Welcome to BURR. Brickcellphone’s Underground Rap Radar.
In this series, Brighton hip-hop DJ, Matt ‘Brickcellphone’ Leppier, is chatting to some of the underground rap talent on his radar. It’s as simple as that.
Follow him @brickcellphone and listen to him spin some of these artists on Offie Mag Radio.
BURR 32: Sporting Life
Corrrr, blimey. What an honour.
You may have heard of him, you may not have. For those that don’t know, Sporting Life is a producer who made up one-third of NYC-based rap trio, Ratking, alongside one of my favourite all-time rappers, Wiki. Since then he’s worked with some seriously talented rappers and artists in various fields.
Chatting on Skype from Brighton to NY, I spoke to Sport about his new EP, his love of climbing and more.
How did Ratking start? How did you meet Wiki?
I met Wik around New York City, he was starting to rap and put himself out there a bit more and eventually we ended up crossing paths, and I was starting to make beats.
Why do you think you and Wik work so well together?
I don’t know, it’s just like, if a couple people have a drive towards something – you cross paths – it’s the same thing that makes someone wanna rap in public, not everybody wants to do that, they might have a certain type of skill but they might not ever wanna speak it out in public, but if you are doing that and putting your energy out there like that then eventually, it’ll resonate.
What about everyone else, is it based on fuck-with-ability?
I guess its what you resonate with them at the time, we’re all changing and all learning, we are all our own solar system and our own stars, you are very fortunate or lucky if you and your mindset is revolving around other creatives, but you never know how long that will last. When you’re an artist – there’s not much difference between magician and musician – once you start to get more of a control of your craft, then you can start manifesting things in your reality quicker, using your art. It’s kinda some Harry Potter shit.
Climbing obviously inspires the tape massively, what appeals to you about it?
It’s like saying why do you love skating or playing ball or something, once you feel the thrill of it. I got introduced to it when I was travelling in Vancouver, I was staying with a friend of my who’s a really dope cinematographer and also climbs, but even before that I had already put the energy out there that I was gunna start climbing, then the reality started to morph.
What else inspired the tape?
Everybody inspired the tape. Everybody in New York, all the creative artists that I’m around inspired it in one way or another, for the most part, just travelling, climbing and the experience of using your art as a vehicle, that’s been the most inspiring.
Footwork is clearly a big inspiration of yours as well, what appeals to you about it?
It definitely was a seismic event in my production growth. DJ Rashad, Manny, Traxman, Taye, they’ve always influenced me and they’re probably the reason I make music, they’re people displaying skills and any time that’s present I’m going to be attracted to it and that’s what my inspiration was from those guys. Once you feel it, it’s the new Hip Hop – it’s the Hip Hop of electronic music, it’s the latest and most un-gentrified electronic music.
Every time I go outside is an official release.
Am I right in saying this is your first official release since 2016?
Nah, I’ve had official releases since then, I did a collaboration with Umbro, I released a bunch of jerseys – everything is an official release. Every time I go outside is an official release.
You’ve worked with some absolute legends – tell about why these collaborations have worked so well?
Anybody who’s very free with how they express themselves is easy to work – Nick Hakim, Taso, Deem Spencer – it’s like if you pass the ball they pass it back, three man weave, it’s like who you like to play sports with or skate with, people who’re down to play like that. They play well, the pass the ball, the have a certain type of energy, that’s the people I like to work with.
What sort of relationship do you have with the UK?
I have a bit of an awareness of the music that goes on there. As much as I can go there, I try to. It’s cutting edge. I was listening to those dudes, Box London – they just put out a new compilation and one of their tracks was really fire by a producer I had never heard of and I put it on a mix that I did for The Face magazine, I put it on Twitter and I saw them re-tweet it, so yeah, maybe when I come over next I can link them. Me and some friend did an art show over there where I collaborated on some jerseys with a visual artist called Sabio. It was a blend between New York artists and London artists, it was really cool.
I try to be over there as much as possible. Last time I was there we did a bonfire in Cosmo Pyke’s backyard and he played a live set. He’s a G, yo. It was a really crazy night bro, he was so chill. He had a big spooky house! He played like 13 tracks as the sun rose.
What three items do you find yourself purchasing from bodegas most often?
There’s one right down the street from my studio. So I’ll probably get a smoothie cos they just got a new smoothie station. I always get a smoothie called mango madness. I’ll get egg and cheese on a croissant and then seltzer water. That’s my normal deli run. Nobody can fuck up an egg and cheese croissant.
Anything you’d like to add?
I wanna shout out my mum and my family – all my creative climbers, all my artists, the esoteric community, everyone who’s pushing for good and manifesting change in their life. Shout out to y’all – thanks for having me.