Humberside

Hull-based artist releases new EP of northern-tinged rap

Image caption Nineties Boy is pushing his own brand of northern rap music

Hull-based hip hop artist Nineties Boy is unashamedly northern when he raps his lyrics.

His newly released EP, "Freak Show" is indeed a celebration of northern hip hop.

He also believes passionately that, in his music, there should be none of the traditional swearing that is usually associated with some rap artists.

The 25-year old plays a debut session on BBC Introducing on Radio Humberside in August.

Early influences

Like so many young musicians, Nineties Boy's early musical influences came from listening to his parents' records at home.

"My dad played a right mixture", he said, "Z Z Top, Robert Palmer and Frank Sinatra were always on in the car on journeys so I was exposed to music from a young age."

But his early passion for rap music began to emerge in 1997 when he heard Will Smith's first rap album.

"Will Smith gets loads of bad press," he said, "but he was actually very good, particularly at telling stories and that's had a major influence on my music. I loved that first album of his."

"The problem with this type of music is that you can very quickly run out of things to say. You need a cohesive theme through the songs and I like to tell a story through my lyrics."

A recurring theme in Nineties Boy's music is his passionate defence of northern hip hop. He believes that many British artists in this genre of music either come from the south or think they need to be based in London and the south-east to be successful. He wants to reverse that notion.

"Perhaps you do need to be in London to "make it", he said, " but the existence of shows like BBC Radio Humberside's Introducing show and the wider BBC Introducing network means there's a much bigger platform now for northern lads like me!"

Nineties Boy writes all his own lyrics but the production of his music is very much a family affair with brothers Alexander and Ian producing the tracks.

"They've evolved so much in their production techniques and their ideas that I've really had to be on the ball to keep up," he said.

First gig

So how did he, as a studio performer, make the next a step and start performing live? Like many Hull-based musicians it was The Sesh at the Linnet and Lark that gave him his first live gig.

" I had a really good response", he said, "many people have commented that my beats don't sound like traditional rap beats and are quite unique which I hope sets me apart a bit from the rest."

Something else that separates Nineties Boy from the rest is his passionate belief that rap doesn't have to contain swearing, something that is a pre-requisite in much of the American and British rap culture.

Image caption Nineties Boy's new EP is released this week

"I don't swear in my songs", he said, "even though I know it can provide impact which is why some Hip Hop artists do it. To me, swearing in rap can indicate that the artist has a lack of vocabulary. I like to think that I do have the vocabulary and I want to show it off in the words I produce. It works for me."

Nineties Boy is definitely unique and his songs have got a good response when played on BBC Introducing on Radio Humberside.

"The lyrics are clever, full of irony and more often than not, make me smile," said presenter Alan Raw. "It's always a delight when Nineties Boy produces something new and I can't wait to have a listen."

Nineties Boy's EP "Freak Show" is out now and available for free download at his website www.ninetiesboy.co.uk.

He plays The Sesh in Hull on 6th September.

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