Magnum 357 [Interview]
Montreal, QC – When you name yourself after one of most powerful guns available on the street, chances are you know a thing or two about living in dangerous surroundings. For Magnum 357, also known as the voice of the streets, surviving is only part of the hustle.
Born and raised in the borough of Little Burgundy in Montreal, Magnum’s quest for recognition started at the young age of 14. As his buzz grew, the rapper’s mission to rise out of Real-City and gain international respect only became stronger. A few years ago he teamed up with some of Canada’s hungriest producers, street teams and hustlers and has managed to bring attention to his movement by strong arming the industry one radio station at a time. In 2007, Magnum dropped his first mixtape Revolver Music Volume 1 and began to open for acts such as Mobb Deep, Lloyd Banks, Juelz Santana, Papoose, Boot Camp Clik and Planet Asia.
Featuring tracks by Mazaradi Fox, Hell Rell and Max B, Volume 1 turned heads on the street and on the internet with the release of street videos for “Cake” and “Hold up.” Now, with the New Year well in progress, it’s easy to see that Magnum’s team is set to make big strides and bring his presence to a whole new level.
Magnum has been hard at work all day and, incidentally, kept me waiting for our scheduled interview. It’s now 11PM and I’ve been told that he’s running a little late and should be arriving for his interview right after a photo shoot. An hour later, he pulled up to my house along with his producer Primal and was ready to get the interview started.
HipHopCanada: What’s up Magnum? Glad you could make it. I know you’ve had a busy night. How are things? Are you enjoying your stay in T-Dot?
Magnum: Life is good right now. I’m glad to be in T-Dot where there’s way more opportunity for artists to get noticed. I’m just out here trying to make some noise and show people how we do it in Montreal. It’s only a first step for us. We’re making key moves right now and the plans are to hit the rest of Canada and the world real soon.
HipHopCanada: The streets have spoken. The word is that they’ve elected you as “the voice of the streets.” What does that mean to you?
Magnum: That’s what they call me around Burgz [Little Burgundy]. I mean, you’ve got to understand that I represent the real people who you never hear about. I’m trying to show you where I come from and not only from the angles you always see. Beyond the street violence there is people like me; trying to get out and get their voices heard. I represent for those people so I guess that’s why they call me the voice of the streets.
HipHopCanada: So what do you think of the state of hip-hop right now? Is it a big challenge to get your music heard?
Primal: Right now, I think hip-hop is in a state of emergency and not only in Canada. There are way too many artists claiming to be things that they’re not. Too many artists are getting away with making hits off gimmicks and not talent. It’s almost as if you don’t need credibility anymore. So many rappers make up stories about themselves that nobody can really check out.
Magnum: At the end of the day, I’m only being real with the people. The street wrote my music and we just out here trying to get this money whether they like it or not.
HipHopCanada: Fair enough. Let’s rewind a little bit. 2007 was a big year for you and your camp. Revolver Musik Volume 1 dropped and you got some videos out that generated a buzz on the Net. It has to be hard to match the buzz that’s been surrounding you since Volume 1. What can we expect to hear from you in 2008?
Magnum: Bigger moves and more music. Our team is solid I’ve got my U.N.C.B Inc. Independent label, my Star Money Ent. camp, Dutch from Escape Entertainment putting in work, plus Primal from DirtWork on production, and we’re going to be bringing in some new members. I don’t want to make anything official just yet but I can tell you that “Luck” from Cream World is going to be a big part of the changes this year. On the musical tip, we’re about 80% done with Volume 2. We’ve been really putting in a lot of work on this tape to match the hype behind Volume 1. People have learned to expect some heavy music from me and that’s exactly what they’re going to get once again. That’s going to drop in February. The full album The Revolver Story is supposed to drop this summer. We’re really focused right now and if we can’t get it we’re going to be breaking doors down this year…straight up. [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: Big things. So what do you feel you bring to the game that’s different than others? Is there anyone out there right now that you feel isn’t credible?
Magnum: The game is filled with fake dudes but I’m going to stay reserved for now. When it’s time, I’ll start kicking these cats out the game. The bottom line is that I bring a breath of fresh air. Most of these artists just imitate what they see and can’t back up their words. I’m making my own moves, my own choices, and my own style of music. What really sets me apart is that I’m really about what you hear on tape. Ask me about it, I live it. This isn’t an act for me, it’s a true story.
HipHopCanada: Primal, you have worked with artists such as Bad News Brown and have been around for some time now. What is it about Magnum that made you dive into the project at full force?
Primal: Magnum is the full package. There are tons of dudes out there that are street but can’t actually rap. They might have the credit, but they don’t have the talent. Others make up their stories and make sure nobody can check into their history. Magnum is like an open book you know? Look and you’ll find out. The man has got delivery, the lyrics and the credibility to really make it out here. It’s not just a formula, its real talk. He’s by far the most versatile cat I’ve worked with because he isn’t scared to push the boundaries. I can respect that.
HipHopCanada: Flash round to end things off. 5 words – first thing that comes to mind… M-City…
Magnum: Real City
Magnum: A hobby until it becomes a career.
Magnum: [Laughing] All-day, everyday.
HipHopCanada: 50 or Kanye?
Magnum: Fuck them both.
HipHopCanada: Nas or Jay-Z?
Magnum: Fuck ‘em too.
HipHopCanada: Magnum 357
Magnum: Top ‘e Top!
Editor’s Note: For more information on Magnum 357 please visit his MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/mag357
Written by Didier “C4” Tovel for HipHopCanada