What's Cookin? M Dot R Answers The Haters
South London based artist M Dot R has been turning heads in the UK dancehall scene recently with his blend of musical spices. However, after a slew of radio freestyle performances, M Dot has gathered a following that love him for more than just his music.
His love for Jamacia and everything that surrounds it has built him a career in cooking, too, with his latest venture bringing the world of Caribbean cuisine to YouTube.
Here M Dot R chats to Clash writer Mason Meyers about everything from his love for Jamaica to those accusations of cultural appropriation...
- - -
- - -
Where did your love for Jamaica come from?
I used to listen to a lot of like Shabba Ranks and another like dancehall music, because my older sister used to play that kind of music she had on cassette and stuff; I used to take them and listen to them and stuff. So even from back then, I’ve always been a lover reggae and dancehall music. As I’ve gone through my career, through doing each genre, there was just little like dabbles of it like always there.
How come you use a Jamaican accent in your songs?
How can I explain this...?
Imagine living in France, but you do Indian music. So, you’re doing French music, but you’re listening to Indian music all the time, so it is always in you. But because that's the music that you listen to constantly, it comes out in bits and bobs, here and there. As the years went on it came out a little bit more, a little bit more, little bit more, until I got to a point where it just fully come out.
It's just natural. It sounds right when it's meant to be, it’s just about the sounds. It’s a little bit of seasoning, you can’t just eat your chicken with salt and pepper, you need a bit of all-purpose.
If I went to Portmore what would people have to say about M Dot R? Would they know you?
100%, I mean I'm not known in Jamaica like I am in the UK, but I definitely am known there and whoever you would speak to would definitely be like “yes man M Dot”.
Jamaicans are very proud people, they’re proud of their culture and where they came. I’m not going down a race thing here, but I feel like white people are insecure sometimes, because if you’re proud British, often you are seen as racist. And it shouldn’t be like that, proud British should mean you can see that you’re not racist as well, you know what I mean?
If you’re gonna be proud British, that includes British Black men. You should be able to stand up, side by side, with your pint of beer and your baked bean pie with a Black man and both say you are proud to be British. And Jamaican people are proud, and with what I’m doing, promoting their culture and their food, I’ve never had a problem with it. I’m just loving the culture and promoting the culture and I think they appreciate that I like it. I don’t talk in Jamaican all the time, I just like Jamaican stuff.
If I was Black it wouldn’t be the same, no way. No one would say a word. But it’s not a shame, it made me who I am... I am known to a lot of Black people, so when I go to an area like Tottenham or Brixton, every yard man bless me up.
So although I’ve had a bit of struggle and a bit of a fight, it’s made me a “different sort of white person”. It is what it is, everyone has their own struggle, whether it be mine because I’m white doing dancehall music, or Tekashi 6ix 9ine because he wanted to do the troll thing. Everyone has struggles man, but everyone has different struggles, and they might not be as visible.
Can you tell me about the new music that is coming out?
Yeah man, I feel like I found my sound when I did Lickle But Talawa and I feel like I’m comfortable with my sound and I’ve found it. So my last tune, “like that” did really well, and then I’ve got a new tune “secure the bag” that comes out in a few weeks. The EP should be out by the summer because I’m only going to put about seven or eight songs on there anyway.
You have a documentary coming out, what is that about?
There is a big documentary we have been filming for a few years now, it will probably be on Netflix or something like that. It followed me around my whole life, through south London, Kent and Jamaica, it’s called White Lion.
Are you a character? Why do you think people think you are?
I understand it, it comes from the day and age were in. All it is, were in 2021 and there’s a lot of people doing that, there’s a lot of characters. So when you see someone like myself, it could come across that way, until you start watching Cook And Vibe and then you start to understand who I am. If I was doing what I am now twenty years ago, I would be mad famous bruv.
Are you appropriating Jamaican culture?
Listen bro... I’m just gonna say this, yeah?
All you need to do is open up your mind, that’s all I can say, you just need to open up your mind. Every single person is a different person bro - some people like Playstation 5, some people like playing football. Some people like Jamaican music, some people like rock music. Open up your mind and appreciate other people, don’t look down on people in any way. I’m just serving my purpose and doing my thing, it doesn’t really bother me.
When you’re an artist or entertainer at my level, not that I’m hugely famous or anything, I get so much love. My Inbox is constantly full with love and people saying they love my music. So it is very hard to feel disheartened by some little dickhead on YouTube talking shit because they just chat shit on other peoples videos as well, nobody don’t know who they are, they don’t even show their face. They’re definitely not going to hurt my feelings.
- - -
- - -
Watch M Dot R's new shot Cook And Vibe HERE.
Words: Mason Meyers
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.