NEW VIDEO: Rochelle Jordan (Interview w/ AG)

Ty Harper | Interviews,Music | Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Rochelle Jordan sits with AG during the NY stop of her tour with JMSN.

Reintroducing the UK born-Canadian raised, Rochelle Jordan, she takes the stage in front of the awaited crowd at SOBs during her sophomore tour with JMSN. We got a chance to hook up with the RnB singer to talk about the aftermath of her album “1021″, her comparisons to other notable artists, surprising collaborations, and more. You can still catch JMSN and Rochelle Jordan on tour in a city near you! Check your local listings to see if they’re making a stop in your city

INTERVIEW: Frank Dukes w/

rez | Interviews | Friday, February 13th, 2015


Frank Dukes x Get to know the guy.

“I just won a Grammy for Marshall Mathers LP 2, but I’m really more hype off this dope smoothie I just made,” isn’t the typical reaction you’d expect to hear from a producer who just landed one of music’s most sought-after awards, but Frank Dukes isn’t your typical anything. “I’m not one for the limelight I suppose,” he says shrugging unapologetically as he sits in his custom-built studio, situated in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood. It’s from this studio that he supplies countless rappers with the production they need to create songs that their fans will hopefully love. Dukes’ sound is versatile and can quickly shift from a heavy boom-bap to a smooth video game gloss in seconds, something he picked up by studying every genre evenly. “I wanted to be a great producer so I studied great hip-hop producers, but also stuff beyond that: Phil Spector, David Axelrod, Gamble and Huff. They’re equally as influential to me as Dilla, Premier, and Pete Rock.” Dukes has now worked with everyone from Method Man to Macklemore, and was once jokingly told by 50 Cent to stay undiscovered so that Curtis could keep all of the music for himself.

His most recent endeavor is Sour Soul, a collaborative album between Ghostface Killah andBADBADNOTGOOD that Dukes made from scratch. “I brought the idea to the table. I thought it would be a good fit and that the live band/rapper record had never been fully done right. I felt like I could bring the grit that those old Ghostface songs have from sampling old records, but also have the dynamic of a live band with string and horn arrangements making it super lush.” The daunting—and at times gruelling—task of constructing his dream album took almost three years to complete, but it’s now set to be released on February 24th. Despite the long journey, Dukes is still giddy about the idea of it coming out, becoming uncharacteristically animated anytime it’s mentioned. “When I work with any of those guys it’s always a team effort. They’re good friends of mine and we have a really close working relationship. We’ve worked on tons of things together, it’s not like the traditional ‘I’m the producer! What I say goes!’ Everybody has input and those guys are amazing musicians and super talented.”



INTERVIEW: Mae Oriel w/

rez | Interviews | Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


Mae Oriel chops it up with about her influences, her mixtape and more. Peep the tape below. Still bumpin’ the Ginuwine cover!

Mae Oriel is a Toronto vocalist and songwriter that has a strong passion for 90’s styled R&B. It’s hard not to like her when her music is super catchy and feels like a nostalgiac trip through the golden years of R&B. Even when she’s riding a beats that have hardcore Hip Hop percussions she still finds a way to sweeten them up with powerful melodies that easily remind you of Mary J Blige’s earlier stuff.

Mae recently released her ‘Playback EP’, which possesses a collection of original music and remixed classics. In my opinion it’s a solid debut that she should be proud of and I’m really looking forward to what she comes next with.

Check out the fun conversation that I recently had with her. You can also vote for her song, ‘Toyin’ – RIGHT HERE on this week’s Zambah Charts!

If you could describe your sound in one sentence, what would it be?

Hmm. Electrifyingly refreshing with a dash of cognac.

Just by listening to your mixtape it’s clear to see that you’re a student of the greats that came before you. Who are some of the artists that inspire the direction of your sound?

Oh boy. That’s a long list. But I would definitely say Mary J. Blige, SWV, Total, TLC, and En Vogue. Vocally, my biggest influences growing up were Anita Baker, Chaka Khan and Sarah Vaughan.”



INTERVIEW: BadBadNotGood w/

rez | Interviews | Sunday, January 25th, 2015


BadBad + The Hundreds.

In the 1840s, Europe was set ablaze – not just by simultaneous liberal revolutions across the continent by a populace living through the ultra conservative, post-Napoleonic era, but by a social phenomenon known as Lisztomania. Lisztomania is described as the hysterical, almost comical reactions by fans of famed concert pianist Franz Liszt at his sold out performances throughout Europe at the time. Music had never garnered such fevered emotional reception by the youth before. It proved to be a standing point in history, foretelling the constant connection of sound with the adolescent.

