March 15 2014 Latest news:
By Sam Russell
Sunday, December 15, 2013
He has established himself in the most popular battle rap league in the world.
Now Gorleston hip-hop artist David-Ross Bowie, who performs in the Don’t Flop league as Natrill, wants to encourage the music scene in his home town.
The 28-year-old, of Manby Road, discovered an ability for rap in his late teens, after leaving Cliff Park High School.
“It was just literally messing around with my mates, insulting each other then writing music,” he explained. “It was a living room thing like some people go round playing XBox, but we did that.”
He said they did some gigs in Norwich and Lowestoft, and a chance meeting sowed the seeds for his involvement with Don’t Flop.
He recognised a hip-hop artist he had seen in an online video while on the Norwich to London train and was invited to a house party in Brighton.
“Five years later he rang me up and said he had this big company [Don’t Flop] and was going to be in Norwich,” revealed David-Ross. “It was crazy. Don’t Flop is massive – it’s the biggest thing I could do in hip hop.”
A group of five people run the battle rap league, and performers go head to head in cities across the UK.
He explained that the format pits two rappers against each other – using their wit to insult each other.
“Battles used to be freestyle,” he said. “Now you find out a couple of weeks before and you write for them so from an entertainment perspective the written battles are a lot better.”
He compared it to TV show Breaking Bad –which he said is more entertaining than a talk show due to the time the writers have put into it.
But he said there is still spontaneity, and there are no real lines that cannot be crossed “if you’re prepared to deal with the consequences”.
David-Ross has battled in around half a dozen cities, festivals including Latitude and Boom Bap, flown to Los Angeles with the owners of Don’t Flop and even performed on a boat in Croatia at Outlook Festival.
“It’s like the Premier League of battle rap,” he added. “To get on there you have to have something else about you, a cut above everyone else. It’s quite elite.”
His work is lucrative enough for him to earn a living from it, and he is keen to encourage a hip-hop scene to develop in the Great Yarmouth area.
He said he has met some talented local performers, but noted: “There’s no outlet from Yarmouth, the scene is dead.
“Don’t Flop gave me an avenue and I’ve worked with people I looked up to.”
He hopes to run workshops for local youngsters starting next year, and show them how it can be a “viable career”.
And he hopes that by bringing people together as a Great Yarmouth hip-hop scene, everyone will improve.
Contact David-Ross on Twitter @natrillhigh