums, then Chronik laid down his chorus,

"Life's a f*@# up thing,

It doesn't wait for a thing,

you just got to get on with it, you got things to do,

so when it's my time I ain't waiting for no one,

when it's your time don't wait for no one,

I ain't hearing a thing, excuses don't mean anything."

I was nodding, 'This is hard!' The whole concept was sick, the verses as well all the dots were connecting; that session was powerful, the energies was flowing!

Whatever melody I played I wanted it to trigger different types of emotions within people. That's what my music is all about, just different vibes for different moods, and that is what I want my music to do! I've got riddims for the 'man dem and gal dem!'

Top Dolla


To read From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.5 please click here

From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.5


For me back in the day one of the bars that really got me into grime was D Double E when he said "think your a big boy because you got a beard, bullets will make your face look weird!"
I remember thinking rah! Than when I ended up being in some place called "Pigeons" at the time and saw him shutting down live I thought this guy is talented!
What was some of the most memorable bars for you and who was one of your favourite mc's coming up


Yeah I think D Double for me has the most quotable lyrics from back in the day, the man is a living legend.
"Behind you, Over there"

But if your talking my favourite mc growing up then I have to say Gods Gift aka Pespi lol.
"Dem boy there a fass never try cuss step to G you get your head buss"
His style and content had the most impact on me and as a young mc, he was a lyrical bad boy.
Sometimes it's not about what your saying, it's how you say it and Gift has that realness in his bars where you believe what a mans saying.

And also I have to big up Nicky Forcer as well, I grew up listening and spitting his bars like they were mine lol.
"F.O.R.C.E.R it's Forcer"
Them times I had no lyrics and I was just learning how to ride the beat properly so I would use his bars to get the feel of MCing.
So I have to pay homage to the dudes that paved the way and got me into this music scene

Rage

Listen to "What You Know About" By Rage & Kraze by clicking here



"Alright, she's a bad girl, I'm a boss though
Captain Roscoe with a crossbow
She came she got picked off yo
Nah its not a love ting, get lost ho"

Man like Dizzee Rascal, that lyric haha!

Just the other day I was listening to his radio sets thinking, "There is a reason why Dizzee is where he is now!' He was producing his own music as well; his production wasn't always a certain type or tempo, he was breaking the rules, when it came to making music, especially when it came to Grime.
His first album, 'Boy in the corner' is the best to come out of the scene! It's just good music! From start to finish; also, that is why it resonated with me. He had this whole cockney slang, straight out the East End, 'ting going on!" It's like when you go to the market and you hear a stall holder shout, "Two for a pound!" Lol, That's the vibe I got from his music.

Top Dolla

You can buy Top Dolla's "Flexin" instrumental by clicking here or you buy "Faction" by clicking here


To read "From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol. 4" please click here



From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.4

I remember you mentioning having some tense battles with other crews and it reminded me of an altercation between two mc's live on air when one threatened to "buss" at the other, have you ever been in situations where you thought "I'm in trouble?"

I was the DJ, I didn't really feel threatened, and if I did, the only people who worried me, was the management (£5 subs, and D.T.I haha!!!) They can take your records (vinyl) away, and you can get arrested, that was my main worry to be honest. One thing you got to remember, we were just coming up in the scene; we had a set on Temptation FM, which was a up and coming station in Barking, and if you really wanted to be heard, the big, main, pirate radio stations were based in the ends, East Ldn = Deju Vu, Rinse FM. North Ldn = Heat FM etc....Everything was going down on one of those specific pirate stations. Everyone had point to prove!

Top Dolla



Music has always been a place for me to escape from all the madness in life and the roads.
I've never really found myself in a position where I feared for my life whilst doing music, but on the roads is a whole different story.
I would find myself in all types of a trouble and more than a few times thought this has gone pear-shaped.
There was one time me and a group of friends was out riding on buses looking for moves.
There was a few guys standing outside a chicken shop when our bus pulled up to the stop.
For some reason a couple of mates thought it was a good idea to start throwing gang signs just tryna start some shit with these guys.
It worked! These guys were pissed off, screaming and shouting I just saw more and more mandem running out of the chicken shop, by this time I knew it was peak.
I even see a couple guys holding knives as they looked to board the bus, meanwhile my friends that started this whole madness went to go hide on the lower deck of the bus, leaving me and two other friends behind.

