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.
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.
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
"Top Dolla load up the shower man riddim"
"and I load up the bars and bludclart wigim"
To Buy Top Dolla's instrumental "Flexin" please click here
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!!!!
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.
To buy the Rage V Top Dolla EP click here
To buy the Rage V Top Dolla EP click here
What was it like for you going to a grime set back in the day as I remember hearing about people getting punched up?
"It was lawless bruv! anything goes type of atmosphere.
In a mad way I loved the chaos, and that's what made it exciting, that anything could happen.
Down to the venue that the event was being held in, as it was in illegal places.
Sometimes you had to run out of there, sometimes running of live on air, cause of DTI the radio police. Obviously it was all pirate stations."
"I used to more hear about things happening and obviously seeing people kicking off, arguments. For me personally music was an escape we really was doing those stuff. I had to do crime to be able to afford radio.
I was in that hype mode 24/7, probably why I didn't get into too much conflict. It was more of leave that n**** alone and more respect his gangsta.
But I can't say the same for other grime artists as I heard some people have gone through it over the years!"
"Back in the day coming up with my first clique (Dancehall Mafia), so this was during college times.
Them times we was just coming up, so we was behind all the other ones like nasty crew, Pay As You Go and Heartless Crew as they was doing there thing, they were are inspiration.
Obviously as crews clash, we got into a few radio clashes, we decided to join up to Temptation FM, we had clashes with crews from the bits like Leytonstone, Leyton but there was one particular crew in hackney, were we was going back and forth, when they had there radio set you would hear them saying madness at us and when we was on radio (Temptation FM) we were saying our madness and obviously they was hearing as crews do, saying this and that.
But yeah, back in the day all of this was normal you would hear about a lot of MC's getting headbutted, people swinging, there was a couple of famous ones, people getting offered one on ones some rose to the occasion while overs fell. It was a peak time the problem was though at those times it really did start getting tense, as you hear about mc's getting run up on stage, especially in places like young man standing.
But it was exciting I liked it."
To read "From Grime Legends To Grime History Vol.2" please click here
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
Top Dolla part of the Legendary Slewdem Mafia Crew has been a grime pioneer since the early 2000's, not only is he a DJ that knows how to bring vibes to any party he is also a heavyweight producer in the grime scene producing the epic Flexin (click here to listen), produced Bang for the God Father of grime Himself Wiley! (Click here to listen) and produced the underground banger for Rage & Footsie Listen (click here to listen) + much more (here more from Top Dolla by clicking here).
Booking Top Dolla for your grime event or any event period! is guaranteed to be a shut down as he's been practicing the art of mixing and blending since the early 2000's! So your gaurenteed to hear dub plate specials you've never heard any where else! and if your a grime connoisseur his music collection goes all the way back to when grime first started...
If you would like to book Top Dolla for your next event please send an email with your requirements to email@example.com
Watch Top Dolla in action going BK 2 BK with Sir Spyro
Top Dolla mixing on Pyro Radio with Score 5