To truly understand the musical genres and trends we have today it’s essential to pay homage to those artists, producers and platforms that helped build our Music culture that we embrace today. We have been speaking with a UK Music icon on and off for 2 years about his contribution to the game and his plans for the future. As we are firmly into a new year we both felt it was time to sit down and bring you a proper interview with Heartless Crew’s MC Bushkin.
MC Bushkin is considered by true Garage fans to be the Godfather of Garage, he is of course known as a key part of the legendary Garage trio, Heartless Crew a trio that has been described, when asked, by the Godfather of Grime Wiley as being amongst the originators of Grime Music.
We sat down with the North London Music artist at his studio to discuss his musical journey to this date, quitting MC’ing, The break up of Heartless Crew, pursuing a solo career and his future plans for his Music label Bush Bash Recordings.
Why did Heartless Crew split up in 2010?
It was a choice I made, at the time we had been around each other, in each other’s pockets for a very long time, we kind of outgrew each other. We had different motives and ideologies on how the thing should progress and move forward. I had come to the table with new ideas to refresh and rebrand but it wasn’t really welcomed with open hands.
There was an issue with the name and the copyrighting of the name. Mighty Moe at the time registered the name as his own, which wasn’t too cool because when heartless was formed he wasn’t even around. This added another rift, it wasn’t too serious but at the time I saw it best to pull out and salvage our friendships because we were friends before this and it would be stupid to throw it away. Fast-forward to today, we’re all good, time is the best healer.
Were you always producing solo music on the side?
No to be honest, Heartless Crew was always my main goal, like my baby. As we all started as a group I didn’t have any thoughts of being a solo artist at the time. My preferred method would have been starting a record label with Heartless Crew and the boys. Put it simply, the timing wasn’t right. As time went along and communication broke down it sort of lead me to creating Bush Bash recordings and moving over to the solo artist stuff.
What have been your biggest successes so far both for you and the Heartless Crew?
The most memorable ones were, the Respect Festival in the memory of Steven Lawrence, Rio Ferdinand’s wedding on the Virginia Islands, Bush Bash Travel Champagne Cruise, Aiya Napa back in the day was the one, we smashed all the records out there, that was the pot of gold.
Do you regret anything you’ve done musically in the past?
I am my own critic. I’m a real organic, risk taker; everything that has happened has happened for a reason. There’s not really been anything major I’ve regretted. All this work has got me to where I am today.
Do you remember your first sound clash?
Our earliest sound clashes were on the school playground with a rival group called Black Phoenix. It went from the playground to after school, walking home, to making beats with our hands on the back of the bus and then to house parties and raves. It was different back then. Lyrics for lyrics.
Will there be a comeback of the clashes? That era needs to comeback!
Lord of the Mics is your era of clashing, it’s good that there is still a platform for it but in a way it’s fabricated, its not as organic anymore. You have time to prepare, you’ve got rules, rounds, and it’s planned out well. In a way its good because it straightens out clashing but it also takes away the essence of clashing, which is like, the element of surprise, someone coming out with head top lyrics to your face in the moment, that’s how you really win clashes. Get the crowd spinning, you didn’t even know a minute ago you were going to spit that lyric and it came out. What culture clash does is a good thing for sound systems, it has the essence there but in a way it’s watered down. Nevertheless it’s a good platform and does showcase talent.
Who won the clash between So Solid Crew & Heartless Crew?
Ha-ha, I’m going to answer that in 3 words. We annihilated them. You tell me, did we or did we not shell it down?
Why did the Heartless Crew decline the opportunity to represent the UKG All Stars at the 2016 RedBull Culture Clash?
We decided to decline Culture Clash because if we were going to do it we needed to do it as Heartless Crew only, we are our own sound system, so we don’t necessarily need to team up with others to compete. We are ready to do it whenever, so Red Bull if you’re reading this, hit us up, we’ll murder any sound boys that want to enter the arena.
Do you feel Grime has lived up to the levels of Garage?
Oh wow, that’s a very thought out question. Honestly, not yet but you know what they say, one day the student becomes better than the teacher. Don’t get me wrong, in time Grime will overtake what Garage did but it’s all about keeping the work rate 100 and never taking the foot off the gas. In my heart, Garage will always be the one.
What UK artists are you feeling right now?
Ghetts, Skepta, Miss Banks, AJ Tracey, Kano, Giggs, Dave and Steff London, also look out for SIP, he’s on my label. These artists I’ve named bring something special to the table. As you know the main guys have been around for a while now but it’s up to the New Gen’s to keep pushing the scene and keep it relevant. I am open to working with them all in the future so we can share ideas and drop some fire on the streets!
Why did you decide to quit Mc’ing in 2014? It was a massive shock for us fans to hear
People didn’t really understand it; I haven’t really spoken about it either in great detail. I knew I wanted to pursue my solo career and setting up the record label took up a lot of my time and energy. I knew something had to give, so I retired from MC’ing for a period of time. So I could concentrate and perfect my artistry.
