Bethnal Green rapper gets Wiley’s approval
HE’S been labelled “one of the best rising stars” of the urban rap scene by grime star Wiley - but Bethnal Green’s Aspex maintains he is not about to sell out to a major label.
The rapper, 27, prefers instead to record, produce and release music himself, under his own label, 2Aggi Entertainment.
He said: “Artists have had to change certain things. I’m just trying to hold on to as much as I can.”
From setting up a modest recording studio in his bedroom in Aldgate, where he grew up, to underground gigs across London, to releasing albums on his own, his success has followed a steep trajectory.
So far, he has produced three albums totally independently.
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He acknowledges the internet has had a major impact on the way that aspiring rap artists can reach new audiences, as a means of getting “real music” to people.
“If YouTube had been around before, Tupac would have been on it,” he observed.
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It’s no surprise then that Aspex has become a master at guerrilla promotion, with the internet his main weapon.
He has MySpace and Facebook pages, posts his videos on Youtube, features downloadable tracks on the label website, and tweets regularly.
“We are doing our own thing. We do the graphics, production, everything,” he said.
His latest single ‘Bang’, the second release from his most recent album, ‘No Added Sugar’, is available to download from the label website.
The accompanying video - which Aspex himself directed – was released on MTV and can now be seen on YouTube.
After brief stints in Bow and Stratford he now lives in Bethnal Green, and the reality of growing up in London’s East End permeates his music.
His videos – which he directs himself – are shot on local streets and are imbued with an urban grittiness which is distinctively East London.
The lyrics are slick and clever and dripping with a raw authenticity; an antidote to the synthetic pop of the music charts.
It was one of these videos, shown on MTV Base, that caught the attention of grime artist Wiley.
“He got my phone number from someone and called me. He said he liked my music and thought it was one of the best ones on the channel. He said he wanted to work with me in the future.”
The future seems to be shining very brightly for Aspex.
But what drives him to this phenomenal effort?
“Passion,” he responds.