It’s less than a month until another academic year kicks off and Young Academic has been spending its summer on a smooth new look as well as finding you all the career guides, exam advice and student news pieces you guys need! In the meantime, we have some wicked additions to the Ultimate Festival Guide on the way as well some great interviews. Charles Whitworth hooked up with extrovert rapper Voodoo Browne yesterday to find out about his intriguing image and the forthcoming album, Browne Saucery….
It may have been rather predictable but the first thing I felt compelled to ask Voodoo Browne, or Marley as he is also affectionately known, was the story behind his striking looks.
“Basically I like to feel that my image and visual presence is fresh and new. With my last three releases I have had a particular concept based around a character in my press shots and cover art. My debut release, Swing Reswung, featured a Rasta man look wheaeas the second release, Low Budget Raver, was an Old Skool Raver. My forthcoming single, Kerse Da Verse, which can be seen on the Young Academic homepage, is based around Baron Samedi and voodoo culture,” he explained.
As you can seen from the featured video, Voodoo Browne’s style is as spell binding as his image, I wondered if this was a theme that we can expect to continue?
“Basically, the whole top hat and Baron Samedi character is really part of that particular release. I feel compelled to bring a bit of theatrics to my projects, much like Michael Jackson or more recently Lady Gaga. I feel that there’s a gap in the market for someone to bring some fresh ideas and not be afraid of the usual stereotypes for any given genre. I’ve got crew, some of them have got dogs too, but I don’t think that brings enough depth to feature them in my videos.”
It is certainly a striking and intriguing image and one that seems to change with each single or release. Marley certainly doesn’t seem to feel that he has been forced to adopt this to get noticed, it is actually totally natural.
“I was born with this style. My name itself is unique and stands out, I’ve just followed a natural progression with my appearance and visual look and feel completely comfortable where I am. It’s all about the drama and don’t need no stylists!”
Such an independent and brave look is surely a breath of fresh air in an industry that has become saturated over the years with fairly derivative lyrics and approaches. No-one can say that Voodoo Browne isn’t trying to push the boundaries and create something fresh and original.
“My aim is to give a positive message and bring another angle on Hip Hop culture, I like to bring humour and wit into my flows and feel that music especially hip hop doesn’t have to fit into the usual cliche box that people expect. I want to bring something different and hope that the kids and all generations can relate to my message,” Marley went onto describe.
Despite a truly individual approach, Marley must have had some influences as a youngster. His father is the renowned East Anglia based DJ Needles but who were his other role models?
“There are too many artists that have caught my attention over the years and I feel that my inspiration is drawn from many artists and many genres but right at the start it was artists like ‘Wu Tang Clan’. My sound is basically a concoction of everything that inspires me but with a big dose of my own flavor!
Other artists that I followed as a youngster include Showbiz & AG, NWA, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest, Blacksheep, also gotta mention ‘Leaders Of The New School’, Big L and Mob Deep but I feel that have crafted my own sound”
Hailing from the Ipswich area, I was curious to find out what it was like making it as a hip-hop artist in a predominantly rural area.
“I established my name locally back in the 90’s as part of a hip hop collective known as Don Congregation (aka Don Con). My dad, better known as DJ Needles, is a well connected rare groove/ soul selector in the East Anglian region who linked me with many promoters and pirate radio stations. Here I was able to MC and promote myself and shared the stage with diverse artists like Blak Twang, Grooverider and local and internationally respected Reggae don YT.”
As I discovered, Voodoo Browne is from a family steeped in hip-hop tradition. As mentioned, his father is DJ Needles and his cousin, Vendetta, is one of the inspiration behind his mysterious profile.
“Back in the day some people would say I put them in a curse when I rap or put a spell on the beat. I wanted a dark sounding name to match my cousins DJ name ‘Vendetta’ so I thought Voodoo Man. I thought it went with my style and my cousins DJ name!”
Voodoo Browne represents some exciting times ahead for British hip-hop and Kerse Da Verse is out on the cool Ipswich based label, Ambiel Music on September 19th. What can we expect from the rest of the album?
“Expect to hear a kaleidoscopic array of material that touches the corner of many genres and styles, that’s lyrically and musically. I feel that I bring my own style vocally and am confident enough to say that with over 10 years of studio and live experience, my vocal style is at its optimum and won’t disappoint. There’s something for everyone in Browne Saucery and I really hope that my message translates to new audiences, not just Hip Hop.”
Finally, in true Young Academic fashion, we asked Marley if he has any advice for any students in the United Kingdom looking to make a name for themselves in the hip-hop industry.
“Don’t copy, be yourself and work very hard. Everyone is a rapper, producer and DJ these days and what makes people stick out is years of hard work and originality.”
Kerse Da Verse (featuring Cosha Don) will be available for download in just a few weeks, if you enjoyed the YouTube video make sure you get yours sorted. Additional downloads and the full album will also be available in late October, head over to http://www.voodoobrowne.com for more information!