RAPPER Mynature – it’s pronounced ‘miniature’ – could easily have a film made about his life.
In fact, large sections would probably be a lot like the 50 Cent movie Get Rich or Die Tryin, but set in Thamesmead.
He moved to south east London from Wiltshire aged 10 and fell in with the wrong crowd, joining a gang in Woolwich.
After dropping out of college – where he had to go armed because he passed through rival territory – the streets took over and it culminated in a six year prison sentence when he was 21.
He said: “I was on bail for Class A drugs. While I was on bail I was basically robbing Securicor vans.
“I was doing a string of those.
“There was one time I was waiting outside Barclay’s Bank in Eltham and we tried to get away and the police chased us. I got out of the car, I started running and the police caught me.”
Mynature had rapped before prison but it was hearing his song in Choice FM while inside that made him decide to take it seriously.
He said: “I was chilling listening to the radio and I heard my stuff getting played. I made it just before I got arrested and it was nice to hear it.
“It was frustrating (not being able to capitalise on it), but then again prior to that I had never been played on the radio.”
“It was only when I heard it on the radio station and I saw things happening for other people that I thought I might have to take it a bit seriously.”
On his release, he recorded a mixtape in three days, printed 11,000 copies and sold it all over the country.
But it was a false dawn and he became frustrated with the lack of direction and went back to the barber shop he bought with a business partner before he went to jail.
That didn’t work out either, as his past was reluctant to let go.
He said: “When I was working in the barbershop I was up to no good.
“I had loads of people working for me doing stuff. Whenever they would get into an altercation, I would normally come out and sort it out.
“Sometimes it was violent, sometimes it was non-violent. If I could handle it verbally, I would handle it verbally.
“A lot of people wouldn’t come in and approach me in that way so it was easier to smash the shop window or shoot the shop window. That’s what would happen.
“I’d be cutting hair. One minute I’ve got the clippers in my hand. Next thing I hear ‘Bang!’ and the window’s out.”
“It happened more than once. My business partner said stay, but I couldn’t, you’ve got kids getting their haircut and stuff.
“I came out of prison and I was supposed to be low key and this wasn’t being low key.”
Mynature – he never reveals his real name – took himself away, and that’s how he got back into rap.
He shared some studio time with producer Efexx, took on a manager and knuckled down.
An album is due next year and he has already shot two videos, to singles Mr Is Rap and Louder, which are out now and have a crisp yet commercial sound.
Mynature described his style: “I grew up listening to Wu Tang Clan and Mobb Deep, it’s more underground and grimy street rap but in this day and age, it won’t take me where I want to go.
“I’m not abandoning that style, I’m experimenting with other styles to add to what I had.”
The sound has been well-received with big name DJs like Semtex on 1Extra and Shortee Blitz on Kiss backing him.
He has also been shortlisted for MTV Unsigned.
Now he’s on the straight and narrow, the former Woolwich Poly schoolboy believes he can be a role model to youngsters.
He said: “I feel like it is my responsibility to give my negative experience and feed my positive input towards that younger generation to say ‘OK, I’ve done that before, this is what happens when you carry on with that’.”
“I’ve done many years in prison. You don’t want to go to prison. Your friends won’t come and visit you. It’s not going to be like that.
“I just give them the information based on my experience. I’ve been through a lot of stuff.”
He added: “When I make music I try to be as honest as possible.
“I wouldn’t take anything back. It’s part of my story, it makes me who I am.
“I’m just glad I’m here to tell the tale.”