David (Dave) Meads (born 3 August 1981), known professionally as Scroobius Pip, is an English spoken word poet and hip hop recording artist from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. He first gained prominence as one half of hip hop duo Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip sparked by their debut single 'Thou Shalt Always Kill'.
Scroobius Pip on stage, 2010
|Birth name||David Meads|
|Born||3 August 1981|
Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, United Kingdom
|Origin||Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, United Kingdom|
|Occupation(s)||Rapper, spoken-word artist, actor|
|Labels||Speech Development Records, Strange Famous Records, Sunday Best Recordings, Lex Records|
|Associated acts||Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, Sage Francis, B. Dolan, P.O.S, Danny Lohner, Travis Barker, Polarbear, Jackamo Brown, warrenpeace|
Scroobius Pip manages his own record label, Speech Development Records. He hosted the award-winning weekly radio show The Beatdown on XFM in the late 2000's and currently hosts the Distraction Pieces podcast. In August 2016 released a book entitled Distraction Pieces.
As a teenager, punk ignited Scroobius Pip's passion for music, inspiring him to buy a guitar and form various bands with his friends. His musical tastes quickly grew to encompass hip hop, jazz and any other genre that caught his attention and he became hooked on the lyrical talents of spoken word artists Gil Scott-Heron, Sage Francis and Saul Williams. It was their poetic mix of styles and genres that encouraged him to leave his bands and go it alone, the idea of having no one to rely on or blame other than himself an appealing challenge.
He adopted a pseudonym from Edward Lear's poem 'The Scroobious Pip' and in 2002 whilst working in an HMV store he made the decision to start saving his writing. In an interview with Beatdom, he later explained the reason behind his name: "I loved the story. It's about a creature that doesn't know what it is ...By the end [of the poem] he realises that he is simply The Scroobious Pip. He doesn't fit into any one category and can just be his own creature."[better source needed]
When he had written a full spoken word set and saved enough money to live for a year without income, he quit his job and toured the country living in a 1987 Toyota Space Cruiser. Seeking out gig listings for each new town he visited, he turned up and performed his set to the fans queuing outside, with mixed results. After a few months crossing the country Scroobius Pip moved back home and decided to focus on London and Essex, attending four or five spoken word shows, open mic nights or poetry slams each week – anywhere that would let him perform. Various producers discovered Pip this way and expressed a desire to work with him, but it was the beats of former HMV colleague Dan le Sac that captured his attention and led to the formation of Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip, a collaboration that propelled Scroobius Pip into mainstream awareness thanks to their breakthrough debut Thou Shalt Always Kill.
Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius PipEdit
Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip is a hip hop duo combining electronic beats with sung, spoken and rapped lyrics, their critically acclaimed debut album Angles became one of the leading independent releases of 2008.
Despite growing up in the same Essex village Stanford-le-Hope, the duo's paths barely crossed until they shared a Christmas season working at the Lakeside branch of record store HMV. Dan Le Sac went on to book Scroobius Pip to play a gig he was promoting at the Fez Club (now Sakura) in Reading and around this time began remixing Scroobius Pip's debut solo album No Commercial Breaks.
Their first collaboration resulted in the track 'Thou Shalt Always Kill', a dissection of modern British culture and a call to arms for individualism. The track appealed to XFM's John Kennedy who played it on air in demo form 24 hours after he had received the CDR. Pip set up a MySpace page with the solitary track, and the response was very favourable. The pair borrowed £200 to make the video, which as of December 2015 has over 4.5 million views on YouTube.
Shunning major label offers Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip signed to independent label Sunday Best Recordings for their UK releases and Strange Famous Records for their US releases. Dan le Sac Vs Scroopius Pip have released three albums to date: Angles (2008), The Logic of Chance (2010) and Repent Replenish Repeat (2013). Since March 2007 they have undertaken multiple UK, US and European tours and have appeared at numerous festivals including Glastonbury Festival, Reading and Leeds, Bestival, Coachella, Lowlands, Pukkelpop and Fuji Rock Festival.
