“You don’t have to worry anymore, we are in the right place now, Mickey.”
Mister D always had a way of soothing the anxiety and stress of all the unknowns. He was, in fact, born into it. Not by choice at all – we’re certain no one would ever choose that path – but he found himself on it with his partner in crime and he wouldn’t change it for the world.
He sleeps so peacefully. Like, no matter what is going on outside, all is fine inside. It’s a character trait Mickey admired of Mister D. A piece that’s been rubbing off on him lately.
Now, if he could just learn the art of sleep like D…
Canadian hip hop, r&b, soul, spoken word, beats, rap and all other sub-genres of urban music got a huge break Sunday at the 2018 JUNO Awards in Vancouver, BC.
Tory Lanez couldn’t have planned it better if he tried. Due to his absence at the awards show, Rascalz, Thrust, Checkmate, Kardinal and Choclair busted into “Northern Touch” in an impromptu self-proclaimed “takeover” of the JUNOS. This, much to the likely chagrin of the brass (and my parents) was a very radical and much needed shakeup in the musical landscape. I think is sad that a nation so proud of its heritage, proud of its diversity and proud of acceptance still has “-gasp- moments” when a group of artists take the microphone and lay down the facts like they did last night…
Its 2018. Let’s get real. Urban music is very much a part of our national identity and because of the talents that took the chance at the shake up last night, we are leaders in the urban space. Much love. Much respect. You’re true foot soldiers. We need more of that.
I had the pleasure of meeting one of these legends of Canadian Hip Hop, Kardinal Offishall this winter, when he hosted an event at NMC, interviewing another leader in the World Music genre, fellow Calgarian, Raghav.
Kardinal is hilarious, classy and it’s great to see him continue to give back to the music community and really help to continue to grow the hip hop movement.
So yeah. I wanted to not just base my argument solely off of opinion, even though I know a lot more than the ignorant, culturally narrowed-minded opposition… so here are three of my favourite arguments to counter those who deny urban music and its legitimacy in the industry.
1. “Rap is not music.”
Oh, is that so? Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition music is:vocal, instrumental, or mechanical sounds having rhythm, melody, or harmony.
So if you believe rap is not music, you would be incorrect.
They tie lyrics together in multiple rhythms and rhyme schemes to a beat generally, but not always. Case closed.
2. “Rap Artists have no talent.”
Have you ever tried to fit 14 syllables into one sentence and line it up like poetry and craft stories around your experience?
Awfully insecure, ignorant and insensitive, don’t you think? Here, watch this clip and tell me urban music hasn’t moved entire political, socio-economic and popular culture agendas. Straight Outta Compton – trailer
Urban music is charged by emotion. Rhythmically, lyrically and ingeniously it is an art form simply reserved for an elite class of forward thinking artists. Sure, there are some pretty shitty artists out there, like any industry. But generally speaking, the urban scene, especially in Canada is alive and well.
I find that most people fear change. These are typically the same people that horde, and share an incredibly narrow focused belief system about how the ways things are.
We fear what we don’t know.
And a lot of people don’t know urban music, hip hop and the like…
Tonight’s takeover was a huge step in alleviating that fear.
This thought brought to you by nearly 12 years of hardship, trials and tribulations and a ton of goofing up along the way and figuring shit out the hard way. Think about this one for a hot minute. Our social support system is critical to determining whether or not we keep on pushing through with goals and aspirations or if we give up. Do you really want it? Do you like the idea of wanting it? I’ll use my experience as an example, please let me know if you can relate…
I have spent so much time in my own space, developing my craft, fighting to be heard, struggling – really struggling. Some people, often closest to me have told me to give up. Others call me stubborn, or even just plain stupid. It’s not like that to me. It’s not a choice. I would rather wonder where my paycheque was and continue to make positive impact in the lives of others than go work for some company and build their dream. I truly don’t know what I’d be doing if I was not a catalyst for lifestyle change in others’ lives.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about the next thing, the next way to inspire to the masses, another promotional strategy to communicate my message …the list goes on and on… it’s really quite a thing for me. My overactive mind still sometimes gets the best of me and I find myself reeling these extravagant thoughts and dreams of creativity and purpose in so that it’s fuel to the fire. But at times, it goes unnoticed. Actually, I feel like most often it goes unnoticed. That’s okay though, except for when it crosses a certain line. I am human and emotions do play a role.
