Vancouver, B.C. – In these parts, it seems that everyone wants to rep ‘Vancity’, even if they’ve only just moved there or don’t even live in a suburb near it. However, longtime Surrey MC Caspian has been waving his hometown flag longer and harder than most, which is confirmed by his unmistakable and unmissable tattoo of ‘Surrey’ in script covering his forearm.
Caspian’s been at it for over a decade and now, with the help of Surrey’s urban clothing line Ephin and the infamous graffiti crew Stompdown Killas, his presence can’t be denied. With a recent single deal with East Coast label CP Records, regular video rotation on MuchMusic, and clocking serious numbers on Youtube for any one of his various videos, his presence also can’t be ignored. HipHopCanada had a chance to sit down with the ‘Prince Of Persia’ at the Ephin headquarters in Surrey to find out a little more about where this MC is at, and where he’s headed.
HipHopCanada: I know you rep Surrey, but I understand you were born in Kuwait?
Caspian: Yeah, I was born in Kuwait City, Kuwait.
HipHopCanada: And when you first moved out to the other side of the globe here you landed in Montreal first? Were you exposed to any hip-hop culture in that city?
Caspian: Yeah, then I came to Vancouver a few years later. Man I was young when we were up in Montreal there so I wasn’t seeing a lot of any scene. I was super young ya know, it was the first time I had ever seen snow in my life, [Laughing] It was pretty crazy.
HipHopCanada: So, when you moved to B.C. that was where you first started getting into hip-hop?
Caspian: Yeah man, it all started out here. Ever since high school ya know, late 20’s now. Probably started when I was 14 or 15 just messing around but then I got on the radio when I was 16. That’s where I really started, on Maximus Clean doing battles.
HipHopCanada: And how long were you doing the show?
Caspian: About a year. Pretty much never lost a battle. They ended the show with me undefeated. And that’s how my first release, Still Undefeated, came about.
HipHopCanada: And once you were out here in the lower mainland did you bounce around a lot or is Surrey where you originally settled?
Caspian: Yeah, we moved here right from Montreal and it’s been home ever since.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about your relationship with the Surrey-based clothing company Ephin, you seem to be the poster boy for their gear and are clearly real tight with the crew, how’d that come about?
Caspian: Ryan, the owner of the company went to a high school close to mine and, ya know, each of our buddies were buddies with the both of us. So when my first album came out I had a little party at my house and Ryan came through and showed me love. He was down with what I was doing and after that we just began working together. We helped each other build. We worked on making music and the clothing line together, helping to promote each other, it’s like family now.
HipHopCanada: Cool cool, so where are you at now? What’s your M.O. right now? Being in the lab and getting the new album done?
Caspian: Yeah, just workin away. I signed a single deal with CP Records for a single called “Amnesia” that features Belly. That went real good. It was Top 10 on MuchVibe and is still getting played to this day. Just had a buddy from Toronto hit me the other day saying that he just saw it. But you know, when you’re dealing with labels they just want singles, that’s all they want… So I have all this material that I’m sitting on, and I’ve put out 5 videos in the last while. Me and Ryan sat down and he’s like “You gotta put something out man, it’s been way too long and you gotta do it.” So we came to the conclusion of going the independent route to not wait any longer. I
mean, it’s not totally independent, there’s several companies involved, we just won’t have the distro that a label may have but we gotta get something in the hands of the fans. And after that, I’ve got a bunch of bangers lined up to do with the big labels.
HipHopCanada: How did “Amnesia”, the joint with Belly, come about in the first place?
Caspian: With “Amnesia,” it was just because of some homies. I had some buddies put me onto Belly way back, before his name was known. I heard of him through his mixtapes. Some of my homies in Toronto showed me his mixtapes way before he blew up. And I always thought he was dope and then he started really poppin, so I was like, “Yo, we gotta do some things here.” I just holla'd at him and said, “Yo, let's do a track’. WhoSane, one of his producers did the track, sent it down to me and I did my part. He did his parts over there and it turned out dope. Then we got to do a video, he flew out here… In fact we shot it at Riverview Mental Hospital.
HipHopCanada: Are you serious? Ha, that’s perfect, dope setting to shoot a video.
Caspian: Yeah, it went well and got a lot of airplay. It helped get my name out there a bit more. And when Belly shot his video with Snoop called “Hot Girl” back in Toronto, I went out there and it was crazy. Like hundreds of people I’ve never met would be saying they’ve seen my video or have seen me on TV or whatever. So I was like, “This shit’s getting out.”
HipHopCanada: So where do you stand with the label, being that you only had the deal for the single?
Caspian: Oh man, CP’s a family ya know, I talk to them all the time. The only thing that’s tough is that if I wanna be seen with them all the time and really roll with them, I’d have to be out East all the time. But I gotta do my thing out here holdin' down the West.
HipHopCanada: If you stay out here holdin' down the West coast you can give them an influence out here, so it could really pay off for the both of you right?
Caspian: Exactly. And that’s the thing, they always show me love but I have to do my thing. I have to put something out ‘cause the fans need it.
HipHopCanada: And the new LP is titled Prince Of Persia, correct? Where are you at with that?
Caspian: Yeah, almost done man. I have to record maybe two more tracks. One with Snak The Ripper, and maybe one more joint and then everything’s done. Just mixing, you know, trying different things with this Crooked I track.
HipHopCanada: And where are you at on the live grind?
Caspian: Yeah, playing with Three Six Mafia on the 30th and next month I’m doing a show with Mobb Deep and 40 Glock. And actually we just finished filming a trailer for a tour that we got in the works… It’s going to be Caspian, Joey Stylez and Snak The Ripper. We’re trying to do 50 dates all across Canada. It’ll be the best of our differing styles. And we’ll head out with the full crew, the whole Ephin fam, the Stompdown Killas. Breakdancing, graffiti, we’ll have everything going on.
HipHopCanada: So that’s what we can expect from Caspian in the near future?
Caspian: That’s pretty much it. I’m just putting the finishing touches on the album and getting my merch right and then yeah, it’ll be time to hit the road. That’s the thing, I’ve built the fanbase and it’s time to get back on the grind.
HipHopCanada: Dope, alright do your thing homie. We’ll keep our eyes and ears open for you, good luck!
Caspian: Cool, thanks bro. Peace.
Don't forget to check out http://www.caspianmusic.com and be sure to follow him on Twitter @CaspianSlang.
Interview conducted by Jesse Furnell for HipHopCanada