Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer on Chap-Hop, Banjoleles and Influences

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You’ve played here in Southampton before. How does Hampshire compare to the mean streets of Surrey?

Well at the mo I live in Hove, so I suppose I’m somewhere between the two. Surrey has more single malt; Hampshire more port.

November is just drawing to a close and many students in particular have been growing moustaches to raise awareness and money for male cancer charities. Does the increased presence of facial hair make you feel more at home?

I suppose one feels a little less ‘out on a limb’ as it were. That said, the rules of Movember seem to only allow chaps to grow their lip weasels from a purely shaven start, therefore everyone ends up looking like Ian Beale used to, rather than having time to grow something glorious.

You have been engaged in a chap-hop ‘beef’ with Professor Elemental, although your style is obviously somewhat different to his. How has your rivalry had an effect on the popularity of chap-hop?

Well, the whole thing is what you might call a ‘story’ now, so it’s been rather beneficial all in all. I wouldn’t have expected to make it onto the front page of the Wall Street Journal like we did anywho!

Growing up, how were you introduced to the hip-hop greats such as Public Enemy and N.W.A who you reference in your songs?

Being an old school gent as it were, I was first introduced to the Street Sounds electro compilations of the early 1980s, as well as Grandmaster Flash, Africa Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force, etc. That was Surrey’s first introdution to hip-hop. Public Enemy came along as the whole thing — as well as I — matured a tad.

What drew you to the banjolele as your instrument of choice?

I bought a ukulele by accident and never looked back.

You performed onstage with DJ Yoda once. Which musicians would you love to collaborate with in the future?

Crikey, there are so many… George Clinton would be lovely, if he’s still compos mentis [‘of sound mind’]. I think a duet with the aforementioned Public Enemy might be a lark!

What is your pre-performance routine? On tour, are you a bit of a diva with your dressing room demands?

Oh lord, no! Performing with many different types of performer, I do find that, across the board, divas are the ones who lack confidence in what they do. That said, I would demand a dressing room a little bigger than a cupboard.

How would you explain the Mr. B live experience to someone who hadn’t seen you perform before?

A life-changing chappist experience!

Thank you very much, Mr. B; looking forward to seeing you play!

I am very much looking forward to playing. Pip-pip!

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