Regina, SK – In a small city such as Regina, an artist has to grind hard to get himself noticed. Rubiks is rapping his way from the ground up and building for his city in hopes to put them on the map. Check out HipHopCanada’s latest Prairies Prolific Profile on Rubiks after the jump and be on the look out for this up-and-comer.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Rubiks: Simply put, hip-hop cannot be defined. If you were to ask a young Russell Simmons what hip-hop is defined as back in the 80’s, his answer would be nothing like the answer of an aspiring rapper in the middle of present day prairie Saskatchewan. That means the definition is not only universally present, but is always changing. Do I feel like I am hip-hop? Yes I do, and not because I fit a description, but because I feel it in my mind and in my soul. If there was any sort of definition of the art of hip-hop, the word “real” would be a common prerequisite. When you can breathe every breath knowing that you are doing something that’s real and true to yourself, you can call yourself hip-hop. I’m an arguer, I oppose many things, but you just can’t argue with a true feeling that is instinctive in your being, that feeling of realness.
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
Rubiks: Look at the greats in the music industry: The Roots, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Common, Jay-Z and all the others that you could still bring back 10 years ago and jam to. Even the quality Canadian artists you can pick out of the crowd now like Kardi, Classified, Saukrates, K-Os and Choclair who have put Canada’s talent on the map. They are examples of quality over quantity. Were they focused on money or good music? Thanks to the financial crisis, everyone’s so tight with their money and to the people who are scared; they see the business as rarely profitable and highly competitive because they don’t see the bigger picture of steady progression. Quality attracts quantity. This isn’t a job, this is a lifestyle and if you treat your lifestyle like a job then instabilities mess everything in life up. Better yourself as a person and with that, the quality of music you make will improve, attracting people to you as a lifestyle and to your music as a business. Really, I stay in this “business” because I don’t see it as a business, but as a lifestyle. Money comes where money belongs; with quality.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically?
Rubiks: If you take a map of Canada, point out Vancouver and point out Toronto, then look directly halfway between them to the rectangular shaped box province that has a name most people can’t pronounce, that’s me. Saskatchewan. Regina aka the Queen City is where I’m officially based out of and that mix of West and East is something you’ll recognize you can’t find anywhere else.
HipHopCanada: How has living there influenced your sound?
Rubiks: Really, this is an island that nobody knows about. If you come here, it’s really a bubble that doesn’t pay much attention to the outside world. Growing up as a kid watching MuchMusic, MuchMoreMusic and keeping up on what’s going on in the hip-hop world, it’s like being a practice roster player on a major league team. You never see the actual game but you hear all about it when you read or listen about what’s going on. Soon enough, that practice roster player will start making his own playbook and following that with his own moves because he’s playing a whole new game. That’s like my situation out here, I know what’s happening out there but I can’t call myself a major league player rapping about what the players play about. I’m a one man team playing an entirely new game. That individualistic sound is what Saskatchewan has influenced me to create and for that I am forever grateful.
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Rubiks: I don’t know my fan base and I don’t want to. Whoever feels my music in their soul is a fan. The second you know exactly who you’re talking to, you’ll lose the idea of what you’re making music for, an expression, and start making music for a demographic. I know, I know, “that’s the business and if you ever want to make it”…chill. If my fans, whoever they are, stop feeling my music, stop sharing the links, stop watching the videos, then I’ll know I’m doing something wrong.
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 the hip-hop industry?
Rubiks: Biggie’s 7th Crack Commandment; keep your business and family completely separated. Know who your friends are and who your fans are. Don’t expect friends to be fans and fans to be friends, they didn’t come to you for the same thing. Start from scratch. Make a brand new social circle and build relationships with people based off your music life and not your personal life.
Also, be social and don’t be afraid to knock down any walls that society has put up to stop you from progressing. YouTube k-os’ “Crabbuckit” and put that on repeat.
HipHopCanada: In which ways do you interact with your community?
Rubiks: Regina, as small as it is, still has opportunity for artists to showcase themselves. I do shows all over the city, opened for legendary hip-hop acts, poetry slam it whenever they come around, promote and sell for city events and whatever else comes my way. This is where I was born so who else better to build it from the ground up for the other artists in the city?
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Rubiks: I won’t say names but everyone can tell when you vibe with someone. In the studio you can feel a vibe happening. Sometimes it’s a good vibe and sometimes it’s bad, but the people I vibe with the best are the ones that I collaborate with more often. They have this passion for music, this admiration for every single note and sound that comes out of the session. They promote their music to the fullest extent, stay up all night perfecting a mix or sacrifice family life for a chance to make it. That’s the hustle. They give me energy to work twice as hard as before and that’s why I keep them around.
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Rubiks: It would definitely be co-produced by Classified & Rich Kidd. Both of those guys are ridiculous with their beats. They’ve been at it for a crazy long time and it shows in their music. As far as features and all that; let’s see. I would do some sort of “DJ Khaled” type of collaboration and get K-Os, Saukrates, Kardinal Offishal, Jully Black, Choclair, we’d bring back the Rascalz, Swollen,Moka, Sweatshop Union, Maestro and have the main cast of Trailer Park Boys somewhere in the video. I can’t be salty, Drizzy would do a hook or something too.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects?
Rubiks: Anything as of now is a success. This started from a feeling and now it’s a reality. Opening for Bun B, Swollen Members, Waka Flocka, Ill Bill, Bone Thugz and performing alongside other top bands in the province are successes too. I’ve done videos, performed at the University, recorded numerous tracks, joined forces with other top MC’s in the province and solidified my presence in the province as being a Saskatchewan MC. Future projects include taking over the world, finding out what happened to Love INC. and figuring out whose idea it was to bring back Pop-Up videos. They’d get daps.
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Rubiks: You are the proof that Hip-Hop is alive. Keep checking the site, keep reading the magazines, blogs and keep commenting/liking/disliking videos. Voice yourself. There’s a lot of talent out there in Canada. Different music comes from different people. Find out what’s between point A and point B. Come and see what we have to offer.
Rubiks Music and Merky Waters – On The Beat (Waters Rising)
Keep informed on all Rubiks related news on HipHopCanada and on ReverbNation.