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Madchild European Tour 2018. Stop in Tallinn, Estonia in the club Von Krahl.


Jun 282018

When Canadian hip-hop beast was touring in Europe, he stopped in Tallinn to put on an amazing show. We took this opportunity to meet up and talk about his career, stereotypes and how he loves what he does. Enjoy!

I was destined to become a rapper

Thank you for your show, it was amazing! A memorable evening for all your fans! Let’s talk about the beginning. What influenced you to start your own hip-hop career?

When I was 11-13 years old I was a skateboarder and listened to punk rock and hardcore. I think the first time “Licensed to Ill” by the Beastie Boys, Ice T, LL Cool J came on the radio, I found my music. It wasn`t until I got out of high school, that I decided to start rapping. Me and my friends were just freestyling, they said I was good and that I should do it for my career. I said: “okay”. And here we are!

And here we are! How was it to start your career in Canada while the main action is in NY, LA? Has it been harder?

Canada definitely was a little bit behind the times, we eventually caught up. Now everyone knows immediately when something new is released. At that time, we didn’t have the internet. The culture was younger in Vancouver versus LA or NY. That’s why I travelled down to San Francisco, where I started my career. I wanted to go where the culture was more thriving.  
I was homeless at first, but I was destined to become a rapper. Got my first break working together with DJ Cuber and Dell from Hieroglyphics. When I got back to Vancouver, that’s when we started the Swollen Members.

Was there a specific genre of music you grew up with?

My dad played a guitar, but I don`t think it had any effect on me rapping. Though, I got my love for Willy Nelson from him.

What do you listen to besides hip-hop?

Willy Nelson is still my favourite artist, I even have him tattooed on my arm. I love listening to James Taylor, Johnny Cash, Bob Dilan.

As an artist I’m the happiest when I’m making music, touring or doing shows

There is a stereotype about Canadians being super nice. Your thoughts on that? Does it apply to the hip-hop scene as well?

I think it has changed. Having anomalies like Drake, The Weeknd and Tory Lanez blowing up from Canada, it`s harder to distinguish Canadian artists from American ones. But, in general, Canadians are polite, a little overpolite at some times. I just moved back from LA where I spent the last 4 years. People are nice and polite there too. They just don’t say sorry as much.

Are there any hip-hop-related stereotypes you would like for people to move away from?

Not really. I think things have broken up. If you had asked me this question 10 years ago it would be different. I think there will always be jokes about how we pronounce some words. But I’m proud to be Canadian!

If you could go back to the beginnings of your career, what advice would you give yourself?

Not to take any breaks. In my 19-year career, I have noticed that I work hard for 5 years and then take a break for a couple of years. Taking a break is nice, but sometimes it could lead up to a certain pattern. I like to stay busy and have a purpose. As an artist I’m the happiest when I’m making music, touring or doing shows. For the rest of my career - I will sleep when I’m dead.

How do you keep up the energy level with so many tours?

With Monster! That’s it! I’m going to keep on booking shows. That’s what I love to do. When I’m working hard, I usually do 200 shows a year.

I guess when you are doing what you love, it just gives you so much energy back.

Yes, what’s not to love about touring? Staying in hotels, travelling, meeting good people, if you are single, it’s fun as you meet nice women. Connecting with your fans. I believe there are some artists that could have made it, if only they would have embraced the touring aspect. You must choose to love this, and I chose to love touring already a long time ago. I look at this as an adventure. If you look at it as work, I can see how it could get tiring. One day you are in Estonia and couple days later you are in Greece and a month later you are in Australia.

When I was younger, I told myself that I would never become this old man who doesn`t appreciate what the kids are doing

Your thoughts on the new wave of hip-hop?

For the hip-hop culture to stay alive it must continue to evolve. Whether we like the direction, it doesn’t matter. I look at hip-hop as a garden - it takes all kind of flowers to fill it and each flower is beautiful in its own way. When I was younger, I told myself that I would never become this old man who doesn`t appreciate what the kids are doing. I stand true to that today.  Today it is more about the energy than lyrical ability. I enjoy the recent music when I’m in the nightclub or working out at the gym – it gives me so much energy. Let the kids have their fun, there is plenty of room for everybody. I have my lane in which I`m very happy and I celebrate everybody that’s having success.

Something from the new stuff you find interesting?

Interesting… not really. I feel like I have done this all before. I could do mumble rap too, but it just doesn’t make sense for me to do it. I make music from real life experiences - pain, struggle, darkness, joy as well. But it must come from within.
The only thing I might criticise is that a lot of it sounds the same today. A lot of music is emulated and it’s an obvious formula. But that’s with all the pop culture. That part is a little bit harder for me to take seriously. At the end of the day, if it sounds good, it sounds good.
As far as it goes to face tattoos and dressing a certain way, I’ve been doing that way before anybody else. Starting to carry a little dog around? Did that! The only thing I didn’t do - colour my hair like a rainbow. And I probably never will. Otherwise, it`s nothing new to me.

How do you create your music?

It depends. If I get in full-on work mode – I write daily. When I hear a beat, that’s when I can write to it. Sometimes when I hear something in movies, I write down ideas which I put together like a puzzle. It’s very easy for me to just sit down and write without any kind of preparation about my passions. If I want to show my abilities as a lyricist, then I will come prepared.

The last question, have you ever heard Estonian rapper Tommy Cash? Right now, he is one of the most famous Estonian artists.

No, but I like his name. *listens to a song* I think he is dope, I like his energy, he is an eccentric dude, which is a compliment. I respect people who are not afraid to be artistic.

Thank you for your time and have an amazing tour!