Thoughts From The Rap Nest
I am so fortunate to have a peer group I can bounce ideas and thoughts off without getting roasted. I love talking rap and to have a group IG Rap chat to do so everyday is such a blessing. Last Friday was De La Soul Day! De La Soul is a seminal group within the culture no question about that. They changed the world and culture for the better and that is an incredible thing. I think we can all only dream of affecting or leaving a mark on the culture and world like they did. I understand the history with the music industry and the De La Soul catalogue and the fights regain of the rights to their catalogue and all the lawsuits, debts, struggles and strifes they endured. I am not in any way trying to take anything away from that. The first four De LA Soul albums are arguable the best in the history of Rap music. They are undeniable in every context of the culture.
That being said, I felt like I was really missing something with all the chatter and excitement around the release of their catalogue on streaming platforms. I am pretty much indifferent to streaming platforms and I think they have pros and cons both of which have real merit, but they don’t excite me the ways physical music does. I know I am in a privileged position to take this stance. There just seemed something really weird to me about 35-60 year old men getting really executed about being able to stream De La Soul songs. Most of these people were people who collect music and have these albums probably in multiple formats like I do or release physical music. So I posed this to the rap chat’ “Can someone explain to me why I should be happy or even care that De La Soul is on the stream flows? I feel like I am missing something, but it appears to be a really big deal.” Now I am lucky I have some super level headed and thoughtful homies in the rap chat because they could have roasted me. I was not saying this to be inflammatory/disrespectful or for a hot take. I was seeing so much excitement around this it really seemed like a social media phenomena and event. Some shared some similar thoughts which was nice to know I was not completely out to lunch. Thankfully the homies took some time to share some thoughts and drop some knowledge about the wider scope of what this meant and the celebration around De La Soul Day. It being a larger celebration of their music and corresponded with the drop of some physical re-releases of their music.
The conversation then shifted to thoughts that this will attract younger and new fans and I questioned that. I was like why would this attract younger fans as they have their own music that they are interested in and their own rap super heroes. There will always be exceptions to this but I am talking in generalities. Like I don’t care about and I am not interested in the rap they are interested and it being accessible in my pocket on a streaming platform does not make it any more appealing to me. I could be in the super minority on this, like my record organizational system and I get that, but I love the lane of rap I love and if I am meant to hear new things they will naturally enter my lane via various tried and true means that I have crafted and curated over my lifetime.
The homie Rob Crooks who works with a lot of youth completely blew my views on this with the following, “kids do weirdly like old music. my friend who has two teenage daughters told me that time means nothing anymore. His kids will listen to music from any era as if it’s brand new. They have no concept of time because all the music ever recorded is at their finger tips”. This really hit a chord with me. I really had to step back and reflect on this. I am still processing this within my own worldview and it has opened my mind to things I have not even considered and I feel through reflection and the dialogue around this with the homies it has helped me grow. It may not be a big deal to me but De La Soul on the streaming platforms is a win for rap inn the big picture and a grand moment to share and enjoy the excitement and love if their music with your loved ones and fellow hip hop heads. This type of rap dialogue is my favourite and I am eternally grateful to have these opportunities to learn and grow. Also Shoutouts to The Gumshoe Strut and Noyz for dropping some really great perspectives in this conversation as well.
Dren dropped a super dope remix project last Friday for Bandcamp Friday. There are a lot of super sick remixes on this project. I think my favourite is the Gruf & Yy - Civil Defensesses remix and the MC Homeless & Kool Keith - Aliens remix and the signone - battle rap remix. Definelty check it out!
If you missed it, Rove sent out a really dope update via Bandcamp email about a couple projects he has coming out. I think I have heard all the tracks for both of these and I am so excited for their release. The guests on Poke The Bear though. I can’t wait! Peep what Rove had to say:
The Fresh A.I.R. EP (AWOL One, Id Obelus, Rove) is finished up and off to the presses. It will be streaming everywhere May 5th and in physical form on vinyl, cassette and CD via my Bandcamp and Audio Recon. Pen Thief Records might have some special cassettes available as well...stay tuned.
Also, my next album "Poke The Bear" should be wrapping up in the next couple weeks with features from Sole, Ceschi, Myka 9, Noah23, Rifleman, Oblio & Id Obelus, Mestizo, Jihad the Roughneck MC, Curse Ov Dialect, Staplemouth, Thesis Sahib, Moka Only, AJ Suede, 2Mex, Mickey Avalon, MC Homeless, Gel Roc, AWOL One, Ecid and more. I am aiming for a mid-late summer release in all physical formats.
