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Green Light in the City

Scorzayzee: The First LeftLion Interview

16 February 05 words: Jared LeftLion
photos: Joe Ryder

"I wanted to do something about the corruption that Great Britain is involved in. We spend so many billions on war weapons"

Scorzayzee - Photo by Joe Ryder

Over the last year Nottingham rapper Scorzayzee (aka 24-year-old Dean Palinczuk) has become one of the most talked about lyricists in the UK. He started out as a member of Nottingham hip hop supergroup Outdaville. Since then he has made tunes with the likes of Cappo, Styly Cee and Joe Buhdha as well national heads such as Estelle and Skinnyman. Last year he recorded what many believe to be his masterpiece, Great Britain. This was an anti-establishment rant against the Queen, Tony Blair, the BNP, Freemasons and a few other people he threw into the equation.

It gained him plenty of attention, getting picked up by Radio 1, 1xtra and even more hysterically the Daily Telegraph. The lyrics to Great Britain seem particularly poignant in this age of war and terror. It was a rally cry, a call to arms from a voice of dissatisfied British youth. The song ultimately questions how a country's system of government can act so directly in opposition to the wishes of so may of those it represents. It was something of a surprise therefore, when following his greatest success yet, Scorzayzee decided to call it a day and retire from rapping after this song. Rumours about his conversion to Islam, knocks on the door from federal officers and plenty more hype did nothing to calm the storm. We got in touch with Scorz and asked him to set the record straight once and for all...

You've retired from rapping. What were your reasons?
It's lots of different reasons really. One is that I came to Islam and became a Muslim. Now when I rap I sometimes feel that I'm speaking loud in front of god. I figured if I stopped rapping I'd be happier within myself. Another reason is because I don't really get the same buzz from rapping as I did when I was a kid. I remember when I used to rap, before I used to go onstage I used to go and be sick outside. Three minutes before I was supposed to be on stage I'd just get this feeling in my stomach and puke up. Then all of a sudden I'd just grab the mike and start freestyling my arse off.

When did you convert to become a Muslim? What inspired you to do this?
I converted about five years ago. At the time I was really questioning existence and why I was here. I'd never read a book on Islam before, but then I read this book called the Fundamentals of Tao Heed. It told me the fact that there is one god and that Allah created us in the beginning. I'm not really a believer in evolution and the theory that we evolved from cells and cell multiplication. We are intelligent beings and we have the skills to speak and communicate with each other and build and invent things. These are things that other animals haven't got. So I figured that humans are just another creation of god. That's why I came to Islam, because for me it felt like the right religion, to me it was the truth.

Tell us a bit about Great Britain...
I wrote that tune after the first attack on Iraq started. I wanted to do something about the corruption that Great Britain is involved in. We spend billions on war weapons and war, yet we only initially gave £20m to the Tsunami disaster. I think these are blatant facts that need to be brought out in public because you don't really get the chance to see them on TV. We don't see people speak about the truth, we see people hovering around situations, beating around the bush. I actually wrote the song at five in the morning. The studio was booked at ten. I finished writing it at about 7.30am and it was fresh in my head. I spent the whole night on it and laid it down the next morning in two takes. That's the version that's out there! 

I'm a big fan of Heroes Die. How did that tune come together?
I wanted to do a tune that mentioned all of my heroes in it. I called it Heroes Die because I realised that most of the heroes that I was thinking of had passed away. I missed out other people's favourites though. Everybody should do their own version of heroes die. That was just my heroes.

What are your other favourite tunes among the music you've made?
One of my favourite tunes has got to be Crepes. It was a tune about trainers and Nike and how they make money. It was produced by Nick Stez who is a great producer. Archery is another tune that I still like, it's got one of my favourite beats on it and was produced by DJ Fever. He's one of the best producers in the country. He's heavy man.

Tell us about the old days in OutDaVille when you were rapping alongside Lee Ramsay, Cmone, Tempa and the rest... what are your favourite memories?
I've had some of the wickedest laughs and some of the best times of my life. Going on gigs with them and chilling in the space cruiser. We just used to chill in there and talk about the facts of life like evolution and Trev was making up some funny stories. Just performing with them on stage was when I felt really at home. When everyone went off to do different stuff on their own and it all finished, I lost a lot of love for it. It was like seeing your family split up or something, but people have got to go their own way and do their own thing. We did push the boundaries though.

Scorzayzee - Photo by Joe Ryder

What are the highlights of your career
One of the biggest gigs I did was as a support act for Redman. That was at the end of 2003 and was my last gig. The crowd was massive. There was at least 3000 people there and I went on and did a couple of raps and the response that I got was one of the best I've ever had. I also battled Jehst before he was famous. I was onstage in London and he got up and tried to take me on. He was good, but I was ready for him. Overall, there are loads of good memories though...

You've put out quite a lot of material, but it's mostly on other people records. Do you ever plan to release a solo album, even as a retrospective?
I've never done an album, but I've definitely got enough material. It's hard to find some of it though. I'd love it if someone just got all my material and put it on one album to just give it to the fans. I do owe it to the fans to give them at least one release of my tunes. Even if it's just the six main tunes that I've done. There's a lot of money involved though. If someone wants to put it out I'd have to pay the producers and pay the studio costs of recording and everything.

I understand that you've recently been making a film...
That's right! The director is my friend Sammad Masud. We call him Big Man Sam. He makes films and writes scripts. He had a part for me in a new ten minute short film. Hopefully it will be shown at the Bang Festival at Broadway cinema. It's about three guys who are wandering around trying to catch a fox. I play the guy with the gun! It was really fun working on it and I'd really like to do more acting in future if possible.

So can we ever expect a comeback for you as a rapper?
If I hear a beat and I get an idea again I'll write another tune and put it out. But at the moment I've just got nothing that I want to say. I don't want to talk for the sake of it. I don't want to just make tunes for the sake of it, I want to do something special. All I know is that if I do anything else, it's got to be worth coming back from retirement to say it.

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