Corvid [Prolific Profile]
Vancouver, B.C. – Corvid is a force to be reckoned with. From his unsettling lyricism to his work with the dark, in-your-face Abort Magazine, he tends to say exactly what he wants. Within all that mouthing off there’s a narrative – about hip-hop’s history, about the city we live in, and about human tendencies in general. HipHopCanada is glad to feature Corvid as the latest Prolific Profile.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Hip-hop is a culture that began in the Bronx in the 70’s. In a deeper sense it is a spirit that manifests in urban environments and has become a global language. As a kid in Niagara Falls in the 80’s, breaking was the main form – my school had a sick breakdance team and we would hang out at the park and watch them rock to tapes of Grandmaster Flash. I took up MCing seriously over ten years ago, and the biggest hurdle was my own self-doubt about being a white rapper! After years of shows and people telling me to keep it up, I’ve kinda let it go, and it’s my Irish roots that give me real confidence – in ancient times the poets were second only to the king!
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
It’s an uphill climb – but that’s what gives you strong legs! I licensed two songs from “Bitter Dragon” for a film recently, which has helped fund the next album. Money aside, I consider myself a true artist in the sense that I have to do this – if I don’t I go mental! As for competition – nobody sounds like me, so where’s the competition? I’m not boasting, I’m just true to what I do, and I don’t see music as a competition.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically and how has it influenced your sound?
I’ve lived in East Van for nine years, and it’s made me into the twisted sociopath I am today! As great as Vancouver is, it’s a very bipolar city, and it’s my job to wake people up out of their apathy. We have one of the world’s biggest open drug markets, and poverty and addiction live side by side with affluent yoga hippies. This is where Phillip K. Dick wrote the story for “Bladerunner” on a six-month crystal meth binge…
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Antisocial potheads who think too much.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up, or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in hip-hop?
Whatever you contribute hip-hop, pick one or two elements and excel at them. Don’t do it for ego (but do do it to impress the ladies…) – do it to produce something that affects people the way your favorite work does, and listen to people’s feedback. Quality takes time, and nobody makes it on their own – they just tell you that so you’ll fail !
HipHopCanada: In what ways do you interact with your community?
I’ve been the hip-hop editor for Abort Magazine for the last four years, and have been to more shows than I can remember. I’ve also been involved in promoting local talent – last year me and Stoop Fam put on a weekly Rap night, “The Heavy Set”, in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. I hit the mic whenever I can, and by now people know who I am, even if they can’t stand me!
HipHopCanada: Which artist have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
DJ K-Rec – he’s toured Europe with Frontline Assembly, been signed to Nettwerk, made countless tracks with local artists and been a solid pillar of hip-hop in Vancouver for ever. When we were doing “The Heavy Set”, he said that he was sick of working with people that just want to “make it”, and would rather be around people who just do it – words of wisdom…
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Modulok from Red Ants. We’ve hung out and really hit it off, and there’s a similarity of content and attitude, I’m out East every year so hopefully we can make it happen soon.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects.
As for the past, I’ll say opening for Blowfly with Stoop Fam…as for the present, the vocals for the LP follow up to “Bitter Dragon”, are done, and we are in production to make it sound like Bob Rock on acid…for the future, we’re working on a video for “VanCity Vanity”, and I’m well into writing the next album. We’ll be doing a tour of BC in the summer, some shows out East, and putting together a live band to get our sound stadium status!
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
First, Sadat X once told me that while hip-hop may seem to be selling out, it has always catered to the youth, and there will always be the Soulja Boys and such. The fact is that those of us who came up in hip-hop and have kids and jobs want to hear some “grown folks” music. Sadat, Raekwon, GZA, Ras Kass, etc., have all released amazing albums in the last couple of years, albums that stand the test of time.
Second, I was told when I started doing interviews that the more famous a rapper is, the more chill they are while local superstars are egomaniacs, and this has proved true. People get famous by being good communicators and fun to be around – the kind of dude you’d want to blaze your best chron with. The music industry is a place where we make something out of nothing, and it’s not worth it to act like a superstar when you don’t even have an album out. I hate hearing people rap about how ballin’ they are, I’d rather hear you rap about being broke and fucked on drugs or holding down a job and such, because life is too short for fantasy crap.
Download the Bitter Dragon EP HERE
Photo of Corvid by Byron Dauncey