‘MICroscope’ sets Riz MC apart as a singular voice with an innovative and bold musical vision
The deluxe physical release of Riz MC’s ‘MICroscope’ album is out on 18th June on Tru Thoughts. ‘MICroscope’ sets Riz MC apart as a singular voice with an innovative and bold musical vision; featuring collaborations with Redinho (NMBRS), Plan B, Lazersonic and Zed Bias, alongside a host of cutting edge remixes, the new release sees this highly intelligent, multi-talented rapper mixing big ideas with big bass on an adventurous musical canvas.
Two singles precede the new album package: the dark and brutally honest twisted love song, “All Of You” (with remixes featuring Plan B, dBridge and more) came out in March to immense tastemaker support; next up on 21st May is the second single “All In The Ghetto” – a laconic and witty sidelong look at gentrification with a tongue-in-cheek animated video which you can find on the Tru Thoughts YouTube channel now. An intriguing segue, “All In The Ghetto” brings to the fore Riz MC’s impressive versatility and deft satirical touch, illuminating the fun and funkier side of his cerebral brand of rap; the infectious bouncing bass beat showing why producer Redinho (NMBRS) is currently to be found all over the playlists of Annie Mac and MistaJam. These two tracks, supported by tastemakers as diverse as Nihal (BBC R1), Lauren Laverne (BBC 6Music), Charlie Sloth (1Xtra), Eddy Temple-Morris (XFM), Laurent Garnier and John Kennedy (XFM), set the tone for what’s to come – ambitious and wide-ranging songwriting with sharp honesty and wry humour – asking questions at the same time as taking us to the dancefloor.
Having self-released an early digital version of the album in 2011 to rapturous press and media coverage, Riz MC ups the ante with this augmented edition of ‘MICroscope’, marking the first ever CD outing with a stash of new content that sees him developing his ideas and raising the bar again. The worldwide physical release on established indie label Tru Thoughts brings all-new skits created and recorded in collaboration with Zed Bias, plus a guest appearance from Plan B and a host of new remixes from the cream of UK electronic music including dBridge, Bok Bok, Sukh Knight, RackNRuin and True Tiger, for a truly essential package.
“I feel these collaborations complete the vision for MICroscope”, Riz explains; “My influences are steeped in UK club music, so the involvement of these remixers is something very close to my heart. And Zed Bias in particular is a hero of mine, so his desire to be involved and help realise the sci-fi tone of the album with specially created interludes feels like a huge validation and blessing to the whole enterprise.”
The depth and ambition in Riz MC’s incisive rhymes are delivered with a humour and vulnerability that is rare in today’s MC culture – cutting across impossible-to-categorize futuristic bass as easily as they interlace with acoustic strings or pierce layers of jazz-electronica. But ‘MICroscope’ isn’t just an album – it also has a high concept live show, website, and short film, each giving us a glimpse into an elaborate multimedia sci-fi world for a powerful, entertaining and thought-provoking experience.
As well as being a formidable musical talent, Riz MC is well known as an actor under his full name Riz Ahmed, and his current high profile film performances include the lead in iLL Manors – the directorial debut of regular collaborator Plan B, which is out in May. Aside from his burgeoning film-stardom though, the mounting recognition for his innovative and sharp music has seen Riz MC recently interviewed on John Kennedy’s XFM X-Posure show, as well as appearing on the BBC Radio 1 Review Show with Nihal. Lead press features include a recent double page spread in ShortList, a feature in Clash and an upcoming piece in The Times.
Riz MC shares some more of his inner thoughts on the project: “MICroscope was an intense labour of love; the idea was to try and push some boundaries in contemporary rap. Compared to a lot of what’s out there it feels quite leftfield or experimental – so to see it get the reception it has, and be picked up by a label with such pedigree as Tru Thoughts, is an amazing feeling. I hope people find something unusual or different on this album that they connect with.”
Initially championed by BBC Radio 1 (through the ‘Introducing’ stage at Glastonbury, the Electric Proms, a Maida Vale session, and heavy radio play), Riz MC has toured his groundbreaking full live show around the UK and internationally, to rave reviews; and played with the likes of Massive Attack, Nitin Sawhney, Dizzee Rascal and Mos Def. The ‘MICroscope’ show, both fully immersive and interactive, has won over discerning crowds and hardened critics, previewing at Sadlers Wells Theatre, and then going on to become a huge hit at Fabric as well as Glastonbury and Latitude festivals and inspiring rapturous reviews.
Beyond the album, the ‘MICroscope’ live show website, and short-film all invite you into a world of sonic warfare – where the secret government agency the Department of Culture and Communication seeks to control the population with powerful sonic viruses. Only the underground resistance code-named ‘MICroscope’, stands in their way. The web game at rizmc.com/lab will allow you to continue your journey in the ‘MICroscope’ world for three action packed minutes, leave with three free mp3s, and allow you to unlock a specially made short film that Riz directed (or you can check out the film directly at rizmc.com/lab). Designed by Swarm studios, the exciting Lab portal won a prestigious Favourite Website Award (FWA) for innovation in digital design.
In whatever artistic discipline or mode of expression he turns his hand to, Riz displays the level of skill, passion and originality for which he is becoming widely known. In addition to the aforementioned role in regular co-conspirator Plan B’s directorial debut iLL Manors, his concurrent career as an actor has seen him star in highly acclaimed Brit productions – including playing the lead in Chris Morris’ Four Lions – and increasingly make a name for himself in Hollywood, with parts opposite Freida Pinto, Kate Hudson, and Antonio Banderas. Having been making music and MC-ing for as long as he can remember, he is no more an actor-turned-rapper than the other way around, simply an example of a multi-talented, expressive creator and one of the UK’s brightest stars.