A shot taken from my chat with Darcus Beese OBE in September 2015.

A shot taken from my chat with Darcus Beese OBE in September 2015.

This is awkward, init?

I should probably get someone to write me a biography rather than speaking about myself, but here goes...

I fell in love with music around the age of 11. My brother, who is 4 years older, had brought home Mobb Deep's The Infamous album one day. I vividly remember him telling me: "These guys are the realest. They live in the projects in New York and - even though they're like really rich now - they still live there." I listened to the album in full and, within a week, could recite every word. From there, I researched the features on the album (Nas, Ghostface, Q-Tip) and, before long, I was trapped inside of this whole new world; every new track featuring a reference that would lead me on to someone else - a cycle I've never really escaped from.

Fast forward to the early 00s and Channel U arrived. "Finally!", I thought. "People with British accents." I'd already been up on some UK hip hop heads (Jehst, Chester P, Lewis Parker etc.), courtesy of my brother once again, but there was something about Grime that just captured me. The energy, the frustration; it was the perfect remedy for all of my adolescent rage bubbling away. 

By the time UKRecordShop.com came around, I had a bedroom adorned with Wiley and Kano posters and an unrivalled knowledge of every mixtape around, but I was always slightly out of the loop. Living out of London always hindered my ability to get the latest news about releases. Whenever I came within a 50 mile radius of the city I would use the opportunity to purchase the latest edition of RWD Magazine, Big Smoke or The Hip Hop Connection. These were my bibles.

Mags.jpg

After leaving home at 16, on a mission to find a way to London, I would sit for hours on end watching and reading interviews from anyone willing to talk at the time (to this day I'm pretty sure I've watched every single Dizzee Rascal interview ever published - my favourite of which being this). There was something about the explosion of YouTube that was special. For the first time in history, we had an archive of knowledge at our fingertips. Regardless of where you were from, or the education you had received, you could pull yourself from ignorance if you just took some time to study any number of great people that came before you. 

In the meantime I would study the writing in my old magazines, reading interviews and articles from the likes of Chantelle Fiddy, trying to figure out a place that I could fit in to all of this. It took a while, but after a few months of annoying people with emails, I finally got the chance to do some blogging for SBTV, a music channel that was just on the come up at the time. I had no idea what I was doing, but I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by. I stuck my head in Wordpress for around 10 hours a day and made it my mission to hunt down artists that weren't getting enough attention and do my bit to shine a light on them.

Since then, I have been fortunate enough to write pieces for the likes of i-D MagazineMTV and MOBO.com, while also later becoming the Editor-in-Chief of SBTV. Alongside this, I work closely with a number of both established and emerging artists as an A&R and marketing consultant, helping develop and nurture talent.

I've always been in awe of great speakers. Growing up watching interviews with Michael Parkinson and, later on, discovering broadcasters like Howard Stern and Larry King - and comics like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and the late Patrice O'Neal - the art of communicating the truth through art has always inspired me. 

At the very heart of what I aim to do is to document and develop; to capture moments of perfect honesty or vulnerability as a journalist, while working with artists to express themselves in the same way as an A&R.

To hit me up about any work-related stuff, or just a rant about music or life (regardless of which option you choose, you're highly likely to receive the latter anyway), drop me a message on ashthoughton@gmail.com.