Riz MC, author of the infamous internet cult-classic Post 9/11 Blues, and bold sophomore banger 'People Like People,' will be dropping his debut EP (read "mini-album") this May, entitled 'Confirm/Ignore,' on his own Battered Records imprint.
Off the back of storming shows at Glastonbury, the BBC Electric Proms, and supporting Mos Def at Manchester's Warehouse Project, Riz has just been selected for the UK Music Embassy's annual US showcase tour
Fast gathering momentum and winning influential supporters for his "wry" and "biting" lyricism, what emerges from 'Confirm/Ignore' is what earned him The Guardian newspaper's mantle of "potential voice of a generation" - a versatile, compelling lyricist, light years ahead of your average 'rapper'. How many MC's even attempt to articulate the pitfalls of social politics, dissect the modern cult of cool, weigh up the complex factors behind suicide bombing, or the paradoxes of technological interaction? Riz MC does it devastatingly, succinctly, and with uncompromisingly bold musical backing.
His ambitious themes and dexterous delivery never stray into the "conscious MC's" tiresome finger-wagging, but retain a subtlety of insight which is hard to come by. Nor does he stray into hip hop's more over-ploughed and barren sonic landscapes. As a child of the UK's dance music heritage and continual innovations, Riz fuses his vocals either with raw electronic beats - or else "spine tingling" (Jo Whiley, BBC Radio 1) acoustic arrangements - nothing in between, nothing mediocre, nothing done by halves.
The result is enough to reinvigorate your faith in music at a time when few artists dare to stick their necks out and say something worth hearing. More importantly he says it in a way that connects meaningfully with people across genres - whether playing with indie bands at the BBC Electric Proms tour or supporting Mos Def to a crowd of 2,500 - Riz MC is leaving pigeon-holes strewn in his wake.
He is hotly tipped by underground urban (RWD) and cutting edge fashion magazines (Tank) alike, featured as "About to Blow" by MTV Base while simultaneously wining praise from acclaimed composer Nitin Sawhney. A blend of the genuinely innovative with undeniably accessible has lead to heavy backing at BBC Radio 1 as a key "BBC INTRODUCING" artist (check out the recent Zane Lowe session from BBC Maida Vale alongside the UK's other "ones to watch" for 2008).
An impressively versatile artist, Riz's background on pirate radio sits alongside his recent appointment as 'Emerging Artist in Residence' at London's prestigious Royal Festival Hall. The same quick witted verses that have earned him a string of underground MC battle victories (JumpOff, Ras Kwame's Battle Scars, Nihal's Bombay Bronx) were recently enlisted by the National Ballet of China for their 2008 collaboration with choreographer Akram Khan.
Fresh from collaborating extensively with Nitin Sawhney, Ojos de Brujos, and approached to work with Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, the nation can expect much more from this unique talent in the forthcoming year - not least his debut album.
RIZ AHMED (the actor)
Riz Ahmed is also one of the UK's most exciting acting talents, making his screen debut in Michael Winterbottom's multi-award winning 'Road to Guantanamo', and was recently featured by both BAFTA Magazine and Screen International as a "rising star". Riz played the lead role in acclaimed director Peter Kosminsky's hotly debated 'Britz', which commemorated 25 years of Channel 4 this autumn and was accompanied by a huge billboard, TV, and press campaign. His performance was feted across the press as "stellar" (Metro), "impassioned" (Radio Times), and the start of "what promises to be an impressive career" (The Observer).
In 2008 he will shoot acclaimed director Sally Potter's new feature film alongside Judy Dench and Lily Cole, and will also appear in the title role in 'Shifty', opposite Francesca Annis and Jason Flemyng.