Hailing from the UK capital, Rodney P is a name synonymous with the country’s hip hop scene, thanks to a lengthy and illustrious career that stretches back to the 1980’s. Regarded by many as the Godfather of British Rap, Rodney first made a name for himself as one half of the pioneering group, London Posse. Setting themselves aside from the majority of emerging UK MCs at the time, thanks to their insistence on rapping in their native accents, they quickly blazed a trail for the generations of artists that followed in their footsteps.
Since then, Rodney’s career has gone from strength to strength, stretching beyond the confines of the rap scene he originally started in. As well as musical ventures with fellow hip hop legends like Pharoahe Monch, Smif-N-Wessun and Roots Manuva, there have also been multiple collaborations in surrounding genres that have seen Rodney teaming up with a wealth of talented artists from across the board. These have included The Dub Pistols, DJ Die, Omar, Terri Walker, Bjork, MJ Cole, Roni Size, The Stanton Warriors and a forthcoming project with acclaimed reggae artists, Spragga Benz, all of which shine a light on his versatility on the mic. He has also toured extensively across Europe, China, Japan, Australia, America, and Africa, delivering his renowned energetic live performances to a global audience.
His music was also the catalyst for career highlights beyond the studio. In 2002, Rodney and his long-term collaborator, DJ Skitz, were invited to host The Original Fever on BBC 1Xtra. It was regarded as a groundbreaking show and gave Rodney the opportunity to interview some world class artists, including Pharrell Williams, 50 Cent and Kanye West. Following the show’s highly successful six-year run, the radio presenting carried on over the years, including hosting duties on the Sony Award-nominated F.E.D.S, Concrete Heat and the Lamacq Live documentary, The Beautiful Struggle. TV also beckoned, with Rodney flexed his presenting muscle on a number of recent BBC4 documentaries – The Hip Hop World News, which included a number of fellow hip hop pioneers, such as Chuck D and Rakim, The Last Pirates – Britain’s Rebel DJs, featuring Gilles Peterson, Trevor Nelson and Jazzie B, and Beats, Bass and Bars – The Story of Grime, which featured the likes of Skepta and Jammer.
Other notable accolades throughout Rodney’s career include presenting the 2004 UN sponsored UNHabitat Charity Concert, alongside Jazzy Jeff and Mos Def, curating his own showcase for the 2006 BBC Electric Proms and hosting an event in 2011 for the Zain Autistic Network, where he also performed alongside many other UK hip hop pioneers.
Fast forward to the present and Rodney’s latest musical endeavour sees him uniting with two of the UK’s fellow hip hop heavyweights, Ty and Blak Twang, to form KingDem. The trio kicked off their partnership with a UK wide tour earlier in the year and then followed it up with The Kingdem EP, which was released in August. And it doesn’t stop there, as early next year we will see the arrival of his long-awaited new solo album, Good People Age Better, on Tru Thoughts Records. It’s going to be a return to his rap-reggae roots, with the veteran MC enlisting the ample talents of Deadly Hunta, Terri Walker and the late great John Holt, to create a project worthy of your attention. Plus, there is a new BBC4 documentary on the horizon in 2020, which will see Rodney investigating the pioneering UK Jazz Funk scene.
“Legend doesn’t quite cut it, he’s like a legend to the power of five million” – MistaJam (BBC 1Xtra)
“Gave British rap an identity of its own” – The Telegraph