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Music helping Xidus to inspire and empower

In a year when many of us have seen our plans ruined by Covid-19 Peterborough music practitioner and rap artist Xidus Pain has continued his great work across the UK.
Xidus Pain Studio Booth 2
Xidus at work. Photo: Supplied

In a year when many of us have seen our plans ruined by Covid-19 Peterborough music practitioner and rap artist Xidus Pain has continued his great work across the UK and world.

Well known as an inspirational figure in our city, Xidus's 15 years' of work comprises working with people from different ethnic backgrounds and people with additional needs, school children and prisoners, and youngsters aged eight through to people approaching 70.

He's also worked alongside The NHS, The BBC, The National Grid, Squeaky Gate as a music Tutor, Kaplan International Languages school, Nexus Fostering, and universities and youth clubs.

Music and the power of lyric and rhyme have been a part of Xidus' life from an early age; from showing off his talents so that he could get a go on the Super Nintendo with his family and friends, to learning from another word master.

"Since the age of seven I have always remembered Benjamin Zephaniah coming into my school and showing us some poetry - this really inspired me and I've been a huge fan ever since.

"I feel blessed that Benjamin has listened to my projects and given positive feedback, a proud moment for me was receiving an answer phone message from Benjamin with him playing my song in the background.

"In 2020 I got to hang out with and sound engineer for him, which was a dream come true."

 By 15, now living in Cambridge, Xidus was working at The Junction organizing club nights for young people. And on one occasion - despite being grounded - he had a chance meeting with Rap Legends The Sugahill Gang and GrandMaster Melle Mel.

A conversation between Xidus's stepfather and rap legend and one of the members of Sugahill Gang ensued, leading to the dumbstruck youngster being allowed to spend the whole morning and day with the group up until 5am.

He said: "He thought I was taking the mick!

"It was incredible because during the show I was called up on stage and handed the mic by GrandMaster Melle Mel - I didn't know what to think.  

"I know people who live in New York that have never met the Sugahill Gang, and yet there I was taking this big step. They were such humble guys."

This was in the late 1990s, and since then Xidus's journey has featured many highlights.

In 2012 he shared the stage with Donald D, a legendary Rap artist from Ice T's Rhyme Syndicate, and heard stories about artist like Tupac, Kobe Bryant, Ice T and monumental HipHop movies and shows.

He worked with Street Sounds record label and had a single on their Street Sounds Nu Electro volume 3 in 2010 which also featured legends Just Ice and KRS 1 and Egyptian Lover - a single produced by Lektroid earned a number one slot on the Electro charts, which was being played when he walked into HMV in Oxford Street in London.

A small list of those who he has worked with includes Special Ed, Michael Mcdonald, Sheena Easton, and Peabo Bryson, while he is also currently a manager at Generation Hip Hop's UK sector which is a Global organisation which has Curtis Young (Son of Dr Dre) as an Executive Producer/ Brand Ambassador and Ndaba Mandela (Grandson of Nelson Mandela) as Chairman.

At the start of the year 2020 was scheduled to be packed, with a music event in Brazil and working with talented rappers in Russia on the agenda. Both were cancelled, but Xidus is hopeful these can happen next year.

He was asked to do a recorded performance for the United Nations and The Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx, in New York. 

Hip Hop 4 Peace in September saw him line up alongside HipHop royalty Rakim, KRS One, Kurtis Blow, Roxanne Shante, Royce 5’9 and many other great artists.

Closer to home he  was made an official member of BBC Camb's That Friday Feeling by host Nick Carter, which gives him the opportunity to promote up and coming artists.

During  lockdown he has been delivering online Master classes and sessions for Children Services (Cambridgeshire County Council) working with young people in foster care helping them to express their feelings, vent their frustrations and allow them to voice their opinions on current affairs.

He also delivered classes at Amplify Studios Rugby Portobello Youth Club in West London as project leader for Finding Rhythms, which became some of his most memorable of the year.

He said: "We worked with people that were directly affected by the Grenfell Tower fire."

The power of choice is important in his teaching, as shown in dialogue with different prisoners during one of his classes at HMP Chelmsford.

Xidus said: "I had a conversation with some of the inmates one had been in the prison system for over 25 years. Some blamed schools, some blamed the system, but in his case he said it was down to his choices in life.

"One guy did a poetic piece about what he would say to the school governor about what he would change in schools, and then wrote it from the other side as if he were the school governor."

The ability to communicate is one of Xidus's strengths, and one of his long term ambitions is to open up an academy for young people to help them through life via music and the spoken word.

He added: "I never go in thinking I know more than people, I'm open minded. I don't go in as a teacher - I would rather be a friend than put in boundaries.

"I have worked with many different people, from many different backgrounds, but in the end we are all one community.

"There are so many positive stories and they highlight what someone who applies the true essence of Hip Hop as a culture can achieve whilst giving back to communities."