T-Dot Part 2: 13 Ronin Family
Toronto, ON – Down through the halloed halls of hip-hop, past the one hit wonders, past the closet full of backpacks, even past the life-time achievement award winners, was an empty room. There was no ‘under construction’ sign, no ‘do-not-enter’ warnings, not even any lights on, just a red velvet rope to barricade the room. I stopped one of the on-duty employees and said “Aye Pras, what’s this room for?” The lost Fugee replied, “Oh we saving that room, we heard the T-Dot was on a come up.” Week 1 of who’s leading the way…
Made up of some of the hottest Emcees, DJs and Producers in the game, 13 Ronin has burst on to the scene like Freeway on 1-900-Hustler. They have taken the old tale of the ‘Masterless Warriors’ (aka Ronin) and used it as a platform to storm the industry. “In the old days, when a Samurai Master was killed, these warriors would vow revenge on the parties that committed the crime” points out Ronin’s media man Specks. “With 13 Ronin, they’re out to get revenge for all the crimes that have been perpetrated against hip-hop over the years. Then they’re gonna dust it off and take it to a next level…the real next level…”
The most recognizable face in the Ronin crew right now is the brash and bold Syntifik. After his debut single, “The Arrival”, jumped on to the streets of Toronto, everything has gone into fast forward trying to keep up with the demand. In these past three months Syntifik has finished his next single, the dirty Trickin, produced by another T.O. cat, DJ Serious, along with about 75% of his album The World I Live In. He began headlining his own block of shows entitled ‘The Arrival Tour 2002′ that will run through December, with school and radio station dates already lined up. He also put in work on 13 Ronin’s newest member Strik IX’s first album, and has done multiple interviews for mags and websites while the work on his album continues. But it’s all in a day’s work for the young man from Vaughn, because doing your part to save hip-hop is not a 9-to-5. Good thing he didn’t come alone.
Guess who just stepped on the scene, ladies and gentlemen! Strik’s ON THE SCENE! Strik IX is every bit the poison that his name suggests. After setting the city a blaze with his dubplate on DJ J-Class’ “Live @ the BBQ” Indie 500 mixtape and lacing the catchy hook on Tifik’s “Trickin'”, Strik is back in the lab banging out his own 1000 CD’s on the Street for a winter release. With T.O’s beat monsters the Tone Mason handling most of the production, it’s guaranteed to bring major heat in the cold months. Strik is also performing with Syntifik on The Arrival Tour, combining their stage shows to give the crowds a show that is straight off the meter.
On the production tip Marco Polo is the type of cat that lets his music do his talking. Well educated in making music, Marco’s production was first heard on Syntifik’s underground heater, “Think About It”. After relocating to NYC last year and landing a job at the infamous Cutting Room studios, Marco has stepped his production up and now has major label cats beatin’ his door down for beats. His musical expertise and engineering work has helped Amerie’s Why Don’t We Fall in Love and Styles P The Life achieve big success this year. He is more than a beat maker, crafting complete music and, in the process, forcing the artists to come correct when they spit over a Marco Polo instrumental. Count the days till this guy is responsible for your favourite track. Now it’s all about getting those joints heard.
“DJ J-Class hasn’t even started yet.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I’d probably have $20 or $25, and that’s a big compliment! His name is already a staple around the city for his wildly popular additions to Ronin’s Indie 500 series (J-Class Is In Session & Live @ the BBQ). J-Class has a knack for creating that remix for a mixtape that just has you shooting in the air (check Tweet’s Call Me rmx on ‘Live’) and he seems to get the hottest tracks months before they come out (yes, he did break Cam’ron’s “Oh Boy” here). If you’re in the T-Dot check for him at Pearl Lounge on Friday’s and watch for him coming to a College or University near you this semester.
All these dudes are just getting their feet wet in the industry. Its tough to find someone in the know that isn’t keeping their eye on someone in the Ronin family, so now’s the time to take notice — these guys could have your city locked in the very near future.
Shabs Sidebar: Let me know what y’all think, I’m writing for you so holla at ya boy!
Written by Chris Shaban for HipHopCanada