Proving once again that this city’s soundtrack is more varied these days than ever, InsanityHurts are a new rap duo whose rapid-fire rhymes sizzle with a sense of place that’s all too often missing from the Tinie Tempahs and Flo Ridas of the mainstream scene.

Their fresh worldview is shot through with politics, passion, humour and street-level observations of life, as it’s lived here in Liverpool. Right here, right now.

Crackling with energy and inventiveness, they’re just about the most enjoyable beats and rhymes crew since Bubba Sparxxx and Timbaland hung up their banjos (whatever happened to him anyway?).

SevenStreets gets the lowdown from the top of the city from InsanityHurts’ Saul Williams and Joseph Walsh…

How did you two get together?

We’ve known each other for years, but artistically, we bonded through a mutual love of words, storytelling, being opinionated and, of course, good taste in music!

Tell us about the hip-hop/rap scene in the city?

Without sounding too cheesy we think Liverpool was made for hip hop. Its rich heritage, diverse cultures and unique style of communication paves way for the perfect platform to generate a new breed of hip hop fans/artists.

At the minute it’s extremely hard to create momentum with such a lack of opportunity/interest, however we are hoping to contribute in taking Liverpool hip hop from underground to the masses. That’s the plan!

Who else is doing this sort of stuff? Anyone you recommend?

Young Kof is representing the city well, he’s setting the benchmark at the minute, Mr Bang on is another Liverpool artist doing well. Also O’Shea owns the battling scene, and Nicky Talent’s going strong in the Dubstep scene. It’s healthier than you think, you just gotta know where to look…

Talking of which, do you think there’s enough venues supporting the scene?

Not many places are willing to gamble on purely hip hop, a lot of venues tend to lean towards dubstep and grime. The Picket and The Camel Club are the only two that spring to mind, and the CUC Novas Centre is the lifeline of Liverpool hip hop.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Well mainly life! Observational rap can provoke emotion like no other. Growing up in Liverpool, you don’t need to look far for inspiration, it finds you!

Your stuff does seem very rooted in the city…

Yeah. We are proud of our heritage. But we’re also realistic. We understand the stigma and stereotypical views are city has suffered from, and to an extent still is. We’re happy to be bringing some positive energy, and will always represent Liverpool. Even if we were stacking shelves in Tesco.

What’s next?

We’ve dropped new mixtape Heavy Days, and we’ve got numerous gigs/shows coming up. We’re really excited about a new project in the pipeline that we can’t really discuss as yet, but it’ll be very exciting for the city’s hip hop scene, and SevenStreets will be the first to know!

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