I’ve talked about my unlikely love affair with hip-hop music on Backseat Mafia before. Unlikely in that a quite square, classically trained (or sorts) musician from the rural east midlands should have anything much in common with your usual rap fan is unlikely. I don’t really even know what it is I like about it, as usually (another confession I have made here on BM) I rarely, if ever, listen to lyrics in music.
But adore it I do, and the latest in a long line of London-based hip-hop artists is 24-year-old Phreeda Sharp, or ‘sharpshooter’ as she has been nicknamed. Growing up in Ghana, she moved to Hackney, and after discovering The Roots, Missy Elliott and Jaz Z, Phreeda abandoned her initial ambitions of being a singer-songwriter and joined her brothers hip hop crew.
She describes her style as ‘pieces of me that happen to rhyme’ but her delivery switches between antagonistic, clever, funny and playful. Equally at home with an acoustic guitar backing her or her full (all-girl) live band. She has been developing her own style through videos she describes as ‘rap spills’ – and the videos to Bad Jane and Loose Cannon have been catching the attention of the great and the good in the hip-hop game.
Sharp has released a mixtape ahead of a formal release. Titled ‘Ruby, Sex & Vultures’ it’s a clear signal of what’s to come. Indeed, as she has said ‘I’m here to revive female rap in the uk in my own way’. Recurring themes on the mixtape include, sex, equality, love, power and various darker sides as well.
She has employed the services of a range of the best producers out there, including Ollie Green, bassDrumsnareDrum, Focus Williams, TwoBandGeeks and the legendary Don Diablo (Justice, Gorillaz, Chemical Brothers) and what they come up with is half an hour of huge beat, basslines and bleeps, that compliment Phreeda Sharps, err, sharp lyrics perfectly.
The new video she has released is title track Ruby, Sex & Vultures (Ruby being her alter-ego, and the vultures hinting at darker things at work – the sex bit is self-explanatory I think) and is a stripped down, slightly raw version featuring Phreeda and her DJ Melody Kane.
If you’d like to download the mixtape for yourself, get over to our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/backseatmafia – we’re not asking you to do anything, but it’d be nice, polite even, if you pressed the like button, you know, as sort of thank you.