Last updated: 14 September 2009
Lyrical fountain and Cardiff hip-hop scene stalwart, Ruffstylz lays claim to the longest freestyle rap world record.
Photo by Alex at Southpaw Vision
The phrase 'rhymes for days' is bandied around in hip-hop circles to describe the lyrically gifted with casual disregard for its literal meaning. But it's difficult to dispute the definition of such a bullish term when applied to Cardiff-based motor mouth Ruffstylz.
After originally honing his craft in London, Ruffstylz's primary claim to fame is as the world record holder for the longest freestyle rap, set at the old Toucan Club in Cardiff in October 2003. Clocking in at a throat-lacerating ten hours and 34 minutes, he cheekily claims he "could've gone for a few more hours", although several artists have attempted to snatch the world record crown from him since.
In October 2009 he extended his own world record to an amazing 17 hours, in aid of Oxfam. He said, "It was more difficult than I thought it would be, I hit a wall early on but it actually got easier as time went on."
A sometime hip-hop journalist with Hip-Hop Connection magazine, the spoken word represents Ruffstylz's true lifeblood, describing himself as "an MC who's out to use words in the best ways possible". That is reflected by the logical title of 2005 record Lyrics - he claims it's wasn't an album proper, rather a collection of tracks - wherein he hammers considerable rhyming skills into song format.
One of the formative forces behind Cardiff label Associated Minds, guest slots have generally arrived with greater frequency than his own releases, featuring on AM records including Metabeats album Metaphysical.
Having supported hip-hop luminaries such as Prince Paul, Taskforce and ex-The Roots beatboxer Rahzel, Ruffstylz also regularly links up live with Associated Minds companion Beatbox Fozzy. It's a combination that has seen the pair support numerous UK hip-hop names and Rhys Ifans' rock band The Peth, plus Inuit throat singer Taqralik Partridge at South Wales international storytelling festival Beyond The Border.
Even when not scheduled to perform, Ruffstylz has often been known to jump on the mic at hip-hop shows in Cardiff. While as one third of mini-collective Brotherz Grimm, he is among the promotional team behind Higher Learning, one of the city's most consistent and respected live/club nights in the past decade.
With a new single, 1980s Grime, produced by AM associate Barnie Rumble, and a collaboration with MENSA-approved US rapper Chino XL in the pipeline, Ruffstylz's recording career is about to re-ignite. In 2009 he has also guested on tracks by UK rappers Sleaze and Sonnyjim, and is due to contribute to Beatbox Fozzy's forthcoming debut EP.
Lyrics (2005)An assortment of Ruffstylz's finest verses on one record showcasing his substantial verbal talents, released via Associated Minds