Thanks for showing interest. I appreciate you.
I am sure if you are on Instagram then you have seen the incredible “96 ‘til Infinity” t- shirt that P-Minus from ATAK has been posting and selling. I was able to secure one and I am so stoked as it is a beautiful snap shot of one of the best periods of Underground Rap. It reads as a who’s who and has som many homies listed on it. Give him a follow on Instagram at a chance to secure one of the drops.
I was really hoping my copy of UGSMAG issue number 3 would have been here by today so I could post it and share one thoughts about it. It is still enroute so that will have to wait until hopefully no later than next week. I am super excited to be a part of these issues. It is a real honour and exciting to see UGSMAG emerge into the print world. It is fun to see the reach each issue has and the response it is getting. You can still grab an issue HERE and if you missed one of the others grab one of those as well!
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!
Now this is a record I would have probably fronted in pretty hard at one point in my life. The idea of live musicians and rap was typiclaly cringy and poorly done for the most part over the years. It is hard to replicate programmed drums and make it sound great. They kept the programmed/digital drums by bringing in one of the best finger drummers in the world in Fresh Kill and teamed him up with a super sick mc in PremRock and a bunch of musicians playing trumpet, various saxophones, synthesizers, and guitars. There is a drummer listed but it hard to identify live drumming on this project so that is a real compliment to the player. This is a great weekend afternoon record to listen to. It just has a great vibe. My jam is The Overtaxed Hearts Club Band. This is a great record and if you are on the more adventurous side in your rap listening then give it. spin.
R.A.P Ferreira - the light emitting diamond cutter scriptures
milo - budding ornithologists are weary of tired analogies
scallops hotel - too much of life is mood
These are three preorder records I got a couple weeks back. The preorder was lengthy dating back to the beginning of December 2021. It is the longest preorder that I have received to date but not the longest preorder I am \have been waiting for. More on that another time. One interesting thing was the records came with different covers than they were listed with. They completly switched up the the look and feel of the covers and made them all have a similar vide with one another. I personally am not a fan of these covers and the art style but at least it has a cover and track listing unlike some of their other releases. I have a love/hate fandom of R.A.P. Ferrera. Most things that they post about on social media actually turn me off as a fan. R.A.P Ferrara is a genius on the mic and makes incredible music but outside of that I don’t think I am much of a fan of the person. This is really rare, especially for me and I often find myself conflicted and really trying to give them the benefit of the doubt and try to understand where there are coming from. I have not met them in person or seen them live and my opinion may change after that but As for now, I will keep it movin and I will focus my attention on the music. These three records are the best and exactly what you would expect.
This weeks shirt is a one off Factor prototype shirt that the homie Moneo made that never made it into production.
Skratch Bastid/John Smith/Pip Skid - taking care of business
The 2004 Canadian DMC’s is one of the best events and times I have ever had in my life. It was such a fun event that extended to a weekend and beyond. They were in Winnipeg that year. I had just finished University and made the super dumb decision to buy a car that I couldn’t really afford. I never owned a car to that point but I got a job out of University in December of 2003 on a maternity leave contract teaching science, social studies, health, biology, law and probably something else I am forgetting. To students grade 5-12. It was pretty much the worst teaching job you could give a first year teacher. It was super frustrating and challenging and I really didn’t have much of a clue as to what I was doing, but I put in long hours and tried my best to give the students the best experience they could have and make sure they were ready for post secondary studies. It was in a small town about an hour and a half north east of Saskatoon. I needed a car and I wanted a Mini Cooper super bad so I took the plunge and did it. That is how I got the car I had and that we used to get to Winnipeg for the DMC’s.
Rove, Factor, Noyz and I crammed in the whip and took off for Winnipeg. The drives to Winnipeg are hated for some reason but I love them. It is like a 9 hour trip with stops for gas etc. It is relaxing and one I have made many times. We were so excited about the DMC’s as there seemed to be a lot of hype going into them especially with the hometown favourite DJ Brace repping Winnipeg, there was a lot of excitement and energy going into it. I am sure we drove the day of the event and the plan was to drive back the next day to Saskatoon. That was typical of that era, to be in and out for the show. The DMC’s were held at the historic Burton Cummings Theatre, which was an amazing sit down venue and perfect for this event.
