Hip-hop for the more civilised ladies and chaps

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Club Scene with Sam Cherry

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Mr B is a man with a mission – a mission to bring the Queen’s English to hip-hop and spread the gospel of The Chap.

With his well-waxed moustache and a fine line in tweed, The Gentleman Rhymer will be performing in town tomorrow.

From busting out his banjolele to deliver the history of hip-hop in five minutes, to the NWA parody Straight Out of Surrey, Mr B has been delivering rap with clipped vowels since 2007.

But as he told The Guide, his dabblings in hip-hop go much further back: ‘I’ve always done a bit of hip-hop, from the very early days. I wrote something called Space Rap in 1981 when I was awfully young. It was dreadful.’

Since then, though, he has clearly moved on. Describing himself and his outlook, he says: ‘I would call myself a Gentleman Socialist. I believe everybody should be able to lead a glorious, chappist life and it can be done.

‘It’s not exclusive or expensive. Good tea is cheap and a decent tweed jacket can be found for half the price of a T-shirt in Urban Outfitters. ‘Tis one’s own choice though.’

And honing his style has been a means for Mr B to introduce RP to the medium of hip-hop.

‘Hip-Hop was entirely based around a lack of received pronunciation in a way. It was a new patois, a language away from the norm which has now become the norm. I’m just taking it away from that norm.’ Mr B catches himself: ‘Am I making any sense at all? Gin is the breakfast of champions, but it’s probably not the best idea if one wishes to be eloquent.’

He adds: ‘The standard – particularly British – hip-hop types don’t tend to like anything unusual. They like to stay in their comfy world. That’s why British hip-hop has never been really successful.

‘There are some great, imaginative MCs and producers out there, but they’ve been rather crushed by the perception of the form as they think it should be. Shackles must be broken!’

But has he been successful? ‘Oh, absolutely. Mention hip-hop now to anyone and you’re less likely to hear about New York and more likely to hear about Woking or Cheam.’

Beats & Swing present Mr B, tomorrow at The Cellars in Eastney, doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 advance, £10 on the door.