If your from London then you would of heard of Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham North London, Constructed in 1967 An experiment in ‘high-density’ social housing the estate has become a breeding ground for emerging talent in music. The recent success of AbraCadabra and Ounto Nation has given Broadwater Farm something positive to talk about and it has fueled a rise of Artists coming from Broadwater Farm, Northumberland Park and the surrounding areas.
The environment that these young men grew up in was far from nurturing but it’s these climates that creates real artists with a perspective on the world that only they can translate because it’s their reality.
They’ve made Art out of Tower Blocks and poems out of struggle and when music’s authentic it creates an energy, an energy that packs out shows and has Lucy or Emily secretly wishing they had street cred. It’s undeniable that these artists are making music that brings London back to a time where black culture is dominating in UK music amongst young people and on our own terms. Music is an Art form and their background or area should not determine whether they are credible, it all all comes down to facts.
They’ve made Art out of Tower Blocks and poems out of struggle
The definition of ghetto is ‘a part of a city, especially a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups’ . This disturbed me while I was researching into social housing. It’s more than evident that these environments are built to control and monitor minorities and seclude them so they feel territorial, this creates the need for association which creates conflict and Violence.
The Government create environments to analyse the behaviors of those that live in them and then publicly declare them as criminals without acknowledging the fact that it was them that created the milieu that created this behaviour in the first place. Under cover police constantly monitor the Estate in un-marked cars, hanging around the youth on the estate in what looks like to me an expensive game of cat and mouse.
It is transparent that the authorities want their presence to be felt in the estate and the ambiguity and resilience between the two sides conveys the reluctant need to fix the problems they have with the community. Growing up on estates you develop a level of companionship with the other children on the estate , their the people you relate to the most and their the people you form your early memories with, it becomes a family. A family that you will do anything to protect.
Many people who get housed in social housing Estates are there because they cannot afford a house and many never leave these estates so the cycle continues. Some may say that we need to invest in these children in understanding why some resort to crime, but I ask the question of why are these environments being created anyway?
There is a pattern; a pattern of the development of estates in inner-city areas surrounded by failing schools and chicken and chip shops. These inner city estates apparently create crime which inevitably funds the police because without crime there is no police.
The justice system is a very profitable revenue stream and they rely on youth coming from estates such as Broadwater Farm to circulate in criminal gangs so they can still have a job. You become what you consume and you adapt to your habitat as a means of survival of the fittest and this is what we are seeing in the Estates in London.
You become what you consume and you adapt to your habitat as a means of survival
It all comes down to one thing, being put in a box and being told that this is where you belong and this will always define you. It’s not the place where you are at that defines you but it is what you do with it that determines where you’ll end up. It’s the interpretation of your environment that will mold and shape you into fulfilling what ever aspirations you have in life. Being street smart can not be taught you have to have lived through it to understand it, to relate to it. This combined with education both from school and self-taught will put you in a position that many can not stand in.
I sat down with Kush from Ounto Nation to discuss growing up on the estate and to find out what we can expect musically from him in the year to come. .
When did you know that music was something you wanted to get into or did it just kind of happen?
It kind of just happened, basically the mandem use to go studio and I use to go and chill. I use to listen to them and tell them to change bits of the song , that kinda stuff. One day I went home from studio and I had the beat I thought let me just try sutten. The next session I went to there was spare time at the end so I jumped in the booth, half way through the song i wasn’t feeling it , I told them to scrap it but the mandem was feeling it. Then my brother sent it to all the mandem and they all said it was cold.
Do you remember what the tune was called ?
Don’t tell me bout the hood
What made you continue doing music after that first tune you made ?
I went studio again and the mandem told me to put an eight bar at the end of a tune, everyone was rating it then i just kept going studio.
So when you made that tune had Abz (abra cadabra) made Robbery yet?
Nah he use to make tunes , but we use to mess around and that , I use to tell him he was cold , then we just started going studio together. On my third studio session we made The roads.
Abz recorded it then he told me to write a verse then I ended up being on the track.
Was you fearful that people would be highly critical of your work ?
yeah, i’m not that confident, when I make tunes now I don’t really play it to people. Other people always say they like it. If it get’s leaked then that’s how people hear it.
So with your recent success especially with your song Valentine , has that made you more confident in the music that you make?
yeah , cause when I go shows i know what people like, I know how to work a crowd now
Music is an art form, and is expressive of one’s experiences in life. Do you think growing up in Broadwater farm has had an influence on what you write and how you explore it in your songs?
Yeah cause in my tunes i’m not lying , when i’m writing I find it easier to talk. Yeah cause a lot goes on in farm there’s a lot to talk about.
Broadwater farm is known as the notorious estate of Tottenham because of events in history involving violence. It’s also evident that it breeds a playground of talented people. Do you think growing up here made you even more determined to make it out of the hood ?
Yeah cause they way people live outside of here is good. Were all trynna live good. it makes us wanna push more so we can live a better life. We know that there’s better things out there, it’s not just about where your from but where your going.
Your part of Ounto Nation , what exactly is Ounto Nation and who makes up Ounto Nation ?
Well Ounto Means Food in Somalian. Uncle Ounto came up with that, if your from ends then you know who Uncle Ounto is. [ laughs] Five of us are in the group we rap; there’s Me
, Abra Cadabra
. Were a collective of rappers who share common circumstances growing up and were all from Tottenham.
You guys collectively have racked up over twelve million views on Youtube , are you suprised at the huge reception you guys have had from fans and other artists in the industry?
yeah cause when I go places i’m known, everywhere I go people ask for pictures or they say “you alright Kush” . Some people act weird and just stare at me. I don’t know why they do that [laughs]. I hear people playing my music on the street, I see people snapping it, it’s mad.
What would be your advice for young creatives trying to make it in music ?
Don’t lie in your raps.
What can we expect from you musically ? Any collabs on the way that you can give us an exclusive on ?
I’ve got a single dropping soon, I’ve got a mad about bars dropping real soon too, that will be on Spotify.
You guys can look forward to a new tune i’ve got with Ratlin. I like working with Ratlin his energies different.