CANDID: Mic Righteous
THEY SAY you should start things as you mean to go on and judging by the amazing things British rapper Mic Righteous has managed to achieve in 2012, this simple motto should really become his mantra.
Having already featured on remixes for Grammy nominees, Emeli Sandé and Ed Sheeran, for stunning tracks Give Me Love and Wonder, the 22-year-old - who hails from Margate - has set the stage for an epic takeover of the rap scene this year.
However, you cannot accuse the self-confessed "conscious but not cocky" star of riding anyone else's coattail's to success. His last mixtape Kam-Pain gained over 10,000 downloads in a week, one of his freestyles for veteran DJ Charlie Sloth has over one million views and his work has made fans out of Tinie Tempah, Ms Dynamite and ‘The Godfather of Grime’ Wiley.
If that's not enough to convince you that Mic will be the face of British rap this year, The Guardian has already tipped him as their ‘One to Watch,’ and Radio 1xtra's DJ Semtex declared that the rapper "can do no wrong".
As respected as he is, Mic says a saint he is not. In fact, behind the bars that are sure to get your mind thinking before your head starts bopping, lies a story that is much deeper than most realise.
While explaining his journey into music he reveals that life was not so grand growing up in the famous seaside town in Kent.
"I think people hear 'Righteous' in my name and automatically assume that I am some angel, saint or Buddhist Monk," he laughs.
"There has always been a conflict in my mind of who I really am and that's what I try to fight off in my lyrics and songs. That is where my name comes from. Mic Righteous simply means that I am being true to myself when I am rapping. When I make music, that's when I can truly be honest with myself.
He adds: "It's like some people expect me to be perfect, but the truth is I am a guy who grew up in Margate and from a very young age, grew up in a predominantly white community although I am from an ethnic background. That troubled me, especially because at times my family wasn't around at all."
Mic’s parents, who had fled Iran during the 1979 revolution and moved to England, quickly fell into a cycle of poverty. His mother left the family home and Mic watched as his brothers battled drug addiction.
To add insult to injury, the MC’s father was sentenced to “considerable time” in prison, leaving Mic at home with his 13-year-old sister. The family house was deemed unsafe to live in by the local council and Mic and his sister, who both faced the prospect of foster care, went to live with his brother, the former light-middleweight boxer Mehrdud Takaloo. Following his dad’s release from prison, Mic and his sister returned to the family home.
"When I was very young and staying in this four-bedroom house alone, certain members of the community took notice of my situation. They wanted to know who I was and they turned out to be good people - one of them is actually my manager now.
“He came to my home, saw the condition I was living in and he put me on my feet.
From that point I started working in a small low budget studio, but that was all we needed at the time and that's how it all started. It wasn't until I filmed my first warm up session with [youth online broacaster] SBTV and it got such a good response that I realised that people want to hear me."
The demand for his music is not slowing down either. Every freestyle he has on YouTube are laced is with thousands of comments from fans who believe in the rapper's "truth", and it's their support that he says keeps him going. However, Mic has one little fan that he loves more than any other.
"My greatest achievement in my life so far is definitely my son, he makes me so proud. To know that I have come from someone who has no social skills to having a two-year-old child who I love, look after and care for is hands down the best thing I have ever done."
As I resist the urge to literally cuddle him after his beautiful speech about fatherhood, I change the subject back to music and begin my probe into how to he hooked up his collaboration with UK singer Emeli Sandé.
"I've know her [Emeli] for a very long time, she's a good friend of mine. We are signed to the same publishing company and before she came out with [smash hit single] Heaven, we spent a lot of time in the studio working on that song and other tracks too. So I was around her whole journey and we always said that she was going to be massive and now she is."
News that the MC is set to release of his first EP Open Mic on Feburary 11 has already set tongues wagging.
"I don't just want my fans to enjoy my music, it is there for everyone. I want everybody to feel like they can come along for the journey and nobody needs to feel excluded. If you make music for people, the people will always respond."
Open Mic is out on Feburary 11 via Naughty Words/Sony AVT
To find out more about Mic Righteous visit: http://www.micrighteous.com