Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer, The Hope, Brighton, June 5

First published in News by

The self-styled creator of "chap-hop", Mr B describes his sound as "Noel Coward and Afrika Bambaataa enjoying a sweet sherry together". He has forsaken baseball caps and medallions for cravats and cuff links, and employs a banjolele and backing track in place of the usual set of decks.

"It's reconnecting hip-hop with the Queen's English," he says. "There are an awful lot of dribblers and mutterers out there. Enunciation and grammar are terribly important."

After a "sordid past" in UK hip-hop outfit Collapsed Lung, Mr B began playing his "recitals" at hip-hop, burlesque and indie nights a couple of years ago.

Equally indebted to Chuck D and Terry Thomas, he has found a kindred spirit in another Brighton resident, Elemental. They met recently at a Public Enemy gig and good etiquette dictated they should join forces.

"We're discussing doing an MC battle but rather than trying to put each other down all the time, whoever wins will be the one who is the most genteel," he explains. "As in Haven't you got a lovely hat?' or Those brogues are very shiny', rather than slagging them off."

The Gentleman Rhymer's tracks to date include a tale of sexual misadventure called Sherry Monocle, the "chappist version of the beer goggles", and the notorious Timothy (sample lyric: "we used to call him spaz, now he's on air chatting to Nas").

"It's about a chap I went to prep school with who became a famous DJ on Radio 1 and I believe presents something called Pimp My Ride UK now. I don't want to reveal his identity, of course," he laughs.

"People have been warning that he's got soldiers' out there and they might take offence to it. It think that's soldiers spelt souljahs'. So I may have to watch my back."

His debut album, Flattery Not Included, will be completed later this month. Despite interest from several labels, Mr B intends to release it himself, although that hasn't stopped him attracting interest from the national press.

"I'm doing an interview in Mayfair magazine. So I'm hurtling towards the soft-porn industry at a fine rate," he says. "There is a tune in my repertoire called More Kissing In Porn Please, We're British. I think that might be what inspired them to get in touch."

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