SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

INTERVIEW: Ceezlin

Posted on Thursday, 7 November by

Ceezlin

It’s not been a vintage year for rap music in the UK. The stream of captivating breakthrough artists has dried up, Dizzee Rascal’s collaboration with Robbie Williams has seen his credibility fall through the floor, while even Tinie Tempah, UK hip-hop’s tour de force, has flattered to deceive after returning from a three-year break.

The game is in need of reinvigoration and with Ceezlin, the 23-year-old Brighton lyricist, rap purists may just get their wishes. Having signed to the label imprint of SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards this summer, Ceezlin now has the platform to take the British scene by storm and cause something of a shake-up. He says it can’t come soon enough.

“Rap in general…it’s too formulaic now,” Ceezlin says. “Everyone raps with the same flow and how long can it be before people get bored of it? At first, rap was just about having a good time and showing off your lyrical ability…it’s not like that anymore. It’s showing how much money you have and what you can do with your money. It’s boring and half the time, people are lying! I’d like to bring real rap back.”

Everyone raps with the same flow and how long can it be before people get bored of it?”

Ceezlin Signed

Ceezlin certainly sounds leagues apart from the run-of-the-mill ‘hip-hop’ acts that we’re used to seeing on a local level. A close relationship with producer Glitch means that tin-pot beats or YouTube instrumentals are nowhere to be seen. With his first EP under Just Jam records, ‘Snakes N Ladderz’, Ceezlin has set his stall out and laid down a marker to artists far beyond Brighton’s borders.

“There’s a big difference I’ve noticed between industry people and musicians. The industry keeps saying that ‘you need to find your sound, you can only have one sound’ and I’m saying why? Why can’t you just make music you enjoy producing? It shouldn’t matter if it’s with a band or completely electronic and synthesized. I’ve been trying to work with as many different styles as possible.”

Being controlled is something that doesn’t sit easy with this artist. There’s been industry interest around Ceezlin ever since the release of ‘Ceezlin Season’, an 11-song project that dropped towards the end of 2011 but until Jamal Edwards showed his hand, no label seemed willing to give Ceezlin the creative freedom that he so deeply craves.

“What’s really good with Jamal is that everything’s relaxed. They’re not telling me what to do, they’re just saying ‘we like what you do, so carry on doing it’. With other labels and offers that I’ve had, they’ve said ‘this is the plan and this is what we want you to do’. With SBTV it’s a case of me working with them, as oppose to me working for them.”

The rapper’s debut EP has been met with initial acclaim from critics but the real test will come in the shape of Ceezlin’s debut album, which as of yet has no concrete release date despite studio sessions being a daily occurrence for someone who has an uninhibited enthusiasm for making music.

I’m actually going to the studio once I finish this interview…not for any particular project but just because I feel like making music today, so why not?”

Ceezlin Performing

“I’m always in the studio, whether I need to finish something or not. I’m actually going to the studio once I finish this interview…not for any particular project but just because I feel like making music today, so why not? I’ve made the mistake of setting myself deadlines before. When something is finished, we’ll work up a release date. Not before then.”

For now it’s a case of writing, promoting and gigging for an artist who has the potential to cause a seismic shift in the direction of homegrown UK music. Apparently, the States is already taking note.

“I’ve been asked to play at SXSW, which is in Texas. I’d never heard of it before but when I told my friends about it they were saying how amazing it was…life is good.”

The rest of the industry need to watch out, Ceezlin’s about and he means business.

Stream or download Ceezlin’s ‘Snakez N Ladders’ EP here.

Photos by: Tori Clarkson and Harry Hitchens

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.


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