It’s been almost 3 Years since Certified UK & Suli Breaks have sat down and spoke and at the time it was ‘Why I hate School but love education’ that became a worldwide movement. Reminding him of the past the first think he could say is ‘Man, it’s been a huge journey. I mean, my brand has grown considerably. I have travelled the entire world since then, chilled with celebrities, people that are responsible for changing the world, millionaires, philosophers. My mind has just expanded, I feel like now I am a lot more patient with my art and the world, and I’ve just gained so much more perspectives on looking at the same situation. I feel like know what my destiny is as an artist and how I plan on achieving that. Things that were so clear to me at that time, are less clear (in a good way, I’m not as narrow-minded) and my priorities have shifted. More so the more I have grown the more I have started to embrace my responsibility as an artist of my level, to push things further, make sure everybody is eating and bring in others too.’
Getting to do so much the top three memorable moments so far that are standout for him are:
- Being invited to breakfast by Will Smith
- Getting my first ever million views
- I just got back from LA, and it was my first time performing poetry in an ARENA (at Vidcon) won’t be forgetting that anytime soon.
With Spoken word being the topic of discussion, and talking about the new life in poetry and the way people take it in and the new age poets that represent it and he wouldn’t really class any of them as ‘new, because most of the guys the people would call “new”, I have known many since they were grinding years ago lol (no such thing as an overnight success). These poets that particularly stand out to me, are the ones that sound fresh and original. I love creativity and I really love how some poets are revolutionising art (especially with music)
Kojey Radical (Kwame Nkrumah is my shit!!) Ayo Wrote (no doubt! GhnaGrl is a BANGER), Caleb Femi (listen to Coconut Oil), and obviously Nego True who I collaborated with recently. I have started reading poetry as well, which I have never done before, I really enjoyed Hibaq Osman’s book.
There are really too many to mention, I think there is something you can take from everyone and talking about ones to keep an eye out he said ‘I’m biased because I have been in the studio and heard the stuff he is cooking up, but watch out for Ayo Wrote‘
With Suli taking a break to travel and learn new things, it was like he left and now he has decided to have a headline show as a sort of homecoming and it came at a time where he feels best and there was a reason for why it had to be now and more than anything ‘I wanted to make a statement firstly, the theme of my show is “Not A Role Model” I think now more than ever it’s important for me to be able to represent what I stand for artistically, and tell my story. I felt London was the best place to do it, and now is a great time to be from this city. I have supporters all over the world, they so desperately want me to tell THEIR story, but I will be the best person to tell my story, that has always resonated and been more authentic. Some people get caught up so much in the viral videos, that they wanted me to be some kind of spokesperson, or politician on every “conscious” subject and you get so caught up in the attention, that for awhile you want to ride the wave, but that’s all long.
Most importantly, I just wanted to get better as an artist, and I’m a performer and writer that’s my craft.
When it’s live, you have to be on point all the time, you have to bring your A-game, with the viral videos sometimes you can get away with certain things, and at times get comfortable, especially when you have built and audience who like your stuff. With my headline show, I wanted to start challenging myself to create a memorable experience that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. The Rock Tower will be the biggest venue I have ever headlined (900+ people) solo, and we are creating an EXPERIENCE. It’s not just me with a microphone, we are trying to take the crowd on a journey, like a theatre experience you won’t forget. I’m pulling out on the stops on this one.
I am always trying to evolve and this is me trying to take the art form and myself on to that level which allows it to become legendary.’
His return to the spoken word game with a fire verse alongside Nego True’s Hunger was an almost ‘Jay-Z type of verse and made the whole thing a classic and it seems like now with his return he is going to make sure every verse is a powerful game changing one; when said to him he took it as ‘ a huge compliment for me, I’m trying to maintain a standard, so I hope every time I get a feature I BRING it. It also comes as a result of being inspired by however your working with as well.
We can always talk about the successes of an individual and forget that to get there the journey had many pits and with them come with lessons to be leant and gave us these question as if it was a seminar full of lurking ears:
‘Define your success, like is your success views? money? sold out shows?
I interpret that as defining what you stand for, and not saying your goals won’t change but it’s important to know what your end goal is. In the book “48 laws of power” they say “plan all the way to the end” (I’m paraphrasing), but I think that’s important. When I started creating it was just to make a living, and then on youtube I wanted to get views and subscribers. It wasn’t till I started making money, and getting the views, I realised that wasn’t what I was chasing. I’ve always wanted to make history, and be remembered like the pioneers of the art like Shakespeare, or like Steve Jobs in technology, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z etc so then I got to this point where I realised that I was just creating viral videos, that didn’t necessarily fit in with my overall aim, so I had to step back and start assessing my “success”. In that same vein, I had to go through those hoops to understand where I truly want to be.
When it comes to the Suli Breaks blueprint it cannot be replicated but of course there have been attempts ‘Yeah, man that’s the constant cycle of creation. I’ve just come to a point that I’ve learned to accept that when you pioneer something and it’s successful, people are always going to replicate it. What I’m slowly learning is that, although they may find more immediate success, long term you are still one step ahead of them, and they are trying to be someone who you “used to be”. This is as long as you are compelled to keep getting better in your craft and evolving.
To be honest, I can think of very specific examples where people have replicated my blueprint in the past, and it really bothered me at the time, because they were gaining success from it, but now “THERE NOT AROUND NO MORE” *JME voice*
This headline show is more of a statement for Suli!
‘If I pull this off it will be a statement. I think it will be the biggest show a poet from OUR community has done so far. Also, it is my middle finger to all the established institution/theatres, who wouldn’t even reply our emails when we tried to use their venues and wouldn’t hear our proposals, to show them that I could do it independently, with the support of the people. After, I have really big plans which I think will be game changing not just on a local level, but worldwide, just need to use this show as a way to get past the “gatekeepers”
NOT A ROLE MODEL tickets are out now and you can grab them HERE
Photography by roninsteps