Internationally acclaimed Swiss artist, Gambit, brings his “adrenaline driven,” rapid fire trademark to his new single, JAGWARR. Born in Poland and now living in Switzerland, Gambit brings raw emotion to his new hit. We reached out across the Atlantic to talk to Gambit about his new single.
The SPITslam Group (Kate G): Your single, JAGWARR, just dropped on SLAMjamzInternational’s new compilation album, Slam Worldwide. Let's talk about JAGWARR – it's a hot song that's been getting plenty of attention. What is the story behind the song?
Gambit: Well “Jagwarr” is basically a synonym for Gambit – it describes the way I am as artist. I wanted to create a track that precisely reflects my nature, my characteristics, something that presents my adrenaline driven style which is a trademark of mine. No matter if on stage or while recording, I always keep it energized and JAGWARR shows exactly what I’m about. Apart from that I wanted to show people where I come from style wise. I like all kinds of variations but I definitely like it a little rougher than the average. It has to be raw, pure and unaffected, that’s what my tracks stand for. JAGWARR also contains some Italian words just to show how international my environment is, that’s why it contains some verbal “Lucky Luciano” extras. I produced the whole beat within one night, the chorus came out in a freestyle . . . I let my instincts flow and that’s what came out. JAGWARR is my intentional presentation of who I am, it’s my visa card as MC and producer, attitude and style wise.
The SPITslam Group (Kate G): Your rapid fire rap is so good. Who influenced you and your music and style?
Gambit: What inspired me back in the day was that Raggamuffin style that came up in the mid-late 80’s --- artists like Daddy Freddy, Asher D, Alkaline from Gunshot, or Tenor Fly were definitely an inspiration. Basically that Jamaican toasting style over Hip Hop beats had a big impact on me when I was a youngster. Well, and if I go way back, how everything started, it was Public Enemy and Ice T who influenced me a lot. For example, when you listen to Public Enemy’s “What Side You On?” That’s my kind of style.
The SPITslam Group (Kate G): How long have you been rhyming and where did you get your start?
Gambit: I wrote my first lines in 1993. I remember recording some verses with a longtime friend of mine (shout out to David) over some Geto Boys instrumentals and Run DMC’s “Down with the King.” I still visualize that double tape deck and super light mic -- it was all we had. You know we were kids; we didn’t have any equipment but that didn’t stop us from recording.
The SPITslam Group (Kate G): What’s it like being a hip-hop artist in Switzerland, and how are the crowds and radio play?
Gambit: Hip Hop is present here, it has a long history especially when it comes to graffiti. The scene is quite big for such a small country like Switzerland. Regarding crowds, yea, they are there, definitely. You can have a full house at your gigs if you got a certain rep, no doubt. There are a few good radio stations (not too many though) who support the good stuff but we also have a lot of commercial stations that play only senseless plastic bullshit music . . . . I think all in all, it’s 20% good stuff, 80% trash.
The SPITslam Group (Kate G): You produce the beats yourself. How did that start and when?
Gambit: That was in 2001. I started making beats cause I didn’t find what I was looking for. I had many ideas but nobody could execute them, so I decided to produce my own beats. It’s kinda handy when you produce your own stuff; you don’t need to call anybody if you want to change or rearrange something. I also record myself and mix down every track. The only thing that I let someone else do is the mastering.
The SPITslam Group: How does it feel being a part of SLAMjamz?
Gambit: I grew up with Public Enemy, so being on Chuck’s Label now is superb. It feels like home and I’m proud to be part of it. Chuck, Janol – the whole team is beyond great, its energy and verve is unique.
The SPITslam Group: What do you try to bring to your music as a whole?
Gambit: I want to show people you can do your thing without looking left – right. You don’t need to conform or follow trends if you got your own style and people who dig your music. Be yourself, make the music you REALLY feel and build on that – there’s nothing more fulfilling than that as an artist. I'm not one of those who glorifies superficial materialistic bullshit or chemical substances that corrode your brain, I’m more the guy that wants you to go out and do some Thai box while listening to my tracks. I’m about skills, adrenaline, substance and the relevant elements. That's what matters to me.
The SPITslam Group: What's next for Gambit?
Gambit: Soon I’ll be working on my next video clip for Like This, my other track on the SLAM international compilation, then releasing my album this spring. Currently I’m fine-tuning the album tracks . . . it’s gonna be an explosive and versatile release, that is for sure . . . truly exciting times.
The SPITslam Group: How did you meet Chuck D.?
Gambit: I met Chuck and the crew after a Public Enemy Gig in Zurich. It was a brilliant evening – It felt like we’re connected since a long time. We discussed a lot, it was beyond inspiring. Having him as Label Boss is the best thing that could happen to me as artist.
The SPITslam Group: Do you have anything else to share, anything you would like to let the people know about?
Gambit: Keep following SLAMjamz / SPITslam, there's a lot in the pipeline and stay tuned for my new album! Shout out to my man DJ Roy, my clip creator Cristian Acosta and Waynemaster Studios.
Kate G is Kate Gammell for Update Reports on The SPITdigital SLAMjamz Recording Label Group