Meet Tim Fish owner and writer of U.K. hip hop site GingerSlim.com. He describes his site as a one-man blog with a focus on independent UK and US hip hop, as well as occasional posts about Soul, Funk, Jazz, DnB, Grime and any thing else he finds interesting.
how did you get into writing about hip hop culture?
I’m from the UK and have been listening to hip hop since around 1993. I’ve always had a passion for writing since I was at school and the opportunity to write about hip hop came to me around 2007. I was dating a girl who wrote for a blog and she suggested I start writing for them too. From there I started my own blog and that’s been running about 10 years now.
First experience with hip hop?
I first got into hip hop properly, when an older kid at my school gave me a cassette with “Illmatic” on one side and “Enta Da Stage” on the other. I’d been listening to NWA and Ice Cube a little bit before then, but that was the point where everything changed for me.
What other types of music you into?
I listen to loads of stuff. My stepdad is a guitarist so I grew up listening to a lot of rock and I’m a massive Hendrix fan. I listen to lots of old blues as well and a lot of roots reggae. I’m a big fan of jazz too especially all the new stuff that’s emerging in the UK right now.
But on top of all that I’ll listen to grime, dub, psych rock, funk, Latin, pop, basically anything that catches my attention. I get a lot of non-hip hop song recommendations from the radio and then go explore the artist’s back catalogue from there.
What inspired you to start a blog and who else have you written for?
I stared the blog because I wanted to have my own platform to help promote the music I was enjoying. That remains the ethos behind it. You won’t find music on there that I don’t enjoy, no negative reviews. I don’t even tend to review music period, I just present it and then hope people enjoy it the same amount I do.
I’ve written for a few sites over the years but a lot of them have disappeared now. At the moment I’m working for The Wire Magazine and Ambrosia For Heads, plus I also run the blog for Blah Records, which is a UK hip hop label.
Do you have any clients for your services?
The only real clients I have are for the press writing I do as a sideline, so I write press releases and bios for artists. Those jobs I get through word of mouth and a little bit of online advertising, but that’s just through my own socials. The music I write about for my blog is either sent to me directly, or its stuff I’ve come across myself. I’m constantly on the lookout for new music, so I’m on Twitter a lot and I follow a lot of my favorite artists on there, as well as various music magazines and sites.
Can artists send you tracks for features or reviews?
Yeah by all means. Its a shame because the blog isn’t my job, so I can’t spend nearly as much time as I would like on sifting through all the new music I get sent, but I’m always happy to receive it. There is an email on the about page of my blog, or you can send it via my Facebook page. Keep sending stuff too, because I do go through it in random bursts, but please don’t get despondent if you don’t hear back. One day it’ll be my job and then everything will be sweet.
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a blog?
Just do it. If you have a passion for music then start writing about it. And if you’re not into writing, then make some videos or do a podcast. It doesn’t really matter how you’re supplying the information, if you’re passionate about it then that’s ultimately what will shine through and get people’s attention. And need more people supporting the music they love, especially if they’re fans of independent artists, because obviously they’re the ones who need the most help getting their music heard.
And once you’re up and running, get on Twitter. Honestly, it’s been such a valuable resource for me. Its where I’ve secured most of the interviews I’ve done and it’s probably where I’ve scored most of my writing gigs too. You can tag the artists you’re writing about and if they pick up on then it your work can spread pretty quickly from there.
Who are some dope underground emcees, beat makers, dj’s we should be on he look out for?
From the UK, MC wise I’d recommend you check out Lazy Eyez, CMPND, Juga-Naut, Datkid, Verbz, Jam Baxter, LayFullStop, Jman, Stinkin Slumrok, Wish Master, Sylla B, CLBRKS… US MCs I’d go and listen to Chris Crack, billy woods, Elucid, Chris Orrick, Wiki, CRIMEAPPLE, Grift Company, Fly Anakin, Zeroh, Defcee, Quelle Chris… there are loads more, but I’d be here all day!
As for beat makers, I would be exploring releases from Baileys Brown, L’Orange, Mr Slipz, Morriarchi, HashFinger, Ohbliv, EvillDewer, Ded Tebiase, Norm Oddity, Percy Filth, Giallo Point, Jaisu, The Lasso, Illinformed… Again so many more I could recommend, but that should keep you going for now. You can find music from all those names on my blog, along with all the others I should have mentioned.
Dope hip hop spots in your city? Bars, record shops, radio?
I’m from a city called Bristol, which has a really strong and healthy hip hop scene, especially at the moment. The main local radio show that covers hip hop is The Wordlife Show on Ujima FM. Its presented by a guy called Krazy who does a hell of a lot for local artists, including this show where he interviews various rappers, producers, DJs etc.
There aren’t really hip hop specific bars but there are plenty of venues around the city that play hip hop records and host rap shows. I’m not much of a vinyl fiend so I’m not the best person to ask about digging, but I know there aren’t as many spots as there were when I was a kid. I mean even most of the commercial outlets have died now too. Its a shame really.
Favorite classic hip hop group?
Depends how you define classic, but I reckon Outkast are my favourite group of all time. They continually pushed the boundaries of what a rap album could sound like, with every new release they made and individually they are both highly talented artists. They’re also different enough for their partnership to work so well.
Last song you had on repeat?
Probably ‘A Day in a Week in a Year’ by billy woods. Its from his Hiding Places album and features some excellent production from Kenny Segal. Loads of moody synths and this haunting hook by Mothermary. Really had me hooked first time I heard it.
Last words or shout outs?
Thanks to anyone who’s checking my blog or any of the writing I do, to anyone supporting me in whatever capacity. It’s all appreciated and really does help to keep me going. Big shout out to anyone and everyone who is a part of the culture, whether you’re a participant or a fan, keep showing love to the music you love.
Also shout out to my Grown Up Rap family and also to Ryan Proctor who runs Old To The New, which is one of the blogs that inspired me to start mine. And also love to the guys at Off Licence Magazine, who are doing really good things in the UK right now. The next generation are really on it and it makes me happy to see them thrive.
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EDITOR: L. Reed
IMAGE: Tim Fish