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5th December 2012

Interview: Tim Westwood

The Big Dawg himself spoke to The Mancunion about his recent Europe DJ of the Year award, the best albums of this year and who to watch out for in 2013.

Tim Westwood; often considered somewhat of a ‘marmite’ personality, some adore him, others loathe. It just so happens that I adore him. Regardless of varying opinions, the 54 year old DJ from Lowestoft’s role in the UK Urban scene cannot be disputed. Westwood’s love for American Hip-Hop and promotion of home-grown British talent have graced (if you like) the airways of BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra for over 20 years, and earned him huge support from Hip-Hop royalty such as Jay-Z, Eminem and 50 Cent.

Despite constant criticism, even from David Cameron (who accuses Westwood of promoting gun violence), alongside the removal of his drive-time spot on BBC 1Xtra earlier this year, The Big Dawg is as cheerful and positive as ever, insisting that ‘life is brilliant, life is bless’. One reason for such optimism may be a recent edition to his plethora of awards, which includes three MOBO’s, three Sony awards and a Pure Music Award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music Radio’. Westwood defeated the likes of Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk and Jamie Jones in securing U.S. Global Spins’ ‘Europe DJ of the Year’ award. He was humbly elated, describing his success as “crazy” and expressed great regret that he was unable to attend the awards ceremony in New York City due to his even more “crazy” work schedule.

His latest album mix ‘Hardest In The Game, Legends Live Foreva’ , which is available for download on SoundCloud, iTunes and the 1Xtra website, complies the biggest Hip-Hop anthems right now from artists such as Young Money, Waka Floka Flame, 2 Chainz, MMG, Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd. The mix really does sum up a Westwood party- Hip-Hop and R&B mixed with Afro-Beats and Bashment. As The Big Dawg himself says, “there aint no party like a Westwood party, baby”.

In terms of 2012’s best albums, Westwood found difficulty in selecting one, or even two, of his favourites. He eventually selects both 2Chainz’s ‘Based on a T.R.U. Story’, and ‘Dreams and Nightmares’ by Philadelphia’s Meek Mill as the two hottest albums of this year. Unsurprisingly, he also mentions Nicki Minaj’s Roman Reloaded Re-Up Album as one which “can’t be forgotten”, alongside the boss of MMG- Rick Ross’ ‘God Forgives, I Don’t’ and trap music’s very own Waka Flocka Flame’s album ‘Triple F Life: Friends, Fans and Family’.

On the hip-hop talent of the moment Kendrick Lamar, Westwood says there’s “an enormous buzz in the West Coast”, and that he is the height of conversation for “any artist to come from outta LA”. The Compton born-and-raised rapper is described as “an incredible artist”, which needless to say is proven throughout his debut album ‘good kid m.A.A.d city’, which sold 241,000 copies in its first week alone, putting him at number two on the Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart.

As for the UK Music scene, Westwood says there’s “a lot of good things out there”, praising the grime artist J Spades as one to watch for 2013. Another UK artist, Giggs, whose upcoming album’s release has seen a push back, is also a favourite of Westwood’s, who insists Giggs’ album, once released, is to “come with some heat”. As for American artists, The Big Dawg views the current popular hip-hop stars as only to get bigger this coming year, describing Maybach’s Meek Mill and G.O.O.D. Music’s 2Chainz as “crazy beyond belief” and Detroit’s Big Sean as “on fire”.  “A good year ahead” is predicted for the Hip-Hop and UK Grime music scene.

Having played Sankeys just a few weeks ago, Westwood is already looking forward to his return to Manchester’s “excellent party scene” on the 14th of December, when he will be hosting the End of Term Party at Sankeys.  The event is from 10.00pm-4.00am, with last entry at 2.00am. Tickets are £7 for males on the door, and entry for females is free all night. Be sure to come and experience just what Westwood can do to crowds, and as Snoop Dogg puts it; “You can’t be in the Kingdom and not see the Prince”.

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