Tribute to Matic – Rest In Peace [Article]
Toronto, ON – I have found that it’s always the hardest task when given the opportunity to write about something or someone dear to you. Being critical as a writer becomes second nature, with emotions and vivid memories taking precedence over the simple fact that you lost someone from your circle of friends. During the week that Matic passed away, The Soundcheck Show, Stylistic Endeavours, and Real Frequency show’s paid homage to him by playing some of his tracks, having a moment of silence, and allowing members from Camp X to speak on the air and reflect on everything that he was to us.
Matic aka Boo aka Jgaboo da Ignant aka Mr. Boo (how the high school teachers addressed him) was a lot more than just an emcee from the Camp X family. He was a leader, role model, architect, friend, confidant, counsellor, strong father, loving husband and an extremely loyal son. It would be easy for me to speak volumes on Matic’s influence on the development of emcees on Toronto’s Jane Strip (M.O.D. will always be that crew you knew you wanted to be down with), his talent and professionalism in the booth and philosophy on life, but that would be selfish. Matic connected with a lot of people during his time here on planet Earth and this article is meant as a catalyst for those who were touched by Matic to express themselves and to share their own experiences with him. We encourage you to add on to this dialogue after you’ve read it. Naturally the loss is very upsetting for us, but the one thing that we all can say with pride is that Matic left us his music to remember him by.
Matic passed away on Tuesday, September 9, 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer.
These are the memories of some of the people he was closest too:
I remember once when I was at Matic’s place.. Just a regular night of Xbox and whatever and we got into a freestyle cipher. It was Scan, Matic, Dave, Carlos, me and a couple other dudes. I was beatboxing. Matic and the fellas kept getting open and I kept switching up the beat. Most people gave up or left after a while and it was just me and Boo at that point. He kept on going as long as I beatboxed and I just kept going cause I’ve never seen someone rhyme for that long! One guy there was gettin’ annoyed and just split as this was close to a couple hours by then. I guess he wanted to converse! Matic’s love for pure rhyming over rhythms had the session going for over 2 hours! He held it down solo for the last hour and a bit. Even by the 45 minute mark I was amazed. I’ve seen some long freestyles in my time but I’ve never met anyone else that had that type of passion for the moment and rhyming and he kept it live the whole time. He was also always on point in the studio and executed his lyrics with precision. He never needed coaching or too many takes, and nailed most of them in one go. ‘Bang, in and out’ was his motto, and it worked.
Matic was a presence. He was one of those rare people that had a magnetism, genuineness and sharp ass wit to match. Definitely a freestyle beast and a song writing innovator. Matic was just a real dude, a man of respect who gave it and received it in equal portions. Rise in Progress fam.
Yo, I remember Matic for being a beast with the rhymes . . . Jane and Lawrence / Weston Collegiate shit. We’re talking ’93 and he was a monster. I remember it was all about M.O.D. and the Jedi Knights. Ill memories! Mufuckas were on top of they mic game. It’d be some shit like “yo . . . I gotta get my shit tight if I’m gonna fuck with these nuccuhs.” T dot is one of these cities where if you got skills there’s no denying it. Haters will be haters and this IS the Screwface Capital. When I went to college a few years later I met this emcee named Rubber Grip. His team put out this 12″ single, which was crazy to me at the time regarding the money it took to put out product on wax. I flip the record over and low and behold Matic had a song on the other side. I wish I could have seen Matic go further with his career. I didn’t really know dude, so I’m not gonna front on some bullshit but yo, it’s a big loss. Talented without question. Rest in Peace Matic.
K-Fresh The NEM-S-ISS
I remember back in the day before I even thought of being a rapper seeing JGA BOO & The Red Eye Knights dropping crazy lyrics at the rec centre in Martha Eaton Way aka Black Creek. I have to admit it was a true inspiration for me. His lyrics were original and abstract. It wasn’t the same old street rap. His music had thought provoking concepts and wordplay that made him stand out from “WACK RAPPERS”. I’ve known JGA BOO aka MATIC for over ten years and that man defines real talent. R.I.P homie. See you when I get there.
