North American society has been designed to remove power from our grasp. We are taught to prove ourselves to others instead of following our own path. We are taught to be meek, polite, and soft-spoken… and to respect authority. We are lead to believe that if we are truly deserving of power and influence – then some authority will decide our merit for us. Think universities, award societies, record labels… think the everyday fight to prove yourself in North American society.
My new "Divine Disrespect" dismisses the pursuit of this prescribed form of 'success'. The song chronicles my journeys from the underbelly of Toronto nightlife to defining myself as a 21st century poet. Although the song presents an initial hopelessness in the face of adversity, there soon emerges a tone of extreme resilience. This resilience is divine disrespect. A disrespect for the Gods, and in turn a disrespect for all authority. Divine disrespect is a rejection of any force that imposes itself on the human will - no matter how great. Divine disrespect is the chisel that shapes our fate, and the stake we must drive into the hearts of our greatest enemies.
"Unapologetically Indie" Show on August 30th
Do you ever feel that the world is backwards? Ever feel slighted by the society in which you've been placed? Take some time to break down the illusion and you'll see this whole world's a sham! Dramatic? No I think we're living in dark times. My response.. the first single from Amor Fati. "Sham" is the story of my own path through this system and my desire to build something apart from it all. I invite you to listen, and come into my world for a few minutes.
STREAM THE SONG ABOVE OR DOWNLOAD THE FREE MP3 IN THE MUSIC SECTION
Prolific @ the Apathy and Celph Titled Show:
Album Updates and Prolific Community:
Sham is the first single to drop for Amor Fati, but there are others on the way! Expect a follow-up release to drop in about 6 weeks time. Until then check for updates on my blog as well as new content on my Facebook fanpage and Twitter feed.
Builiding and Interacting with a fan community means a lot to me! For the next two weeks if you share "Sham" on Twitter, Facebook or your blog I'll enter you in a draw to win one of 15 copies of my first album Think. Just email me at email@example.com with a link to your post.
This year I'm going to be performing at Toronto's biggest summer music festival NXNE (www.nxne.com). 650 bands chosen from across North America come every year to shake things up in Toronto. I'll be performing June 15th (friday night) at 9 pm. The show is going down at Unlovable - 1415-B Dundas West. Other acts include Bowly, The Futureless and Your Pretend Boyfriend. I'll be playing favourites from Think, dropping some crazy verses on commercial bangers, and performing a few never before heard track from my upcoming album, Amor Fati. Here is the little blurb from the NXNE page:
Traditional hip hop in the KRS-One form, Prolific is a "conscious, political, and macabre poet armed with a mic" making "striking sounds to capture 21st century chaos". Recommended.
The night's gonna be crazy. With that being said, you are officially invited to join me for a rowdy night of cutting edge hip hop.
I recently put verse together for the "I Make Smart Cool" movement (www.makesmartcool.com). Make Smart Cool is a hip hop coalition based out of Missouri that pushes intelligent / conscious hip-hop world-wide. I'm honored that they have reached out to me to be a contributing artist. Be sure to keep an eye out for the work of their core members - social innovator Travis Ben Ehyeh Blakely , and conscious-rap trendsetter Prince Ea.
Prolific - For the Misled
There have been a lot of crazy things going on lately. I get this general sense of political and social revolution both in Toronto, and Cross Canada. People seem to be discontent with the corporate values that dictate their economic and cultural experience. More than ever I hear people expressing a level of discontent with their circumstances - and I feel this feeling must be even more present in the United States. It makes it an exciting time to be an Indie artist. I'm happy to be in a position where I am not tied to expressing anyone's voice other than my own.
I was talking with a fellow MC, Karma, about beef in hip hop. He made a great point that has stuck with me ever since. He talked about how some of the original hip hop "beefs" were all political in nature. Explicitly, he pointed out that beefs weren't between MCs, they were between the MC and political environment he was placed in. This brings to mind the work of Public Enemy. Chuck D had things to say about the world he was living in, and any shit he started was tied up with spreading a message.
Nowadays, "beef" seems to spark up over nothing. I watch MCs walking around at shows giving each other death stares. Every MC is cut throat, and by and large it's just not necessary. There are times when you can go at someone in the rap game, but it's useless to be in this constant battle mode. And it's fucked when rap beef translates into the physical realm. Tupac and Biggie, epic story of beef right...but they're both dead! Whether the beef between them was intentional or not, there was still a political framework encouraging people in that culture to destroy one another. Those are the pople who we should have beef with. Not one another.
Amor Fati has now been in production for 8 months. You would think 8 months is enough to write any number of rap songs. But this project is not in the tradition of knocking out random verses and pasting them together with vague hooks. The structure of the each song capture clear thematic and conceptual aims, furthermore the songs have an interplay that fits into the record as a whole. Though some of the songs are in their final stages, most of Amor Fati is still waiting to come to life at Euphonic Sound.
A few of the songs I had initally thought would make the record have recently been cut. Not because they aren't up to par, but merely because they do not resonate with the tone of the album as I would like them to. However, this puts me in the position to release a couple of singles seperate from Amor Fati in the next few months. With that in mind - keep a look out for updates both on this site and on my new Soundcloud site:
So I'm gonna be rocking a show this Wednesday, Jan 25th at Detour in Kensington Market. The night is focused on artists that are pushing the boundaries of hip hop -- the cutting edge progressive types. I didn't know that was the theme of the night until I got the flyer - so I'm psyched to be included on the roster. The show will be starting at 10 pm, and there is no cover. Well, the cover is pay what you can - so support is welcome. Regardless - come out and chill, I want to see some real hip hop heads at the venue.