Being a MC and being an artist are two different things, although they seem similar because you’re singing down a mic. They’re actually worlds apart. Being an MC, its live, you’re in raves, people are intoxicated, they can’t hear every word you’re saying, you can get away with blue murder so to speak. Being a studio artist, you’re in the booth, it’s just you in there, you got a producer giving you directions, you got to be a lot more accurate. So I decided to give up MC’ing to learn how to perfect and become a good studio artist. It took me a couple of years to get to this level, I’m loving it. I’m quite happy to go back to MC’ing because I’ve got this part to a level.
You recently dropped a Dancehall influenced track ‘Many Roads’ featuring Instagram Boss and Yoson Jah, talk us through the creative process behind the single?
Many roads is a weird one. I was in Kingston, Jamaica filming at the time. I had a few days spare so I went back to my area Ocho Rios, St Mary’s. I was up there with my mate Instagram Boss. I was banging tunes from my usb in the car. The instrumental from Many Roads came up and he started to get gassed. People in Jamaica know, the lifestyle is slow but when it comes down to music we don’t mess around, it goes from 0-100 real quick. Within a couple of hours we had the song written and recorded.
The next day we woke up early, sitting on the veranda talking and Insta Boss was like we’re gonna shoot a video right now for the song. I didn’t even realise the video guy was sitting next to us. We walked down the village, filmed a couple shots. Went to Ocho Rios and finished off the filming. In two days, whole thing done. We took it down to a couple of DJ’s and radio stations in the area, they loved it and started to play it immediately.
Last November you toured radio stations in the UK performing ‘Many Roads and ‘Soldiers with Yourself’ and the rest of your new Music something that has never been done before what was the idea behind that project?
The tour was about showcasing a few of these tunes, getting it out to the necessary parties and places, showing them I’m still here and I’ve got some fire for you..
Kind of like the cap, to say yeah this is the end of the year; this is what’s been going on. Here are the tunes to wet your appetite for what’s to come in 2017.
Can you tell us more about your new song ‘Aint Gonna Say No More’ and the controversy you touched on in the song?
‘Aint Gonna say no More’ was produced by my cousin SIP way back in June around the same time Birdman went on the breakfast club and did the whole “Put Some Respek on my name” thing. I came up with my initial opening lines and then I got brain dead. Fast forward to when I saw the ‘This Is Grime’ book by Hattie Collins.
I flicked thru the book and was like “wow there’s no major mention of Heartless Crew in the book”; we weren’t interviewed, or asked our opinion on the book and the content. It’s a nice book I must add, but my only negative is that we weren’t included, I did speak to Hattie about it, shout out to her, she said it was an oversight and they had run out of time to finish the book. In a way, that spurred me on, after seeing the book it gave me that extra firepower to go home and write my lyrics for the song and bang, lets do this. I voiced my opinion through the music, put it out there in a nice way, I’m not trying to diss anyone, and I spoke to Hattie and showed her the tune before it went out.
You’ve been in the industry for a long time. Do you feel artists now need to have the same humble mentality as yourself?
I’m from a different era; my foundations and morals are old school. They aren’t around as much these days; the morals I’ve learnt have followed me into the music side of things too. Being a caring person, being humble, treating everyone equal. These are characteristics and traits everyone should have but it doesn’t really go like that anymore.
What advice would you give to upcoming Music artists?
I get asked this a lot, I tell everyone, The advice my gran gave to me when I said to her I was going to do music was “Please don’t do it, do anything else but music” At the time it didn’t really sit with me, however after spending 20 years in the music industry and seeing the highs and lows of it. It is not for everybody, Its like a rollercoaster, you’re entering the belly of the beast. If you don’t have a good support network around you its better you don’t go into it because it can spit you out and throw you off track at any moment and you wont even see it coming.
What are your future plans and aspirations for yourself and your record label (Bush Bash Recordings)?
I aim to be the no 1 independent urban record label in the UK. I see myself with the P Diddy, 50 Cent, Birdman kind of status and I’m reaching to attain their levels. I want to create a lot more music as a solo artist and help other young artists build their name in the game. I’m also getting back into Bush Bash Travel in the New Year. I want to paint the town red and spread good vibes.
What’s MC Bushkin Bringing to the game this year?
Ahh mate, it’s gonna get exciting, as much as I love what the UK are doing at the moment the game is still missing the crucial entertainment factor, the hype and energy and controversy. Keep your eyes on Bush Bash recordings in 2017, we aren’t stopping for anyone ya get me !
Look out for my new clothing line, Bush Bash Recording Merch, I’ve been working on this for a long time, it’s not gonna be hats and t shirts, its going to be a whole collection of top quality clothing that is unique, people that know me know I love my fashion and garms, so I’m really going to go 100% on this.
To keep up with MC Bushkin and his solo musical journey follow him on Twitter at @