Rapper's blend of culture
DENISE CHEUNG reports on a London-based rapper who is making a name for himself
EXPOSED to reggae music since he was a child, C J Lewis is adding new ingredients to his own music - a cultural mix.
'I mix a bit of other styles with the reggae. So you hear a bit of R & B, a bit of soul, a bit of funk in my music. And it is not just me but also the backing singers,' he said.
The foundation of his music is reggae and the style is Jamaican rapping, thanks to his strong musical family background.
The London-born rapper was captivated by the traditional music of his family's home and naturally went into reggae.
His home life was musical - he used to sing with his nine brothers and sisters and listened to reggae music on the family stereo.
But Lewis's ambition and passion towards music has taken him into the streets of London where he shared his music with other reggae lovers.
He became a DJ who mixes and raps at street parties and carnivals.
'I follow those sound systems like mobile discos in the house, in the park and out on the street. We set up our back-up and play records. I am the person with the mike and keep the party going,' Lewis said.
From there, Lewis was engulfed in the idiosyncratic style of music which he belted out, a combination of his own style and that of his favourites Yellowman, Admiral Bailey, Uroy, Iroy, Josey Wales and Supercat.
Lewis's family not only introduced reggae music to him, but exerted influence on his musical direction.
'I never rap for violence but against it. My family would not like it if I did. I respect them and my mum has been really happy with it so far,' he said.
Some major radio stations in England, however, will not play Lewis's music as they consider reggae music violent.
Nonetheless, Lewis has proved that he can make his name in music. He reached No 1 on the UK reggae chart with his DJ/vocal track Why Do Fools Fall In Love and got the opportunity to go to Asia and Europe where he received tremendous support from his fans.
As an energetic rapper, Lewis enjoyed seeing his audience getting into the lively mood and enjoying themselves.
'I want them to make a lot of noise, dance and scream.
'My music is not that kind of sit-down music, but music that makes people get up and dance,' the rapper said.