Written for and published on AltReading on 25 February 2016
In February 2016 I caught up with Rottweiler — the musician and conscientious MC who splits opinions on the Reading music scene to collect his thoughts on why he feels disrespected by the local scene, the current state of urban music, and more.
We first met at Reading’s Got Talent back in 2012, what do you make of those type of shows?
These shows discover people’s potential and get talent out there and noticed by the general public who more than likely didn’t know about them outside of their circle of family and friends. I was blessed and grateful to be part of the show.
Since you’ve started how much music have you made and how many live performances have you done?
I was writing since I was 14, and I took it time to think what direction I wanted to go in, and by the age of 17 I started writing more seriously. And then I started doing performances gradually building myself up. It was from about 2004 when I started getting scouted by record labels, and to date I have done around 128 appearances.
Does urban music still get its fair share of exposure nowadays?
I believe it does. People didn’t want to listen to hip-hop, for example, as they thought it promoted violence, but they don’t understand that rage and tone is just the way it’s expressed, and think that especially coming from black people we are urban people who created a style and genre.
Nowadays the genre is understood by the people who originally disagreed with it, and it has made it stronger and understandable. Urban is now a categorised genre which should continue to evolve, as well as being seen and heard.
Do you agree that MCs have to be single minded these days to breakthrough, and not be concerned about what their crews think? Do you feel that crews hold back MCs?
It depends, I’m a open minded artist who likes to be out of his comfort zone, and likes to be challenged because that will show how much of a person you have developed with your appearance as well as your spelling and vocabulary. In general crews can make you change into a way that you don’t want to, and it’s always best as a human being to follow your heart.
You now live in East London, but return to Reading on a regular basis. How come you moved out of town?
I moved to London to show my versatility — think of the world as a garbage bin, you’ve got loads of sweet wrappers, and the best sweet wrappers is amongst all the other wrappers, that one wrapper wants to be acknowledged. So what I had to do was come of the garbage bin, and go to another area where I didn’t feel comfortable to be seen and to nurture my inner-self. So I felt that I had to go somewhere else to get the level of respect I wanted, whereas in Reading I was only getting hated for something that I have mastered.
It concerns others because how can you appreciate yourself when it comes to your time. How I see it is if someone’s doing well then be with them because you can learn from them, and when it’s your time to shine you’ve got the basic skills and confidence to do your own thing.
Does the Reading music realistically support one another? Or is the scene segregated?
I feel that the Reading scene is very much segregated, as it appears some people on the scene only like people who brown nose them. People would say they like a particular person because they are doing what they want to hear, but they don’t want to give the next person coming through the recognition.
It’s like that you’ve got to follow fashion or a certain trend. Being segregated will lead to controversy because how I see it is that you should be giving everybody who wants to get involved on the local scene a chance to get involved. It doesn’t mean because someone doesn’t dress like you doesn’t mean they have the same mind or similar thoughts as you.
Why is it that some artists never acknowledge local entities that have helped them up the rung of the ladder once they are played on bigger radio stations and mentioned in the national music press?
It’s because they are in denial and disrespectful, for me I will always shoutout Reading, it’s where I was born and bred, and it will always be my home. I will never forget where I started, and where I came from. When people here the name ‘Rottweiler’ they make an assumption and brace themselves for something to happen, I don’t just carry the name, I always champion the name of Reading. We need to remind ourselves that Reading is just a little dot on the map to the west of London.
Even though the Reading scene has disrespected me in certain ways, you have to be thick skinned and be a man.
In what way do you feel that Reading has disrespected you?
Reading can be a very big musical platform if it wants to be, you can get the top MCs, rappers and singers all on one stage, but when it comes to me ‘Rottweiler’ nobody wants to do that and they make fun of me as a defensive mechanism as they see me as a threat.
They can’t take the rawness, energy or content that I deliver. If I wasn’t a musician and just a regular person on the street they would be happy with that, and would want me to come on board as they would be outshining me, and they would want to be superior.
It would seem that if you’re not doing something good for yourself, they would be happy, and if you doing something good they’re unhappy, the Reading scene needs to learn how to compromise.
You were recently invited in to Reading College to give a talk and performance, how did that come about?
I was invited in by Reading College to give a talk to a fantastic group of people who have to deal with disabilities. I gave a talk about being an artist, the world of music and explained my life experiences, and to gave them an insight on me.
I was really pleased that Reading College invited me in out of several other MCs, and I’m not boasting I was flattered to chosen as that shows they consider me to be the best. At the same time boasting also shows a level of selfishness, I like to hype to myself until the next time.
You recently recorded a TV pilot called the ‘Rottweiler Diaries’ which has become quite popular, as it showed a different side to you outside the music scene. Who came up with the idea? And are there any plans to make a series?
It was James ‘Blakstar’ John who came up with the idea, and then Simon Aukes got involved, and it was just a taster and I had a really good time and so did everybody involved in the making. People only know me a lyricist, and not as a regular person.