Today we spoke to rapper Reali-T about getting into music, being real and how long he has left in the rap game.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into music?
Basically when I studied GCSE music, they told us to make a beat, so I made a beat in the class and just started rapping over it. Seeing people’s reactions I thought, ‘oh maybe I should be rapping instead.’
It started from there really, when I was 15, there was a new guy that came to my school called Michael, you could call it “destiny” that we met. I came from Hackney to go to a school in Dagenham and he went to that same school I was at in Hackney but we had never met. So he had heard my track on the music class computer, he said I should get in the studio. Then we formed a group with another new guy that came in, we called ourselves “Da Movement”, D-A because we thought we were cool.
Do you think your rapping style has changed since school?
I think I’m less aggressive now, calmer. I went through a stage where I was swearing a lot and rapping about things that weren’t really me.
But one day someone stopped me in church and said ‘I heard your new track, you’re talking about shooting people and stuff. You’re called Reali-T, why don’t you keep it real?’ I don’t think he knows how much those words changed my thought process.
If I’m talking about shooting guns or selling drugs now, I’m doing it to take the piss. I sell drugs because I’m a pharmacist and I talk about shooting water guns. See I’m not a serious guy and I feel like when you hear rap like that it puts you more at ease.
You’re performing at the Tynemouth Food Fest next month, it’s quite a diverse line up, how do you feel about playing to audiences that might not be too familiar with rap?
I like it, it is diverse but it’s a challenge. It comes to the point again of not taking myself too seriously. Say if I went up there pretending to be Stormzy, Wiley, or whatever then it might not go down so well. I think I get chosen to do these sort of shows because I’d say I’m like the Will Smith of the North East. I’m family friendly and I don’t mind being that at all. If I want to make money, and that’s who I am then I accept it.
What does the rest of 2017 hold for Reali-T?
I’m releasing an album very soon, I want to release some projects with other people too.
I just want to keep working on the music. To be honest, no one wants to see a 30 year old Facebook rapper, so I know my time is coming. Rapping is a young man’s game. People might say ‘aw do what you love’ and it’s easy to say that but I know how I would feel if I saw a 30 year old rapper on Facebook promoting his stuff when he should be out working.
At that point, in three years time, if I’m not making crazy amounts of money, I’m not talking about millions but if I’m earning thousands from rapping, I’m not gonna stop, but if I’m not making anything… I’m supposed to be having a family at that age.
If I were to stop I’d still want to be involved in music and help the young guys from New North East. Working as a pharmacist I can help out financially, I’d pay for studio time for the group if I had to but once I hit that 3-0 man, if I’m not making anything from it or I’ve not gained considerable recognition. Basically if I’m still how I am now in 3 years time there’s no point for me personally.