TassNata [Prolific Profile]
Kelowna, B.C. – TassNata doesn’t seem like your typical rapper: he’s a mental health worker with two daughters, he doesn’t make music for the fame, and he’s pretty enthusiastic about bring from a small town. He’s got some interesting views on the world of hip-hop, and HipHopCanada lets him speak in the latest Prolific Profile.
HipHopCanada: You began music at a fairly young age: what were some of the obstacles you had in getting to where you are today?
TassNata: I think every aspect of hip-hop is an obstacle, only the strong survive! I mean, especially being in Canada, and music not being my day job, at times it’s hard to dodge stereotypes when you tell someone you’re a rapper. For example, I have a career in mental health and i deal with a lot of professional people and have to be a professional myself, so at what point do you tell someone you’re pursuing a musical career? Or should you even tell this person at all? Another obstacle is being independant. I have a fiancee and two beautiful daughters at home so when i have to handle every aspect of my career I don’t have the time that some other dudes have. So in turn I’ve become really good at time management and I love being in control of everything i do. Any obstacle is a chance to learn and develop a career as well as a person.
HipHopCanada: Your new album “Between Planets” is out in 2010: you’ve got some big names on it, what was the process of putting it together and what do you hope it accomplishes?
TassNata: I’m excited to get this record out. Since the process started I’ve probably done 100 songs and had two kids, like I mentioned. The thing is, I’ll be close to finished, then do a few new songs that I feel better about than older ones, so I keep bumping tracks. I know every artist can feel that. I’m finally coming to terms with doing a project and putting it out without overthinking it, or where it will go. I just do it for the sake that I love it, I mean.. I don’t eat food beacause I wanna sit on the toilet, so I’m not making music to be famous. As a fan I appreciate substance and effort so I hope that’s what everyone will gather from my records, that I am very passionate to make good music and to have a long relationship with the industry. The record features Black Milk, Elzhi, Promise, Adam Bomb, Liya, and a few others. The beats are produced by ToneMason, Vokab, Northern Profit, Crown & NeoTempus.
HipHopCanada:You live in Kelowna, what’s the hip-hop scene like there? Where does most of your support come from?
TassNata: Its a cool scene here, I grew up in Vernon and it’s a crazy spot for heads, I mean, everybody I know likes the dopest music. Out of everywhere I’ve lived I’ve never been in a town who supports hip-hop and turns out huge numbers for every show (600 on a Wednesday, for example). There is a lot of talent in the city making moves all over the world and I have to show love to my brother SonReal who’s doing big things in Van city right now, Alkhaaliq (Nick Brongers) who made the sample for Over for Drake’s record, DJ Extremidiz who did a full record with Shabazz, Stage who’s come up quick lately. Its crazy how driven people are here, I guess its the small town, everyone thinks big and goes for it. My homie Tyler Ryckman has a clothing company called Survie and its taking off crazy too. I’m not tryna plug my friends here but that’s an example of the scene in a town with 50,000 people in it. Everyone here is so humble too and continually encouraging each other so its a great place to be.
HipHopCanada: If you could change one thing about the Canadian hip-hop scene what would it be?
TassNata: I would say in general just the mentality. People seem more worried about a payday than making an amazing record, everyone deserves to get paid for their work but what I mean is that if you make great music the money will come. Dudes need to stop sitting down to write tracks with plans already in their heads of shooting a video and having the next big single. Also to stop trying to jump on trends, it’s too obvious when you do something that isn’t you. Anyone legendary has started the trend by being themselves and bringing something new to the table, that’s individuality. If you’re just in it for the money then by all means do your thing and make a ringtone. Also I think artists need to remain on a fan first approach. Listen to as much music as you can of all genres to broaden your range. Too many dudes only listen to themselves all day. If you’re in music you need to stay relevant to people, so every time I watch a movie, news or listen to a record, I see it as research and development. I find nothing more irritating than a self-involved artist with no knowledge of culture besides only the circle they’ve worked with. I know everybody says it but we do need to support each other, I’m down to promo and show love to anyone I’m feeling, Canada should be a movement and not a contest. We have so much talent here its ridiculous.
HipHopCanada:What are some of the ways you use hip-hop to engage the community?
TassNata: I guess i would “hope” I engage my community by setting an example that no matter where you are you can pursue anything you are passionate about. I hope people in my community believe that being from a smaller city is actually an advantage to being in a large city. Coming from a small town you are immediately an underdog. We have less venues, and less resources to pursue our goals. When most people talk about Canadian musicians its usually assumed that they are from a major city. Its easier to stand out when you’re not in a city with a thousand people pursuing the same thing, but at the same time that’s a disadvantage because one thing I feel I need is face to face politicking. I think it comes to a point in a person’s career that moving to a bigger city is a hundred percent beneficial though, once you’re established. Home is the best place to build the foundation though. I hope I engage my community through my live shows too, I put a lot of thought and energy into every show I do in my hometown because it’s all friends I’ve grown up with or know of so I want them to have the feeling that I’m not trying to be above anybody, my show is a party for them and I make sure to thank every person I talk to for coming out and that my success is our city’s success.
Don’t forget to check out http://www.myspace.com/tassnata.
Written by Amalia Judith for HipHopCanada