Blessings from the High Priest of Rap

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February 24, 2006 by cosmoakacitizensmith

I hit London town to get some blessings from the High Priest of Rap. He was giving a sermon at the Willmington Arms, Islington last Saturday. I was delayed on the train and very agitated. But blow me down, I got there just as he got up to the pullpit to do his thang…

I first got to know Kai Motta because he wrote an article for Schnews, the weekly Brighton activist publication. Some bright spark there reckoned we were on similar paths with music and politics and hooked us up.

The rest, as they say, is history.

His music takes a lot of inspiration from US figures: Dylan, Bill Hicks, Eminem and Lenny Bruce, but he moulds it into a style all of his own. Lately this has come to fruition as his alter-ego, the High Priest of Rap, where he has injected some very British self-deprecation into what he does. A few plonkers who visit his Myspace site don’t realise he’s having a laugh.

But the crowd at this gig I went to on Saturday are in no doubt, this is top quality hip-hop on a mission to entertain, inform and keep you laughing too.

Shamelessly sampling Hendrix, Franz Ferdinand and others, (and chucking in his own beats for good measure), he delivers his sermon to the audience who are ripe for all manner of correction. His website is here.

Later we decant for beers and the last chicken tikka massala before the birdflu epidemic. Some of it ends up on the tablecloth in his lounge. Oooops.

The next day we’re up fairly early to start recording. I’ve got a track I want his production skills on. It’s called Meet The Family, and it follows the misfortunes of a bunch of people hoping to escape financial chaos by putting on a party and flogging some drugs. There are four verses, and they’re quite long. I wrote them very quickly, and I hadn’t learned the words as I wanted to try and keep a really spontaneous vibe in the recording.

Sure enough, we start tinkering around and get the basic beat and groove very quickly. Then I spew out the words reading from a sheet of paper and Kai sets to work to spice it all up. By the end of the day, along with a few overdubs, it’s complete. Just like that. I keep his between verse banter as well, totally unprepared and unrehearsed, just as we planned it!

Nice one to Kai and Hayley, his partner, who’s expecting a child soon. The finished result should be on my Myspace site very soon!

I end up heading off to my mum’s to stay for a few days. On Wednesday, she and I head off to Denmark Street in Tottenham Court Road to meet my mate Chin, who’s doing a programme Glass Shrimp on Resonance FM. I was hoping to do a few tunes on air, but there wasn’t time.

Chin was interviewing Jem Finer, formally of the Pogues, who’s got a grant from the PRS to put togther a music installation in the middle of a forest in Kent. We got a run down on the whole project from him in the pub before transmission. Apparantly, this installation consists of a hugh huge speaker like the one on a gramophone player. It is attatched to a long tube and placed in the ground, with the speaker poking out at the top. At the bottom of the tube, lots of water passes though an intricate series of pipes, which makes lots of beautiful, natural music. Sounds pretty mental.

Only problem is he needs a builder to secure the thing in place! Reality bites!

Rounded off the night getting lashed on organic lager. It was great: no bloatedness, no psychotic reactions, and no headache the next day!


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