Connecting the dots behind the scenes, Boss Baff—head of UK rap label Alwayz Recording—has helped push the careers of some of your favourite emcees. The revered manager and A&R from London is gearing up to release a new project, AR15: Concrete Jungle, where he unites 50-plus artists despite bad blood between a few. And, for that reason alone, it's a classic-in-waiting. Complex has been given another track to premiere from the set, this time in "Running Away" featuring Youngs Teflon, Avelino, Chunks and Bekki Hlava. After listening to the reflective number below, peep our interview with Boss Baff on the flip.
What was thinking behind this particular project?
We wanted to do something that had never been done before in the UK scene, which was to put some of the best overground and underground artists on one compilation CD and also make the collaborations different to what's been heard before. I teamed up with another independent record label, GB Records London, who had the same ambition and drive and here we are. Between myself and Tommy Bones (artist manager, GB Records London), we went through the long task of making it happen.
How did you manage to get, literally, the whole grime and rap scenes together? It must've been a headache trying to lock everyone down.
It wasn't easy getting everyone together, you're right. And, for numerous reasons. As you know, not every artist gets along with each other and some of the more popular artists have busy schedules. It took the best part of a year, but how we got the whole scene together? This was due to our respect and connections in the music business. Together, me and Tommy Bones were able to get each of the 53 artists in the studio to lay their verses. It was a long process, but we definitely enjoyed it. As independent labels, we knew we were doing something that the major labels couldn't pull off.
Out of the 16 tracks on the set, what would you say are your favourite two?
I love the whole CD, so it's definitely hard to choose two. But if I had to choose, the first one would be "Helpless" featuring Wretch 32, Devlin and Swiss from So Solid because they are three of the most lyrical rappers in the UK; in a sense, they have the same style but completely different deliveries. The second track would have to be "Amen" featuring Snap Capone, Corleone, Young Adz and Prince, who also produced this track along with a number of other tracks on the CD. The reason I like this track is because of the raw element in the artists' lyrics, and the calmness in the production; the two really compliment each other. And If I could say more [laughs], I'd have to mention "Trappin Ain't Dead" by Section Boyz and "Can't See Me Again" by Skepta, Bashy and Kano.
What are your hopes for the mixtape when it drops on August 28?
We hope for this CD to make a mark in the UK scene and bring about some unity between artists, because one of the hardest tasks in making this compilation was putting artists who me and Tommy Bones knew would work well together but for whatever reason they haven't done so before. We also wanted to bring awareness of the underground talent, and the underground rap scene in general. And of course, like any other project, we hope for it to do good numbers. We also hope to show other independent labels, that by sharing the same vision and working together with other independent labels like myself and GB Records London have done, great things can be achieved.