I remember looking at my friends in disbelief like I can't believe them man ran off smh, then we all agreed we wasn't going to run like them no matter what.

Then there was a silence as the first group of the guys got onto the top deck, clearly outnumbering us the first guy walks up to us like "where's the rest of your mandem" we just shook our heads and said "they ran off it's just us here"
It was tense we didn't know what was gonna happen next, but rather tan move to us he looked at his friends and said " I rate these man they never ran off like there boys" his mates agreed.
The tension was slowly lifted and the atmosphere became more relaxed, we started talking about where we are from and who we know, that type of stuff.
It turned out we had mutual friends, numbers got exchanged and everything was good.
Until my mates that were on the lower deck sensing everything was cool decided it was safe to return to the top deck.
As they got to the top deck everything went quiet again, they sat down next to us like nothing happened.
They main guy said to his boys "these man ran off and left their boys" they all started laughing at them calling them pu**yholes.
I felt no sympathy towards them because in my eyes true friends don't leave you to face things alone especially beef that they started.
A couple other things happened and some people were sad but as they say with friends like that who needs enemies lol.

Rage

To read "From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.3"please click here

To buy Top Dolla's "Flexin" for £1 please click here
To buy Slew Dem Mafia T Shirts please click here



 




From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.3

Recently there has been a lot of questions with many unanswered around police brutality. Growing up in the grime scene in the early 2000's did you experience any police brutality? 

 

Yeah, I think social media and camera phones has helped out in highlighting police brutality around the world and have made more people aware of the issues going on. But I still feel there's a long way to go in dealing with police brutality, things have got better in some ways but overall it's a systematic problem, crime and poverty go together like rice and peas. In my eyes to be poor is a crime in its self, so it is so ironic when police actively target the poorest areas of society with their military, over the top, aggressive style of policing.
Which for me is the recipe for police brutality, because it is as if they are dealing with animals the way they treat some people.

Growing up as a youngster it was well known among the community that a lot of police were racist towards black youth and they would call us names and get physical at times. I'm not going to lie I was out there getting up to no good, but it was the way some officers would treat us that would let me know it was personal for some of them. Back then being called a black c**t by a police officer was so normal you wouldn't even think to press charges, that's why for me police brutality isn't just physical it can be verbal and mental as well.

I remember the time I had just picked up one of my friends and was heading back to my yard, I ended up driving past a police riot van on Hoe street, I instantly got the feeling they was going turn around and follow us, it was just the way they looked at us.
In my rear view mirror I could see they was doing a u-turn so I warned my friend, but I still wasn't sure if they was coming for us so I played it cool and drove normally, there was still a few cars behind me that they had to get through first.
But in no time they had put on their lights and all the cars behind me gave way, leaving them directly behind us, it was clear they was trying to stop me.
I slowly pulled my car up on the side of the road waiting to find out why I was being stopped.

Suddenly 3 or 4 officers jumped out and opened my car door, took my keys out the ignition and then started dragging me out of my car.
I kept asking them what have I done and I tried to get them off me, but they carried on dragging me and held me up against a shop window.
At this point one officer had my left arm, one had my right arm and one was pushing me in my chest, I was still struggling with them and that's when one of them grabbed my throat and started to choke me.
I managed to get my arm free and pushed him away that's when all hell broke loose, they started screaming and shouting "he hit an officer" and wrestled me onto a shop floor. I continued struggling until one officer twisted my leg to the point i thought it was gonna break, I gave up and stopped struggling. But that did not stop one of them putting his knee on my head and using his full body weight to subdue me, while the others had my arms and legs, even though I had stopped struggling they were still screaming and shouting stop moving.
I felt violated they treated me like scum and for what reason?


I've had my fair share of run-ins with the law and find it hard to separate police brutality from racism or prejudice behaviour I feel they are all closely linked.
If you don't like or respect a person it's easy to treat them like nothing so when i see police abusing their power or neglecting peoples rights, it just proves to me there are different rules for the haves and the have nots.

Like I wonder if police drive around well to do areas in their riot vans stopping random people? No they probably don't, out of respect for the residents that live there, but where I live that's normal procedures.
Like I said in my song "Political Music" you can get stopped and searched just for being in the wrong area.

The worst thing about it is not much has changed over the years, in America a lot of black males have been shot and killed by police and my heart goes out to them, because I feel the same racist system that is killing them would kill me in an instant, you only have to look at the Mark Duggan (RIP) incident to know if regular police had guns over here it would go down like America.

