Hip-Hop Core: What does Saskatchewan looks like?

soso: Saskatchewan is a beautiful place with low rolling hills, grasses, wildflowers and clumps of trees. It is also a vast expanse of broken land, farmed into exhaustion. Driving through the province can be depressing. The sky is beautiful though... last night I came home drunk and sat in my sisters back yard looking at the stars.

HHC: Now, about living in such an isolated place, how have you been introduced to hip hop music? Was there a hip hop scene out there before CHR?

S: Everybody with a TV knew about hip hop. It was so huge that in 1984 they had breakdancing at the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles . There were fat bboys with perms and polyester track suits rapping about pizza pops on commercials. It was everywhere... even my little school in the country had a whole page dedicated to break dancing in the 1984 High School Yearbook. so I was aware of hip hop growing up, but I didn't really get into it until around 1989-90. By the time I started participating - painting, djing and making beats (like 1995) - there was a very small scene developing in Saskatoon . Me, epic, chaps, knowski and some other locals cats really built our scene from the ground up. It's flourishing... there are younger people getting involved, releasing music, doing shows, painting, bboys and all that...

HHC: Tell us about how you decide to start a label, releasing your first vinyl, and jump into this harsh rap game?

S: I think I didn't know any better, it had never occurred to me to not put out my own music. There were some good role models around, artists releasing their own music in winnipeg (the early days of peanuts & corn and frek sho) and it just seemed like a natural route to take. The sour suite EP was the first piece of hip hop vinyl pressed up in Saskatchewan and I released it with very little knowledge of the business side of things. I benefited from great timing however. I was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of the indie-rap-internet phenomenon - obscurity was sexy and I was some no-name rapper/producer from butt-fuck Saskatchewan.

HHC: How your first release been received? Your raps were far from the typical egotrip thing... What were the reactions from people in Saskatchewan and in a larger scale?

S: Most rappers need a reality check. Little dick rap is fucking retarded... there's too much testosterone and posturing bullshit. I wanted to make sincere music. something beautiful and vulnerable to balance out all the shallow, nihilistic, formulaic pop stuff. My music has been well received because I think people appreciate the fact that I am trying to do things on my own terms.

HHC: What were your influences in music, literature, etc.?

S: I wish I could produce a long list of authors and books but to be perfectly honest I hardly read. My music influences are always shifting but when I started making music I was inspired by LMNO and Buck 65. I love the music of Leonard Cohen and Neil Young's warbling falsetto. I connect with the integrity, politics and story telling of folk music. I love sad drinking music... old cowboy tunes. I also have a bunch of old soul and jazz records... 60's rock stuff.

HHC: What's your opinion about hip hop these days?

S: hahahaha that is a huge question! Hip hop is beautiful, exciting, played out and stupid but still funny.

HHC: Now about your discography, I will name 3 of your records and you will tell me in which context you did them and what they represent for you... Sour Suite?

S: I wrote it in 1999... it was my first record. I finished writing it in Montreal and I thought it was very poetic... it's difficult for me to listen to it these days. I sound so naive, almost cute. I still like the production though and John Smith kills it though on that song, Drink.

HHC: Birthday Songs?

S: Birthday songs was definitely a step in the right direction. I was making an effort explore sensitive topics like the history of racism in my family, death, grief and moral challenges. I was trying to say things that are difficult to say and do so in a very honest way. I think people can connect with these stories. except for Dyke Look... that song is so silly. Why would I ever release such a thing?

HHC: Tenth Street And Clarence?

S: my albatross... took me forever to get it together. Painstaking at times. I really consider each of my projects as an art work (and not in some pretentious way) so each song needs to contribute to the larger piece in a meaningful way. I think my writing and production are continuing to progress and I'm quite happy with the final product. I've been getting great feedback, a Japanese and German release and top spot on Canada's college radio hip hop charts!

HHC: Are you a cratedigger? On which material do you work?

S: I'm not one of those scenesters who carries around a record bible and brags at the bar about some rare break I scored in an online trade with some homie in Michigan. I love music too much for that bullshit. I buy lots of old vinyl, all genres and sample the shit out of em.

HHC: I saw this strange video for Hand To The Plow on your site... Can you tell us more about it?

S: Well I was studying Fine Arts here at the University during the sour suite-birthday songs era... My visual art practice and my music always informed each other. I was really into photography which led me to video. I produced a bunch of videos, some worked well with the music I was making so I put the two together. I also produced a video for "we always thought she'd be the first to go" and I have a new video for "hungover for three days straight (don't matter)."

HHC: Now about CHR... How did you met all the guys in it, Epic, Recyclone, etc.?

S: I dated this girl for about a month. Everybody told me not to but I did it anyway...She was kind of crazy and much too young for me, but she introduced me to Epic and we shared an enthusiasm for hip hop. I had just gotten turntables but didn't have any records and Epic had all these dope records but didn't have turntables. So we would get together and practice. This led to a friendship and eventually we started making music together. The Recyclone story is kinda strange. He lives on the other side of the country and I haven't even met him in person! Over the years I had the opportunity to work with Pip Skid (his Funny Farm album is amazing by the way) and we had made some very informal plans to work on a little side project. He was living in Halifax at the time and wanted to bring Recyclone in on the project. As the project started to materialize, Pipi dropped out and me and Recyclone completed it together. I'm really happy with how the project worked out and I hope to release it in the next few months.

HHC: What's next for CHR? Do you want to promote other artists, outside the local scene?

S: It has been a very slow building process. Eventually I'd like to have the resources to release more great music and expand our roster of artists. We have quite a few things on the go but right now we're concentrating on finishing Epic's newest project. He collaborated with Homesick Nomad – who is one of my favourite rappers - and Maki - one of my favourite producers! It's a great project and we are aiming for an early November release. I'll be releasing the project I completed with Recyclone in the not too distant future...I gotta finish up an instrumental project I did with Kutdown and finish some collaborations I'm working on with Yy, Ira Lee and others for some sort of production album. I'd also like to get to work on my next solo project.

HHC: It seems like it's quite difficult to sell canadian hip hop in the US. What do you think about it? Do you have this problem with CHR?

S: Not really... we do Lloyd Banks type numbers.

HHC: Alright, last thing, your definitive all time top5 record?

S: Oh man... I've never done one of those lists. I can tell you what I'm listening to though right now: I Self Divine - Self Destruction, Blood of Abraham – Eyedollartree, LMNO - P's and Q's, Melanie records and Fatt Matt - Life Is...

HHC: Thank for your answers... any last words?

S: Come visit me in Saskatoon. We'll go out for dollar beers with Chaps and Factor after our radio show. Thanks to cee!!!!!!!! for going on the record as a rapper who "hates rappers with little dicks." Check out our partners at and ... and BUY SOMETHING FROM PHONOGRAPHIQUE! It keeps me alive!

Interview by Pseudzero
October 2005

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