Thoughts From The Rap Nest
It has been another one of those sad weeks in the hip hop community. News that seems to be happening all too often these days. The passings of both Trugoy the Dove of De La Soul and DJ Grasshopper both hit those who knew them and this who were fans equally hard. I had met Trugoy a couple of times as a fan at a couple of different shows in Saskatoon and DJ Grasshopper a few more as he was touring through Saskatoon with Frek Sho, Shadez Ov Black and Mood Ruff over the years. Unfortunately I didn't get to know him well and only shared small talk with him before and after the shows. Both are definitely gone too soon and with each passing off to your rap heroes, contemporaries and homies in causes you to reflect and think about the memories and those you care about. My condolences to both of there families and homies. If you're keeping score at home, hip hop is down 0-2 this week.
There is never a good way to transition form news like that but I had breakfast with the homie soso last Saturday and it was really nice to connect and catch up in person. He had some really exciting news about a project he is working in currently. It is rap related but not his own music. I will be able to share more at a later date so stay tuned.
Ugsmag Issue 003 went off to print yesterday. I am really excited! Once again it features an exclusive TFTRN. I also conducted an interview with Noah 23 and contributed a book review for Rap Reads. Noyz teased the cover yesterday and I asked if he could send me a copy of it to post here. Stay tuned as I will update the release date in the coming weeks.
Missed Third Verse last night? Ugsmag has you covered once again to stream or download NOW! Catch Third Verse on CFCR 90.5 fm in Saskatoon, SK every Wednesday 9-10:30pm CST. Stream online via CFCR.ca or Radio Garden.
As always the last 10 episodes of my other weekly radio show You Know Know the Rules on UMFM in Winnipeg airing every Sunday night 10:00pm -11pm CST. Episodes availible NOW!
Mickey O’Brien - Shift Change
I know I previously featured this one ut that was the CD version. Now a revisit this time with the vinyl version. As the Rap Gawdz struck again, the black vinyl version ended up being the rare version of the two variants. My understanding that is just how things ended up working out in at the passing plant. Definitely a win for old Chaps. It is nice to revisit this record especially after playing a show with Mickey O’Brien back in July and hearing many of these songs live. The only downfall was I was unable to get my copy signed due to the delay. Mickey had coloured vinyl copies for sale but since I had already purchased the black version I did not grab one that night. The record is still great and this time around the track Hubris is really resonating with me.
Buck 65 & Controller 7 - Billy
I was getting nervous when I saw people starting to post their copies online. I was seeing Gold and Red vinyl copies and I was like ah damn coloured vinyl. My copy arrived and I unboxed it and to my delight I discover that I got a classic black vinyl copy and instantly the music sounded 37% better. That is the official percentage determined by the RAP NEST 5000 SUPER ANALYTIC COMPTROLLER MACHINE. I ran this one through twice just to make sure. I also didn’t pay very much attention to the preorder as I thought the album was pressed on a double LP version but it to turns out one record is the vocal version and the other is the instrumental version. This one was also a long delay like the the Mickey O’Brien album but. didn’t really seem as long as it was. I had a tape copy I got before they announced a vinyl pressing so I think that had something to do with it. Everything I said previously about this album still stands and now I get to revisit it again with the same excitement.
Bending Mouth was a rap group consisting of MC’s Selfhelp and Thesis Sahib. They had some real magic together as a group kind of like Restiform Bodies magic or Curse Ov Dialect magic. This 2002 album is a certified Canadian Rap classic and is a perfect snapshot of the late 90’s early 2000’s burgeoning Canadian Rap Scene. The CD features 18 tracks while the vinyl on French Label Vulgar Records is a paired down EP version featuring 9 tracks. With production from sixtoo, Timbuktu, Kilgour, Jesse Dangerously Savilion and a few others this one packs a punch front to back. There are so many great samples and cuts on this record. It is an all time album for me. It just came out a perfect time and has withstood the test of time. Welcome To The Gallery is such a perfect track. With production from sixtoo and cuts from Fat Mike it is perfect. Just a perfect song.
Thesis was in the Regina area with his partner at the time and contacted me about the possibility of setting up a show in Saskatoon. We started talking about it and I agreed to put on a show. I was inspired by DJ Weezil’s rap show series titled “Super Stars of Rap” and thought I should do a rap show series. I thought about names and kept circling back to something that became a running theme when Epic, soso and I toured Europe in the fall of 2005. That saying/theme was “Rap Was The Best” and I was like that is it and the Rap Is The Best rap show series was born. I reached out to the Saskatoon Jazz Society about throwing the show there. For some reason they gave me a shot as they were sometimes receptive to rap and then other times not depending on how the previous show went. I felt like I had to sort of sign my life away and guarantee there would be no venue damage or issues. I felt like I could guarantee that for some reason even though that is almost unguranteeable but I was really excited about the opportunity of building something.