This past month, I landed at JFK for the first time and headed down to Manhattan, New York City. In a little longstanding ballroom on the Lower East Side, I played eyewitness to the lisztomania that swept through the gathered audience at The Bowery. Over 600 people stomped, staged dived, pulled their hair, and moshed to a band with no vocalist. The headliners were BADBADNOTGOOD – a Canadian jazz trio. Exhibiting their versatility and hip-hop knowledge, BADBADNOTGOOD built a cult following for themselves by covering acts such as A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame, and Gucci Mane. They’ve since collaborated with and successfully channeled the rambunctiousness of LA outfit Odd Future, incorporating the instrumental structures they learned while attending Humber College in Toronto, and have achieved massive popularity on Soundcloud and social media.

We got to sit down with the three young men of BADBADNOTGOOD fresh off of tour, supporting their 3rd album, promptly titled III, while concurrently wrapping up their collaborative group effort with the Shaolin legend, Ghostface Killah. Backstage, we talked to Alex Sowinski (drums), Chester Hansen (bass), and Matt Tavares (keys) about the importance of their musical background, improvisation, this increasingly visible intersection of jazz and hip-hop, DJ Mustard, and the Sour Soul recordings.

SENAY KENFE: So we’re sitting here backstage of a grand night at the Bowery with BADBADNOTGOOD. How’s it going, guys?
Simultaneous: It’s going great.

It was a packed crowd, how was the tour for you guys?
Alex: It’s been good, it’s gone by in a whirlwind the past few days. We played two shows in Boston, then NYU here, and then Washington and then tonight.

What made you guys go the route of playing these covers? Particularly hip-hop covers and uploading them?
Alex: Just goofing around, meeting each other in school, and yeah, just hanging out and talking about music. You’re practicing your instrument all the time and learning all these jazz songs… So we were like, “Let’s just try playing some other shit,” and we were just goofing around and started playing these random beats and things.

I think it’s pretty epic to see a jazz trio having hundreds of people mosh in a ballroom.
Simultaneous: Yeah, it’s crazy. People were going ham tonight.



INTERVIEW: BriskInTheHouse w/

rez | Interviews | Sunday, January 25th, 2015


Get to know one of BKR$CLB’s finest.

Brampton’s own BriskInTheHouse is one of Canada’s premiere lyrical talents, known for combining conscious flows with saturated breakbeats and piano trills. Growing up in Vaughan and Oakwood, the rapper/producer started refining his craft at the age of 7, at the behest of a very musical family. Brisk likens his upbringing to a sort of “rap bootcamp,” with two DJs in the house, and cousins who would pummel him if he didn’t showcase a few bars for their friends. Two decades later, BriskInTheHouse has conceived a sound that straddles influences like Stones Throw and Jay Electronica, but remains unwaveringly true to himself.

We linked up with the BKR$CLB affiliate to talk about music, faith, and future plans.

When people talk about your music, the term “conscious hip-hop” gets thrown around. Is that a label you embrace?

When it comes to the label or term “conscious,” I’ll embrace it. I know where people are coming from when they say it. Life is all about balance. On a good day, you can find me hanging out with my boys, getting drunk and cracking jokes. But I also take the time out to study, so I don’t get caught up in the traps this world has to offer. I try to be in the world, but not of it. My main goal in life is nation building, and that’s why I write books, read books, and share information with anyone willing to listen.

Your latest record, Tickets To The Roxy, has a throughline of classic, jazzy boom-bap, sidestepping massive trap beats that dominate mainstream hip-hop. Who do you cite as influences for the sound you’ve created?

The title Tickets To The Roxy was inspired when I was watching the movie Beat Street one night. Back in the day, the Roxy was the place to be, and I wanted to bring back that real hip-hop sound everyone seems to be ignoring these days. The music itself was probably recorded two and a half years prior to me putting it out, because I was recording so much at the time. My main influence when it comes to making music is Jay Electronica. I can relate to him because we’re both followers of the Honourable Elijah Muhammad, and we come from the same school of thought. He is probably the only mainstream rapper I can relate to at the moment. Most of my favourite artist are signed to Stones Throw Records. I stopped being a fan of rap a long time ago, and started getting heavy into jazz, and music from Brazil. I think that’s where the influence for most my records comes from. I try and channel that Brazilian jazz swing in the beat, and in the way I flow.



