Magnum 357 [Interview]
Montreal, QC – Once upon a time, the vibrant city of Montreal was viewed as the “Toronto” of Canada. Yeah, I said it. Montreal’s historic jazz and party scene goes back to the 1920’s, which was fueled by the historic black community called Little Burgundy. In fact, this labeled Montreal as an extension of the U.S. During the days of Prohibition, Americans would head north for alcohol and other forms of entertainment which gave Montreal the nickname “Sin City.”
Montreal was and still is the spot to go. However, in the ‘70’s a few things changed. Bill 101 made French the official language of Quebec. Since then, over 244,000 English-speaking people have emigrated from Quebec to other provinces according to statistics Canada. Many English speaking schools closed their doors and several major businesses relocated to Toronto including Royal Bank, The Bank of Montreal and Sun Life. Another factor was the Summer Olympics of 1976, which put the city in huge debt. MTL aka “Real City” is filled with history and overlooked talent, but where an industry and opportunities lack, culture, soul and art prevails.
Magnum 357 aka Tré 5-7 the rapper, entrepreneur and father, knows this very well; but that lack of resources has never hindered him at all. He’s created a solid buzz across Canada and abroad via his Revolver Muzik trilogy, YouTube videos and opening spots for basically every major hip-hop act that comes to his city. Along with frequent trips to Toronto to connect with progressive artists and infiltrate the industry, it’s all given him the type of recognition that even haters have to embrace.
HipHopCanada: You’ve released Revolver Muzik Volume 3. What kind of progression have you seen from Volume 1 up until Volume 3 now?
Magnum 357: I would say there were a lot of changes. I mean even if you listen to the trilogy, you know Volume 1 started off I was very hungry you know what I’m saying. I was eager just ready to eat anybody’s food at that point so you could definitely feel major intensity on that piece of work. But when it comes to Volume 2 now it’s basically me trying to form myself in a sense. I’m trying to find myself as an artist. I’m trying new things. I’m not trying to stay in one lane and the whole nine, I’m trying to go outside the box in a sense, you know with different songs. Now with Volume 3, it’s kind of like I’ve grown. Like you hear the music is more mature. It’s very pro. It’s definitely something a greater majority can rock with, not just cats in the hood. I’m talking ‘bout all walks of life can rock with Volume 3 ‘cause it’s at that level you know what I’m saying?
HipHopCanada: Are there any life changing moments that made you say, “Hey, I’ve got to do something better with my life and give something back to your community that they could be proud of?
Magnum 357: Oh yeah! I think the biggest life changing experience for me was around 2000. We had gone out to Vancouver, me and my boy, handling some work out there if you see what I’m talking about. And yeah man, almost got locked up out there, like real talk. By the time I came back, after flooding the blocks out there, holding it down and shutting it down out there, hen we came back, I was like you know what? ‘Nah this ain’t for me, I’m done with the whole pushing weight scheme of things and try something different.’ And, I started to fuck with this music thing. I have to really progress with this music thing, I got to take it more serious ‘cause I been rapping since how long? But now I got to take it more serious and approach it like it’s really real to me. So putting more faith behind my words and I just made it happen at that point in time. But that was one of the crucial, crucial crossroads that I came up to that had an effect.
HipHopCanada: Dunn know. Now you’re from the historic black community here in Montreal called Lil Burgundy the birth place of world renowned pianist Oscar Peterson (R.I.P.). Your community’s history goes deep, jazz clubs were popping out there in the 1920’s during the days of prohibition, it was a popular spot for international musicians to hang out; Canada’s first black governor Michelle Jean spent her childhood out there and so on, what was it like growing up in that community?
Magnum 357: Growing up in the Burgs was definitely a different insight for me. Way back in the day we started out right in Côte-des-Neiges, which is uptown. Then when I was about 6 years old then we moved over to downtown (DT) and I’ve been there ever since. Growing up in that hood was very educational, because it comes to a point where like as much as you want to focus on your schooling, as much as you want to do different things, so many things are in front of your face that trying to sidetrack you. And then it becomes all about that fast money, know what I’m talking ‘bout? And I mean I never had a pops growing up. My story is kind of like a lot of other people in that sense, however it seemed like the streets kind of father me in that sense. So I matured very quickly adopted certain hustles and the whole nine, like basically, you know I got a lot of skills basically just living out there. So it was a good stomping ground for me, it taught me a lot, made me the man who I am today. But downtown is where it’s at though.
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about the Montreal music scene, I frequent Montreal often and I’ve heard, now I don’t know if it’s true, but I heard certain radio stations wont play your records and that you may be blackballed for whatever reasons. [Magnum Laughs] Can you touch on that?
Magnum 357: We don’t got too many out here… We got, K103 Don Smooth mix series out in Kahnawake (radio show on native reservation). Then we got CKUT and that’s hosted by Ken Dawg and Mike Mish and all that. Now Smooth was and still is a big supporter of the movement but with the other station, since there was a bit of drama in the past and the whole nine. There always been debates going on about how much they’re actually playing Montreal music and then it came to a point where my music is not getting play at all. Ya zee me? Now, over time, my buzz became a little bit bigger as I progressed and I guess they couldn’t doubt it and its only recently now that I’m starting to hear them spin my records. But you know that’s the fight. At the end of the day it’s not everyone that’s going to fuel you, it’s not everyone that’s going to be itching to play you, know what I mean?
