The ups and downs of UK-based hip hop have been well documented, but someone who wants to see the music rise once again is Stealf, the man behind De Facto Entertainment. He is working with a bunch of talented rappers, and is taking the successes of some of the leading labels in hip hop history and hoping for the same from De Facto. He tells us about the artists and releases here.
Hi Stealf, we're talking about your new label De Facto Entertainment. Can you tell us more?
De Facto Entertainment started from a desire to put out the sort of hip hop I love to listen to and produce. I wanted to give something to the fans who appreciate proper hip hop and not this stuff that gets labeled as hip hop in the media these days. Officially, De Facto started November 2011 and I had previously been working with Mista Flix before, and he was pretty much everything I wanted in a De Facto artist, so I made him my first signing and we got to work with the Lord Of The Real series. Since then, we've put out the first EP, Taking The Commercial To Mordor, wrapped up the 2nd EP, The Fellowship Of The Real, started work on the 3rd, The Return Of The Real and signed an artist by the name of Spitfire and in-house producer White Keys, so there's been a lot happen already in the labels first 6 months, and there's even more to come.
Shout out some of the artists you are working with.
I gotta give a big shout out to the De Facto artists first and foremost. Spitfire's album is in the works and that promises to be really special, so there'll be more news on that soon. White Keys is really putting in some serious work for a joint project between him and myself. Flix is working on the final part of the Lord Of The Real, and then we'll be working on an album which is going to set some standards.
We recently worked with a number of huge talents for the 2nd EP. We got to work with Tabanacle, who's a real pro, and delivered a killer verse. We also got to work with Cyclonious, who also really came through with his collab. Cons, who's part of 'The Colony", features on the EP too and he put Flix through his paces. It was really good to work with such a diverse and professional group of rappers. We also had a producer from the US contribute, Dirty Commerce produced one of the EP's standout tracks and he'll be helping us a lot more in the future too, along with UK legend Evil Ed. It was such a pleasure to work with Ed and he did a lot more than produce a killer track, he helped us out a lot with some solid advice and hooked us up with Frank from Loaded Audio, who mixed and mastered the EP.
In the very near future, we'll be working with Ed again, as well as YNR artist Micall Parknsun and possibly some other big UK talent. I'll also be putting out the 2nd volume of the 'Beats & Rhymes' releases that I produced with US artist Jackitdown Brown, so that'll be everything fans of the first part expected and more.
You're currently in the middle of a three part EP series. Can you explain how this is working? You are releasing the second part on the 21st July - who is on this?
When De Facto started, I wanted to put something together that would keep heads coming back for more and so the Lord Of The Real was born. We started off with 'Taking The Commercial To Mordor', and that had some really good feedback, as well as introducing people to the label and Flix. One of the criticisms we got from the 1st EP was that there were no collaborations on there and we wanted to address that with the 2nd part. So with that in mind, we're now ready to release 'The Fellowship Of The Real'. This is Flix at his best, and he has to be, because we have artists like Tabanacle, Cons and Cyclonious going verse for verse with him and production being handled by White Keys, Commerce, Evil Ed and myself. The EP will also be available digitally and physically from the De Facto website on July 21st.
Can you describe the style - both of the label, and of the artists involved.
The label was built on the fundamentals of some of hip hop's biggest and best. I always site early Def Jam as a major influence, Premier's Year Round Records, Tech's Strange Music, Stones Throw, Duck Down, YNR and labels like High Focus, and Lewis Recordings. These are labels that have achieved some big things, created greatness, established themselves and grown and this is something I want De Facto to do. We are firmly rooted in the golden era of hip hop and each person involved truly believes that was when hip hop was at its best, and it needs to be reaffirmed and resurrected (for want of a better expression). I'm not comparing De Facto to the labels mentioned, I just use their history, business models and attitude and apply that to what I'm trying to achieve over here.
Each of the artists, producers and even the marketing director has the same outlook on hip hop, and I want to make De Facto the home for that sort of thinking in UK rap. Like a lot of people, we can't help but think hip hop has got lost, it's far from dead, but it's time to strengthen what other have done before us.
What's coming up on the third part of the EP?
The 3rd EP has literally only just started to get underway, but it's going to really finish off the series, and it's going to be a big step up from the previous 2, and that's a bold statement because The Fellowship Of The Real is SERIOUS. 'The Return Of The Real' will have a couple of collaborations, as well as more production from Ed, myself, White Keys, Commerce and more. The 3rd EP will be the perfect way to round up the Lord Of The Real series. There's going to be a lot happening in the next few months with this project, so make sure you stay tuned because you won't want to miss this.
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