It’s rare to find a person in Toronto, aka Screwface Capital, that will actually listen to you drop a flow and give you the right direction to help you improve. To be truthful it was harder back then than it is now. The first time that I saw Matic was in high school and he had that attitude about him that made you pay attention to him. He had the teachers calling him by his emcee name, which is a large feat for a kid in high school. I was in the same drama class with Matic and he was always dropping lyrics with Scans. I would act like I wasn’t paying attention but I would take in his views on the latest tracks and the hottest verses when he and Scans would reason. Matic didn’t even know me yet but still gave me props when he caught me writing a battle verse in class. Boo actually rounded up the whole M.O.D. clique, which was about 30 people deep, to the battle to support and then drop a cipher. From there the education on how to dominate in a cipher and on the page began. It’s not to say that I wouldn’t have progressed but during a time when a lot of cats were not trying to help out anyone building their skills Matic was an anomaly. After that year I didn’t get to see much of Matic cuz he graduated by that time. Reuniting with him at the old Camp X HQ made me really get to know him and realize how talented he was. It was then that I learned that Boo had never written a verse on paper from when he started emceeing. One love to the homey Matic.
Yo . . . on the real, Matic was an emcees’ emcee na mean? He was ILL with the styles he’d flip. His rhymes were clever and above all the dude was MAD intelligent. I remember the first time I heard “Codes of Conduct” with Camp X, he has this line “Postin’, pivotin’ Camp X deliverin’, lyrics for hype kids like doses of Ritalin” I was like, “this guy is crazy!” But on top of the fact that he was a dope rapper the man was a family man. He took care of his pops, his wife and his seeds all while he was sick himself. And what you had to respect about dude is that he was always straight up. He didn’t mince words about ANYTHING and I’m going to miss that! I still remember the day that Matic said he was gonna start rapping again (he decided that his heart hadn’t really been in it too much and said he was going to stop rapping around the time he had found out that he was about to have his second son!) We were chillin in Wizkid’s car smoking blunts and things had pretty much just fell apart with us (RekaEnt) and J-Staxxx. So me and Wizkid are in the front and Matic’s sitting in the back and I go to pass him the blunt and I say, “Well Matic . . . you know what this means right?” and he says, “What’s that?” and I turn to him and jokingly and say, “I guess this means you gotta come outta retirement now, son!” and me and Wizkid start laughing. Then I look back and I notice that he’s not laughing with us and he looks back at us (cause he was looking out the window) and he says ,”That might be a good idea boys! Send me some beats tomorrow!” Me being the asshole that I am I turn around and tell him, “No problem pal. I’ll send ALL my beats to you tomorrow!” Sure enough the next day I get a call in the afternoon from Matic and he’s all like, “Yo, how come you ain’t sent me no beats yet?” and I was like, “Yo Matic . . . you serious?” to which he responded (in typical Matic fashion mind you) “What? Did I sound like I was joking? Send me some fucking beats yo!” So I sent him a bunch of beats and he chose like 5 joints from that original batch and that’s how the Boom Addicts project came about. Basically we would record songs whenever Matic wasn’t doing chemo. So it was pretty much a one song at a time process. The last joint that we did together was a song called “The Time Is Now”. I remember that day so clear and vividly that I’ll never forget it as long as I live. It was one of those days in February where the sun was out and the air was warm, you know, giving you that slight hope that an early spring was on the horizon. I was also supposed to be going out with this girl that night so that was on my mind. You know, one of them days! So we get to the studio and one of the stipulations for the session was that I would go and get our engineer Bookworm a roti from Island Foods (because Matic was ITCHING to do the track so badly, I had to bribe Book to get in some time). We dropped Matic off at Book’s, set up the beat and left. We went, ordered the food and came back and the track was DONE! I remember being like, “What you mean the tracks done?” and laughing like these guys were pulling my leg or some shit. Sure enough the man went in and banged the track out in 45 minutes. It was CRAZY! I actually took a picture of him right after that and I remember thinking to myself how well he looked and thinking that the chemo sessions must have been doing good because he was in top form that day.
