Interview With 57th Dynasty
The UK Hip Hop scene is a constantly evolving one with the odd light coming through that puts the UK on the map in terms of the global Hip Hop scene. One of these leading lights is 57th Dynasty, a group that incorporates individual artists as well as a young sub-group, The Juvanile Ruckasz. There are quite a few members in the group...
Starting from the inception is Charlie Parker, who kicked it all off with Fas Fwd Entertainment back in 1995. This label was the starting point for 57th Dynasty, who comprise of the afore-mentioned Charlie Parker, Oshin the Nomad, Paradise the Prolific One, Shineye, Thunda Storm aka The Ashanti Man, Lil Monsta aka Little Big Man, Dark Troopa and 50/50. The latter three make up The Juvanile Ruckasz.
Charlie Parker was born and raised near Bristol. Oshin was born and raised in the UK and says the title 'Nomad' relates to his life as he is up and down the country 24-7. Paradise was born in the UK, but raised in New York. He came back to the country of his birth in 1996 and says he got his name, "Through the bliss I bring.” Shineye is Brixton born and bred and got his name from the shine in his eyes. 50/50 was also born and raised in Brixton. The last three members of the group are brothers, namely Thunda Storm, Lil Monsta and Dark Troopa.
The trio's parents are from Ghana and Thunda Storm was born in Spain, Lil Monsta was born in the UK and Dark Troopa was born in Ghana. Thunda Storm got his name because of how he acts on stage whilst Dark Troopa got his name through his skin colour and the fact that he's a "soldier." Lil Monsta was a fighter as a child and so his brothers gave him the nickname at the age of 5 and it stuck. All 3 brothers were raised in Brixton.
So, the majority of group members are South London massive, but how did the name come about? Charlie's old door number used to be 57 and they called themselves a 'Dynasty' because they believe they are a "succession of leaders."
The group's first single was “No Way, No How” on the A-side and “Money” on the B-side. Their first single to be really successful, however, was “Love of Hip Hop,” which the group believe was a success due to the track having a video to support it. Their album Spoken Word, which was released in 1999, is still an ongoing success according to the group. All the group members recorded on the album and they have another one in the mix due for release in 2002 called DIY ETHNIC.
Even though the group does well together, all the artists are individuals in their own right and as such each brings a different flavour to the group. Thunda Storm is the "Ragga" artist and they believe that combining the two genres brings "the flavour.”
Shineye also has his own label called Wyndrush Records on which he released a rhythm called “Rhubarb and Custard.” He voiced the Downtown Crew from Brixton on the rhythm and says the rhythm is specifically a Ragga label.
The cameraman for the crew is Oshin. He is an MC as well, but of late has been involved in filming and documenting the group and the UK Hip Hop scene. The documentary/movie is called “Independent Hype” and there is no release date for it as yet, but rest assured it will be all about the talent on the UK scene.
Not content on having two labels, a documentary and a website, the group also plan to have merchandise selling on the site. This will include T-shirts, bandanas, key rings and videos.
Their view of the current Hip Hop scene in the UK is that it's expanding and will soon turn into a "big thing.” After their experience, the group would advise up and coming artists to, "Keep on trying. Don't give up (and) don't look for major labels to back you.”
57th Dynasty has big plans for the future, as they want to expand into a big establishment, "big up ghetto youths" and help their own. They're definitely holding their own in terms of making and keeping their mark on the UK Hip Hop scene. The international scene better watch out!
Check out the website for booking details and other information at www.fasfwd.com/.