Solo musical careerEdit
2006: No Commercial BreaksEdit
Scroobius Pip's debut album No Commercial Breaks was self-released in 2006, marking the start of his label Speech Development Records. Originally limited to a run of 1000 copies, the album quickly sold out resulting in various online bootlegs. The album was re-released in 2012, a two CD special with a bonus disc featuring his 60-minute sold out spoken word show from the Royal Albert Hall on 21 November 2012.
2011: Distraction PiecesEdit
Distraction Pieces is the second solo album by Scroobius Pip released in the UK on his own Speech Development Records and in the US on Strange Famous Records. Released on 19 September 2011 the album entered and peaked at No. 35 on the UK albums chart. Produced by Yila and Worgie, the record sees Scroobius Pip’s lyrical dexterity and acclaimed blend of rap meets spoken-word play out across a collision of punk, rock and hip hop production.
Collaborators include Travis Barker of Blink-182, Danny Lohner aka Renholder of Nine Inch Nails, Sage Francis, XL Records boss Richard Russell, P.O.S, Zane Lowe, Aupheus, B. Dolan, Steve Mason of The Beta Band and Natasha Fox, who provides the vocals for 'Feel It', a cover of Scroobius Pip's favourite Kate Bush song.
2010: Poetry in (e) MotionEdit
Poetry in (e) Motion is a collection of Scroobius Pip’s poems illustrated by artists recruited via his MySpace page. The book was published in hardback on 26 March 2010 by Titan Books.
In 2007 Scroobius Pip put a shortlist of his poems up on MySpace and asked artists and illustrators to submit their interpretations. The only rule was that the poem had to be included in the artwork, in full and unabridged. Within the first few days he had received a small but passionate response. This number grew over the following year, resulting in hundreds of submissions from all over the world.
Opening with a foreword by Nick Frost, Poetry in (e) Motion sees nine of Pip's poems illustrated by his fans with an impressive range of styles inspired by everything from street art, tattoos and crime noir movies.
2014: Words DVDEdit
On 3 August 2014 Scroobius Pip released his first Live DVD Words, a 2 disc special released on his own Speech Development Records. The DVD features his spoken word show Words live at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013.
Words was first premiered at Latitude Festival to a crowd of over 4000 festival goers. Scroobius Pip then made his debut appearance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with a 19-show run of Words. The show sold out every night and garnered huge critical acclaim, with The Scotsman declaring it: ‘A bewitching mixture of too-cool-for-school nonchalance and laser-like intensity.’
DVD extras include:
- 'Talking with Tim and Pip' – comedian Tim Key interviews Scroobius Pip about his Fringe experience
- 'One Drink' – a chat over a pint with Kate Tempest, Musa Okwonga, Polarbear and Scroobius Pip
- Five music videos by Scroobius Pip: 'Astronaut', 'Introdiction', 'Let em Come', 'The Struggle', 'Soldier Boy Kill Em'
- Two spoken word videos by Scroobius Pip: 'Five Minutes', 'The Astounding Earnest Brace'
- Two music videos by Speech Development artist Jackamo Brown: 'When She Comes', 'Prayer For Slow Death'
- Three music videos by Speech Development artist warrenpeace: 'Indoor Voice', 'Hungry', 'FRNKLY STVN'
Speech Development RecordsEdit
Speech Development Records is the independent label founded and run by Scroobius Pip. On the label’s website, Scroobius Pip describes its 'sloppy’ formation: “In 2006 I (Scroobius Pip) had quit my job in HMV and had 1000 copies of my debut album No Commercial Breaks pressed. The label name I put on them was 'Speech Development Records'. They had no barcodes. I made up a catalogue number... but it wasn't registered anywhere.” This changed for the 2011 release of his second solo album Distraction Pieces, resulting in the label’s official formation.
He has since released a slow and steady stream of records by other artists, an eclectic mix of genres, each defined by his admiration for their work. These include:
In April 2013 XFM announced Scroobius Pip was joining the station to host his own weekly show The Beatdown. This would be the alternative music station's first dedicated hip hop and spoken word programme. Speaking of the news, Pip commented: “The chance to work with Xfm was one I couldn’t pass up. It’s the station that launched my career and, through amazing people like John Kennedy and Eddy Temple Morris, has always been at the forefront of giving exposure to new sounds. Hip-hop is such a deep genre and, through my show, I want to shine a light on some of the stuff that maybe doesn’t get enough of it.”