Sometimes the DJs, sometimes these cats out here have a bias opinion, ya see me? But, at the end of the day, I mean that’s not your job, your job is to be un-bias and just push the city forward because we do not have face for an industry out here you see what I’m sayin’? So we all need to stick together and regroup and get it poppin’ and that’s basically my whole M.O behind the situation. That’s my job at the end of the day. So I’ve got to make sure I’m doing my job. I need these DJs to be doing their job too. But at this point in time I can’t even argue, because they started doing their job now which is really good. I’m getting spins on their radio and the whole nine you know it is what it is at the end of the day man.
HipHopCanada: So let’s talk about Malicious now man. There’s been some back and forth battle tracks released here in the HHC Forums “Warning Shots” and “Trigger Happy,” which came about from a performance (opening up for Boot Camp Click) that you were unable to attend due to a car accident the night of. People from Malicious’ camp had questioned the promoter as to why you get on all the bills and not Malicious. So my question is have you guys ever crossed paths ever since? Are things cool? What’s going on with that?
Magnum 357: I mean, after the initial situation, me and him personally haven’t crossed paths. Me and him personally. It’s probably best that we don’t in a sense. But my camp actually crossed paths with his camp on a certain occasion and let’s just say somebody got knocked out. And it’s just crazy when you try to keep it to the music its cool and all that but people try to take it further and try to force your hand and you know you might just get upset at the results. You might just call for something that you wasn’t ready for but at the end of the day as far as I’m concerned he can stay in his lane. I’m going to keep doing mine staying in my lane and the whole nine. It ain’t nothing at this point I don’t got no time to even be speaking on this fool right now you feel me?
HipHopCanada: Now a few months ago I was out here in Montreal I hit up the Ice Cube show. (I’ve got to big up my man Preach Ankobia for holding me down wit the guest list) Now, I got there in the middle of your set and I noticed some T-Dot heads were up there. Shouts to Mayhem Morearty and Navy Seals, they were on your set holding it down. How did that connect happen and why was it important for you to have them on board?
Magnum 357: Shout-out to Soze out there in the Dot man, that boy be holding me down, you already know Soze (braaaps!!). We met them out in the Dot a while back and we just decided to connect in the sense that we have the same views. I think that we were able to help and connect each other in a sense like getting Mayhem exposure out here and them enabled me to get more exposure out there. So we cross promote each other in that sense, ya see me? Now, as far as us doing a performance out there, it was only right it had to be done. So they came out they did their thing. I held’em down on stage and the whole nine and it was just a beautiful look at the end of the day. But yea that’s my peoples. Shouts to Mayhem Morearty and free my dude Navy Seals.
HipHopCanada: We usually do video interviews but due to your priorities with your children representing on the fatherhood tip we had to do this over the phone. A lot of the time, especially in hip-hop that’s not really shown of black males, I want to talk about why it’s important for you to be in your children’s lives?
Magnum 357: Yo, it is extremely important for every black man who’s big enough to stick it to and then able to stick with it. Basically, to be in their child’s lives. Cause at the end of the day, we provide the guidance by the knowledge they need to further excel in their own lives. Our jobs as parents as well is to make sure their lives coming up is a hell of a lot easy then what we had way bad in the day.
So just to show I couldn’t be there to speak with you personally on cam and all that but I’m here definitely attending to my ‘youngins’ and all that. My prince and princess and all that. But yea, it’s extremely important that as black males…you already know how it goes all the hood stories… how many individuals grew up without fathers? I mean I’m one of them see what I’m talking ‘bout? So it’s like you basically got to be able to break the cycle and make a change for the better and this is exactly what I’m doing sticking with it, that’s what it is.
HipHopCanada: So I heard you’re going to be doing a video soon in Toronto let’s talk about that…
Magnum 357: Yeah I’m going to be shooting a video out there in, I believe mid April. Shout-out to “Luck” over there and Cream World Magazine. They be hooking it up and whole nine. I’m going to be shooting a video for one of my first singles that’s coming out. This will be the official video to hit MuchVibe and the name of the joint is called “Fly Like I’m Fly.” Now, this song I’ve been working on for a hot minute. It bangs pretty heavy right now as far as I’m concerned. I been bumping this since day one so ya’ll are going to get a chance to hear it. We plan to hopefully release that by summer time, but we’ll definitely have some behind the scenes footage and the whole nine… I’ll make sure that the whole Stolen From Africa team is on set, you know what I’m saying. Logik keep it good you gonna hold me down regardless, you understand what I’m talking ‘bout?
HipHopCanada: Dun know brother, so do you have any last words or shout-outs you want to give out?
Magnum 357: Yeah, I definitely want to shout-out Escape Entertainment. I definitely want to shout-out the man dem locked down. You already know, O.L. hold your head. You dun know, DTB for life. Shout-out to my manager/producer Dirtwork, Prime I see you. Shouts the man dem that keep supporting me everyday and shouts to the haters too ‘cause without you I wouldn’t know how good I’m doing.
For general or Booking information check out http://www.myspace.com/mag357, http://www.revolvermuzik.com, http://www.facebook.com/magnum357, http://www.escapemtl.ca, http://www.facebook.com/dirtworkproductions.
Written by Logikal Ethix (Stolen From Africa) for HipHopCanada