INTERVIEW: Sean Leon w/

rez | Interviews | Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


Nice piece featuring that dude Sean Leon courtesy of

MICAH PETERS: It’s crazy how I feel like I know you both even though we’ve only ever ‘talked’ on Twitter. “Tania’s Song” is still my favorite [recording that you’ve made, to date. It’s what got me hooked in the first place. How did you and Tania meet, anyways?
SEAN LEON: I met Tania [pronounced Tan-yee-uh] at the studio. But we had been talking prior to that, actually. She’s a writer. She was writing for this website – not major, she wasn’t at Noisey yet, this was something else – and she wanted to do an interview or whatever, so she used to tweet to me all the time. Not directly, either she wouldn’t “mention” me. She would type my name like, “Can we talk about Sean Leon for a second?” And this was when I was really obsessed with what people were saying about me, so I was on Twitter searching my name all the time, seeing what kind of hate comments or compliments I was getting. And then I see this girl with this really pretty face that kept asking about me and I followed her immediately. The most attractive thing to me is someone that, you know, finds me interesting. That’s like, the sexiest thing.

Yeah, man.
Her best friend handed her my initial project because her boyfriend at the time went to high school with me, and he was over in British Columbia on a football scholarship. So it was like, a one-in-a-million shot. She came to see me perform one night at Manifesto, which is this Toronto festival – like Coachella, but not that big of a deal. She saw me perform then hit me up for an interview. I denied it, then invited her to the studio. She came to the studio, and then from that point on, that’s just how it was. Me and Tania. We just had our own thing. She’s just this person, like, I’d never met anybody like that before. She understands music. She really understands it. Like, every facet. She’s beautiful. She’s fucking awesome. She’s so funny. She’s so loyal – her integrity is of that shit you only see in movies. I’m not sure I’ve ever met anyone her, or that I’ll ever meet anyone like her again.

It always felt right, and it still feels right. So it’s just really dope to have this baby now that’s half me and half her.

That’s beautiful. So what’s it like being a father? Having this baby that’s half you and half her?
[Laughs] Man, it’s great because now I have a real excuse to not go to these things that I don’t want to go to. That I never wanted to go to. Now I can really be like, “Yeah you know, I can come, but I should really be at home with Xylo.” You know? And they’re like, “Ah yeah, I get it.” I don’t have to do anything but music and family now.

My brother had a daughter and he told me it changed his perspective on everything. It changed the way he thinks, how he handles problems; even the way he talks now is different. How do you think Xylo’s going to impact your art or your method?
I don’t know how much about how it’s going to affect my art. I think it’s too early to tell. But as for my day to day, I’m much more compassionate and I’m much more selfish with my time. If I don’t have to do it, I’d much rather just kick it with her. It wasn’t until I held her that I really understood that every woman is somebody’s daughter. It changes everything.

Like, it changes the way you make decisions. The way you think. It’s not a question of work ethic; I’m going just as hard as I ever was. But what it really did for me is that it made that option of failing just not even an option anymore. It’s no longer a thing like ‘what if this doesn’t work.’ It has to.



INTERVIEW: The Come Up Show Podcast w/ John River

rez | Interviews | Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014


John River chops it up with The Come Up Show about a wide variety of things. Just get past the initial Mississauga ramblings to get to the good stuff, lol. The kid drops some real gems. Definitely a fan of this kid and looking forward to taking in whatever he does next.

“First thing you have to do is find yourself as a person.”

And peep The Come Up Show’s SoundCloud page for more Podcast episodes with the likes of Junia-T, Classified, Shad and more…

The Come Up Show is a multi-media presentation of Hip Hop culture. It’s new, it’s clear-cut, it’s authentic, it’s where feel good music lives.


FEATURE: Jazz Cartier w/ NOW Magazine

rez | Interviews | Friday, November 28th, 2014


NOW chops it up with Jazz Cartier in advance of his show tonight at the Garrison. Get to know the kid.

Twenty-one-year-old emcee Jazz Cartier isn’t partying any more.

“Since my music’s been out, I don’t go out much,” he says over tea at a local coffee spot. “I feel like rappers drop songs and go out that same weekend to get instant gratification – to get someone to be like, ‘I love your track.'”

With his deep, raggedly emotional and versatile vocals, and his go-to producer, Michael Lantz, lending menacing industrial-electro beats, Jazz has made some anthem-ready tunes already. People do love Set Fire and Switch/The Downtown Cliché, but he doesn’t need to party to know that.

Instead, the rapper, whose real name is Jaye Adams, spent last weekend with his girlfriend, baby shopping for his expecting pal and falling asleep to movies.

