If your ears are regularly caressed by the hip-hop and rap music scene that the United Kingdom has bubbling within it’s weak and unstable borders, the chances are that you know about Blah Records’ Lee Scott.
Or more so, Lee Scott’s Blah Records, as the repeatedly stupidly poignant rapper is one of the founding members of the label, who’s versatile collective of artists from gutters all over the UK are amongst the most talented and original in the underground game. From the eery production of Reklews to the energy that Manchester duo, Black Josh and Sleazy F Baby bring to their sweaty live shows, Blah Records are going in. Their limited edition vinyl and cassettes sell out, kids are wearing their merch and, with the incoming release of Danny Lover’s new album all the way from Canada, they’re mucky sound has been sludging across the Atlantic.
Lee, the early-thirty-something rapper, started it all back in his native, Runcorn, on ‘the wrong side of the dirty Mersey,’ and shared his journey to this point and so much more during an afternoon spent with Off Licence Magazine in his latest residence of Kilburn. Expect more anecdotes and hindsighted wisdom in that feature interview than you can shake a Blah Records custom-made cassette player at, but for now, make do with a snippet of his journey from North-West England to North-West London.
“There was something popping off in the early 2000s,” says Dr Scott, discussing what hip-hop scene there is or was in Liverpool and the surrounding areas. “If you ask people older than me they’ll tell you there was stuff even before that – like First In Command and Mr Mensah. They stopped in the mid-nineties, though, but there were still some good nights back then.”
As part of Antiheroes with fellow Blah man, Salar, his first show was actually supporting British hip-hop royalty in the form of Task Force, “but coming from where we did,” he admits, “we didn’t even know a lot about them. I obviously then found out more about them; they’re legends so we were blessed to support them for our first live show – they’re fucking boss live too.“
“To me, ‘UK hip-hop’ has always meant London, and I didn’t even come down here for the first time until I was 18, performing at a night called Speakers’ Corner in Brixton. But I don’t even think I like the term ‘UK hip-hop,’ it suggests I’m making a certain sound, but it’s not… I guess it’s just rap music that happens to come from Britain.”
London is just one of the places that Lee’s hip-hop journey has taken him, with the Blah Mansion residing in Blackburn where cheap rent and a big house means making a shit load of noise and a shit load of music is both easy and affordable. Add Liverpool, the planet Mars, the depths of hell, Runcorn and London to that list, and we’re talking about an extremely nomadic gentleman who we kept in one place for long enough to do this interview and take the following photos.
“I just move about because I’m just… a weird nut. First time I came down (to London) was on a whim, I got fined on the train and was just like ‘fuck it, I’m staying,’ and just lived here for like a year.”
His movement, mysterious and unpredictable like childhood hero, Robbie Fowler in his prime, goes hand in hand with his full-time occupation which, of course, is his music…
“Well, I don’t do anything else… I’m just always writing,” says Lee, a man seemingly always sitting on finished albums, waiting for the right time to drop them like a seagull hovering over a beach with a Blah-branded pebble.
“I’ve done a couple of those dead-end jobs; working at a factory – some 12-hour rotating shift – brain dead mind numbing shit. And a cafe like this one (BIG UP ELLIE’S CAFE FOR THE LATTE), but not until I was about 23. I did a job in a call centre for about 3 weeks and after that is when I hopped on the train to London. I mention it on a song – ‘more than hip-hop and drugs, I skip towns, jib jobs and shrug.’ (Sunshine – Stupid Poignant Sh!T) I used to do that a lot, just move towns.”
That quote is one of many on a lengthy discography that stems from ‘rapping about killing cartoons and shit’ on stolen cassette tapes as a kid in Runcorn, through to legendary super group, Children of the Damned, several self and society analysing solo albums and more recently, his paradoxical, genius, ignorant hip-hop with Cult Mountain.
You need way more than five minutes to get to know Lee Scott’s work and the influence it has hard on the younger rappers that this often, under appreciated scene is producing. But there are opportunities to delve into his sound. Yes, you can wait until a full-length feature comes out, printed and sent to your local corner shop in the first issue of Off Licence Magazine. Or, you can (and should) sink into a state of unison between mind numbing and mind expansion with hours of Lee Scott, Leezus, Tin Foil Fronts, Dr Scott, Mr Wrong and Leopold Rhymewell available on Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud and various physical platforms known as vinyl, cassette and ‘compact disc.’