More often than not, I’m the butt of most insensitive jokes. What’s batshit crazy about that, is that the jokes come from people you wouldn’t expect. Just little shots from those on the sidelines, not really sure what I’m doing behind the scenes and clearly not in tune with how the words they speak may affect others around them.
“Will you pay me in exposure.”
This is a real example from a real person in my life. A person I would have in the past called a friend. Harmless or not, the demeaning nature of this comment temporarily derailed my train from the tracks of my greater purpose. It was like a callous shot in the arm. A sting from a wasp. Albeit temporary, I’m not going to die (thank the heavens I learned this past summer that I’m not allergic to stings!) it still hurts like hell.
Because it’s from the perspective of an individual closer to me (although now that could be argued) than a random person. A person that knows (some of) my story and has seen my growth, seen my shortcomings and been there on the path for some of it. They were not alongside me shoulder to shoulder, but ironically enough I met this person and had a positive impact on their lifestyle. Typical me, years ago we met and I provided my professional services to incorporate wellness into a lifestyle darkened by poor nutrition, alcoholism and inactivity, stress and so on and so forth…. So the comment itself bamboozles me. And feel free to use that word when given the opportunity this week. It’s under-utilized. Anyway, I know my value and was miffed by the lack of discretion. I felt like calling them out with something like:
“Hello, we got on so well because we learned from each other in times of critical need. Now you want to dismiss the work that I do because of whatever insecurities or predisposed commentary you have about my business practices…”
I did throw fire back, unapologetically – as this wasn’t the first time this individual made the exact same discerning comment. I laughed it off the first time, something like 6 months ago… but once the knife is in and turned a couple times around it’s hard to not take things personally… you know?
However, today as I look back on it, I have let that shit go. It was not a personal attack against me. Who knows what the people around us are going through. They could be just reacting and projecting a story they have in their head about you. And that brings me finally, to my main point. Ta da! See? Full circle…
The people we hold closest to us in our personal lives have a story they’ve built up about us. So no matter what you accomplish professionally, no matter how much experience you gain in your field, you’ll always be “sonny”, “baby brother” or “one of the boys”, “daddy’s girl” the “party girl” or “wild child” or whoever you were to them when they met you.
You’ll only become a prophet once you leave your hometown.
Now, for those of you wondering what the heck I was getting flack on Facebook about anyway, I actually made a calling for an IT/Web design tech savvy person to bounce some ideas and see what they would recommend for a project I’ve been working at for a while; my new online store. I am prepared to hire the right person as web design, though I can do it – is not a great use of my time. I’d prefer to have someone much more in love with it and proficient to get it done right and with the same kind of passion as I bring to my clients.
Turns out for the time being anyway I don’t need to hire anyone on. I was able to figure things out and get the coding done DIY style so now all of you can check out the products and services I offer to musicians, via remote coaching, webinars and soon to be released, E-Programs.
That’s right, I’ve got a few introductory exercise workout programs and stretch techniques that I’ve built and can’t wait to release to help people conveniently take care of themselves at home with proper instruction!
For now, online coaching services and free weekly webinars – if you’re interested in checking it out, please head to the MusicFit Collective New Online Store at
Deep breath. One, maybe two more. Feel your heart beat slow down. Calm. You’re ready. Eyes up, shades down though. Move to the line. One more chance, just breath. He calls “go to the start” – and you go. Left foot forward, right dug in. Slightly on the inside of course, just like in training. “Ready…” – born you respond, at the crack of the gun. Left blade first, powerful, but quick feet to get you to the 50… Then powerful long strides to carry you to the perfect corner entry. Stay hard on the left off your last right push, just like the cable pushes in training with Shannon. Drive that hip. Nose. Knees. Toes. Enter about a foot and a half from the outer paint. Apex. Build. Low. Stay low. 6 inches – chest to knee, drive that arm swing, drive that left. Drive. Build. Big exit on the slingshot and two hand swing on the backstretch. Stay low, quick tempo. Build it hard. Switch to the outer and drive hard and stay aggressive on the last corner entry. It’s yours. Build. Again. Drive. It’s getting lactic but you’re almost through to the home straight. Driving hard with both arms, full but quick extension through every stride. Every damn stride. Push. Up. Up. Up! Don’t stop pumping til the finish line. Cross it. Glasses off. Hood down, unzip.