Exclusive Interview: Charlie Sloth – “rap music over here is stronger than it’s ever been”

Charlie Sloth speaks about the Fire in the Park festival taking place in Sheffield this Saturday

Denzil Bell

22 days ago

By Denzil Bell

With over 500 Fire in the Booths under his belt, Charlie Sloth has reached legendary status in UK rap and along with his rising profile, the UK rap scene is also at it’s hottest that it’s ever been, so it is the perfect time for Charlie Sloth to launch his Fire in the Park festival this weekend.

The festival features the UK rap landlord, Giggs, as its headliner, backed by a myriad of homegrown rap talent, with two American artists being sprinkled in the mix as well. The festivities will also include a set from Charlie Sloth and a Fire in the Booth live with some very special guests.

So before Fire in the Park festival takes place tomorrow, we spoke to Charlie Sloth about it, as well as his favourite Fire in the Booth over the years, getting Drake on the platform and who his dream artist would be to get on the freestyle brand.

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What was the inspiration to do the Fire In The Park festival?

I just felt that there was no real festival that represented the culture over here and the UK artists alone, without the need of American artists in there to be headliners. So for me I wanted to create something that celebrated what I feel is the best scene in the world, that is a celebration of our UK rap culture and when you look at the line up you see that we got artists that mirror what’s going on in our music scene right now.

I see you chose Giggs as the headliner – would you say he’s had the biggest impact on UK rap since it’s inception?

For me, he’s the main man in rap. He’s someone where there was a period of time that radio wouldn’t play UK rap or festivals wouldn’t book UK rappers and it felt for a long period of time that he kicked down a lot of doors and broke down many of the stigmas which are attached to artists from our world. And for him to still be on top of the world where he is now, he’s not even just a British artist anymore, he’s an international artist now. People in America listen to him, I’ve been in America and there’s cars in the hood that’ll be playing Giggs. People in Australia, all over Europe. He really has put the flag in the ground and he represents the culture to the fullest. He’s a great representation of what is so good about the UK, so it made sense for him to be the headliner for this festival.

Why were you so dedicated to primarily featuring homegrown UK rap and grime talent on the line-up?

It would be very easy for me to just get the biggest American artists on the line-up and just try to sell it to make it a money thing. But it’s not that, it’s about celebrating all the great talents that we’ve got over here, that’s exactly what we wanted to do. We’ve got two American artists on the whole line-up and they don’t sit at the top of the UK artists. Rap music over here is stronger than its ever been, people are looking to us for inspiration: they’re looking at the way we dress; they’re looking at the way we speak and they’re incorporating it into their own lifestyles, so I feel like now is a great time to launch something to celebrate how cool our culture is.

Can you give any clues on the special guests?

All I’m going to say, is that it’s legendary. For the live Fire in the Booth, just think of what is the most legendary ones to happen and from there you can kind of narrow it down. Then for my set, I’m just going to be bringing out people left, right and centre. I want to try and incorporate a lot of the young bucks that are doing stuff that is about to be a massive problem, I want to bring out people that are already a massive problem, for me it’s all about showcasing what’s going on.

Who’s had your favourite Fire in the Booth and why?

You know what, I could never answer that man, because there are too many to pick from. There are over 500 Fire in the Booths and each of them mean different things to me, for different reasons. Each of them emote various feelings and they each represent a moment of time, so for me to single out one would be unfair and that’s just me being honest.

I think my favourite one is the Wretch 32 part 5 – that one gives me goosebumps.

Yeah that one was crazy bruv. I think he’s one of the best rappers in the world. Period.

The Drake one was a big one for you – it must of felt like a dream to get that one on your catalogue?

Yeah definitely. Drake is still the biggest rapper in the world and is someone who’s really opened his arms to British culture, and vice versa we’ve done the same to him. Because a lot of the time, these international artists, they’ll come in and just use the culture. They’ll use artists and they don’t give anything back, they just take, take, take. Whereas someone like Drake has come in and he’s really embraced the culture, like coming to the dances and that. Just being out there in general. Coming to artists shows – most of these big American artists don’t do that. The way he has imbursed himself in the culture has definitely had an impact on how the international market views our music. So to get that one under my belt was huge, it was a sick moment in time for me.

What is a dark horse Fire in the Booth that people sleep on?

You know what, you know one that I thought should have had a 100 times as many views as it got, was when Big Narstie did the story of grime. I had goosebumps throughout that whole Fire in the Booth. He’s just a sick sick artist. That one did great views in the end, but because of how incredible it is, I think it should have got a lot more views than it got.

Who’s that one artist that you have to get on Fire in the Booth before it’s all said and done?

Jay-Z. That would be mad.

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Interview by Denzil Bell

Follow Charlie Sloth and click here for Fire in the Park festival tickets