It’s a nice change, especially after two years in the three-floor, five-bedroom Kensington Market abode he shared with his Get Home Safe crew – a notorious party (and after-party) spot somewhat ironically called the Palace.

“If we were in the States and everybody knew about the Palace like they do now, our house would have been raided by now.”

Jazz was born in downtown Toronto but started moving around the world (Idaho, Barbados, Kuwait) when he was six – his stepdad works for the U.S. government. Eventually he landed in an elite boarding school in Connecticut where he played tennis and snuck into 50 Cent’s estate with his friends on his downtime.

After graduation, he was supposed to go to school in Chicago, but to the chagrin of his mother, came back north.

“Five years of boarding school is like five years of university, and you don’t want to do it any more,” he says. “I wanted that connection to home. So I came back here with music in mind, had all these ideas – and lo and behold, they all came to fruition.”



INTERVIEW: Ian Kamau w/

rez | Interviews | Saturday, November 22nd, 2014


OkayPlayer chops it up with Ian Kamau as part of their “First Look” series. Never too late to get the official intro. Happy Kamau Day!

Today so many young people with upward mobility have labeled themselves a “creative” that the word–and the notion of what it means to create something–is in danger of being lost in a shuffle of commerce, social media and trends. But to truly be creative, to find fulfillment, challenge and peace in self-expression will never lose its power, and although it’s easier now than ever to get caught up in the style of the moment, some young artists are still tapping into the timeless captivation that creativity begets.What do you think?

One such artist is Canadian Ian Kamau, a Toronto-based MC and musician whose talent is erasure. Kamau’s output defies easy classification and obliterates the boundaries between what it is to make music, write poetry, craft images and foster change. In a new interview with Okayplayer, Kamau spoke passionately about his need to both make things and overcome limitations; the resulting conversation became a kind of meditation on artistry in our digital age, more concerned with broad concepts than the fine details of how to rhyme. Inspired by painters, filmmakers, visits to Africa and life in Toronto, Kamau’s long explanations are warmly encouraging for anyone sick of the never-ending chatter. Donning his MC cap, Kamau also just dropped “Heading Home,” a brand new track composed of jazz-tinged piano, tribal African-style drumming and a gritty hip-hop backbeat. It’s a sprawling piece, one that Okayplayer is very pleased to premiere in this First Look. Read on to learn about Ian Kamau in his own words and hear what concentrated creativity sounds like. Bonus: also in store is a video that tells the tale of Kamau’s beginnings.

OKP: Please introduce yourself to the people–who is this Ian Kamau?What do you think?

IK: I’m an artist, a creative; I make things. I was born and raised in Toronto. My parents are both documentary filmmakers, the first in Canada, so I was born into a community of artists.What do you think?

OKP: As an artist with fingers in multiple media (music /poetry/ visual arts etc) how do you balance the different modes of expression? Do you ever develop ideas from one and end up with another?What do you think?

IK: I’ve always been a creator. The process of making things is probably my only true joy outside of my connections with people. I don’t see forms of art as different, they are a continuum, connected and related to each other. The same process inherent in design is the process inherent in music and writing. Most of my art is essentially collage, with production you pull sounds together, with writing you blend words, film is the same, with design it is visual elements like photography, illustration and text. It’s just like making a meal for someone, you have ingredients and you fuse them together, the way that you combine them is your creativity, your expression. It’s all essentially the same process, it’s just a question of what your favorite ingredients are. My cousin Roger is a well-known chef, he’s a good example of that. My ideas are always wandering between different media, and right now I’m interested in self actualization and place-making, how to make ourselves whole through creative processes; I have a long way to go.



NEW VIDEO: Raz Fresco “Interview” + “Freestyle” (w/ Hiphop Since 1987)

Ty Harper | Interviews,Music,Video | Friday, November 21st, 2014

HHS1987 chops it up with Raz.

Toronto’s Raz Fresco, from the Hip-Hop collective, BKR$CLB, talks to HHS1987. He talks about he laced French Montana, B.o.B., Big Sean, Mac Miller and more with production. He breakdown the up and coming Toronto rap scene, the barriers some of the artists face, and more. He talks producing, rapping, and why he raps over his tracks for the most part. He talks working with Duck Down Music, adding on to their legacy and more. He also touches up on the classic era of hip hop from the 90s that inspires him and so much more.

Checkout his HHS1987 freestyle here

This interview was conducted by HHS1987’s E-Money, and shot by Rick Dange.

Follow us on Twitter/ Instagram

@RazFresco | @RazFresco7
@EMoneyBeatz | @BeatEmUpMoney


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