Hi Envy, How are things your end? What are you up to at the moment?
Hey really good thanks yeah, been gigging a lot and recording new material. I’m working on a free mixtape and second album stuff, also plugging the T shirts.
Now, starting at the beginning, how long have you been writing music for? And why did you decide to start taking it more seriously? Am I right in thinking that you have a degree in Media?
I started writing poems/songs when I was about 12, back then it was more crappy pop songs, but then when I was about 16 I really found my passion for hip-hop, Nas was the main catalyst in that. Just the truth of it made it so much more powerful than anything else I had been listening to, I got into the battle scene built a name for myself and then started recording, it all sort of just happened, it’s always been serious for me I guess ’cause it’s all I really wanted to do. I went to uni though (always have a back up plan) and yeah I did Media & Communications Bsc.
Did you ever want to pursue the degree or did you do what I did post-grad and become a little out of practice with your future profession? Rapping and academia are pretty different.
At the time when I was finishing my degree there was a lot going on in my life, my mum was really ill, and my music life had become a lot busier too, so I was never really on a job hunt so to speak, the music had snowballed enough by that point to keep me going, I think i got more life experience from uni than academic knowledge…
Has Envy always been a sort of alter ego? And what would you say differs Nikki from MC Envy?
Yeah I guess, ENVY is all the extremes of my personality, it’s kind of like my inner problem child too, I changed at uni through moving away from Manchester & meeting people from so many different backgrounds it kind of opened my eyes, I matured and calmed down. Envy’s my excuse to still say what I think regardless of the consequences, she’s the little scrapper that used to battle & win against all the boys back in the day. I think everyone has a bit of a split personality. When I was younger I think I was JUST what ‘envy’ is now, whereas now I’ve learned to separate the two.
You have a rapid-fire projection of your lyrics, which is amazing. Have you ever MC’d so quickly that you’ve got ‘tongue twisted’ and forgotten your own riddles?
Haha, I have forgotten my lyrics on stage before but that’s more been a result of alcohol rather than the speed of my delivery, people always say my brain goes at like 100mph so I guess it’s only normal that my tongue follows suit.
How did the collaborations with Akira the Don and Medasyn come about?
Medasyn found me on Myspace actually, many moons ago & asked if I was up for doing a track, when we hooked up we had such good chemistry in the studio we just kept on making songs. Akira & I met through a guy I was in a crew with called Dego, & it was the same thing really, we got on so well, personally & creatively we just continued to work together.
It seems lazy plucking Lady Sovereign as an easy comparison but are you bothered about being compared to Sov? You two are friends, right?
It does get annoying sometimes, especially now with my album out & everything I feel I’ve earned my own place in the industry & we are two quite different artists, but yeah we’re mates so it’s kind of funny.
She has recently ‘come out’ as being gay. Do you find that there’s a generalisation of female emcees in such a male dominated industry?
I think in any male dominated space there is the assumption that a woman must be gay to be involved, I’m also into boxing & it’s a similar story. But at the same time there’s a lot of more feminine girls taking over the scene now too. I’m all for girl power out ‘ere.
You give a heads up to a hoard of females in album track ‘Put Ya Game Face On’. Are all the names mentioned big influences on you and your music?
Yeah, definitely, it’s always inspiring to see females representing in, like I said before, such a male space. Women also offer a perspective that’s not represented in male hip-hop so it’s always good to listen to other females. But don’t get it twisted I’m not like some militant feminist, LOL .I just like to rep it for my girls
Your album is definitely in my top 5 of the past 12 months. Are you happy with the way it eventually came out?
Awww thank you! I’m really proud of the album & I’ve had great feedback from it, it’s really personal but also has mass appeal so I think it hits the nail on the head. The BBC even suggested it should be shortlisted for the Mercury Music prize, which, even though it didn’t, was a massive thing for me to even be thought of.
Were you a bid disappointed that you didn’t get a nomination at the Mercurys?
I’m not gonna lie YEAH! that’s one thing I have always wanted to achieve since I started writing ten years ago, BUT to even have my name thrown around when people were speculating the shortlist is surreal enough! There’s always the next album though…
What will the rest of this year and 2011 bring for Envy?
Continue to do lots of gigs & recording, the new single EYE ON YOU will be out in November, followed by a load of free stuff on the net for the fans & then second album hopefully summer next year! Oh & hopefully