Corynne Elliott aka Speech Debelle, just released her second, musically thoroughly exciting album. Freedom of Speech is full of intelligent wordplay-flows. Besides personal lyrics she doesn't hesitate to comment the global oil crisis or the protest movements of the London youth in summer 2011. Are we longing for political and self-confident female hip hop?
[Theresa Beyer]: Speech Debelle, in «Blaze up a fire» you describe the revolutional energy of 2011. How much of that do you see in the world of 2012?
[Speech Debelle]: Things seem to calm down and the protests have become part of our history. But only in some countries… I mean Switzerland doesn’t really riot. But it don’t gone stop, everything is going in cycles and maybe now we are entering a calm cycle.
[TB]: But imagine the worst case of calm: we would all be egoists who don’t care about what’s going on in the world. How would you try to wake us up with your music?
[SD]: I don’t know if I need to do that, I shouldn’t be an example and tell people how they have to live their lives. It should be everybody’s own choice. I always try to explain when we go performing, that when I say «Blaze Up a Fire», it’s not supposed to be about setting buildings on fire. I always talk about the fire within us, the spirit, that can be sometimes destructive and stagnant.
[TB]: Is hip hop made for expressing this kind of feeling?
[TB]: Do you automatically feel connected – for example – to the hip hop-voices in the Arab world?
[SD]: Yes, that’s interesting about 2011. I come from London – that’s supposed to be in a rich country and people in Africa are acting in the same way. So it’s an interesting connection that young people all over the world have the same problems. There is a connection.
[TB]: I have the impression that right now you try to avoid to answer political questions. What does annoy you about that?
[SD]: Well, there are a lot of questions that I have to avoid. I got asked questions in interviews that honestly I can’t answer to and I have to be careful that I don’t sound just ignorant. I don’t know anything about the riots, I don’t know the reasons. I’m 29 years old, so I wanna stay away from this.
[TB]: So what about the people who identify themselves with you and who consider your political lyrics as credible? Don’t you think they expect a statement?
[TB]: Ok, so I try to talk about music again. Your song «Spinning» from your last album is covered by Tinchy Stryder and Dionne Bromfield as first official Olympia song.
[SD]: Yes, I really feel honoured about that.
[TB]: Which song would you cover if you should?
[SD]: I don’t know… If I really like a song then I don’t like to hear me on it. So it’s difficult, because it’s hard to listen to a song with me and fully enjoy it, because I listen to every word, so when I say a word my brain is saying it too. So if I do a cover, it should be a song that I probably don’t like that much.
[TB]: You have a cooking show on YouTube…
[SD]: Yes, that’s right, I love cooking. More than eating the food…
[TB]: You recommend your secret spice blend from Jamaica. Which spice blend is your music?