Since the early 2000’s Art Daley has been forging his way through the Hip-Hop scene. I was invited to his studio in Brixton, London to be able to get a better view of his background, work and views on the Hip-Hop lifestyle that he seems to have absorbed. Having lived in South London all of his life he has been able to make his mark. This is not only remarked by his striking serene attitude, but also his determination that does not go unnoticed. When you see him copping his E.P’s often with fellow Crook Street artists in front of the tube station you can feel his incredible enthusiasm.
In his small, incense-filled studio he took me back to his youth were it all started. As an African growing up in Streatham, London during a complicated era, his influences were mostly solely from the Afro-Amercian culture. In his block he grew up to the 90’s American Hip-Hop of the west coast with the likes of 2Pac, De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest.
It was in 2007 that Art Daley (a.k.a Sugar Diesel at the time) decided to spend some time in the States. That is where he received a large interest from producers and rappers which led to him making a few collaborations. Art Daley was situated in Harlem, where he began to experience what he called “the real Hip-Hop lifestyle”, soaking up as much of the culture as he could.
During this period “Sugar Diesel” made many songs with the producer Death Ro. I was lucky enough to meet him and was able to get a clearer image of Daley’s earlier work which I was not familiar with. It was in 2008 when Death Ro first heard Daley rapping over the Wu Tang Clan whilst giving it a “U.K vibe”. That is when Death Ro decided to send his first track he had produced using friend’s equipment to Art Daley. Death Ro used the old sampling technique which was used during the golden age of Hip-Hop. His 70’s soul samples were rapidly incorporated with Art Daley’s voice and this formed the beginning of their friendship. Death Ro then became as he put it: “The producer who creates the canvas for the artist”.
Then Sugar Diesel went under the name of Art Daley, and in 2010 he formed the label Crook Street with artist Sky-I. This label was created as these independent MC’s were living the same difficulties that U.K Hip-Hop was going through, so they linked up to form a movement. This movement was driven by their Hip-Hop lifestyle and mixed with their get-up-and-go mentality to be heard and seen. Since then he has produced many E.P’s and an enormous amount of unreleased material. Art Daley’s music can vary from E.P to E.P. In 2013 Daley collaborated with the mighty MF DOOM. A friend of his had passed DOOM Daley’s E.P for a listen. After truly appreciating his work he offered Daley a few beats to sample and they began to collaborate. We can see this with the song ‘Propaganda’ were DOOM is seen to appear in the video.
I asked Daley what he found important in an artist. He explained very wisely how innovation was key and how to be noticed for the right thing: the music. Consistency is also another key point. To keep putting out material as people outgrow music with time as the music also evolves. Keeping the ambition of what you love and implant that love into ones work is crucial for succeeding and we can find this ambition in Art Daley. This hunger which we can feel has left him with a natural feeling of fulfilment. So look out for his “sneaker rap, sex rap, weed rap”. You may recognise his work with his distinguished saying “Oh yeah, Oh lord” with pimped out lyrics which are in search to an approach to life.