Genesis Elijah All Day


Having stepped away from this hip hop lark in 2007, Genesis Elijah has recently resurfaced, taking his career into his own hands and sounding hungrier than ever. We checked in with Genesis to find out where he's been at, where he's going to and what he thinks of the UK scene at the moment. Candy-arsed rappers look away now.

What you been up to and what's the game plan for 2010? I'm Doing It seems to suggest you're in a pretty focused mood...

“Oh yeah! I'm on this thing like I've never been before. I've been preparing for 2010 since the beginning of 2009 and my whole plan for 2010 is to get me in a good position for 2011. I've been getting rid of deadweight waste men from around me and adding people who are focused on me. It's nothing personal, just business.”

What producers have you been working with?

“Erm that I'm Doing It track was produced by Rich West but my new EP Civil Unrest was produced by Beezwax and the one after Before I Was Famous was produced by The Krate Krusaders. I've just started working with a producer called Flex who's got some serious talent and I'll also be working with Blacksmith & Jonny Simps.”

And what about MCs? Have you got any collaborations stashed away or coming up for heads to get excited about?

“I'm not gonna go in to all the artists I've worked with this year but I will say I've done over 25 collabs with UK, US and European artists so you'll be seeing me a lot in 2010.”

What would be your dream collaboration?

“I'll give you the list I want for my album: Roots Manuva, Rodney P, Dead Prez and Benjamin Zephaniah. I wanna work with the people that inspired me to do this kind of music in the first place. As far as producers I'd love to get beats off Premo and Skitz. If any of you read this and wanna collab then please HOLLA!!”

So what other acts do you rate, in the UK and beyond?

“OK let's look who I've been listening to on my iPod...Giggs, Wretch 32, Scorcher, Jai, Terra Slim, Royce Da 5'9, Eminem, Wyclef, Wale, Sean Price, Clipse, Malik MD7, Charlie Sloth, Maverick Sabre, Black The Ripper, Lowkey & Logic, Big Cakes...That's about it really. If you're not on this list it ain't cos I don't like you it's just that I wasn't listening to you this week. It's all love though. I listen to almost every artist that does urban music.”

And who do you hate? (You don't have to answer that!)

“Ooooohhh!!! I don't really hate anyone but I do think there are a lot of artists that should go back to being fans. I know it's fashionable to hate any urban act that's in the charts now but to be honest I like the fact they're bringing the spotlight towards urban/black music. A lot of these acts are really young and don't really have too much control over their output so it's a bit unfair to expect them to be putting out anything with any real substance.”

2009 was a big year for UK-based "urban" music, in terms of exposure at least. Do you think that helped or hindered the development of hip hop over here?

“See this goes back to the artists people hate on, i.e. Dizzee, Tinchy, Chipmunk and N-Dubz. I think they've helped any way you look at it. Because of all the candy arsed shit they've been putting out they've created a rebellion where rappers are really trying to go back to that road grimey shit. I think a lot of the fans have been a bit disappointed with what's being labelled as hip hop and they're searching out the more underground stuff.”

And what's your feeling about the UK scene overall?

“I love it. I love that we're starting to support each other a bit more. DJs are supporting artists and the quality of music that we're putting out is real high right now. We've still got a lot to work on as far as industry infrastructure but we're getting there. I think it's still up to the fans to make the scene what they want it to be. They're the one's who decide how much money the scene can make.”

Looking back, Jah Bless was the tune that made a lot of people sit up and take notice of you a few years back, but which of your tracks are you most proud of and why?

“Good question. Personally my favourite track and the track I'm most proud of is a freestyle that was never really released. It's called Warming Up and you can find it on myspace.com/genesiselijah. I'm not sure why I like it so much but I do.”

Seems like you're on top of your social networking game, promoting your new stuff through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube like a man possessed. How important do you think those outlets are for artists these days? Do you feel like you're falling off the radar if your online presence is quiet for too long?

“Oh for real! If you don't have an online presence then I don't even class you as competition. It's important to be on the road but if you're an artist and people can't find you on the web then you might as well not exist in today's market. If you look at artists outside of the UK who use online marketing then you realise how important the online hustle is. I'm not gonna give away my secrets but let me just say, you can't travel to Japan everyday but you can holla at your Japanese fans online.”

So obviously the industry has changed completely since Deh Pon Road. What's your take on where it's at now and where it's going? How does an artist like Genesis Elijah build a sustainable career these days?

“That's easy. Get your product out there and do all the shows you can. Chances are that if you're a UK hip hop artist you won't become a millionaire off record sales but what you can do is make some good money off the live shows and merchandise... You know what, I'm giving away too many secrets. Let's just say that Genesis Elijah does alright for money because he's very realistic about what he needs to do in today's climate to support his family. Let's leave it at that.”

And what's the long-term plan? Where do you want to be in, say, five years’ time?

“I never plan that far ahead. And the world’s gonna end in 2012, so there's no point ha ha ha! If 2010 goes well then I'll put out an album and then we'll see. My plan for 2010 is really just to do as many shows as possible and raise my profile as much as possible. I'm gonna be omnipresent this year.”

Last question, and it's a bit of a highbrow, theoretical one to end on - would you rather have Jay-Z's money or his wife?

“Money all day! I've already got my own Beyonce so fuck that!”

Oh, and any shout outs?

“Shout to Nina Carmela, Tom Sweetman and Flex at One Time Records. Holla at me at twitter.com/genesiselijah, facebook.com/genesiselijah, youtube.com/genesiselijahtv and please check the I'm Doing It video.”

New EP's Civil Unrest & Before I Was Famous are on their way in February 2010.