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stylo g shares the records that changed his life

Since bursting onto the scene with My Yout in 2005, Spanish Town born, South London raised dancehall star Stylo G has torn up many a dancefloor from JA to the UK. The 28 year-old talks us through the key sounds that have helped him through this crazy...

by Hattie Collins
|
06 November 2014, 9:30am

The first record I bought was…
Mobb Deep' s Murda Musik album. It's my favourite album of theirs. A friend at school introduced me to them around 1998. I heard a few tracks and had to buy the CD. The tune Quiet Storm was the one that really got my attention. The beat sounded like a story, a dramatic movie. I was learning how to write songs at that time and I saw how you put a story together and make it sound dramatic.

My favourite record shop is…
Maestro Records on Rye Lane in Peckham. There's a few in South London where everyone goes; Dub Vendor, Blacker Dread and Maestro, which was closer to me, living in Peckham. At that time, in the early 2000s, records were selling like hot bread. It's my favourite shop cos I knew the guy who worked behind the decks. I'd tell him about my music and he'd say 'When you're ready, bring it in'. About four years later, I actually released a CD, independently and he took 50 off me. 

The song that made me want to do music was…
Busta Rhymes' Put your Hands Where My Eyes Can See. I was in Jamaica at the time, I was about 12 or 13-years-old. I knew I wanted be a musician but when I saw the video and saw how he was spitting the patois and representing the Jamaican language, I was like 'Wow this is possible'. My cousin bought down the album and I listened to it every day in the house. I'm a mad fan of Busta Rhymes and his style and that was when I decided 'Yep, I gonna do music'.

The best clash I've seen in Jamaica is…
Mavado Vs. Kartel. You have more classic ones like Supercat Vs. Ninjaman, they opened the doors. But when Mavado and Kartel clashed it was in my era, I understood the lyrics more and the new type of delivery they were doing. The entire of Jamaica was watching. I used to go to Sting when I was younger. It was crazy. Everything was happening so fast; there was so many people, and the music? Everyone was so hungry to watch the performances and it showed me right there the things that people will do for music in Jamaica. You had people jumping over fences to get in. It's like a crazy festival that goes all night. It begins with reggae vibes like Beres Hammond and Morgan Heritage. Then it gets more excited about 4am and goes until daylight. The sun will rise and artists will be onstage, everyone is still dancing and going mad.

The song that most reminds me of Jamaica is…
Beenie Man's Ole Dog [sings]. That's the song when you're a kid that you know every line of and you sing along word for word. I'm still a big fan of Beenie Man too. He's still doing stuff; he stays consistent. Growing up in Spanish Town, I never had many choices. I don't regret it cos it made me the man I am now. Seeing how my mum struggled to work to send me to school teaches you a lot. You don't get as much opportunity there that you get in the UK. When I came to here, I saw opportunity, so I knew I had to make the most of it. I came from a place where I never had much, but that with opportunity that England offers you, you can get on in life.

The song that reminds me of my parents is…
My dad's [dancehall artist Poison Chang who was murdered in 1998 when Stylo was 12] song, Press Up. I grew up with that song. Every time I hear that song it reminds me of my dad. He bigged up my mum in that song too. He'd be happy, to see what I'm doing now. I think he'd definitely be proud. I take my talent from him. His speaking voice was different to the one he would use on the mic; he would put so much energy into his voice and so I learnt how to use and project my voice from him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYpVNR08WOQ

The song I'd select when chirpsing a girl…
Depends on the mood and the girl. Whether she's a wild one or if she's a quiet one! I have crazy selections when it comes to me and girls and dates. I'm a professional. Have I got off with a girl to my own music? I'm going to be real with you. Girls always want to do it to my songs! But I don't want to hear my voice. It can put you off sometimes. They like Press Up, which is my version of my dad's song and my cover of Birthday Sex, Jamaican Sex. Then there's the jump up, gassed one like Yardie that are more for the club. I make music for moods. I'll make a track for the bedroom, I'll make a track for the office, I'll make a track for the caff. I make music for all different types of atmospheres. 

One person I'd like to collaborate with that I haven't yet is…
Damien Marley. It hasn't happened yet and that's because of his schedule and my schedule. But we've hung out a few times, he invited me to a few parties in Jamaica and we went and chilled. He's very calm; Rasta, laidback, Iital food, he's got a likkle drink round him, he's got the Rastas around him. Chilling with Damien Marley is the closest thing to Bob Marley so I cherish that whenever I'm around him.

The person I've liked working with most so far is…
Clean Bandit. I like them cos they're easy going and they're cool guys to chill out with; cool, humble guys. Having me on their album was good for me - crossing over to another world. And doing the video was great. I practiced horse riding for a few days and the next thing I'm in Morocco galloping on a horse. I'm the first Jamaican to be in a video riding a horse. Sean Paul never did that. Shaggy never did that. Shabba never did it Stylo G came and gallop! I like doing things people normally don't know. Next video I'll probably do skydiving.

My First Dance would be…
Shania Twain's You're Still The One because of the words 'Look how far we've come, my baby'.

A song of my own that means the most is…
Call Mi A Leader cos it explains a lot about Stylo G and where I'm coming from. I'm glad that people accept me for that. It shows me growing up. Leader is more mature. [The original version] Call Me A Yardie is more gassed. You have to grow up with your music.

My go-to song for heartbreak is…
Mario. My heart was broken at one point and I kept hearing Let Me Love You everywhere. I've only had my heart broken twice I think. It's not that bad. When I was younger I never felt it that much but when I got older, I did. There's a remedy for it though; go out, have fun, drink some alcohol, chill with your friends, play some tunes, be around your family and then find a new girlfriend.

The song I want played at my funeral is…
Jamaican's Living In Britain. I wrote that song right from my heart. It's so real, natural, emotional. I wrote it for Jamaican's living here so if I pass I would like people to know that I was looking out for them. I wasn't here to just make music for myself; I was making music for our whole nation. That's why I make music; to uplift people.

The most important artist of all time is…
Bob Marley. He teaches a lot in his songs. It's very powerful. He sang about things that are happening now.

The last show I went to was…
Bunji Garlin at the Islington 02. It's too much energy. I thought I was wild onstage until I buck up with Bunji. We're kind of similar onstage; we just go for it. If I'm going to die, I'm going to die onstage. Sometimes I put so much into it, I think I might die.

The last record I bought was…
Lethal B's Rari Work Out. So gassed. It reminds me of the early 2000's when Grime was popping off. Pow to me is the best grime record of all time. They wanted to prove a point at that time and it was the perfect record to prove it. After Pow, I came out with My Yout. Pow not only inspired me, but it inspired most of the artists today.

Stylo G's Call Mi A Leader is released on 9 November on 3Beat

Credits


Text Hattie Collins
Photography Stephanie Sian Smith