4 Nov 2014

The new millennials – a rapper’s guide to gardening

Tijan Sallah, aka Kingpin, is a rapper with a passion for gardening, who says his generation gets a bad rep. Channel 4 News went down to the allotment with the man who tends his plants in his Jordans.

As a person and as a rapper I don’t do things because they are popular and I’m not dictated to by the mass population. I walk my own path – I be the change that I want to see in society… They’re expecting me to be some sort chauvinistic, misogynistic, “hate women”, alcohol-consuming criminal.

Producing my own crops makes me feel less dependent on government and supermarkets. I feel more independent and less subjected to the chemicals and toxins placed in the products they sell within the supermarkets.

Kingpin is featured in a Channel 4 News special report about the millennials defying society's stereotypes - tune in at 7pm tonight for more

When my father was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago I became more health conscious and was inspired to start growing my own produce. He has since passed but this has only inspired me to go on living a healthy lifestyle and to avoid the “fast food” culture that living in London encourages.

Practice what you preach

I find that gardening actually fits in with my rapping and social life perfectly. A lot of conscious rappers talk about good nutrition, so it’s an opportunity to practice what I preach within my music.

I feel it actually makes me a more rounded artist. Also, the time spent working on the allotment helps me clear my mind and it can often give me space to be creative. So when I do begin writing more lyrics it seems to come easier.

It must be something to do with the exercise and the time away from all noise and chaos that frees my mind and helps aid my creativity.

Why does Granny have more fun than me? Watch our special report

Gardening without a garden…

You can always try and get an allotment space somewhere local.

I personally live on the top floor of a council estate in London, which has no garden space at all. But we worked together as a community with our local council and managed to get a communal garden in the estate. It has provided a therapeutic space for those struggling with some of the difficulties that come with inner city life.

There are costs involved. But eventually you save money because you produce your own food which means less expensive trips to the supermarket.

Read more: Why one in four young people never drink alcohol

Working with ‘Mother Nature’

In general, I like any vegetable that naturally grows in the UK – like potatoes, onions, carrots, spinach and tomatoes – because they take very little maintenance. You just plant the seeds and water them once in a while.

With the typical British climate and the tendency for rain in the UK, Mother Nature tends to take care of the watering part.

The rewards of gardening feel instant because you get an immediate sense of satisfaction knowing that you have begun a process. Then within weeks you begin to see signs of development from the seeds that have been planted and this is a really rewarding feeling.