Xidus Pain hails from Manchester but resides in Peterborough. He talks to us about hanging out with Grandmaster Melle Mel. Rocking the stage at the Vans WARPED Tour and releasing a full length album every month 2019!
What was the scene like in Peterborough when you coming up in the game?
I lived in Cambridge and Peterborough early 2000 when I was coming up, so I was in between scenes. We ran Hip Hop nights in Cambridge for under 18’s we were called Point Blank. The scene picked up in Cambridge and Raworganics which was Shigz, The Delegates of Culture and Lofty’s night all. It brought a lot of dope rappers down like Ghostface, Phil Life Cypher, Klashnekof, MD7, Ice T and stacks of others.
I remember when 8 Mile came out that was when people in Peterborough took me more serious. I entered all the battles and I won all of them. I was against heads such as Dirty Dike and Professor Green who I beat in the beginning rounds, but they let him through to make up the numbers. He ended up beating me in the finals.
The scene was really good we had a night in Peterborough called Throwdown which Disorda (who is from Peterborough) came and DJ’d. People like Kashmere and Kope used to pass through. I tended to go to other cities entering competitions and doing shows as well.
How did your music career start and who where your influences?
My biggest influence in music was my older brother. I started rapping at 7, growing up in Manchester Cheetemham Hill. My older brother’s friends got signed to a major label they would come over and cypher. I would only join the cypher because I wanted to play on the computer and that was the only way to get in his room.
I took music more serious at around age 16 I did stacks of shows lots of pop in the parks and festivals and I have been involved in music ever since then. Though I’ve been involved in music for years I feel my careers taking off more now. My other influences range from Jay-Z, Pharoahe Monch, Lauren Hill, Michael Jackson to MCD and Phi Life Cypher there’s far too many to mention though.
You where mentored by Grandmaster Melle Me and the Sugar Hill Gang! How did that come about?
I was attending a morning meeting at the Junction venue in Cambridge the same time as Sugar Hill Gang and Melle Mel’s rehearsal time was. I walked in and it was so surreal to see them all there practicing. The manager of the Junction at the time said that it’s cool for me to go chat to them so I did. They asked if I was heading to the show in the evening I told them no as I was grounded.
Wonder Mike rang my step-dad who thought I was pranking him so he put the phone down on him. I called back and explained that it’s for real so my step Dad said to them I can stay out as long as they bring me back and I stay with them. It was such a dope day.
From 10 am till 4 am I got to chill with them and an up and coming artist called Rob V. I remember speaking to Craig Mack as he was on tour with them but fell ill. So he stayed at the hotel in Cambridge and Jay-Z was meant to be with them but he did the Backstage tour in the states.
The funny thing is Grandmaster Melle Mel seemed real serious he was proper hench. He had been on the weights and seemed really straight face. He didn’t say a lot to me so I felt less connected to him as the others were schooling me and dropping gems.
The last song performed on the night was rappers delight and Grandmaster Melle Mel called me over pulled me up on the stage. He nodded at me and gave me his mic to rap along to the full 14 minute version of the song. I am truly grateful and always feel really blessed to have been able to experience that moment as they are Hip Hop royalty.
How would you explain your style?
My style pays homage to the ’90s and also acknowledges the new school. I like focusing on solutions and being positive in bars as there’s far too much negativity out there.
My influences are people like Black Thought, Kendrick Lamar, Reks, Kanye West, Dave, Swiss and Common.
You have worked with various producers from all around the world. Tell us about some of the stand out projects and producers that you’ve worked with?
I worked on a project with a producer called Johnny Crates who is Australian. We had a release on Obese Records which was the largest independent Hip Hop label there. It was an honour to rap over a DJ Nappa (Phi Life Cypher) beat for a project with Rock Fresh which was my clothing sponsor at the time.
I worked with a producer called DeepTrunk 79 on a project called Zeus Eye View that came out November 2019. It featured rap legend Special Ed that stood out to me because he bigged up my verses and my mixing and mastering. I have just recently rapped on some beats from Lee Stone on a new project I’m featured on coming out next year. He works with the likes of Pharoahe Monch, Scarface, Royce da 5’9, Method Man and Shabaam Sahdeeq.
