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Meet the People: Robert Morris (aka RiUvEn)

The scally rapper, who played the Capital of Culture opener at the Arena, courted controversy over the lyrics of a song with references to nicked tyres. Now his debut album is out, so what's he like?

Published on April 15th 2008.

Meet the People: Robert Morris (aka RiUvEn)

So are you and RiUvEn one and the same?
Not at all. It's just taking the piss. I'm not really like that. You can tell from the accent. RiUvEn is a reaction to years of abuse I've had to take from absolute knobheads in the streets. Now they are getting a bit of it back and, like, it's fair enough. I would hate RiUvEn myself.

When you get dressed up as RiUvEn, do the scallies know that you're in character?
I don't know. Some of them do. I try to stay in the middle. Let the ones who believe it's real think that it's real, and the rest can laugh along.

A lot of people don't seem to “get” RiUvEn at all.
The people who get it are the ones who are worth talking to.

They got really angry about the lyrics of This Is How We Do It In The L.I.V, didn't they?
It was a shock at the time for me. But that's RiUvEn's take. It's his character.

Did you think people had a better sense of humour than they appeared to on all the radio phone-ins over that?
I think they still do. It's like Ali G and Shameless. But nobody's seen it done in scouse before.

You are 24. We were looking at your myspace blog and it says you have trouble getting served ciggies and drinks?
All the time. I can't get served anywhere. I say “look at me beard, look at me beard”.

Where do you live?
Up by Sefton Park with a mate. I'm half homeless.

You haven't been kicked out, have you?
Kind of. I was evicted from my last flat because it was a disgrace and the owner wanted to sell the building and stuff.

You could always move back home?
No. My sister's taken my bedroom. It's pink now.

Speaking of whom, haven't hundreds of kids Bluetoothed the LIV as a ringtone because of her?
I hear it on buses and in the street all the time. It's a hit via Bluetooth. She started it when she was in the Brook House with her mates about a year ago. Hopefully people will start reaching for their money soon and buying the album.

Who goes to your gigs?
First it was little kids, like 14-year-olds. I was playing all the dry bars. Then it was students turning up and now it's them and anyone with a sense of humour.

Does RiUvEn have a “back story”?
RiUvEn started rapping in his mate's back yard in Granby. His mate got hold of some stuff and put it out on the internet without him even knowing. Then RiUvEn found out about it and decided to take it over. But before then he was just robbing cars and on the dole. Living life to the max.

You went to King David's. Do you think if you hadn't gone there you would be doing this? It's a very different environment from where you went home to at night, isn't it?
Yes, definitely. I'm from Lodge Lane and I was the only person there who was a bit like that. But I was playing the drums when I was 10, so I was always going to make music. I don't know though. I've always been just a shy little kid. I've always got loads of abuse from people and never stuck up for myself.

Were you bullied at school?
You couldn't be bullied at King David's. It's impossible. Like “my car's bigger than yours”, if anything.

How did you end up on at the Arena?
The woman who does the Picket (Jayne Casey, artistic director of the event) spotted me and her son really likes RiUvEn too. But to be fair, I think it was a bad choice getting me on that.

We thought it was one of the highlights of the night. It got you on The Culture Show.
Yeah well. The Times did a big write up on it. They got it.

Actually they said: It was a brilliant young Scouse rapper called RiUvEn who epitomised the spirit of the night — cheeky, quick-witted, brimming with energy.
My mum is dead proud of that. She keeps a scrap book.

What sort of response does RiUvEn get from people outside the city?
They don't get the joke, they just hear the rap and go along with that. But that's alright because I want to get out there with the music anyway.

Where do you go to when you go out?
I'm a bit reclusive and stay in with my songs. I'm so into RiUvEn on myspace that sometimes everything else seems like a waste of time. I'm also really into my blogs and get really angry on them. Aaargh!

You've got to watch that you know, the isolation.
I'm really into Chris Morris, the writer, and he's similar. Shies away from the media.

Goths and RiUvEn's perceived dislike of them has got you into trouble.
It's hard to talk about this in interviews. I don't hate goths at all. That's why I thought I shouldn't do the arena gig. Because if people didn't get the joke, they would therefore think I was promoting bad things. But the way I rip goths you can tell. It shows them in a good light if anything. All the things RiUvEn says are things scallies would say anyway, but you have to remember it's not serious.

