Despite obstacles, Swollen Members remain top Canadian act [Article]
Vancouver’s Swollen Members have had an impressive career that started to take shape in the late 90’s. After various trials and tribulations, the group will be back with their seventh studio album, Beautiful Death Machine, this November. Here’s a look at some of Swollen’s recent history and accomplishments:
Vancouver, BC – Around the turn of the century – from their 1999 debut Balance to 2006’s Black Magic – West coast rap group Swollen Members served as an inspiration for Canadian hip-hop heads across the country.
They were selling records, winning awards and the hearts of fans across Canada, and the world. Much like today, it wasn’t easy for a Canadian rap artist to find success but Swollen was doing it. Their 2001 album, Bad Dreams, surpassed 100K units sold in Canada giving it Platinum status with another 55K+ sold in the US. Their 2002 follow-up, Monsters in the Closet, went Gold in Canada with 80K sales and moved 35K in the US. In total, of the 5 albums released before an unexpected hiatus in 2006, the group sold more than 250K records in Canada and close to 200K in the US.
“Still a Swollen Member, rip it up at every concert / Lost a few years / lost a couple sponsors” – Madchild, “Runaway”
The group reemerged in 2009 with Armed to the Teeth, but would really reclaim their spot as a top contender with 2011’s Dagger Mouth. Once again they would be an inspiration. Inspirational because their plight demonstrates that with talent and the right work ethic, you can propel your career to new heights no matter where things are at. Generally speaking, it’s never too late – especially with loyal fans already waiting patiently for any type of a comeback. Swollen still rocks the stage with an insane amount of energy that feeds off the excitement of the legions of die-hard fans they’ve accumulated.
It’s inspirational to witness the hardships that have been overcome. Achieving success in the music industry is hard to begin with, let alone recreating it after “losing it all” – so to speak.
Madchild was dealing with addiction battles but regrouped with Prevail and producer Rob The Viking for 2009’s Armed to the Teeth. During his battle, he burned through more than 3 million dollars on an Oxycontin addiction and found himself in a vicious cycle of abuse and dependency.
After moving 15K units of Armed to the Teeth in both Canada and the US, respectively, the group would take another brief hiatus until coming back together to create Dagger Mouth in 2011. This would be a huge step in Swollen’s comeback.
The album was nominated for a JUNO Award and peaked at the #3 position on the US Billboard Top Heatseekers chart, and #15 on the Canadian Albums Chart. Dagger Mouth was Swollen’s sixth studio album, and the second Swollen project to come through indie powerhouse Suburban Noize.
Madchild has just recently released a successful solo album debut called Dope Sick, and Swollen will be releasing Beautiful Death Machine this November. Dope Sick reached the #3 spot in Canada for the Soundscan charts (after the first week of sales). Needless to say, the business model that the Vancouver crew uses is one of the top in the country. You can count on one hand the amount of Canadian rap groups that have sold more than Swollen Members internationally.
On top of album sales, Swollen Members have made a big return to the tour circuit. The group toured Canada with La Coka Nostra earlier in the year and just recently Madchild has been touring extensively with Tech N9ne. The final date of their 20+ date Canadian tour is Montreal this coming Monday, and then Madchild will be embarking on a Dope Sick tour this November. You can probably count on an another Canadian tour shortly after in support of the Beautiful Death Machine release.
Congrats to the Swollen Members and Battle Axe team for their continued success and international representation of Canadian hip-hop.
Please note: We’ll have an exclusive Madchild / Swollen Members giveaway on HipHopCanada in the near future so stay tuned for that. For now, here are some key links to consider checking:
- Join the Battle Axe Warriors movement
- Purchase SWOLLEN MEMBERS – DAGGER MOUTH on iTunes
- Purchase MADCHILD – DOPE SICK on iTunes