In 2010 you worked with Street Sounds record lable on the Nu Electro 3 album. Tell us about that.
I was approached by Electro producer Lektroid who is originally from Peterborough but lived in Scotland. We had never met properly but he had heard some of my material and seen me perform in the past. He hit me up online and explained he had a song which Streets Sounds label boss Morgan Khan wanted for KRS One and Just-Ice.
Lektroid explained to me that he felt he wanted me on the song though. He was a massive KRS One and Just-Ice fan. He felt us two collaborating would allow people to focus on the song and appreciate it and not just be hyped because they are legends on it.
Morgan Khan loved the song that we did and it spent a few weeks at number one on the Electro charts.
Let’s talk about your live shows. You’ve played at many festivals all over the UK and Europe including the WARPED Tour, Soul Weekender and the Boom Bap Festival. What has been the most memorable and why?
One of the most memorable shows which I ever did was the Vans Warped tour with a rock group called We Are Fiction. Their lead singer worked in a music shop in Peterborough and we got chatting for months about music. Then I gave him a copy of one of my projects he showed it to his bandmates and they invited me to their studio session near Essex I think it was.
The band members started calling me a member of the group due to us catching a vibe. We performed the song that we recorded it was called Tilt at their album launch. It was the night before we did Alexandra Palace, we got a great response.
On the day of the Vans Warped Tour, I learnt a lot and loved the group’s balance of been professional and catching jokes on the day of the show. It was dope we had people giving out free massages and giving people free tattoos in the V.I.P section.
I got to jam with rock legends and the vibe seemed less intense than some of the rap shows that I had done before. The performance went well it was overwhelming the audience knew my rap it was such a great experience I was hype for time.
In 2019 you have dropped an album every month! How have you gone about writing and working on these projects?
I challenged myself by coming up with different concepts and different ways of writing projects each month. Some of the project concepts came from artwork done by artists I know. Some concepts came from conversations with interesting people I had met.
I worked on Kno Pain, Kno Gain which consisted of 21 tracks. This was an idea which I had after a late studio session at 5 am. It was to ask my friends and fans online for motivational quotes as voice notes or messages and I’d include them in the project. I based some of the lyrics on the voice notes and used current affairs so people would know everything was fresh.
The idea was I’d write record, mix and master and do the artwork within 3 evenings. I used DJ Kno beats and this became my most popular project and became my first project to get archived in the Great British Library. It featured people from all over the world.
I also worked on two projects based on the Fibonacci Sequence and The Main Sequence with producer Chris I.P.OP. Which both had video’s for both projects and got very good feedback. The projects were a lyrical exercise for me and really helped me to channel my thoughts.
You’ve just released a new album called Pumulari, tell us about that?
Pumularni is my 14th project and my last installment of the year. The artwork was done by Peterborough artist Prin Marshall who is so dope. Check out her event Battle Lines if you’re into different styles of art. The concept is that my music comes from the raw root of the earth which is wrapped around me.
Pumularni is my middle name and comes from Zimbabwe it means relaxed, laid back and tranquil. The beats are very soulful and there’s some gritty and gully boom bap tracks as well as some chilled thought-provoking songs. I’m a lyric and flows guy so if you like beats and bars have a listen.
Where can people go and buy/download or stream your music?
Xidus Pain BandCamp
Tell us your socials?
What’s next for Xidus Pain?
I am currently working with Rene John Sandy at Hip Hop Loves Foundation on a project for Haiti. It features the likes of Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, Ski beats and stacks of other legends. I’ve just penned my feature for a song for it alongside such greats as Michael McDonald, Sheena Easton, Oleta Adams and Peabo Bryson.
I’m also working with French producer Roger Molls on an amazing project for a huge company that’s US-based. I have lots of other projects in the pipeline and I’m looking to venture off abroad with my Hip Hop / teaching.
Interview by Jai Boo