I just remember him and Theo going at it with disses at the HQ! Hilarious! As soon as they saw each other they would start on each other! I also remember Matic and Ponch talking shit about their Halo skills and getting sonned at the HQ every time [Laughing]. Matic was mad funny. He kept you sharp! A perfect example of a great emcee, an amazing father and a loyal son!
Boo Matic was an original M.O.D. member. M.O.D. was a hip-hop collective that started the South Side Jane Street movement. He was one of best MC’s I’ve ever heard in my life. His lyrical substance was beyond most MC’s that are out now, in 1996 and no one matched his flow. Aside from all of that Matic was a good friend and just an all around good person. I mourn the loss of this great man not just for myself, but also for the world and for hip-hop. Now he lives through us!
I remember the first time I met Boo I must have been in Grade 9. I remember somebody telling me, “Yo this guy raps and he’s sick”. Those days I was an arrogant little kid who thought I could out rap anyone. It was either in the cafeteria or the gym and nuff people were there and he was like “let me hear your shit.” I spit something and it was dirty he gave me my due props and then he dropped something and I couldn’t believe what was coming out of this guys mouth. My head nearly snapped. I remember going home that day and bucking up Snipes and I was like, “Yo, I heard this guy from my school. He’s sick. I think his name is Boo.” Snipes was like, “oh, yeah I know that guy, from the Red Eye Knights. Yeah man those guys are ill with it”. Ever since then I would always be up in the center of ciphers, the human beat box that lasted longer than a boom box. I saw emcee after emcee face Boo and get crushed and he’d rub it in your face too. He’d spit something, the crowd would go sick and then in the end of his flow he’d be like, “Abooahhh” and walk out of the cipher like Magic Johnson throwing a no look pass and just done it! That was the beginning of M.O.D., the Mindz of Darkness. Cipher after cipher. On the real it was real good to roll with Boo in the same clique those days I had an excuse to bite his flow (yup, I have to admit I got the dynamic flow from Boo). Before I heard him rap I was still on that Das Efex shit. Every lunch we’d get hammered and then skip afternoon class with the excuse “we were at the studio recording tracks.” I remember him dissecting hip-hop verses and it makes me think damn, nowadays there’s nothing to dissect. He used to love Ol’ Dirty Bastard, that puzzled me at first but then I grew to like ODB after his artistry was broken down better for me. The clique was tight; we were young and had a buzz. People from Scarborough would come through to take in the freestyle. I usually called the ciphers and told everyone to come. The first question they’d ask is, “Is Boo gonna be there?”, and I’d be like, “yeah, and that’s what drew the crowds. Boo was a soldier. We’d cipher in the cold and you know what, people would still show up. Just by the man’s lyrics and knowledge I know he’s on a different metaphysical level. I feel his presence whenever I play my beats or tracks, but I’m gonna miss the ciphers on the real. R.I.P. Jigga Boo Matic.
Growing up on Jane as a youth and knowing the rappers that impacted the community was a pleasure. I use to fight my bro just to sit in on the sessions with Boo and Poncho when I was a youth, and hear how they’d throw down some real hip-hop in the basement studio. My first beatbox was wit Boo and Contagious and all that was recorded on Maxwell tape cassette marked with an X-Men bubble gum sticker. I use to get my ass whooped every time I stole those cassettes to show off to my friends at school. Boo was definitely one of my inspirations to love hip-hop for its purest form. He was also a great person and a good friend to my bro. R.I.P. Boo aka Matic.
Shout-out to all the people who mourned along with us, those that rocked the Matic shirts at Manifesto fest, those that left their condolences on the HipHopCanada message board, and all those that were there during the last days. To quote a line from Fatski, “energy is never destroyed” and Matic’s essence will continue to live on through his influence and his music.
Editor’s note: On behalf of everyone at HipHopCanada, Rest in Peace to Matic. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Compiled by Sporadic for HipHopCanada.