Shaun Boden, a young city rapper, aims for a big future in one of the most criticised music cultures in our society.
Stoke on Trent rapper Shaun Boden, known by his rapper nickname ‘SB’, has had a great career so far but high hopes for a grime music future may be stunted by society’s perceptions of his style of music.
A regular on the grime scene, Boden is keen for people to accept this culture for the greatness that he believes it can be. ‘SB’ himself has had his fair share of disagreements regarding the culture, and wishes for a change in people’s understanding of grime music.
Where the journey began
The Birmingham City University student became interested in music at the age of 16 when a friend asked him to create a music video.
Boden said: “I agreed to do it on the terms that nobody ever hears it.”
However, Boden’s friend was not to keep to this promise as he sent it to other people and it soon became word of the school.
“I was embarrassed at first but I got nothing but good feedback. It was strange at first and people started to call me SB.”
However, the same could not be said for his friend who never ended up releasing any music. Instead, the newly-named SB, as he prefers to be known, began getting requests from friends for more.
Following the success of his first recording and with no knowledge of what exactly he was creating, he went on to record in his bedroom with just a studio mic and laptop.
One of these recordings was a cover of ‘Hustle Hard’; an American rap tune by artist Ace Hood. Receiving a mass of attention, the amateur cover was successfully played on a radio station in Africa.
“SB the mixtape”
Following this success, he began attaining a steady flow of online followers and support which encouraged him to release his first mixtape titled “SB the mixtape”.
Available on various different sites, it achieved over 1500 downloads; an amount which SB was not expecting.
This online attention led to not only more youtube videos which were receiving over a thousand views a video, but also requests for performances at parties in his home city.
As well as this he began to market a new mixtape which he titled ‘Scrapbook’.
“During my final mix down session in the recording studio, a man named Dwayne came in and offered to pay for the session,” Boden said.
“I’m a man of pride and was really confused, but we exchanged numbers and he offered to manage my bookings for free.”
From this conversation, he got himself the management of Box of Money record company. His management company provided him with more bookings around the UK; a massive difference from small recordings in his bedroom.
Being a grime artist
Having a manager provided the grime artist with a bright future, but this didn’t come without numerous battles against the misperceptions of his chosen style of music.
His recordings and mixtapes attracted the attention of many artists who began to contact him; artists like StayFresh, Clipson and Chucky whom had been Boden’s own idols.
This provided him with the opportunity for more work as he worked with some of the members of StayFresh. He also formed a friendship with Chucky with whom he released many tracks.
Amongst his successes, SB also hit some obstacles which affect the amount of work he receives in his own city.
“I don’t get a lot of work in my city because the police have a tendency to shut my events down for silly reasons,” he said.
Incidents at previous shows has given him a somewhat negative reputation and prevents him from being booked at certain clubs and shows.
Music at university
Whilst he had a successful past, his work began to slow down due to university commitments and it became a struggle to find the time and consistency of producing music in balance with university work.
This did not affect his fan base, with many of his committed supporters continuing to ask for new music.
However, now in his second year, SB has begun to turn this around with the recent releases of some of his music.
“I have a video coming out really soon which should be interesting as it’s a little different to the heavy grime music that people expect from me,” he said.
He also feels that his most success was during his time at university.
“It would definitely be the launch party for my new mix tape ‘I’m Back’ in March of 2014. There were 400 people there so the venue was booked out. The tape had features from artists Raider [StayFresh] and Chucky.”
Not a man of only one talent, Boden has begun to build a brand around his name. He continues to manage the majority of his music himself as well as his website on which his merchandise will become available.
A future for grime?
Boden is currently at Birmingham City University where he hopes to graduate with a degree in Media and Communications; specialising in music industries.
Despite people’s perceptions of grime music, he hopes there are big things lined up for his future.
He will continue to create mix tapes and work with his management to continue producing his merchandise and keep his followers updated on his music. As well as this he hopes to be performing live on Radio 1Xtra in May.
As well this, he continues to receive requests for performances and says he would love to go on to work with artists like Skepta.
Despite this, he remains thankful that he manages to maintain a loyal fan base and hopes that his future in grime music will alter soon.
Besides his work with Radio 1Xtra, he will be working with Blane Davey, an aspiring media student, to create videos for Blane’s new platform Cresco SMG.
Blane, along with many of Boden’s other critics, is also full of praise for the aspiring artist, saying: “Shaun Boden is a grime artist I expect to make waves in the scene and I feel he is carrying Stoke”.
SB said: “until my culture is accepted more in mainstream music, I don’t think any big events will be seeing me.”
Visit http://www.officialsb.com for videos, music, merchandise and more from Shaun Boden.