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High Focus absolutely smashed it at the end of this summer on the temporary outdoor stage in the Lakota forecourt, 2016. With performances from Dirty Dike, Ocean Wisdom and Dabbla. 247 magazine’s Sammie Spungold took Dabbla inside Lakota to have a chat about how Dabbla grew into the talented artist he is.

Dabbla: “So I grew up in Barnet, North London with my Mum and Dad. Mum is a massive Queen Fan and my dad listened to a lot of The Rolling Stones. I started getting into Hip Hop, Redman, Wu Tang, Method Man. I was a huge Busta Rhymes fan, in fact he’s one of the best live acts I’ve seen. By the time I was 15, I was listening to a lot of pirate radio stations like Kool FM. The rave scene was massive in those days and Jungle was always my favourite. I think because it not only sampled Reggae but Jungle also sampled a lot of hip hop.

Back then all my mates were Dj’ing or fancied themselves as a bit of an MC, so I started taking the mic and having a go myself.
Being heavily influenced by the fast / double time ryhming from listening to drum’n’bass mc’s as well as being a massive Busta fan probably had a hand in shaping my own style. Live performing is good though as it helps you to overcome those issues and learn what your capabilities are. I’d recommend to anyone wanting to have a go, to just keep practicing and taking the mic whenever you can and you’ll soon learn how fast you can go and when you need to take a breath. I used to listen to MC’s like Det and Shabba as well and drew my influences from them, you’ve just got to keep at it if you wanna get good.

After college I got out of London for a bit and went to Manchester to study 3D design. I’ve even got a table in my mum and dad’s now in London that I made back then! Being in Manchester was a life changer really because that’s where I met Pierre Green. He was a wicked Jungle DJ and the only one that wouldn’t let me on the mic. So I’d be like please man, come on I’m good I’m good!! Then one day he let me and was impressed. So we began collaborating together, did the whole Ayia Napa thing. We used to make lots of mix tapes, full of us chatting sh** and doing music. I bet there’s a few of those floating about in existence still that will probably surface again. Then the rest is history really, along came Johnny K who was DJ’ing for me here today and then Philly B (Philly Driven Riddim), Sir Pringle (aka P-Stain), DJ Tango (AKA Gang-Bang-Tang) and the rest of the gang. I was also known as Pappa Murc back then.

From LDZ, to Problem Child and Dead Players I’ve been busy ever since. I always meant to release a solo album, but a lot of the stuff I wrote with that intention ended up getting used on the group projects. Being signed to High Focus has given me that freedom a bit more. Instead of having to do crowd funding and all the promotion, it’s allowed me to just step back and be an artist. So thanks High Focus.
My first solo album out in September, ‘The Year of The Monkey’ actually features tracks that I wrote years ago. In fact the track ‘Butterfly’ was written 12 years ago!

I’d like to try my hand at producing and should probably hang around with Dike more, but I’m also a firm believer into sticking with what you know and what you’re good at. I’ll take this as far as I can take it, in fact I’ll probably be an old man sat in his rocking chair spitting bars!”

With Dabbla’s fun nature and wicked sense of humour shining through on tracks like ‘Randeer’ with a touch of a foreign sound, perhaps from his time spent in India, ‘Cheers’ which is full of that Jungle flavour that helped shape Dabbla into the very talented, sharp witted MC he is now and ‘Life Line’ showing off Dabbla’s story telling brilliance. Whatever your favourite part of the man who has also dabbled for a laugh in MCing over Garage and other genres, which if you search hard enough you’ll find them online, The Year Of The Monkey is definitely one for your hip hop collection. It’s timeless and we’ll probably be listening to it when we’re old and sat in rocking chairs too!!

The Year Of The Monkey is available to buy on Bandcamp here