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Rapper D-Sisive to drop the handle with Toronto show [News]

Toronto, ON – Juno-nominated rapper D-Sisive says he will retire his long-held moniker next month.

The Toronto native has announced a hometown show on Nov. 27 at the Horseshoe Tavern. The gig will serve as a “funeral” of sorts for his Polaris Music Prize longlisted debut LP, Let the Children Die, which is currently mired in a lawsuit over an uncleared sample.

Rapper D-Sisive to drop the handle with Toronto show

But the MC — né Derek Christoff — says the show will also be his last under the name D-Sisive. He tentatively plans to be reborn as Derek from Northcliffe, referencing the street on which he grew up.

“It’s unfortunate to say goodbye to something like that because it’s the name that I’ve had since I was 17 years old, but at the same time, that’s just it — it’s a name I had when I was 17 years old,” Christoff said in a recent telephone interview.

“Being a 30-year-old artist with a misspelled pseudonym, that’s like 14 years of having your name spelled wrong on flyers and on blogs. It’s weird to have to deal with.”

“If my listeners out there get upset, they need to understand that it’s still going to be the same music. It’s not like I’m changing my name and I’m going to start making big band music or joining a bunch of college kids and starting a reggae band.”

The name change comes amid a period that has been both fruitful and frustrating for Christoff.

After making a name for himself as a battle rapper early in his career, he took a long break from recording music in part because of the death of his mother in 2001.

He returned in ’07 with a downloadable mixtape utilizing samples from Iggy Pop’s 1977 solo debut, “The Idiot,” before following in ’08 with the Juno-nominated EP The Book, an intensely personal look at the struggle he’d endured.

He issued his debut full length, Let the Children Die, the next year, earning a spot on the Polaris Music Prize long list.

He originally chose his D-Sisive handle when he was 17, after flipping through a pocket-sized Webster’s dictionary in the “D” section. Because he wanted a “hip-hop spelling,” he put his spin on the word — leading to a “decade of confusion” over the spelling of the name.

Given the more personal nature of his music, he feels the change is fitting.

“This could be a gigantic failure and the worst decision I ever made, but at the same time, making The Book could have been the worst decision I ever made — abandoning my battle style of rap and leaning toward a more personal style,” said Christoff, who says he’s planning on dropping a new album, Jonestown 2, on Nov. 18.

“I actually think the name change is a lot more fitting to the material that I’m putting out, because my music is stories of my life, and it’s 90 per cent personal.”

For the November show, Christoff will be backed by KC Roberts and the Live Revolution, a 10-piece band that will lend added heft to his tunes. He says the gig will be filmed for a possible live DVD and documentary.

Christoff is being sued by American singer/songwriter Lamont Dozier, whose 1977 song “Peddlin’ Music on the Side” was allegedly sampled for Christoff’s “(I’m a) Nobody With a Notepad” without permission.

Written by Nick Patch for The Canadian Press
Published: October 14, 2010

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