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Interview: Sway Dasafo

1 February 06 interview: Ben Spurr

Not so much a breath of fresh air for the UK Hiphop scene as a great big gob full...

Sway Dasafo isn’t so much a breath of fresh air for the UK Hiphop scene, he’s more like a great big gob full. Although officially still an unsigned artist (through choice rather than lack of interest) Sway managed to pick up the award for ‘Best Hiphop Act’ at the last MOBO awards. What makes this such a great achievement is that Sway is not only without the backing of a major label, but he was also up against global heavyweights The Game and 50 Cent. More amazing still considering his full album is not set to drop until early February.

How did you feel about winning the MOBO, some artists play down the success of winning such insider industry awards?
I’d never play it down, it was good for my career. It was a positive move on behalf of everyone involved and at the end of the day it was normal, it wasn’t going to make or break me but it helped get me a lot more press and things like that. The award also looks alright at my mum’s house!

Do you think it is the way forward for smaller artists to promote their music without using a major label like you and others have done in the Grime scene?
First of all I wouldn’t say I was Grime. I make Hiphop music, I’m as Hiphop as any Hiphop artist… you understand? I make music and sometimes I experiment and go in to different genres but it’s all still Hiphop. The whole independent hustle isn’t for everybody. Not a lot of people are business minded and you have to be a bit multi-talented to do it. You have to have a good team. I wouldn’t be doing stuff completely on my own. Obviously it’s not me walking around everywhere giving people my CDs. You have to get a good team of people who believe in what you’re doing and let them help to propel you to the next level. The independent hustle is only good if you’re determined enough…

When will the album This Is My Demo be dropping?
On 6 February. It will include ‘Up Your Speed’ and ‘Flo Fashion’.

How was your trip to New York and what kind of reception did you get?
I only went over there for a short period, but the impact we made in that time means that I have to go back. I did three live shows and was on radio as well. They treated me well and it was a good move, I made a lot of links out of it.

On some of your mixtapes you seem to make fun of American slang terms and accents, is that because you think a lot of their artists are fronting?
You know what, it’s like retaliation really and truly. They always take the piss and the British things that sell in America are like stereotypical British stuff. They like Austin Powers and stuff like that and he is like a stereotype of a lot of British people. They mould it in to one and make some comedy out of it and no one really does that back to Americans. I know that they are the metropolis for entertainment in the world so it’s not a thing about “I hate Americans,” but if they’re going to take the piss, I think it’s about time we take the piss back!

You seem quite humble compared to a lot of rappers out there, is that an accurate judgement of character?
Yeah, that’s just me by nature and on the other side I’m not near to accomplishing what I want to accomplish within my career so there’s no time for me to start going all diva-ish. I’m actually a shy person, it’s music that’s made me a bit outspoken. There’s too many ego’s in this UK thing, nobodies done shit, no ones done nothing to start having an ego.

So would you not say that the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Mike Skinner have blown up as they have had success in the States?
Not as far as they need to be. Like at the end of the day, to really be massive and big, you need Michael Jackson hollering at you! When Michael Jackson hollers at you then you know you are at the pinnacle of what you do. Like the Neptunes for example and Biggie Smalls, Michael Jackson had relationships with these people. So I don’t believe that you are anything massive until Michael Jackson gives you a call!

What are your plans for the near future?
The albums coming out just to set the year off and from then it’s going to be everything. DVD’s, you name it. I’m going to be working with other artists aswell, building on the Dasafo camp, a lot of people coming out and there’s going to be a lot of projects I’m going to be on.

Sway’s album This is my Demo is out early February and the single Little Derek is out now on Dcypha Productions. Sway is performing in Nottingham at the Royal Centre (DATE) and for Camouflage’s Birthday party at Stealth.

Sway website

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