After spending the last few weeks living inside his new album to write my review, and wondering about the man behind the mic on Be Very Aware; I was lucky enough to get to put some questions to BVA MC, in which he expanded on his lyrics and the big-name collabs on his last LP, shouted out David Jason, and inadvertently described my life with his ‘shitty kitchen job’ answer.
Explain the process behind the album coming together?
Well it took about 2 to 3 years to make it and get it out, I’ve just been stockpiling solo songs for the album slowly whilst working on other projects like 4 Owls, Brothers Of The Stone etc. When I had a good pile I started getting the features in and just built on it basically; by that point I had a vision of what I wanted the album to be, saying what it needed. I definitely chopped and changed it a bit, but there’s a couple of older solos on there that stood the test of time.
Which beat had you reaching for your pen the quickest?
Probably ‘This Love Is Love’ you know, but a few of the others definitely had me reaching like ‘I Cant Hear You’, ‘Insomnileptic’ and ‘Am I Going Crazy’ for sure.
Did you feel any pressure as it’s your first solo LP for the label?
Yeah definitely a bit, but to be honest it feels more relieving now its here, its been a while coming eh? but it’s a new experience.
Na hahaha just another day on the calendar, but I’ve been having a joke about it n shit for sure.
You kept the collabs within the UK on this one, after that amazing KRS feature and Paz no doubt making your day with his ‘BVA, all day, official pistol gang’ line; are you planning more tracks with any American MCs in the future?
Yeah, even Fliptrix was wylin’ the fuck out when we got that Vinnie Paz verse and he ain’t even on the track! hahaha We got fucked up! Running around, shouting about it n that…….haha. That was all down to Leaf and Illinformed working with Paz with their beats innit, so he gave us a verse in exchange for their beats. I got the chance to meet him properly too when we supported him in Bristol, and he was a real safe guy, and DJ Eclipse of course, who’s been holding us down over there for a while. There’s a load of American artists I’d be down to work with though for sure.
On ‘Hype Man’ & ‘Frontin’ you speak on egotism and false personas. Are these character traits you come across often in the scene? What was the main motivation behind touching on those topics specifically?
Hahaha, plenty of inspiration for that one! but nah it’s something I’m sure we all come across all the time in life. I was definitely inspired by a couple of rappers to start writing it, but I quickly realised it wasn’t just the rappers, it just so happens that some people like to get overly gassed on themselves, you have to laugh!
In the ‘This Love Is Love’ video there’s an MPC in the room you’re chillin in, do you make beats?
Na man it ain’t actually my room, it’s Molotov’s room; he’s a producer that lives in HF HQ. I was just borrowing it for the video, and the cat’s Fliptrix’s cat ‘Irie’ but I might have to steal his cat eh? its got skills! I have made some beats over the years though, I’ve just never gone in on it, it might be something that I take more seriously one day, we’ll have to see. My producer name is Star Wishapon.
How did the idea for the artwork come about? Did you decide the shit that would get flung in the swamp?
Yeah I had the vision for the front cover basically, I wanted a beaver by the dam with them sorts of things being held back by the dam. I told this to mark shields (ONE87ART) and he came back with sick sketches that look pretty much how it does now with colour, the back, the booklet. I knew I was onto a winner straight away, it was better than I had imagined it in my head.
You’ve talked about the daily grind and the work side of your life openly on the last few records, do you find it difficult to balance the restrictions of the system with the feeling of freedom your music and touring give you?
For sure it restricts you, I was always that dude doing a shitty kitchen job, working all the time, getting sacked regularly just to rap and do gigs and then re-hired. Balancing rent n shit, it’s never been easy, but you just gotta stay dedicated. I work a lot less now; sell wares like Del Boy, get some help from the government etc and still struggle with it all financially sometimes to be honest, but I’m a lot happier now, and have more freedom to do productive things like bring out other rappers like Jack Jetson and Smellington Piff on mine and Leaf’s label RLD Records.
What influences you outside of music?
‘Crazy Trips’ & ‘Am I Going Crazy’ offer two sides of the same psylocibin-soaked coin, do you feel hallucinogenics ( including DMT ) and herb offer beneficial avenues for people to open their minds?
All I’d say is be real careful with the hallucinogenics, just do anything in moderation. The trippy shit can open some peoples minds, and fuck some peoples up. Every person is different, and you should never do anything too much. I’ve never done DMT so I couldn’t comment on that personally, but I’d say herb/weed/marijuana is different to all that, it’s definitely more of a healer, but again its not for some people, and helps others. If your gonna trip the fuck out though, my advice is stick to the tried and tested drugs that have been around for years, or grow from the ground! Stay away from all the new ones that no-one knows nothing about.
What area do you think people would benefit most from an expanded awareness of?
BVA’s début solo album for High Focus Records is out now! Go cop that from the HF Store!
Shouts to BVA and High Focus!