SOUTH Tyneside hip hop artist Joe Eden has released his first solo album.
The 27-year-old, better know as Chattabox, has put together a 13-track recording, They Call Me.
Joe, of Stanhope Road in Chichester, South Shields, has been rapping as his alter ego for the last 10 years.
The former Harton Technology College pupil said: “I was in a group called Dialect but I moved to Bristol about four years ago so we all went our separate ways and starting doing our own thing.
“I set up a label, Killamari Records, that we could all work under and I’ve been working on this album the whole time, so it’s the first thing I’ve put out in four years.”
Joe says that before long, young artists from across the North East, starting getting in touch with his label and asking for help. He said: “I never really intended for it to be a proper label but when people were coming to me and I liked their stuff I decided to just go for it.
“It’s more of a not-for-profit label though and I’m not in it to make money.
“The profits I make from my own album go straight back into the label, and the other artists that come to me know that I’m not going to take money from them, they get their share and anything else goes into the label as well.”
Joe, a former South Tyneside College student, has created a video for the album’s title track, They Call Me, and posted it to video-sharing site YouTube, attracting more than 3,000 hits.
The video features the lyrics to Joe’s song which pop up as he’s rapping.
He used his skills as a graphic designer to create it, as well as the cover art for his album, which features an image of him when he was four years old.
He said: “I’ve always been a big believer of rapping in your own accent and don’t like it when things become Americanised.
“But because of that I decided to include the lyrics on the video because sometimes people can struggle to understand the words.
“Being a graphic designer definitely came in handy because it meant I could do all the work myself, rather than having to pay someone else to do it.
“Of course, it takes away the element of surprise when you see your album cover for the first time, but at least this way I could create exactly what I wanted.
“I have spent a long time working on the album, and I’m really proud of the final product.
“Someone else writes the beats but I’ve written all the lyrics myself, apart from the bits that other people sang and they’ve written that themselves.
“It is selling really well so far, mainly in the North East and in Bristol where I spend most of my time now, but who knows where it could lead?”
To watch Joe’s music video, go to www.youtube.com and search for ‘Chattabox - They Call Me’.
To buy Joe’s album for £5, see http://killamari.bandcamp.com.