Monday, 29 August 2005

Lethal Shot

Lethal Bizzle, the come back King and new-age businessman, drops his debut solo album this month but regardless of it’s commercial success it’s the streets he wants to keep on lock…

It wasn’t long ago that things were looking dismal for Lethal. After the More Fire smash Oi! hit the charts, all eyes were on the trio but it wasn’t long before Go Beat ended the label deal. Not only were the majors no longer interested, neither were the streets. “People were killing us. We couldn't even get a whisper because when you're fucking up people love it” Lethal told B&S. “I'd drive to Swindon for Sidewinder where I wasn't booked, I had nothing left to lose so I’d fight my way on stage. I was Lethal B, dead, no one.”

Naturally the situation not only increased his determination but his knowledge of the bastard that is the music industry. With More Fire buried and Fire Camp born, his comeback status was finally sealed late last year when Relentless snapped up underground anthem ‘Pow’, the single going on to chart at number 12. An album deal with J-DID/V2 came soon after and now Lethal B’s sophomore solo ‘Against All Oddz’ is hitting the shelves. Production comes from Dexplicit (responsible for Pow, which due to label politics didn’t make the album), Plasticman, Wonder (Dizzee Rascal ‘Respect Me’) and Sticky. For those that have heard Roll Deep or Kano’s album, Lethal’s sits somewhere in the middle. He’s sampled Stevie Wonder on tracks such as ‘Shame’ while at the opposite end of the spectrum he sticks firmly to his grime roots. Championed by Tim Westwood amongst others, lyrically, Lethal isn’t a Klashnekoff but nor is he simply a garage MC. What’s secured his now-wide fanbase is ultimately his ability to hype up a crowd. “I'm more concerned on getting the music out there and seeing people go nuts. I'd love to just sell-out concerts and live comfortably. I have to be aware of the reality of this business.”

Having had his share of disappointments already, Lethals certainly wiser (he’s invested all his earning into property and has tenants for a start), but due to little radio or TV support, his first single on J-DID ‘Uh Oh’ narrowly missed the Top 40 this July. “It's still done what I wanted it to do - it's kept me in the scene. I'd like to be in a whole different market but If this label situation or the album doesn't work I hope we'll have enough of a structure underground to make the difference. Drum and bass people are more of a community, more business minded. There are plenty of us that could be doing more for the UK scene, me included. The game needs to change. I wanna be where Dizzee is don't get me wrong but as long as people feel my music I'm happy. You only sell out if you're doing something that isn't you.”

Real is something Lethal touches on his album throughout. From the death of More Fire, to continual beef with Roll Deep and the incident in January where some old school friends arrived at his front door… with guns. “I wasn't expecting it naturally. I don't know what they came to do, they didn't come to kill me but perhaps they were thinking ‘cause Pow had done well I'd have loads of money or something under my bed (as if). It was shock but more because of who’d done it. They were people I went to school with, people who knew my parents, my mum probably cooked for them, the fact they had guns wasn't the point. Luckily my parents live in Ghana so they weren’t effected but It made me more determined to be honest, finish my album and not to end up like them.”

He also states this as one of the main reasons for including his diss track to Wiley, Gods Gift and Riko on the album. “I made that track about a year ago and I wasn't going to use it, I have another one which I'll probably never bring out. When the madness happened where people came to my house, it was getting broadcast on pirate radio, people taking the piss out of me! There’s more to it than that but I don't really care what people think, it’s all fun and games on the album. I ain't a hater, I wish Roll Deep the best. The albums like a journey and the final track ‘Until Next Time’ that’s where we're at now...”

With ‘Shame’ awaiting the seal of approval to be the next single, here’s hoping that Lethal won’t be hanging his head again. But regardless of the commercial support that does or doesn’t transpire over the next few months, Lethal won’t be going into hiding anytime soon. And that’s a promise.

A version of this article appears in Blues & Soul.

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