Ron Contour [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – In an era where commercial rap has never been so commercial and monotonous cliches seem to rule the airwaves, hip-hop's representation in the mainstream is pretty narrow. It often seems 'artists' would rather play it safe by doing the same old thing: the idea of breaking new ground – let alone showing individuality – is the last thing on anyone's mind.
And then, there's Ron Contour. With more character and charisma than many commercial rappers combined, the need for such an artist has never been greater. Ron defies any typical expectations one might have for the average rapper. And Ron Contour is certainly anything but average.
Ron has had a change of heart over the last couple of years and has shifted his priorities from fine dining and finer women to refocusing on his rap career. He has turned his back on his arduous passion for beekeeping and hasn't attended a wine and cheese tasting party in quite some time. His latest release Saffron shows his commitment to his craft and has him redoubling his efforts to bring style, personality and his timeless brand of class back to the world of hip-hop. HipHopCanada had a chance to speak to Ron while he had a short break in between his nonstop grind to bring Saffron to the masses. Ladies and gentlemen, Ron Contour…
HipHopCanada: So, what prompted Ron Contour to come back to the rap game?
Ron Contour: I was just tired of doing what I was doing..
HipHopCanada: Which was what, just being Ron Contour?
Ron Contour: Well, I put out the first album in '99 and it didn't do that good so I got a little disheartened and I had other interests to pursue. Like, I was beekeeping for a while…
HipHopCanada: Yeah, I heard about that… What made you stop the beekeeping, just wanted to get back to rapping? Or you got stung too many times?
Ron Contour: I only got stung once. People have this misconception about beekeeping that you're in a dangerous situation and are prone to stings all the time. It's not like that. bees don't sting very often. People get bees confused with yellowjackets and hornets. Those are different insects completely. Yellowjackets and hornets sting at random ya know, but honeybees… their asses come off if they sting. So I was doing that for a while, and living out in the prairies in Canada.
HipHopCanada: Is that where you linked up with this Saskatoon cat Factor who did the production for Saffron?
Ron Contour: No, no I didn't know Factor at all, Moka put me onto him, he we just suggested that we work together… But getting back to your first question; I was just watching everybody doing this and that with all the commercialization of hip-hop and the lack of style I thought it was time. And I missed it, so I called up Moka and asked if he could do some beats up for me. My return to hip-hop was back in 2008 with an album called 'Hot Dog' that Moka did all the beats on, and followed that up with a few more releases. I went to Ontario and recorded an album called 'Rontario' and that's come out since the release of Saffron.
HipHopCanada: Ok, and with Saffron, are you hitting the road to get that album out there?
Ron Contour: Saffron's been my most successful project to date for me. And you know, now I feel confident that I can pursue this for a few more years longer. I've averaged like 3 interviews a day and shot a number of videos.
HipHopCanada: The album feels very natural and coherent, it's just a continuous vibe.
Ron Contour: Yeah, it's all vibes. See people have criticized, like 'he raps about food' or ‘the lyrics aren't heavy.’ But what are people expecting? Is it one of those things where I'm supposed to sound like other people? It’s a fucking joke. Pardon my French. Some of these reviewers have they're heads so far up somebody else’s butt.
HipHopCanada: And with the monotany that's out there we need some character, some style, some interest, some individuality ya know?
Ron Contour: Yeah, yeah. I've watched how Moka does his thing and sometimes I feel like he's criminally slept on… but he doesn't like to play Vancouver. The truth is America embraces him a lot better than Canada does. He's opened my eyes to that fact that nobody owes you anything and you're not promised anything so you can't really be angry. You just got to know that eventually you're going to find people that are going to dig your stuff ya know? But Moka makes a good living off of this, he tours the world so why focus locally when there's a whole big beautiful world out there.
HipHopCanada: Where does your music fit in with poetry?
Ron Contour: Well it's real. Poetry exists in reality you know? So I'm talking about real stuff but it's up to the listener if they want to have fun and put the pieces of the puzzle together. It's just fun, just shits and giggles you know what I mean? Lets just be honest, some of these rappers take themselves so seriously. It's like man, you should be a tax auditor or something. That's what I think about some of these guys, like you're so serious you should work for the government. It's just music ya know? And keep in mind as an artist everything you talk about, that's what you perpetuate. That's why you don't hear Ron talking about negative stuff, it's not going to do me any good or the listeners. We all know there's negative stuff in the world so in order to correct that you need to talk about the positive or neutral ya know what I mean?
Written by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada