Q&A: We catch up with London rapper Professor Green
Ahead of his headlining appearance at the MTV Crashes event in Londonderry next week, the London rapper (30) talks about his music and being married to model Millie Mackintosh.
Q: Last time you were in Northern Ireland you played two tiny shows in Belfast for Arthur's Day in 2012. How was that?
A: It was pretty mental! We did one really small gig (in The Errigle) which was extremely sweaty and a lot of fun, and we did a bigger gig (in Lavery's) which was equally sweaty and as much fun. It's just wicked doing intimate venues, not knowing where you're performing and people not knowing where you're performing. I'd never done anything like it before.
Q: So you're looking forward to coming back here to do the show in Londonderry next weekend?
A: Yeah man, I'm enthusiastic again. I'm enjoying the fact that I'm getting out and performing new songs. I've felt a bit unemployed for the last year-and-a-half. I haven't been, obviously – I've been working on the album and there's also been plenty happening in my personal life. I got hit by a car, got married, got nicked – it's not been without event. But it's nice to be back working solidly again. It means I can't misbehave as much, which is for the best!
Q: Your new album is called Growing Up In Public. Why did you choose that title?
A: I came up with the title a couple of years ago. It was quite tongue-in-cheek to begin with, but then it's become something of a self-fulfilling prophecy because so much has happened.
It was a bit of a tough transition but if I get angry at things that are written, the only person it affects is me and I don't want to be angry.
Q: You married model and Made In Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh (right) last year. How are you finding married life?
A: Wicked, it's our one year anniversary this week! It's been amazing. It's one of the big life decisions and it takes huge stress away from you because you've made that decision.
I don't have any examples of lasting relationships in my family growing up, beyond the parents of a few friends. So it wasn't something I ever wanted to do, and then I met Millie and it made sense.
Q: You come from very different backgrounds, her an heiress, you from Hackney ...
A: Yeah, we do, but that doesn't have anything to do with where you end up. I was always told as a kid by my grandmother, 'Don't ever worry about what you haven't got'. Your class isn't dependent on what you've got in the bank, it's dependent on your manners and how you treat people.
Q You recently wrote a newspaper article about your experience of depression. As someone in the public eye, do you feel it's important to talk about such difficult issues openly?
A: Absolutely, because if people hear others talk about it then hopefully what they'll realise is that the situation isn't unique to you. Other people go through the same things and it is okay to talk about it. Especially for men, you feel the need to be masculine and macho. Hopefully if people like myself and others in my position talk about it, then it will help others.
Q Your background is in underground hip-hop and rap battles. Are you surprised to have become a genuine pop star?
A: It's mad, innit, that I've crossed over. I always make sure I rap my a**e off on whatever I do, but for it to have crossed over how it has and for me to work in a prominent part of that world is nuts. My aim is just to be successful with the music. I never expected anything else to come with it. But hey ho, I'm learning to get used to it and deal with it.
Professor Green is just one of the stars who will be playing in Londonderry next Friday night as part of the MTV Crashes event. For details, visit www.mtv.co.uk