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Metropolitans: ‘Breis’ Ovba, rapper/educator

I am…an educator, hip-hop rap artist and author of the book, “Brilliant Rappers Educate Intelligent Students”. I also run a creative arts organisation called Student of Life that uses hip-hop to engage young people in schools to improve their literacy skills. I have lived in London most of my life. It’s a place with so much potential but so many glass ceilings and I’m drawn to the prospect of shattering some of them.

The area in London I call home is…Brixton, I’ve lived there for over 15 years. I know the shops, the streets, the love and energy of the people. Sometimes it’s my favourite place to be and other times I can’t stand it. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, some positive and some quite negative. However for now, it’s still home.

I’ve got to have a meal at…Ace Fusion in Clapham Junction. They do some tasty African, Caribbean and English dishes. Also Jerk City in the West End and my local Thai restaurant – I usually take my out-of-town friends there.

I tend to get my threads from…Mash, Zara or my new favourite place called Ohema Ohene on Atlantic Road in Brixton. They do African wear with a British twist. I wanted to start something like that but now I just go there instead.

London is a place with so much potential 
but so many glass ceilings and I’m drawn to 
the prospect of shattering some of them.

To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should…check out Jazz Re:freshed, every Thursday at Mau Mau on Portobello Road. They have the most amazing bands that play jazz, soul, hip hop, Latino music. It’s intimate, friendly and full of awesomeness. I performed there a few years ago and can’t wait to play there again.

If I was mayor, I would…hustle the government for more money to be spent on grassroots organisations working with young people. I’d introduce parenting schools for everyone and introduce a license to anyone who wanted to be an MC. I’d take a whole load of inner-city children and stick them in the sticks and bring some upper class folk into estates and balance out their lifestyles for a bit. When we all see the different ways of living, we might appreciate each other more and act a little nicer.

 My favourite spot to check out art is…I do visit the National Portrait Gallery and the V&A museum from time to time. Ooh and [pullquote]I love the Southbank, for absolutely everything – art, music, scenery and creative energy.[/pullquote]

I’d kindly tell a tourist to…stand to the right when you’re on the escalators and walk if you’re on the left.

Finally, my soundtrack to London would be:

Sean Escoffery’s Days Like This. London can be gloomy at times because of the weather and this song brightens it up. Any song from Coldplay (especially their second album), I’m a big fan. And lastly it would be either a track called Identity by a rapper called BREIS (moi) or Witness the Fitness by Roots Manuva. Both tracks give me a sense of what it is to be an African/Caribbean man in London.


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