Published on 365Bristol.com
There’s a huge array of creative talent in Bristol, and whether it’s music, art, design or anything else, 365Bristol wants you to know about it. With that in mind, we present the Sounds of Bristol series: a detailed look at some of the brightest musical talent in the city.
In this edition, we chat to the hip hop collective Split Prophets; a posse who have been flying the flag for the UKHH scene in Bristol for some time now, with their name revered amongst most heads in the city. Since the release of their debut EP ‘Scribbled Thoughts’ in 2011, SP have acquired a large fan base, that spans both nationally and internationally. In the years that followed, they’ve had an array of consistent releases and collaborations, played at many UK and European festivals, and supported hip hop heavyweights such as Wu Tang, MF Doom and more. With a number of tracks boasting millions of plays on YouTube, and the rest in the tens of thousands; they are well-versed to the world of underground music and members have continued to release many solo projects, proving that anything they touch is nothing short of hard.
When & where was your first ever show in Bristol? Can you tell us much about it?
Our first Bristol show was supporting Mystro (now known as Mysdiggi) at the Croft. It was pure vibes so many of our friends and their friends came to support the place was rammed, the energy was intense.
How did you decide the name Split Prophets?
Before SP we were called Joint Effort, but when we met Badhabitz and Datkid had started working on scribbled thoughts we decided we needed a new crew name. So, we’re sat in a pub with our mate Boyo and he just comes up with the name Split Prophets, everyone liked the sound of it and that was that. Sorry no deep meaning behind the name!
How many years did the group spend cutting teeth playing sets in Bristol before going on to play at festivals around the UK and eventually playing internationally?
We were kinda lucky really, just as we were putting out Scribbled Thoughts, hip hop was becoming really popular again so we caught the wave and got bookings all over the country and then Europe from very early on. At the same sort of time Chris Sika and his crew were making moves in the festival game and started putting on small stages at various festivals, featuring many of the hip hop artists from the UK that are now household names to most fans. He was good enough to put us on at loads of festivals and from there we’ve had bookings direct from the festivals themselves.
As probably the most successful collective to come out of Bristol, how important do you think the city is to the UKHH scene?
Bristol has always been a strong player in the hip hop scene here in the UK from the 80s up to the current day. It’s a creative city with loads of talent and seems to be the place where people from all over the southwest gravitate to for their dose of good music, whether it be hip hop, grime, drum and bass or whatever. The scene is healthy so in short yes it’s very important!
Are there any particular venues/people in Bristol that gave you a platform or influenced you directly during your early days?
Not so much venues as most nights are put on by outside promoters, like Luke and Dave from Ryhme and Reason. Krazy from Wordlife has always been good to us and put us on some mad line ups. But mainly our friends and acquaintances that helped spread our music at the start, word of mouth is still the best form of promotion. If your friends don’t feel your music and don’t help spread it, then it’s highly likely strangers won’t feel it either.
What’s your favourite Bristol venue to play at and why?
Attic Bar is always hype whenever we’ve played there- it’s been a sweaty madness.
Favourite festival you’ve played at and why?
Ah that’s a hard one… Nozstock is always a banger! We played there many years in a row and it’s always a good vibe and the crowd are always on point. But for settings it’s gotta be Belle Ile festival, it’s held on a tiny island just off the coast of France. It’s an amazing place, if you ever get the chance to go, do it!
Favourite track from your albums?
Again this one’s tricky, but probably Weedmasons Anthem or Family Trees. Reason being when we play them live people go mental, when we are all on stage doing a posse cut the vibe is dope, when we get hyped up so do the crowd, it’s like chemistry without the lab coats.
3 favourite tracks from members solo projects?
Feel Like We Do ft Flying Monk taken from Res Ones Delph Efficacy LP
Not All Bad taken from Upfront’s Upfront and Personal LP
It’s Real taken from Datkid’s Teeth Ledger LP
Describe the city in three words…
Weird, Small & Nitty.
What do you think of the current underground music scene in Bristol?
The scene is really healthy for a lot of genres, it’s good to see new labels like AFT raps, Official Recordings, GreenBrick Records starting to make waves. Koast and his team securing a broadcast licence for SWU is a massive move for underground music in the city, also Krazy has recently got a show on Ujima radio, and he’s a guy that knows everyone involved in the scene he’s doing a great job of promoting local talent with his Wordlife brand. Also, you can’t forget the power that social media and the internet have for spreading Bristol music all around the world.
Local artists to watch out for?
Wish, Jay 0117, Dimpson, Hozay, Press1, Lazy Eyez, Simiah, Springa, Dedw8, Creatures of Habit, Chillman to name a few but there’s so many! Just reeling off a few names that some people may not have heard of but should definitely check out.
Do you have any upcoming shows in Bristol? If so, when and where?
Our next Bristol show is 14th October at the fleece for Res One and Illinformed’s album launch. There’s a big line up! definitely come down and check it out.
(Check the Facebook event here.)
Tell us about any new releases/projects?
Lots of new projects incoming- Res One and Illinformed have their project ‘A Dogs Dreams’ coming out on GreenBrick Records 27/9/18.
Datkid has an album coming out on High Focus Records- release date yet to be confirmed.
Bil Next & Flying Monk are both finishing up their debut solo albums at the moment and are sounding dope.
Upfront is sat on a stack of material, he has at least 2 albums ready with German producer Beppo ready. We are in the process of sorting out release details so can’t give a release date right now… but it won’t be long.
Bew Bonik has been really busy working on Dedw8 material with Baileys Brown. He’s also rumoured to have a solo EP in the vaults… time will tell if that ever gets released!
Badhabitz and Paro are also in early stages of solo material too.
We’ve been getting in the studio together as a group and working on new SP material so look out for all of that coming to a speaker near you soon!
To buy music and merch click here.
Find Split Prophets on Facebook here.
Photo Credits: Chris Lucas