Who’s that white kid? L Dot Man! Spittin’ grizzle? L Dot Man! Got two girls kissing? L Dot Man!
That’s the word on the street for one of the biggest new talents on road right now. Originally from South London, L Man has been killing the grime scene with his sick lyrics and twisted sense of humour over the last couple of years. Crossfire caught up with the busy artist as he ran around Europe promoting his latest album, Facts Of Life Volume 2, and spreading the word on one of the UK’s biggest musical movements. If you log onto www.ldotman.com you can sign up and download L Man’s latest mixtape Impatiently Waiting for free!
I’m guessing the L in L Man stands for London, right? But whereabouts in the big Smoke are you repping? Could the L stand for anything else?
L MAN stands for LYRICAL METAPHORICAL ARTISTIC NATURAL sound. I’m reppin’ South London and the whole of the UK.
How did you get into the rap/grime game? How long ago?
I’ve been doing my thing for about six years now as part of N Double A and as a DJ. I stopped DJing about three years ago I had to sell my decks because I was broke and I didn’t have any money to give to my mum to pay the rent, so the decks had to go. I’ve concentrated on writing bars and making songs ever since.
Your current mixtape, Facts Of Life Volume 2, is on heavy rotation, but what happened to Volume 1? Why didn’t it blow up as strong?
Facts Of Life Volume 1 was just my first mixtape that I pressed up myself and gave away for free around my area to promote my name and let people know what I was about. It ended up on the Internet and a lot of people downloaded it and passed it around on forums and it got a lot of good feedback. Facts Of Life Volume 2 came out May this year on From The Ground Up records one of the UK’s hottest new labels, shouts out to Riff Raff for putting it out and all the support.
What have you learnt since your debut?
To succeed in the music game you need to be strong minded and be prepared to work to get your name out and promote yourself. A lot of the time you need to be prepared to do shows for free, lose money by giving away your mixtapes but at the end of the day its more important for people to be listening to your music in the beginning than to be making money because if your music is good enough people will stay interested in what your doing and support you in the long term. Bottom line is don’t come into the game thinking its gonna be easy and you will blow up straight away, it takes determination to move forwards.
Is Grime music a UK specific sort of Rap music, or really something entirely different?
Grime is unique to the UK as it’s a fusion of UK Garage, Drum N Bass, Jungle and Rap with our own take on sounds, production and MC’s have their own flows and delivery’s. Obviously now that Grime is getting bigger across the world there are people all over the world putting their own take on the sound, and that’s great as music is for the people and there should be no boundaries that can’t be crossed, or barriers put up by people labelling what Grime should be or shouldn’t be. Just accept it for what it is and enjoy it.
In comparison to other grime spitters, your flow is steadier and less hectic, making the lyrics easier to listen to – is this intentional? Who has the sickest flow?
I call my music ‘Mixbreed‘ because I aim for content in my rhymes that people might find more interesting when they listen to it. I try and cover more day to day situations that people might find themselves in because more people can relate to reality then just spitting some hype bars that might only be good to get a reload in the rave but other than that those bars serve no purpose. I think some of the best flows in the UK are Narstie from my crew N Double A, all my crew N Double A. Look out for Nolay as well, Ghetto, Bruza and obviously people like Dizzee Rascal have set the standards across the world and Dizzee continues to do so.
I remember listening to you explain your technique for writing rhymes which involved sifting through catalogues and the like for inspiration. Does this help for freestyling?
To be honest I’m not really one for freestyles or off the top rhyming. I prefer to sit down for a while, think about what I’m saying and the point I’m trying to get across in the track so most of what I do is written material.
Another aspect of Grime is the rate at which dubplates are dropped – Is this just an effect of the new media formats i.e. mp3s, cds etc…? Or is it a case of ‘quantity over quality’?
Yeah the internet helps a lot in promoting Grime Music because a lot of the artists are unsigned and don’t have any labels behind them to promote and market their music so there is a big DIY approach where you just end up promoting the music yourself. Make a tune, give it to the pirate and radio DJ’s to play and then it ends up getting passed around all over the world on the internet. Its quick, fast, cheap and effective and its always gonna be that way because it works. A lot of MC’s make their name through the internet with people checking them out on Myspace etc. so it’s a good look.
Despite the UK, where is the major foreign fan base for grime?
I think Germany, Scandinavia, USA and Canada in particular really follow the scene enthusiastically and there are a lot of fans out there and DJs trying to build the scene which is a beautiful thing to see it grown and spread worldwide.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m gonna be getting back into the studio mid November to work on my next mixtape which will be out for February 2007.This is gonna be my best ever mixtape and I’ve held back a lot of material for this so there are gonna be a lot of very big tracks coming out from January so stay locked. I’m gonna be doing more live shows across the UK from February as well and hopefully a few more shows across Europe.
Do you think it’s good for the game that people like Kano have received mainstream attention?
Definitely- the more artists that achieve success by making good music that is innovative the better. Hopefully over the next few years people in the UK will be supporting our home-grown artists more instead of just downloading UK artists stuff for free but going out to buy American music that gets pushed in their faces more on radio and TV. That will be the point when things start really moving in the UK.
If you could pick 3 tracks for people to get into grime with, what would they be?
POW by Lethal B, I Luv U by Dizzee Rascal and anything by L Man!
Do you like to play on the light-hearted side of things, like your verse on the Rudeboy remix?
Yeah I don’t take my self seriously I’m just here to enjoy myself you only live once so fuck it!
You’ve even done some shit over a Coldplay track, are you interested in bringing other elements like indie, rock etc into grime? Has it got good responses from the scene?
All I’m saying is stay locked to what I’m gonna be doing, stuff a lot of people never thought to do but when it comes out other MC’s will be like…”Shit…Why didn’t I think of that???” Sometimes the best ideas are the most obvious ones.
Watch L Man rip it up at the Cube Nightclub in Glasgow here.