Brighton’s hottest home-cooked talent, MC Cashback, lovingly blends luscious lyrics with gently bubbling breakbeats, to create something deliciously unique. Rather than fronting about his inordinate wealth, innate sexual talent or the respect he carries at local parish gatherings, MC Cashback’s rhymes are concerned with one of the most noble of all human endeavours, cooking ones dinner.
Komedia chef Angus Greenhalgh found himself singing and rapping in the kitchen to ease the long hours the restaurant trade demands. Rap, in its purest form, exists to be a reflection of the MC’s own experiences and environment. So does a Brighton-based chef spit about thug life and bitches, or does he throw some tasty recipes into the mix?
Realising no-one had combined music and cookery before, he resolved to make a musical cookbook, and quicker than you can bellow: “Chop Suey!” MC Cashback’s The Dinnersty album was born. Featuring his own rhymed recipes for Burgers, Tagines, Goulash and Jerk Chicken, the album offers a unique hip hop flavour, remaining arguably the only rap cookbook. “I guess they’ve always gone hand in hand for me”, Greenhalgh ponders. “…wanting to make music and being a chef.”
Greenhalgh says other Komedia staff enjoy the urban flavour he brings to their kitchen, some of them even pitching in to play roles in his stage show. Now in his new show at Brighton Fringe, he’s keeping it tasty, by preparing and serving a lasagne live on stage. Don’t be fooled by the odd subject matter, this rapper is a true reflection of our food obsessed times. MC Cashback is feeding both our souls, and hopefully stomachs, with his earnest attempts to inspire us to get busy with the cooker. “I’m pouring out the gravy, rather than my heart…”
Musically he draws inspiration from rap icons such as Dr Dre and Nas, but reveals there are shades of Reeves and Mortimer and John Shuttleworth in the MC Cashback persona. Greenhalgh’s choice of the latter, a fictional singer-songwriter/radio presenter created by Graham Fellows, makes a lot of sense. As Shuttleworth takes the awkwardness of provincialism and turns it into something special, MC Cashback adds surreal spice to everyday food. In fact he’s doing more than anyone to make cooking cool. “I’ve never been good at taking myself seriously, that’s why I make stupid songs about food. I’m not good at serious music, because I just end up laughing at how ridiculous it is.”
A culinary hero, at least for his effect on British diets, is Jamie Oliver, who Greenhalgh once worked for. A job which provided some interesting moments, due to Oliver’s enthusiastic encouragement of inter-staff relationships and the chef’s insistence on hanging giant images of himself everywhere. Greenhalgh shares Norwich as a hometown with another of his cooking idols, Delia Smith. Curiously enough he also used to play for Smith’s football club, Norwich City, in their junior team. Unfortunately for Association football a career in catering beckoned. “I just want to eat nice food, I smoke as well. So football had to take a bit of a backseat to all that…”
MC Cashback presents: Lasagne at Komedia, on Sat 25 – Sun 26 May, as part of Brighton Fringe.
MC Cashback The Dinnersty, part rap album, part cookbook, is out now and available from any good record store.