theHOODISWATCHING.COM INTERVIEW – November  2017

Cuban Pete is an artist from the UK. He is part of Gorilla Army but also has his own music imprint and website at www.c75live.com

Cuban is also a visual artist that does everything from customizing clothing with hand painted artwork to digital art for cd covers etc.. Check out his work at www.c75designs.com

 

So how did you come up with your aka Cuban Pete?

It was a nickname given to me by some friends. I was drunk and dancing badly one night to some cheesy 80s stuff and when I came off the floor my mate was like ‘Wahey! It’s Cuban Pete’, after the character in Jim Carrey’s The Mask film, and it just stuck. Cuban or Cubes. My real name is Pete too so it fits.

 

What first inspired you to live the hip hop lifestyle?

Definitely the music started me off, and the visual punch of graffiti. My lifestyle doesn’t seem very Hip Hop sometimes. Especially not in the mainstream perception of the culture. I’m just a regular guy with a family and day job and all the usual stresses and strains people go through. But at the same time I represent the culture to the fullest through music, art, and knowledge; 3 of the 5 elements.

 

You’re a recording artist from U.K. how does the scene differ there?

A lot of small cliques of people. A lot of people happy to be ‘king of their village’ haha.

It’s also very Grime orientated, which the US seems to be catching onto right now and thinking that is UK Hip Hop. To me Grime is a subculture of Hip Hop. A lot of those artists are stepping up their lyrical game and musically sounding like more traditional Hip Hop MCs now though so lines are definitely blurring.

As a scene it’s definitely still growing though, while still being its own entity, and something I’ve always been proud to be part of.

 

What was the scene like growing up?

Quiet where I grew up. Cannock is a small town in the Midlands and what I would call a very ‘white’ town. Not in a racist sense, just not many black people. Fortunately I was close to Wolverhampton and Birmingham which are more culturally mixed so I’d make frequent trips there when I wasn’t at school, or sometimes even when I should be on a Monday when the new releases came out haha.

When I moved away from home for University it was great cause I had more things on my doorstep. And more money of my own to do things and go places.

 

Who is your biggest influence as an emcee?

Redman? That was the first name that sprang to mind. Wordplay, humour, funk. But I’ve been in this for about 30 years so there’s a lot of people I’ve listened to and been influenced by, from the US, UK, Australia, all over.

 

Define your style?

Wordplay, humour, funk. Or at least what I aim for. I’m not a tough guy rapper but I’m not a nerd guy rapper. I’m not a ‘lyrical miracle’ but I’m not a mumblesexual rapper either haha.

I’m a man of the people!

 

Tell me who you are affiliated with?

F.N.B.G. Records is my management team. Got the best manager; Raya. More than a manager she’s got my back in this and looks out for me above and beyond.

T.E.S.T. Squad. My brother from another OneMike is part of my team, C75 Live, and Im part of his.

Gorilla Army is a crew of MC’s I work with, headed by D.Original Mr.Blue. You might have heard of him haha. Cool guy for real.

Ghetto Govt Officialz, which is a worldwide conglomerate of heads put together by Hell Razah from Sunz Of Man.

Mind Power Entertainment is a label (and more) I work with, run by Krumbsnatcha from Gangstarr Foundation and Justis Hype.

 

How long have you been doing your thing with C75 Live?

I did the first mixtape in 2014 but the mixtapes were more about promoting my design work and other artists. I only started properly pushing myself musically the last couple of years. I’ve got several great artists down with the team and we work together to help each other.

 

What kind of beats are you into?

I love boom bap. As an artist and listener. I’d like to say I can rap over anything but writing wise I don’t have the patience for double time haha. But I’ll have a go at most types of beats for the challenge.

Who is in your rotation music wise?

Right now? Looking on my phone I’ve got the new Sean P, Wu Tang, Da Buze Brovaz, Slaine & Termanology, Recognize Ali, Cyclonious, Meyhem Lauren & Muggs, Ramson Badbonez, Thirstin Howl III, Tragedy Khadafi, Comet, Phoenix Da Icefire, and MC Eiht & Premier, to name a few. Always got some Thirstin on there though. Same with Sean P, Big Pun, Wu Tang and/or affiliates. Inspiration music.

 

You got skill on the art tip! How long you been doing your thing with the art?

I’ve always been creative. My parents are creative. I was the kid in class drawing in my schoolbooks. I used to read a lot of comics and draw the characters, I still love the artwork. I did fine art at college then at University. I was always inspired by comic books, graffiti, tattoos, pop art and culture. Basquiat, Keith Haring.

Customising clothing started for me around 2005 ish I think. I was bored at work and started drawing on my sneakers because I got told off for drawing on the paper I had on my desk. But that individual style aesthetic has always been part of Hip Hop. Graffiti jackets, airbrush tees and kicks, etc.

Now I do a lot more digital design work.; CD covers, flyers, posters, etc. It’s still fun but you can’t beat hand drawn or painted work and I sometimes combine the two.

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Check out Cuban Pete's new video 'Spoils Of War' below: