To celebrate the first signing of an MC to Hospital Records, we sat down with the one and only Inja to talk about his roots in music and how he ended up with us here today. His latest single with Pete Cannon is out now and available on all good streaming and digital download platforms. Take a listen if you haven’t already and enjoy the tale of Inja…
You’ve been doing your thing for some time now, how did it all start? Step by step…
Man has been doing his thing. I’ve been out here. Where did it all begin? Probably Reggae. My mum and dad, my whole family listened to a whole heap of reggae. From the Basslines to the vocalists, how they’d sing, how they can flex on every style of reggae riddim, but it’s all still one and it’s all reggae. I’d probably say that’s the initial start.
But then jungle / drum and bass as a little kid man! My older cousin introduced me to dance music, then I started hearing people with UK voices on top of it. Bassman, GQ and Stevie Hyper D, these people were speaking in our tones and that was a massive influence. I found the whole hip-hop side of things afterwards. The UK hip-hop guys, highly influential yet again and I dunno, I suppose all of that stuff wrapped into one, really.
Representing the whole UK culture I think has a massive thing to do with how it all started and they were things that really got me. As a kid American music ran the show, and coming from the Jamaican background it was a cross between the hip-hop, and then I’d be listening to reggae, you would hear the UK reggae artists and then you’d hear the accent come through so I think that’s got a lot to do with how man started.
I know you worked alongside Task Force a lot earlier in your career. That must’ve been incredible. Do you still keep in touch?
Task Force are my big brothers, Farma G and Chester P, it doesn’t matter how much time goes by I know if I need to holla them I can always catch them, and for me their influence is crazy!
No-one is a god, we’re all humans but as human beings they are some of my favourite and highly influential when it comes to writing. They inspired me to do loads of the writing and a lot of what I do now personally, I feel their influence come through. Task Force forever! Big ups my dons!
Did you roll with Skuff before Chester and Farma, or did that come after?
Now Skuff is one of my homeboys from School. I’ve known him since way way way back and yes he was always about like Toe and Stakka. We were always rolling, we made the bond way before I met Taskforce but at the same time it wasn’t just them, it was the whole Delegates of Culture.
b109, stakka lyricst, skuff, toe, illseer, axewax, crissgroove, ninko
Talk to me about your Delegates of Culture Family
They’re my original sparing partners when it came to writing and inspiration. Being such a big group originally, there were 9 of us, 7 of which were writers and rappers, so it was always, not necessarily competition, but friendly motivation to make sure we were all at a certain level. That is what I loved the most, they are my family for life, you might not see me with some of them sometimes, you might not hear me talk about them, but they are the backbone of what I do, they are my bredrins. I speak to the guys a couple times a week minimum and it can be any of them, they’re my team, my gang and always have been, simple tings.
You’ve probably heard this a thousand times, but you’re one of the most versatile MCs, Bassline, Garage, Hip Hop or DNB, picking a favourite would be hard, what’s the one thing you still haven’t dabbled in?
I don’t know? I’ll dabble in anything, that: A) I like, and B) has the space for me to go in on. So basically man just likes music, all kinds. You missed reggae of the list there though man! That’s the most important one for me still to this day! But yeah I’ll dabble in anything, I’ve got to like it and there has to be space, if those two boxes are ticked then yeah tings can work anyway shape or form.
Hosting the DMC world championships must’ve been fun. A great way to be inspired and a great way to meet amazing DJs too I’m sure. Who’s the best you ever saw? Do you still do it?
I’m still lucky to work for the DMC family, it’s sick, it’s a real family, they’ve been running for a lifetime, and they’re still smashing it. The competition is sick! Who’s the best I ever seen? My god that category is crazy, this years winner, the 2017 winner: Rena from Japan a 12 year old! He’s probably one of the best I’ve ever seen! But I’ve seen Qbert, Craze. Some of the amazing team performances, I don’t know who was the best as everyone has their own category and own style. But yeah it’s a great way to meet amazing DJs from all over the world and it’s great to talk to them and find out there vibes and what they’re working on, the frequencies they’re in to, but yeah the DMC awards is something that I’m very lucky and happy to be involved in.
It’s consistently showing me new talent and new ways in which DJs can be innovative, as for me it’s such an important figure, and character in this whole thing that we work in, and I think it’s easy to forget that I believe. But yeah I love working for the DMCs based on the fact that I get to see the spinal chord, backbone of this live thing that I love to do so much, it’s great!
Hospitality Cambridge or Warning?
What you trying to do to man! Listen yeah, I love the whole spectrum, Hospitality events are sick, they have their style, they play everything and it works. Warning also is equally sick, for me Warning is a home, it’s a place where I started, big up to Pete, Damo, Barrington, Concrete, FiveAlive, Phantom, Blazin, all the crew that have been there as for me that’s the place where I got to learn to have fun on the microphone and be in front of massive crowds, I love that.
Hospitality shows though, they’re equally sick, the first time I did that show I was in shock, I’m still in shock when I do them but you start to get used to it, how big they are, how monumental they are. But I couldn’t choose between the two as I like them both equally and they both supply vibes, from the same spectrum in a different way, they’re both sick!
I know you’re big on cooking over eating out. But if you had to recommend the best places to eat in Cambridge, where would you go?