The vibe was kind of weird at the event. We were all pro Brace and then we got to the venue and some of the homies in the P&C camp were puling for Skratch Bastid and that was really weird to us. It felt like they were turning their back on Brace, then I learned that they were pulling for Bastid because they, Pip Skid and John Smith had an album coming out with Skratch Bastid. I weirdly took that personal for some reason. I was like WTF? That made me triple down on my support for Brace. The battle was awesome. One of the highlights was Dj Weezill doing the “swoop walk” in front of the turntables during his set. His set was such a highlight. I don’t think he placed that night but he was number one in my heart that night!
Now looking back on the event I am little conflicted on how I feel about it nowadays. When Bastid did his set I booed him really hard. Now I have no ill feelings at all towards him and I am not even sure if I knew him personally at that point. However, as far as I was concerned he was public enemy number one! Now when I say this, I am not sure I can do it justice in words. but I “booooooooooed” him as loud as I could and harder than I have ever booed anything or anyone before. There was a frenzy and fever pitch as the competition was it was basically a Bastid vs Brace showdown. Had some of the P & C homies not declared their allegiance to Bastid or been neutral that night prior to the set I don’t think I would have reacted that way. I am sure pretty much everyone in the place could hear me “boo” Bastid. Conversely, I cheered Weezill and Brace with even more fervour. It was extreme and over the top on both ends for me. I often think about this event. I think my conduct was due to the circumstances and energy around the event. I was not really over the line in any way but I think I may have been too much that night too.
The best battle of the night was after the event. all the contestants and a bunch of the homies went to some restaurant for food and drinks after. It was so much fun and the real highlight was the mc battle between Weezill and Bastid. I wish I had it on video. It was amazing. I also wish I didn’t drink as much as I did the night so I remembered more than I do about the night. I have some vivid pictures in my head but there are a lot of gaps as well.
So, the word was Bastid, Pip Skid and John Smith were going to be filming a video for the lead single “I ain’t lazy” and some parts at a show at the Royal Albert. The homies are like you should stay for that. I agreed and I gave Rove my car keys for him Factor and Noyz to drive back to Saskatoon. I stayed and went to the show and video shoot and even got a quick cameo/sighting in the video. It was a great decision to stay until it was time to go home. I caught the Greyhound back to Saskatoon which was a 13 hour over night trip. I was not prepared for a bus trip and didn’t have a walkman or anything. It was a super long trip but worth it. I got home to Saskatoon around 6 in the morning and walked home from the Bus Depot.
A couple years later, I am now fairly good homies with Bastid and I found myself driving with him from Saskatoon to Winnipeg. How we ended up driving to Winnipeg together is a story for another night. We were talking and I brought a stack of CD’s for the trip to play in the car as he had not planned on driving to Winnipeg. He was like what is your favourite shit you are rocking right now. I put on the Toca album and was like this is the best shit out right now. I could tell he was not really feeling it. He was full into making that transition from the underground rap scene to that party dj scene. No shade there, to each their own but we were on divergent paths musically and that was fine. I came clean to him about the 2004 DMC’s. I explained the situation from my perspective of the night and how I booed him mercifully. I did apologize for that but for some reason I kept going on about how hard I booed him. I was running on pretty much no sleep and hadn’t planned on going to Winnipeg but there I found myself driving across the frozen prairies confessing my sins to one of the best DJ’s on the planet. He seemed cool about it, I mean we probably had 6 hours to drive yet so he put up with me. We have kicked it a number of times since and it has not come up, but I think about out every time I see him.
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.
I appreciate how real you are about the past, regretting certain behavior, etc. I may have been sitting near you at that DMC competition! We may have actually met that night, I'm not sure.
I'm super-anxious to get my copies of UGSMAG, too. They're sittin' in Mississauga right now.
My boy is 12 and was very excited to have De La finally be on streaming services, because we've had long talks about their history and record company misadventures. He's heavily into the shit I grew up with along with more contemporary artists. If he's not falling asleep to Pharcyde or Tribe, he's got some bossa nova shit on, which trips me out.
I've got physical copies of the first four albums and The Grind Date, but I'll fully acknowledge the ease and convenience of having them on Spotify (a platform I have quite a love/hate relationship with). This past week at work has been a delight because I've drowned out the wack shit in the office with their catalogue. Someone mentioned that not having them on these platforms made one of the most inventive groups ever practically invisible - not to mention having very little of their physical records available for the past few years - and that's criminal in my mind. I'm stoked that they're being celebrated...it's long overdue!
Woah that shirt! Great read as always homie