The first episode of The Beatdown was broadcast on Saturday 27 April 2013 from midnight to 1 am with the following track list:
- Killer Mike – "R.A.P. Music"
- B. Dolan – "Which Side Are You On? "
- Ghostpoet – "Meltdown"
- Sage Francis – "Mullet" (Spoken Word)
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – "Thrift Shop "
- Rap Battle Feature: Eminem vs Everlast
- P.O.S – "Fuck Your Stuff"
- Tim Dog and KRS-One – "I Get Wrecked "
- Ratking – Piece of Shit
- The Hood Internet – The XX Gon' Give It To Ya
On 12 May 2014 The Beatdown won 'Best Specialist Music Programme' at the 32nd annual Sony Radio Academy Awards. The most prestigious awards in the UK radio industry calendar, the show triumphed over tough competition from fellow nominees Zane Lowe, MistaJam, David Rodigan and Mark Radcliffe. The judges commented: "A maverick, nonlinear, nonconformist and radical triumph in every sense of the word. The Beatdown is a courageous endeavour that restores faith in the transformational power of radio with a unique presenter who sounds like no one else on British radio."
The Beatdown was broadcast every Saturday night 12 am – 1 am on XFM, until August 2014.
In 2014, Scroobius Pip started a weekly podcast series called 'Distraction Pieces'. In each episode, he has held an in-depth interview with a range of comedians, actors, musicians and DJs. In the series so far he has interviewed, among others, Aisling Bea, Doc Brown, Goldie, Russell Brand, Josie Long, John Osborne, Paddy Considine, Frank Turner, Stewart Lee, Sara Pascoe, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Zane Lowe, Eddie Izzard, Kathy Burke, Richard Herring, Rufus Hound, Stephen Graham, Robin Ince, Wim Hof, James McAvoy, John Cooper-Clarke, Professor Green and Killer Mike.
|2006||No Commercial Breaks||–||–||self-released||1,000 copies|
|2011||Distraction Pieces||No. 35||–||UK: Speech Development
US: Strange Famous Records
|2008||Astronaut||–||Sunday Best Recordings||YILA ft Scroobius Pip|
|2009||Love Sic||–||Concord Records||Christian Scott Vs Scroobius Pip|
|2011||Introdiction||–||Speech Development Records||–|
|2011||Let Em Come (feat. Sage Francis & P.O.S)||–||Speech Development Records||–|
|2011||The Struggle||–||Speech Development Records||–|
|2011||Soldier Boy (Kill Em) (feat. B. Dolan)||–||Speech Development Records||–|
Dan le Sac Vs Scroobius PipEdit
- Swift, Andy (23 November 2015). "Tom Hardy's FX/BBC One Drama Taboo Adds 13, Begins Production". tvline.com. Retrieved 16 January 2017.
- Pip, Scroobius. Poetry in (e) Motion, Titan Books, London, 2010, pp. 7–9
- Wills 2010, p. 70
- "Sunday Best Recordings: Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip biography".
- "BBC Berkshire: Interview with Dan le Sac".
- Pip, Scroobius. "Speech Development Records About page".
- "UK Top 40 Chart for 1.10.11".
- "God Is in the TV Zine: Scroobius Pip – Distraction Pieces Track by Track".
- Mitchell, Nick (14 August 2013). "Spoken word review: Scroobius Pip 'Words'". The Scotsman.
- "Speech Development Records: Words DVD".
- "Scroobius Pip Joins XFM".
- "XFM The Beatdown with Scroobius Pip: Show 1".
- "Radio Academy Awards Winners 2014: Best Specialist Music Programme".
- acast (12 September 2017). "Eddie Izzard - Distraction Pieces Podcast with Scroobius Pip #168 | Distraction Pieces Podcast with Scroobius Pip on acast". acast. Retrieved 13 September 2017.