Righteous & Reckless
Sat in the Dalby Café made famous by the MEGA BREAKFAST Challenge defeated by one Peter Doherty ‘cene magazine met with son of Margate, Mic Righteous. The rapper, responsible for the life and locale-inspired Dreamland album, has been an artist we have wanted to address for some time now. With only a plate of poached eggs and a full-on fry-up as a barrier, the Thanet wordsmith let loose on all topics from life and death, to the powers of the universe, to breaking and entering.
It was all I knew. I just considered it home. A lot of people complained about it. But I just kept my network quite small and we all looked out for each other; we shared common views. As gully as it can get sometimes here, as anywhere in the world (can be like it). When I got the chance to get out of here and travel, I started realising that everywhere is like Margate.
On the nickname Mic Reckless…
Just down there (pointing), is reckless, and this way (pointing) is righteous. There’s that conflict in everything. Like in the universe, everything crashing into each other and smashing, but that’s also when planets are born.
When I’m in a dark, dingy place, in Garlinge, without no parents, or anything, a star was born. I am the universe.
On the beginning…
I first discovered rap at primary school. My mate had this tape of D12, Purple Hills. I realised it was a song about doing pills.
I went out and bought it.
When I got home I wanted to see how long it would take for me to learn the entire song off by heart. It took about an hour.
Then I did it with some more Eminem songs and some DMX songs. There was also this song on the 8 Mile soundtrack that was six minutes long and I learned that too. That’s when I thought, ‘I’m going to try and make some lyrics myself’.
On the Dalby Café…
It’s the greatest café in the world. I have got a confession to make, I have already been here once today. Look at those eggs, wow. Look at this poached egg. Bosh. Stop it.
On the industry…
I’m not a marketing genius, but I am a Mic Righteous genius. I feel like I know what’s best for me, in terms of who I should listen to. Sometimes I have let people dictate what I do, because of who they might be. And that’s not what I should be doing.
You know what ends up happening? Things end up flopping or tanking. And it’s not a reflection on them, it’s a reflection on me. When it all goes tits up, they can move away.
Everyone has the best intentions.
If I just give up today, I feel like I have dug this hole far too deep. I wish people would stop asking me if I am going to keep making rap music! I am always gonna’ do it. The only time I’m not gonna’ do it, is when I’m dead; unless I’m a zombie.
On massive comets…
Imagine if we got hit by a massive comet, and it just broke half the Earth. Everyone would be like “what the f*ck, what were we worrying about? Brexit?”.
On modern times…
What is poor? I was considered poor, but I still had an iphone in my back pocket and TVs in my house. In the 1950s, and you were poor, you didn’t know if there was food in the house. Sh*t has got better. I don’t know how people can complain.
On his music…
I definitely think I am one of the more underrated rappers in this country. And when people do give me the time of day, they realise what they have been missing out on.
People’s general consensus is that I’m a bit dreary or my lyrics are about how shit my life is, but if you actually listen… I am never going to tell someone how sh*t their car is unless I go for a ride inside it.
On his manager Jack…
I think when you are born your mind is like a blank canvas, and there are a particular set of people responsible for then painting on that. And for me, I put a lot of my knowledge down to Jack, what he showed me and taught me. I honestly thought he was going to find out that I broke into his music studio to record music and he would kick the crap out of me.
On breaking and entering…
and recording for the first time…
I was working on a building site at the age of 16, but I knew I wanted to do music. There was a few people doing well and creating a buzz locally, and through a friend I ended up connecting with these local MCs. We put the Ramsgate vs Margate beef down, stopped the gang thing and, I wanted to make some music. I wanted get in the studio. The studio was at a squat, it was f**ked, but I recorded some tunes and went home that night.
I was listening to myself on a song. And I needed to be back in that studio, so I went round there the next day and I was knocking on the door but no one answered. I waited around, tried to phone this guy from a phone box, no answer. In the end they answered, but said that Jack had told them not to let just anyone from different ends into the studio, “especially not that Takaloo kid, because his brothers are all thieves or professional boxers and we don’t wanna f**k with them lot, so just keep them away”.
But I had been waiting six hours, so I told them I had spoken to Jack and he said I can record here for nothing, for two weeks… and this guy is like… “okay, when do you want to start?”
I thought,” I’d better write some songs quick before they get back and start weighing me in”. So, I made loads of songs.
When Jack eventually came in, and I met in, he was actually completely different. I think he recoginsed that I really wanted to do something and that I wasn’t a threat at all.
On his Dreamland album…
It was my debut album. Everything before was a mixtape and I put them out for free.
My plan was to never put out an album until I had a significant amount of followers. So during my life, I was recording good music and I had songs that would resonate with people, but I didn’t have enough people to put it out to.
So I had to make some mixtapes and put them out and get a fan base while I created an archive of music. My whole career was basically revolving about my debut album.
And that meant my debut album had to be a story, a documentation. And that is what Dreamland is. It is a story from when I got into music right up to where I made that album.
A lot of stuff happened to me; this chain of events created this character. And it’s the same story as anyone else. “This character is sh*t, he goes through sh*t, it gets better, and now he’s not sh*t”.
On the future…
There’s lots of new music in the pipeline. This is my next album (shows us his phone with a list of songs and plays one). This next album is a bit more now, a bit more fun, a bit more me. I wanted to put it out, but a lot of sh*t has been happening, but that’s good because it’s all going into the music. It is happening. Unless I die. If I die will you do a breakfast named after me? We can have the launch part in the Dalby café. I’m not a big goer outer, I don’t really go to clubs etc. This is where me and my mates come.
On working with Vivienne Westwood on his single ‘Be There’…
I didn’t even know a thing about her. I’m not really into clothes like that. If someone showed me a Vivienne Westwood shirt, I would show them my shirt from George, it cost £5.
I have family and friends out there. And if you look at the statistics online, my music has done well and a lot of people always listen to my music out there.
Someone got in contact about doing a show out there, so I thought, “why don’t we do three shows and do a tour”. The next thing we are touring Australia.
On my next album there is a song about Corey Perez. He was a guy who supported my music, who lived in Australia, who got cancer. About a year ago, his missus messaged me and Jack intercepted it because I was going through a lot of sh*t at the time.
Something had control of me and I didn’t have control of it. I could have gone to prison or died.
Corey was someone I spoke to regularly, but hadn’t spoken to for a long time. I knew his condition was bad, but I was on tour at the time and I always said we would talk but I never got round to speaking to him properly. After this one catastrophic event, I knew I had to speak to him, and when I tried to, his missus told me he had died. So, when I go to Australia, I am going to see his family and spend some time with them.
On the message….
What I want to be about…. I want to be remembered for being a peaceful man.
A lot of the people who have been remembered as the best people on Earth, didn’t have great starts in life. Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Muhammed Ali, Mike Tyson, Kurt Cobain, Michael Jackson; all these people had troubled starts. Some of them didn’t end well, but they all faced great conflicts, and I feel like that’s just life. It’s the cosmic battle of good and bad. We are all made of the same stuff. But pressure makes diamonds, and the bad things that happen are more beneficial for your character.