A Sit Down With…Tempa

0 A Sit Down With / Music

The Grime scene in Birmingham is on a huge rise, MC Tempa being a big part of it.
When he was only 14 years old he would listen to the tapes which his older sister used to bring home after Garage Nation or Eskimo Dance raves. They inspired him in such an incredible way that he ultimately decided to start MC-ing himself.
Due to low budgets and his surroundings, Tempa soon got lost in the streets which resulted in him having to go to jail for a while. However, after his release he jumped on the track Straight Up which marked a new beginning for him. Ever since, he’s been making waves in the music industry! Pardon My Blog sat down with him and talked about his past, the Grime scene in Birmingham and working with Swifta.

Can you describe yourself briefly for those who don’t know you and your music?

I’m an artist from Birmingham, been MC-ing for about 10 years now. I recently dropped my single Respect which is doing really well.

So you started getting into Grime by listening to your sister’s tapes from Grime raves, do you remember which track or artist you liked the most?

It was more the sound than a track. My sister went to raves and everyone used to have their certain slot and I used to hear Wiley, Dizzee, Kano, Tinchy,.. I was just fascinated by it.

How did your time in jail shape you? What was the biggest lesson you learned when you got released?

The biggest lesson in jail taught me that freedom is priceless. That you’re wasting time in jail and you can be more productive. It just made me realize that I have to pursue what I was doing before.

What would you have done differently before turning your life into a negative direction back then?

It wasn’t really my fault. I wouldn’t have taken part in certain things which made me go to jail in the first place.

The song ´Straight Up‘ is said to having been your rebirth back then. Can you elaborate that a little?

I think it was the rebirth for the whole Birmingham scene. I think Grime at that stage was dead and nobody was really doing it. At the time I was in jail, Lil Choppa and Dapz on the map were doing a mixtape called Matter of Time and they had a tune on it, called Straight Up and I was like I wanna get on this. But I was in jail, so when I talked to him I told him that I have a possibility of coming out soon, that they should hold the track for me. I came out, done it and it became a Birmingham street anthem.

Your freestyle over Kano’s Garage Skank basically went viral! Why did you choose this exact track to freestyle over though, and not something from -let’s say- Skepta? 

Kano has always been a huge influence in my life anyway. I just really like the track. So I tried and wanted to do it as good as him.

Tell us more about your track Respect. Do you feel like you are not receiving the respect you deserve?

In the streets I get respect! Industry-wise, when it came to radio play nothing was going on and I felt I wasn’t getting respected. Obviously now that changed. But the track is more about giving Birmingham respect in general, we are not getting deserved recognition.

Do you think it’s more difficult to break out in another city than London, considering the capital is the absolute music hotspot?

Now that YouTube came into our lives it’s not hard anymore but before that it was really hard! Everything is in the capital.

How would you say does Grime differ in Birmingham?

There’s more happy, energetic Grime in London. In Birmingham it’s more from a darker, gloomy place.

Can you recommend us two more MC’s from Birmingham who shouldn’t be slept on?

There’s loads of us! Dabz OTM, Jay-kay, Choppa, Lotto Boyzz, Sox, Scorpz – there’s a lot of talent!

About your work with Swifta, how did you guys meet each other?

I met Swifta through music but his dad was coming to house. He was my dad’s friend but I didn’t know he was Swifta’s dad. He’s one of my favourite producers.

What’s your advice to those who want to emerge in the music scene with no budget, just like you back in the day?

Keep going, never stop. Always write and try to be in the right places. Consistency is the key.

Finally, what’s next for you after Respect?

More bangers, just a strong body of work. More collaborations!