IS this Sunderland’s only gigging rapper?
Forget bling and thuggery, B-Type – real name Stephen Brunton – draws inspiration for his lyrics from everyday life and borrows soundtracks from retro computer games. Jane O’Neill meets him to find out more
YOU don’t expect to find an up-and-coming rapper sipping coffee and reading the paper – but B-Type isn’t about gold chains, guns and girls in skimpy outfits.
The 27-year-old is a self-titled nerdcore rapper – quirky sub-genre of rap and hip-hop loved by so-called nerds.
An unlikely combination, but one that has seen him take his energetic stage styles to festivals in the U.S. and gigs around the UK.
B-Type began his musical career in Sunderland punk bands, before moving to Bradford to go to university.
After a year he decided it wasn’t for him, but stayed in Bradford to perform with his band Superpowerless, before discovering his talent for rapping.
“I started to rap and that really lit a spark, so I was writing these raps about things like being late for work because I was busy playing on Mario.
“I did a little bit of rapping with Superpowerless and then in early 2009 I became B-Type.”
Now, back in his home city and still unsigned, B-Type hopes 2012 will be the year his career takes off, as Sunderland’s music scene attracts national attention.
He said: “I’m trying to make a go of it and if it goes well after a year I will stick with it. If not, I will go back to university.
“I get a really mixed reception. At least a percentage of the audience will love it, but a lot of people think it’s illegitimate, because I’m not playing a guitar, or decide they are not into hip-hop so can’t like it.
“Getting people to sing your choruses is amazing. People don’t expect me to jump around so much. I lot of people hear it is rap and when they hear what I do they are surprised.
“I love doing rap battles and I’m aggressively terrible at them. I enjoy nerdy rap that sounds like video games.”
Already a favourite on the American nerdcore and 8-bit scene, B-Type has taken to the stage at gigs in the U.S. and is making a name for himself back home in the UK.
“I lived in Winterpark, Florida, because I was friends with a radio DJ who ended up putting on a festival and invited me to play.
“I stayed for a few months, but it was more like an extended holiday.
“I player London a few weekends ago, Manchester last year and a couple of other gigs.
“I just figure if I keep doing as many gigs as possible and putting as much music out as possible, then someone will take notice.
“I’d love to go on a proper tour, ideally with some sort of support slot, suporting someone like Hadouken! or Scroobius Pip.”
As well as lyrical wordsmiths Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, B-Type draws inspiration from underground acts like steampunk rapper Professor Elemental and “chap-hop” artist Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer, who delivers rhymes about high society in his best Radio 4-esque Received Pronunciation.
He also rates artists who have made the crossover from rap to chart success.
“I’m a big fan of Plan B and Example. I’ve got nothing against Autotune or over production.
“In the charts now it seems like everything is over-produced or has very little production.”
Music fans searching for something different can find B-Type doing his thing at the Plugged Inn, Holmeside, at the regular Wednesday buskers’ night.
He is also booked to play the SunnyCon afterparty at the Indigo Rooms in Sunderland on Saturday, March 24, and Raised at Cosa Nostra in Borough Road, Sunderland, on Saturday, April 28, from 8pm.
To find out more, search B-Type on Facebook or go to http://b-type.bandcamp.com/, where B-Type will be releasing a free EP to download every month for the next 12 months.