What about the new album?
I was signed to 3-Beat, but then they went bankrupt. But I became good mates with their producer Loz and started going to his house and recording it there. It's taken two and a half years to make. It's spoofy and comedy. Almost Eminem-ish. It can appeal to anyone.

What's next?
I've got so much material I could do several more albums and I'm working on a couple more characters. I've got this real geeky lad who's a bit of a school meff. Also I want to start writing comedy. There's nothing more serious.

What would you be doing if not this?
I don't know. I've got an art degree but I lost interest in everything else when I got into music. But I do get lost in RiUvEn sometimes.

Do you think scallies might get a bit pissed off with you?
I hope so.

*RiUvEn's debut album: I'm Only Messing!! (Or Am I?!) is out now

Check out his MySpace page here and see his crib (contains strong language) below.

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

ScouserApril 15th 2008.

He's just a skinny meff altogether and is making a bad impression on "scallies". He's a bad joke!

BenApril 15th 2008.

Its easy to take the piss out of those on one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder. So...ok a little bit funny. I'd like to here his music rather than see him do some half baked impression of a scally.

Professor Bad Ass ChucklebuttyApril 15th 2008.

By Yo Dig, That was posted a long time ago and taken from my report of the opening ceremony in my world acclaimed Capital of Custard Blog. you may have seen my recent report from Cannes. For some reason our young rapper has attracted this recent comment although sadly i haven't heard much of him lately, i must check his website. In spite of a little frivolity on my part I do happen to think he is very good and very clever in his lyrics. I have now moved on from Custard rapping or C-RAP as it was called and back to jamming sessions with the Indie Clog Dancers. Pimp my concertina. As for your white bottom - if the cap fits...

Salad DazeApril 15th 2008.

Ah, I get it now... post-modern irony? Sorry, I'm old and/so it doesn't work for me. What a shame all that energy and talent is not used to develop a new genre rather than exploit the woes and degradation of the people of the abyss. (Which is not rhyming slang.)

Candy ManApril 15th 2008.

And mine! That video just made me snort drink out of my nose

Ice Cream ManApril 15th 2008.

Aren't you supposed to snort the coke INTO your nose? Oh, the young man can have my vote, too. RiUvEn for mayor, I say.

DandyApril 15th 2008.

Seems like a nice boy. Good on him. In the great tradition of spirited, Liverpool anti-establishment figures who challenge the conventional orthodoxies and piss people off. He gets my vote.

RobboApril 15th 2008.

HAHA lad, fkin brilliant. Just read all the info on yer shiz n tha abar scally dickeds, i know where yer cummin from m8. Keep them tunes goin aswell lad, lookin forward to the rest. 100% Quality ;)

Rhi EvilApril 15th 2008.

Genius!!Pyar funny!Nice guy aswell..talked to him at a gig once and was amazed how he could pull off slipping in and out of character.. He definitely gets my vote.And from a 'goth' that's really something, eh? lol

ScouserApril 15th 2008.

He's just a skinny meff altogether and is making a bad impression on "scallies". He's a bad joke!

DigApril 15th 2008.

Do your talents never end Prof? A poet and comedian and now a b boy rapper. I look forward to seeing you breakdance. I suppose if I dis you you'll pop a cap in my white ass as well? You should send that rap to Poetry.Competition@liverpool.gov.uk I think it's a winner.

Cliff Edge HillApril 15th 2008.

As my dad would say about this young man:-"He could do with a spell in the Army!"

uc ladApril 15th 2008.

riuvens funny lad ye, bu e shud take scouse rap serious tho ders notn rng wit avn a laff bu e probly could do alot betta rappin bout the things he's seen an dun, or wa other go thru n stuff like dis...im strtn rap soon newayz ...you tube it ryt n luk up fido i ....and kev t or kev teezy, **** it neways i rekon scousers need 2 step up 2 dis rappin in liverpool, inabizzle ...UC lad

TommoApril 15th 2008.

Check out the voices he's done on some cartoons. Type 'Spider Lad' into Youtube. Bloody hilarious I tells thee

Lodge LaneApril 15th 2008.

I went to school with a lad called Robert Morris. He wasn't known as "Rieuven" though, he was called "Moggis", but then it wasn't a posh school like King David and he didn't go to poncey art school either.

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