When you think Hip-Hop connoisseurs within the UK, Ted Draws is the go to name. Having his own NTS residency covering all aspects of the genre that you can think of, from unknown artists from some of the most recognised eras, as well as busting out our favourite classics there isn’t a time you can’t listen to him!
As our next installment and guest mix for our Frequent Players channel we had the chance to spend some time with Ted to talk all things music, as well as talk about his career as an illustrator and artist having produced multiple pieces of work.
Take a look at our exclusive interview feature with the Hip-Hop Scholar himself whilst taking it back to the old school with these special guest mix feature.
Footpatrol: Ted Draws it is a pleasure to be able to welcome you to Footpatrol’s Frequent Players Channel! How has 2021 been treating you so far?
Ted Draws: Best year ever, …well better than last year anyway everything’s opening up again, summer of love ’21, let’s go
FP: Part of the NTS crew having hosted plenty of shows most, if not all showcasing your love for Hip-Hop music from every state, rapper, year, the UK essentially almost anything you can think of when it comes to the genre! Where did this passion for music come from?
TD: My Mum is a big Blues enthusiast/expert, she knows a song or artist after 1 bar of music, I think I inherited that type of ear from her. I was much more into the Soul and R&B she would play, when I first heard pop rap songs in the late 80’s, that was it for me, I was in. When I got older and started buying De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest albums, there wasn’t an obvious way to find out about similar artists, so I had to study liner notes for shout outs, and read Hip Hop Connection and The Source magazine cover to cover, so I built up a pretty comprehensive knowledge (until about 2001).
FP: Would you say your love for DJing stemmed from Hip-Hop?
TD: 100%, but more in the way the DJ can rock a party, or make a mixtape, rather than the DMC world champion scratch DJ type. I never had any decks, so had to focus on bringing the big tunes, instead of mastering how to scratch. I actually started DJing in clubs playing other stuff (Prince, New Wave, Electro, Grime, R&B), with a little bit of Hip Hop laced in, but it’s nice to have a radio show where I can go deep into the raw shit I love.
FP: Who were your earliest influences when you were starting out?
TD: DJ wise, I used to like Shortee Blitz as he would mix in older 90’s tunes that still worked in the club.
Mixtapes were big for me, DJ Premier: Crooklyn Cuts series, Tony Touch, PF Cuttin, The ‘5 Deadly Venoms of Brooklyn’ Mixtape had them all on there, played that to death, Evil Dee Soundbombing vol 1 was huge.
FP: I want to talk about your residency at NTS a little bit. I have listened to quite a few of your shows and always find myself finding out something new to listen to. How did it all come together to produce such an in-depth look in the Hip-Hop genre for the last 5 years?
TD: That’s the idea really, play something most people haven’t heard before. I get bored hearing the same songs, there’s more to Hip Hop than just the hits. I would listen to a different show that might play old tunes, and it would be all the same ones everyone knows, I wanna hear album tracks or B-sides. ‘Stretch & Bobbito’ was the show that probably influenced me the most, as they were doing that back in the day, you can find a bunch of their shows online.
FP: One thing I love is the start of the bios on your NTS shows starting with – Hip-Hop Scholar. I can’t imagine a title like that comes easy! Where did that amazing title come from?
TD: They gave me that title, but I like it, as it’s a quote from one of my favourite songs: A Tribe Called Quest – Steve Biko.
“Did not you know that my styles are top-dollar?
The Five-Foot Assassin knocking fleas off his collar
Hip-Hop scholar since being knee high to a duck
The height of Muggsy Bogues, complexion of a hockey puck”
FP: Being the scholar that you are regarding the genre, are you able to name your 3 favourite MCs or is that too hard of a question to answer?
FP: I know as well you also are an illustrator and have worked with Palace and Le Coq Sportif just to name a couple brands and have your own line as well on your website. Was this your first venture before DJing or have the 2 always gone hand in hand?
TD: No, I got into it from drawing with fabric pens on a white tee, to have something to wear while DJing, or drawing flyers for nights. Both my parents are artists, so I’ve always done it, but I didn’t fancy it as a job, because neither of them made a decent living from it. I always saw it as a way to stay in poverty. Turns out I have my Dad’s illustrative side and my Mum’s graphic side, so it’s going alright in comparison.
FP: In terms of projects you have been able to work on over the years has there been one that stood out to you the most?
TD: Yes, I did murals on the walls of Virgin EMI’s new offices in Kings Cross. 4 big walls based on the Virgin back catalogue, all with Posca pens. Had to get people in to help me get it done in time.
I love doing something big on a wall, takes me back to being a half arsed graffiti writer when I was a teenager.
FP: Ted it’s been great to be able to speak to you finally! Before we let you go is there anything that you want to share with the Footpatrol and Frequent Players listeners and readers before you go?
TD: Summer Of Love ’21, let’s do this. Also, Shop at Footpatrol, shout out all Soho crew, street drinks sessions.