I’d say the Navigator in Little Shelford, Thai food, it’s amazing. I love Thai. Japas just off Trumpington Road, banging Japanese food, it’s ridiculous, and also Carlos on Mills Road for the clean Turkish food, man smashes it out! I’d suggest those places, but it depends on what you like really. I have my taste buds and I know what I like! Its got loads of good places to eat though.
Jungle or Drum & Bass. Gun to the head scenario
Listen, man would be dead! For me you can’t have one without the other, I need them both in my life for that to work, so yeah. I’m dead innit! That’s just me, it’s a hard question, to me they are one, they’re together. Shoot me!
How did you get involved with Pete Cannon?
Well, I’ve wanted to work with Pete for years, but he’s a busy man, he makes sick tunes for so many people and I suppose really it’s all timing. We’ve known each other a long time, indirectly and then directly, and I think it’s all about timing in music really, and the time was right.
No Regrets is out there and yeah, there’s gonna be plenty more with Pete as he’s got bare skills and he’s willing to go out there and to create vibes, and that’s what it’s all about, not caring what vibe you create, it’s just creating it and Pete is a master at that!
Where’s the best place you’ve performed? Domestically and Abroad…
Oh my god, Hospitality In The Park this year, boom. Glastonbury, Gutterfunk take-overs, oh my god! Boomtown!
Abroad? Germany, Belgium, Sardinia – Sunandbass. To me everywhere is a favourite as everywhere is a vibe and it’s all about the people that you can connect to. Put me anywhere and i’ll be smiling init and just bring the vibes! As that’s what it’s about I’m just a vibes man still!
What’s your favourite Hospital track?
Lord have mercy! That is a ting, I’ll tell you one of my favorites from this year, and that’s Nu:Logic – Sun Goes Down. Beautiful music, like when I got that album and it was summer time and the sun goes down, I mean come on!
Literally I swear I made the CD skip as I re-wound it so many times, because to me that was just beautiful. The other one that comes to mind is DJ Die’s remix of Netsky & Jenna G – Moving With You. Oh lord that drops, vocals are beautiful the words so on point. I’d put that on at my live show just to hear it myself but I seen what it does first hand many a time and it completely smashes it!!
Blow Them Away or Flashlight?
What the hell are you lot doing to me man, Lord help me! Serum, absolute don. Whiney, absolute don. I can’t pick between the two of them as they’re both vibes that I love, I dunno man, that’s too hard. Naaah!
Tell you what. Both of them. Blow Them Away to the end of the first verse, and then we’ll drop in Flashlights straight after. That’s how I’m rolling on that one!
Can you remember your first Hospitality show?
Yes I can! It was Brixton Academy and I was thoroughly gassed. In room 3, over the moon to be on the bill and I was getting ready to finish my set, it was half 3 in the morning and then, Josh the events manager came up to me and said, Inj, someone hasn’t turned up to do the last two hours downstairs, what are you saying? Are you up for it? And I was just blown away.
I came through, super happy as it is just to be in the 3rd room, and I never have any issues with billing or line-ups or whatever. If I’m on the line-up, I’m on the line-up, I’m happy, and to go from just about to finish a set in room 3 to go to do the last 2 hours closing the main room at Brixton academy? Come on, how is man ever gonna forget that!
That was a serious thing you know and I couldn’t have done too bad because we’re here init! Big thanks to Josh for asking me to do that, I was so gassed and crazy nervous!
Tea or Coffee?
Depends on the time of the day! If it’s Coffee, man likes that original Jamaican blue mountain coffee, but when it comes to Tea I want an Earl Grey, and all these OR questions man I can’t cope! There’s a reason and a motive for everything and Coffee or Tea, I like both. All depends on the time. What time is it? Is it Tea time or Coffee time you feel me? DEM ONES!
How did it feel to be the first lyricist to sign to Hospital.
For me this was a monumental thing, a mad occasion, especially when before all this stuff came about I was just busy doing the collabs, I’d do the words, drop them on the music make the vibes it was all nice, and then to be asked if this was a position that I’d be keen on, and then go through all the detailing, man is totally gassed and still in shock and in awe. I’m honoured man. Look at the roster, and to be the first lyricist that’s actually signed, it’s monumental and I love the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity. All I can hope and pray for is I deliver in the ways that means that is expected of me, and that’s all I am here to do.
Someone has offered me the privilege to make sounds that I like and is willing to back those sounds and put them out! I’ve said it on the day I signed, you’ve offered me a home, a stable, and an outlook and yeah, I am so happy to be a part of the Hospital Records team just because they’re massive and they’re on it!
I like people who are willing to push the boundaries and completely on it. For me it’s a great fit and I cannot wait to see how far we can push this.
Yeah I’m just lucky! I’ve been fortunate, ups and downs, we can all go through, but it shows you just have to graft and stick to your guns and stick to what you like and then you can find yourself, and I’ve found myself with a great family and a great team to back me, who I can back to. It’s an honour and a privilege.
And there you have it. A superb lyricist with a rich history and musical knowledge. It’s with great pleasure we induct him into the Hospital family and we cannot wait to see what this exquisite lyricist and all round positive force brings to our label and events! His latest single ‘No Regrets’ is out now on MP3 & WAV
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