Aside fromt this latest gig there lots of music coming together lately. I've been working on the United in Flow record a lot, meeting with a ton of dope artists around the city. Right now, I'm working on this big track with three heavy hitters - back to back to back. Ahhhh, it's ridiculous. Coming soon, coming soon. Been hitting the production on UIF pretty hard. However, Amor Fati remains full throttle. Been doing major vocals sessions, getting these verses poppin.
This weekend I have MCs from out of town that have come up for KOTD staying with me - we're gonna go hard tomorrow (drinks and raps) - and then hit the studio again. Been cyphering non-stop for hours now - reminds of when I first started rapping. 40s, a boombox, and all-day freestyles. Can't picture it.?!. trust me.. I've been through all stages of hip hop. Never rocked an Ecko sweater though. Too late now i guess ;)
Although this is probably some sort of arbitrary percentile, I believe that 90% of the time spent on the scene is probably totally futile. That means you are going to crappy shows, seeing artists that you aren't feeling, and networking with people who will not contact you. However, for that 90% of absolute futility, you will gain 10% of total gold. Meeting not only some of the coolest people you will ever meet but some of the most talented; and they are just as deep into this whole music biz as you are. And the more time you spend with 90% of futility, the more you get your little 10% of reward. Even within the futility, you understand what is going on within the scene. What are people talking about. What do people do? What do people wear? Who is actually coming out? Does your city even have a scene. If you're in your room knocking out crazy rhymes and beats, that's sick. Trust me, i've done a ton of that. But you must connect to what's going on around you.
Who knows what the numbers actually are, but it has been something like this in my own career. I have lasting relationships from networking opportunities at a gig, and I also have the artist who promises the world and flakes. Certain connections just work, but this still means you have to be putting yourself out in the scene all the time. This fall in Toronto, as my own priorities have been ruled by the studio and not showcases - I've really got to know the toronto hip hop scene. And actually, I'd say this city is an exception to my 90 - 10 rule. I've met sooo many chill and ridiculously talented people in only three months of going out on the regular. So let's say 80 / 20. The good old pareto principle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle).
Anyway, on to the events I've peeped... hmmm..
Thee Cypher October @ The Augusta House
SoundBattle Royale @ El Mocambo
KOTD @ Club XS
End of the Weak @ The Central
Thee Cypher November @ the Augusta House
D'Sisive Album Launch @ the Rivoli
Theo3 and Tony Touch @ Revival
5$ Rap Show @ Rancho Relaxo
Toronto Slam @ Drake Underground
Spoken / Film @ NFB
Lots of dope artists. Met tons of folks doing big things in the indie world. Right-O. I was inspired, informed, frustrated, bored, and entertained. Looking forward to the scene in 2012.. and bringing a serious dose of Prolific to the stage as well. But for now, I remain in the lab with my experiments.
"Be a true artist that exists without capitalism"
James dropped that gem today in the studio. It really resonated with me. He was talking about defining your success as an artist seperate from what the capital rewards you are offered by the system for your work. I think it is a valuable perspective to have as an artist and musician, because often times you will not be rewarded for the work that you have put in to your art. You have to find fulfillment in the work that you are doing. Most people that are in it for the long haul in the music industry have found this, or they would have long since dropped off the map. To be brief, you got to love this shit.
So as opposed to magically banging out a record in 4 days in the studio. We actually spent the whole 4 days. Something like 36 hours of studio time on the one track Divine Disrespect. Yeah, we went hard on it. But it's done now... and a master away from being absolutely ridiculous. A lot of ear candy for you serious listeners. And a lot of head nodding for everybody. Think cryptic apocalyptic wasteland come to life with industrial horror.
Anyway, indie life continues outside of the studio this week. Gonna bust out the sewing machine and start making y'all some t-shirts. Well, not exactly. But trust me, I'm not too far off from being that hands on with the merch. I got a lot of love to give.
Off and running for the first major session of the week. James and I were working on the industrial, apocalyptic track "Divine Disrespect". The song is chaotic - I've sampled sounds from natural disasters and freak accidents for the breakdowns. The music draws from a huge palette of dark synths, murky guitars, and an eerie piano that's been flanged up. Today we were trying to work an organ into the intro. We came up with some really interesting parts, but whether they work with the rest of the track is questionable. The percussion is raw hip hop, but complemented with some obscure indian percussion samples I dug up.
Although this album has a clear hip hop backbone, we are bringing a lot more to the table on the production side. That is why the marathon must begin. That is why the marathon has begun. I'm not leaving Euphonic Sound until all 5 of the 7 songs on Amor Fati are done. Man, I need some sick movies for some good downtime though. Something like 12 Monkeys, 28 Days, Cube, and something else blitzo. Must consume art to produce art. Today my downtime was writing a braggadocious 16 bar verse on some gangster beat. It was on a beat for 50's cents guy... what's his name.. Lloyd Banks i think. I dunno. It banged hard. I'm still a sucker for a rap beat with a mean break and a serious sample. But ya I been goin' at this shiiit for a good 10 hours now. So it's time for me to peace.