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Rapper turned producer Andrew ‘Configa’ Laidlaw, who hails from Newcastle, UK, has already been a Hip Hop mainstay for over the course of the past two-plus decades. 

West Coast Styles recently caught up with the PhD educated Super Producer in order to find out what it is exactly that makes this one-time member of Slept On Fam actually tick.


First things first, last year (August 11th to be exact) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?

It means everything to me. It just shows HOW far we have really come as a culture. I first got into Hip Hop in the late ‘80’s, so I am old enough to remember the culture before it was properly commercialized. It was still raw and still underground. I was the one putting my friends onto it. We had no dedicated Hip Hop radio shows where I was from, no Hip Hop magazines had reached us yet and the most we could get was one hour of Yo! MTV Raps a week; which my friend taped onto VHS as I didn’t yet have cable. And to go from that, to the biggest music in the world?! To literally BE popular culture. I’m proud. Forget the negative aspects of the culture for a moment; I’m just proud that something I have been part of for 35 years, as both participant – my 24 year music career – and observer; I obtained my PhD on a Hip Hop thesis, is now the world’s dominant cultural force. I’ve literally grown up with this culture. It’s part of who I am.

To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?

Not at all. Like I said, when I got into this culture it was extremely underground with extremely few outlets. But that was half the fun, if I’m being completely honest. To go from that earthy, organic culture to literally shaping the face of popular music, I would never have imagined it in my wildest dreams. And Biggie said that in ‘94, look at how much bigger it is 30 years later than that even. This does come with obvious downsides, but we still need to celebrate Hip Hop’s dominance and cultural pole-position.

What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories during your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?

Wow, TOO much to mention! Being signed by Chuck D, being Executive Producer on the last 3 Arrested Development albums, recently publicly being called, and I quote, “amazing” by Big Daddy Kane, as well as working with him, too, being named Producer of the Year a few years ago by B-Boy Document, obtaining my PhD on a Hip Hop based thesis, having my music in a Tim Roth feature film. I could go on and on!

That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2024 and beyond?

Next up out the gate is a collaborative album with an esteemed U.K. MC called Tommy Evans. We will be dropping it on June 14th – it’s entitled Jolicoeur, named after the late, great Dave from De La Soul. I have a few other projects I’m also working on currently, and will announce them as I go! I also have some tracks I’ve produced on other people’s projects coming out, too. Stay locked on my social media, Bandcamp or streaming pages!

Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?

A visceral reaction, a FEELING. I want people to feel my beats in their soul, and to get some knowledge and wisdom from the lyrics that are on top. My production is the sonic canvas, and the lyrics are the paint. I want my music to make you think, and to make you feel.

If you could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

That’s super, super tough, but I’d have to say probably 2Pac. I have always been a huge fan from the early ‘90’s, and I have already done a remix album some years ago where I took various a cappellas and do what I do production wise. Everybody said they were much better than the originals. So imagine if we were literally vibing together in the same space at the same time. The 2Pac I’d be utilizing would be the thoughtful poet we heard in the pre-Death Row days.

On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?

No. Despite what I said above about us needing to be celebratory about the culture and its dominance and longevity, this has come at a cost. The mainstream is pretty much complete trash at this point. I mean, isn’t a “mumble rapper” oxymoronic? I just can’t get with the current cultural presentation, the constant clout chasing, the promotion of derogatory, misogynistic behavior, gang violence and drug culture. It says a LOT about the kind of people that this is entertaining.

What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?

Being true to myself. Being genuine. Being consistent in terms of music quality, and my own conduct. Giving people that support me the love back. Having time for people. Having the ability to spot and seize opportunities. Being knowledgable. Being a fan of the culture and student of the culture, as well as an artist. Being humble and being able to still learn as I go. Being dedicated.

Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?

In terms of entertainment and aside from my own music career, I’d like to continue building my PR company, Laidlaw Media, as well as my record company, Configaration Records. Getting back into the radio game or hosting a podcast at some point would also be dope – my free time permitting – and there’s been significant interest in me doing this. As entertainment is just but one facet of me, I’d like to get back into writing again. I’d like to have books published; my thesis already is. I’d like to do something within the field of education again. I’d also like to do more marketing outside of the music industry, too.

What’s an average day like for you?

In one word…Busy! I often work 16 hour days to make sure I get as many jobs done as possible. This ranges from music production to music engineering to promotion / social media engagement to mentoring to dealing with enquiries, etcetera. It’s a super hands on job, but I’m doing what I love at the end of the day.

Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…

That is definitely a BIG part of my job. I really do try and put my followers first. I don’t even really use the word “fans” to be honest. I prefer using followers or supporters. I really do try and reply to as many people as I can on a 1-on-1 level. I really do enjoy the human aspect of it, and not just ignoring people or hiding behind a social media manager. I used to be able to get into lots of debates with my supporters, but I guess as my status has grown and the amount of platforms have grown, too, that’s getting less and less achievable. I give as much of myself as I possibly can. But at the end of the day, I’m just one person. I know they appreciate my efforts.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?

My favorite part would be getting recognition from my peers, and getting love from my supporters. As artists, we live for our art to be recognized and appreciated. My least favorite would be dealing with people that have an agenda, which is ordinarily based around insecurity or jealousy. Some people just love to project, don’t they? Again, as my career has progressed you see the extremes of human nature more and more.

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

I always stress the importance of time, dedication and work ethic. Any form of success is truly earned, it isn’t given. Don’t ever accept “no” for an answer, and always persevere. My story is one where I was never given or handed anything; I made my own successes. With some talent and the right application, it’s truly possible to achieve the seemingly impossible.

Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?

I don’t think I’ll be working at this capacity in 5 to 10 years time. I want to ultimately be more selective with my time, and have less on my plate. Just having more freedom and more spare time to do things that don’t involve work. That sounds like bliss.

Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?

I think we covered a decent chunk, thanks for having me!

Any “parting” words for our readers?

If you are already familiar, then please keep up the dope support! If you aren’t, then welcome! Good to have you on board! Peace!


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Configa: Giving The Love Back #HH50

Configa: Giving The Love Back #HH50

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