Sunday, February 3, 2008

"I have em all off" - RiUvEn, Goth battering and Liverpool City of Culture?

The recent start to Liverpool's year of being City of Culture featured a massive concert on Jan 11th which had some controversy. One person involved was the rapper Riuven, seemingly a violent scally who smokes weed all day. The Independent recently named him as one of the next big things for 2008. The Times said of the event "But it was a brilliant young Scouse rapper called RiUvEn who epitomised the spirit of the night — cheeky, quick-witted, brimming with energy." He sang his popular song "This is how we do it in tha L.I.V." Riuven’s first song The L.I.V became a hit via his Myspace page and was quickly downloaded to thousands of mobile phones across the city. The lyrics celebrate skunk deals, the wonders of lacoste, stealing cars and "head butts and kicks, split ribs , jaws rattling". One might understand why this might generate complaints from those worried about Liverpool's image, but look at its final few lines:

dont go the krazy house yo its full of smelly goths
sometimes i wait outside and have em all off
..I have em all off....

You can see him performing in this video to some baffled teens:

The Krazy House a longstanding club catering to metal/goth and Indie is well known in Liverpool. As this quote from this website shows the lyrics reflect reality:
We usually go to our fave non chav club the Krazy House, rock club etc. However it is on a very heavily chav populated area and the chavs cant seem to accept that there are people who don't like going to a bar getting pissed on stella and vk ice and dancing like a twat to some thumping techno beat and also they can't grasp that anyone could possibly go out not wearing fake designer shit. Oh no! They wait outside the KH just to shout abuse at anyone who is dressed differently to them.

There was also a violent incident there recently which is interesting:

Clubber stabbed in toilet - Liverpool Dec 31 2007

The 19-year-old from Kirkdale was knifed during the early hours after a scuffle broke out in the Krazy House rock club on Wood Street. Another man was treated in hospital for less serious knife wounds after the fight involving clubbers on Friday, December 21. The teenage victim has been discharged from the Royal Liverpool hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Clubbers told of their shock after the incident during the popular student night at the club, which has three floors and attracts fans of rock music.

One said: “The lad who got stabbed was looking at being in hospital over Christmas but it could have been much worse. He seemed to be in a very bad way at first. He was trying to split up a fight between some scallies and got stabbed for it.

“It’s frightening to think people actually go out for a night on the town with a knife.

“Everyone usually just has a good time and enjoys the music in the Krazy House, so for this to happen there is unusual.”

According to RiUvEn's website:
RiUvEn... exploded out of Toxteth Liverpool, in a blaze of goth battering and ganja smoke in early 2006. For Liverpool, a city not known for producing exciting rap acts, Riuven’s Unrelentingly harsh and unmistakably scouse approach was a revelation.
Now Riuven is in fact a caricature like Ali G, Riuven in real life is Robert Morris, who attended the notoriously posh King David's High and was a nice, quiet, studious boy there and was formerly a drummer in Indie bands. An interview with the Liverpool Post revealed more:

The track rapidly achieved cult status and led to growing curiosity about the musician behind the song, which boasts of stealing cars ‘round Seffie Park’ and fighting with ‘goths’ outside well-known city centre club The Krazy House. Now the budding hip hop star, who hit national headlines last year with a scathing rap about Lily Allen, is on the brink of releasing his debut album in March.

Riuven, real name Robert Morris, developed his chav-alter ego observing the bravado, attitude and antics of scallies from around Lodge Lane where he was raised. But he honed the larger-than-life persona when he was sent to Childwall’s prestigious King David School by his parents.

“I was probably the scally of our school in the sense that not many lads from Toxteth went there,” he says. “But I got into King David because I’m Jewish. I was lucky enough to get a great musical background and learn to play the drums to a high level. The scally persona is just something me and my mates have always found funny and joked about. We used to have parties, where we’d have a drink and listen to hip hop and there would always be a mic being passed around...

“I think most people realise that Riuven is a joke. He is a caricature of an unemployed scally who smokes weed all day and goes to town fighting the goths and causing trouble. The idea was to have a laugh and not glorify things like that. It has an element of social commentary on a city where many teenagers pass the time joyriding, taking drugs and generally misbehaving.”

Radio Merseyside DJ Billy Butler received complaints for playing a Riuven track and listeners called phone-in shows to argue Riuven showed Liverpool in a bad light. Sounding genuinely baffled, Morris says, “I was shocked that people didn’t see it was a joke, especially Scousers. People were reading far too much into it.

“If Riuven was serious, it’d be an outrage. But we’ve got to be able to laugh at people like that. [Jan 22nd]

Capital of Culture launch storm: Rapper Riuven hits back at his critics

"Riuven was based on loads of different lads I've met and seen sitting at the back of busses. I've got mates who have been beaten up by lads like Riuven.
His other songs include "Goths are not Boss", which you can hear on his website a rap about the gangs of teenagers who hang around outside the law courts in Liverpool. It features the line "The only good Goth is a Dead Goth" several times. It seems that Riuven's record deal and hopes to make it big in 2008 has had to led him to tone down his image. Another interview is interesting:
[On Riuven] What’s this got to do with comedy? Well, on a good day I’m 99% sure the Toxteth-based hip-hopper is supposed to be funny, in a Goldie Lookin' Chain sort of way. But sometimes I do like to imagine he knows not what he does...

“My record label have been telling me to try and tone my lyrics down a bit,” you can find him pondering on a Myspace forum. Needless to say, he can be appallingly rude. “Apparently the public arent as into stories about beating up goths and getting jiggy with milf as i thought theyd be.”[sic]
The resulting album, apparently titled I’m Only Messin or Am I, will be out in April, he says. Capital of Culture - so get told (Comedy Blog)
Considering Sophie Lancaster was killed last year a song which glorifies violence against goths seems to say the least in rather bad taste. Particularly one suspects that many listeners to The LIV do not understand it is a joke. Ali G managed to be funny without advocating anyone being beaten up. On the other hand one could argue I suppose he is reflecting the reality of the situation that people going to the Krazy House have to face a barrage of abuse and potential violence at times. But then if he was making those songs about Africans or homosexuals I think the response would be rather different.

1 comment:

JMIZZLE said...

Riuven is a beast. I think emo's are the people to beat up now though, nobody's a goth anymore. I think Alterophobia is the wrong word by the way. It suggests that the scary 'scallies' you talk about are actually intimidated by the stupid way these people dress, when everyone knows goths and emo's are less intimidating than old people. I think id advise people in Merseyside to not purposefully make themselves a target for abuse, and perhaps focus their feeling of being a bit different on something usefull. Like for example, helping people who are persecuted for things they don't control, like the colour of their skin, not how tight their gay jeans are.