Anyone who has promoted in the indie rap world knows it is pretty much the worst and pretty much nothing but stress. I was a master of postering though, as Heywood and I collectively have put up more show posters than anyone in the city. We invented so many spots. We had a circuit down and could pretty much poster the city in three nights. When we were doing all ages shows we would poster around every highschool in the city which was not being done on that level until we started doing it. I loved putting up posters. I used to have this really dope Kangol record bag that held like 20 records that was so perfect to use for postering. I think I lent it to Mock to poster for a show he was doing and I never got it back. I think about that bag a lot and have been searching for a replacement for years and have never found anything like it.
I needed a poster for the series. I have no talents in design and especially no talents in executing design. I hollered at soso and told him the name of the series and asked if he could help out with a poster. The success of any good rap scene is favours and helping the homies out. It has always been how I have done things and I truly believe the success of the Saskatoon rap scene is in large part to favours and people helping each other out. I really love this poster. soso is just one of those people that are incredible at everything they do and his attention to detail is unparalleled amongst people I know. I like how he added the head of Slick Rick to the poster. The Rap heads continued on the other show posters in this series.
I have always been really scared to take risks when it comes to doing things. I am pretty calculated for the most part so taking on all the responsibilities of putting on a show was not really typical. I was mostly a co-promoter on things with a heavy focus on the promotion end of things and not the business/money end of things. I have never cared about money when it came to rap. I just wanted to do it, I could care less if I got any money from it. My drive was always intrinsic in nature. I know I have touched on this previously but I never made rap decisions based on money and I have no regrets about that. Rap has paid me ten fold. Money comes and goes but rap music and rap homies are forever.
I think I had the idea to make it a Bending Mouth show as Selfhelp was living in Regina Saskatchewan (fun fact, I was born there). They were not active as a group at this time and I don’t think they were on the best terms either if I remember correctly. Therefore, they were a little reluctant at the idea at first, but I think I convinced them with my rap fandom. My rap fandom has been know to be very convincing. Very few can withstand its influence. It is one of my rap super powers. This was the last live performance for Bending Mouth. I dug out the poster and I believe this show took place in 2007. Reasons I think that are February 23rd was a Friday that year. The poster says it was a CD release party and it would make sense it was for Loved Ones that was released in June 2006. I tried to keep the bill small and by rap show in this era I was very successful. soso payed along with DJ support from The Gaff and Factor. The show went well there where no issues and I think I was able to pay all the expenses that night as I went on to do 5 more shows in this series before pulling the plug on it for some reason that I can’t think of. I will eventually highlight those shows in future TFTRN’s. I think about doing a rap show series again and had the pandemic not hit I probably would have done it. I am not sure how to navigate promoting live shows at this point. The landscape is really different but I have some ideas and maybe I will catch the bug and do it agin. The last show I promoted was the most successful show I ever threw but that was back in 2018 and I said I was going to end on a high note as the show I threw previous was the least successful show I ever did on every front imaginable. That is how it goes in the promoter game though.
Selfhelp and I have had a falling out with one another and it is really too bad. He might be the only person I can think of that I have had a real falling out with. There are always ups and downs in any relationship and it is sometimes really unfortunate when this is the result. I don’t want to rehash it in a public setting but writing about this made me think about all the really good times we shared together over the years. That is how it goes sometimes.
As always, thank you for reading and for the feedback!
**legal disclaimer all records and songs were run through the RAP NEST 5000 SUPER ANALYTIC COMPTROLLER MACHINE that is certified by the I.A.A.R.R.A (International Association of Analytical Rap Recordings Analysis) in layman’s terms, it means the machine is never wrong.
Catch you next week with more thoughts from the rap nest.
Yeah, man...the passings of Trugoy and James/Grasshopper hit me like a fuckin' truck. I knew James was sick, but I was truly unaware of the magnitude. The absolute worst news, f'real.
On a brighter note, I hope you'll dig what I came up with for your UGSMAG piece, dude. :)
Yeah really sad news once again unfortunately. Too much of that in the Hip Hop Community these days it seems.
I am really excited to see what you came up with! Can’t wait!!! Thanks again in advance I am confident I will love it!