Rage



There is doing your job and abusing your authority, I do believe there are good police officers, doing their jobs, but at the same time you've got SOME institutionalised racist people, within the police force! These issues need to be tackled, and dealt with, starting from TOP! As the saying goes, 'One bad apple spoils the whole BUNCH!!!'

I will never forget, during college times, me and two b'drens went down South London sides, Elephant and Castle. We were going to check some girls, as teenagers do! I remember as we walked through the underground, we saw the police, they had a fierce looking dog, acting up!!! One of my friends saw the dog, "got shook" and quickly hit a u-turn, haha! Straight after, I knew what was coming, obviously they stopped us and asked, "Where are you going, why did you turn around as soon as you saw us, yarda yarda," I said, "We're coming from college to go check some girls and the reason why we did a 360 is, cos your dog was acting up!" Cut a long story short, they said a mugging had happened, some boys on bikes did it, so I said, "But we ain't got any bikes!!! A police man pushed me against the wall, "Don't get me ANGRY!" he said. I was weary of the police before, and this incident made me even more resentful towards some of them.

Top Dolla


To buy the Top Dolla V Rage Ep which included "Political Music" please click here

To Buy Top Dolla's instrumental "Flexin" please click here


From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.2

 

As a teenager in the ends what sort of things did you get up to?


Aw mate back then was crazy there was always some hype going somewhere and I was always in the mix of it.

But one of my favourite memories was the house parties, there always seemed to be a house party every weekend.

Them days garage music was big on the roads and used to get everyone gassed, apart from bashment and hip hop it was the highlight of the rave especially for the mcs in the building.

These times More Fire Crew was blowing up big all over England and that left a gap in the ends for a next crew to fill.

There was a lot of MC's back then and you had to be good to get a reload or even respect from the crowd, it was tense for some mcs getting told to come off the mic.

But that's how you knew if you was good enough to be an MC, everything was about crowd reaction if you got the crowd hype you was winning.

As part of "Dancehall Mafia" we made it our duty to go to parties and battle it out with other crews for the top spot.

We battled so many crews but our main rivals were the Young Guns Crew they had a strong team and they were goons just like us, the clashes got super heated.

We had some good battles with them and some of them was real close but we won most battles due to our versatility, while a lot of there MCs were similar we had a different styles in our crew and the crowd liked that.

We gained a rep in the ends as the guys that rolled up and shut down house parties but I remember 1 big rave when us and Young Guns was going at it, out of nowhere Dizzee Rascal walks in the building.

The place went crazy I ain't gonna lie we was all kind of star struck especially when he touch mic that rave went off!!!!

Rage Slew Dem Mafia


 

As a teenager, growing up back in the day, I used to get up to all sorts, as kids do! The biggest highlight though, was going to my first club RAVE, Young Man Standing @Stratford Rex.

I will never forget that day I was about 12 or 13 at the time, 'Likkle man Tops,' lol. I had to beg my parents so hard to let me go. What do you know about doing extra chores, madness! Eventually they let me go, I went with Rage, we didn't even jump on the bus or train we walked it. Cutting through the blocks, that's how you know we were proper hyped!

When we arrived, the queue was long mate, plus there was so many girls I was grinning teet' haha. Me and Rage was like, 'Na we can't line up in this,' luckily Rage spotted a well known DJ who he knew, plus it was his rave. Man like Nicky SLIMTING got us in, I felt like a celeb!

I remember getting in there hearing stiff bass lines, I could feel it mate! Seeing some of your favorite DJs and MCs you listen to, performing on the stage, was unreal, cos I was an up and coming DJ too. I was like, 'This could be me one day.' What made that night special was when Wiley and a bag of MCs announced they were officially crossing over to the Garage scene! They came from the Jungle scene, which I wouldn't say died out, it was more like a newer sound emerging. So yeah, for me, I would say that was one of the best highlights, growing up as a teenager.

Top Dolla Slew Dem Mafia


To buy the Rage V Top Dolla EP click here



 


Old School With The Mandem

"Shanks are deadly burners are worse

Hype kills

Talk shit and I will murder you first

See I've never been shot before but I know that it burns and it hurts"

Rage 2006 

 

 

"Listen!" Another hard hitting, old school ragga, infused track from Rage featuring Footsie from Newham Generals

To listen to a preview of the track click here

To buy the track click here