Braintax is the recording name of Joseph Christie (born 1973), one of
the most important and influential British hip hop artists of the second
generation. He hails from Leeds, West Yorkshire, but now lives in
London. He is founder (with Breaking the Illusion) and owner of Low Life
Records, the longest running UK hip hop record label to consistently
release records. Stylistically, Braintax is much closer to East Coast
hip hop than to the hardcore rap of earlier British rappers like Hijack
and Gunshot. He is also well known for his business savvy and prominent
crow’s feet, which he says adds an air of distinction to his face.
Braintax originally performed as a duo, but former member DJ T.E.S.T. left in the mid-1990s. T.E.S.T. only appeared on one official Braintax release - the 1992 debut EP, Fat Head. Christie retained the recording name and it has since become synonymous with him as a solo artist.
Though Christie had been involved in the underground breakdancing and rapping scenes for a number of years, his career effectively started with the release of the Fat Head EP. Perhaps most noted was track 5, “Talk About The Future,” sampling Quincy Jones’s “Summer In The City.” The sample was used in response to American hip hop act The Pharcyde’s use of it in its track “Passin Me By,” from album Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde. Braintax’s lyrics reflected a maturity beyond his years and this track in particular was a sign of what was to come.
Throughout his career, Braintax’s lyrics have been thoughful, hard hitting and reflective, ranging from politics to spirituality and the state of hip hop music to the war in Iraq.