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All Is Fair In Love & War: Checkmate & Concise [Interview]

Vancouver, BC – Since 2004 Checkmate & Concise have been a fixture in Vancouver’s hip-hop scene, dropping major hits, albums and mixtapes on the regular. Their recently released album titled Love & War was created with just that in mind – a little love, a little war and unequivocally all hustle and heart.

With pure creative freedom these Defenders have created a no holds barred album with a diverse mix of guest appearances that are sure to impress long time fans and attract new ones alike. Royce Da 5’9, Evil Ebenezer, hAZEL and Mia Moth – to name a few – add to the balance of upbeat party cuts and gritty, vicious bangers that make every track from Love & War a necessity on your summer playlist. The say all is fair in Love & War so it’s best to listen up. HipHopCanada’s KassKills had a moment to catch up with the pair to dish a bit about the new album and they gave a us a peek at their new video, “Congratulations” featuring Fizal Stars and P. Jericho – check it out after the jump.

All Is Fair In Love & War: Checkmate & Concise [Interview] -

Checkmate & Concise: Q&A

Written by KassKills for HipHopCanada

HipHopCanada: What was the inspiration for the title of your latest album, Love & War?

Checkmate: The title stems from the saying “All’s fair in love and war” and it also refers to the dual nature of the record itself in that half of the record has a good-natured outlook and the other half is darker and more malicious sounding. I like to think of it as a vinyl LP with one side Love and the flip-side War. Songs like “Congratulations”, “Cosmic Luv”, and “YFL”  are definitely on the Love side for obvious reasons and “Big Time”, “Dreamworld”, and “Grand Alliance” are examples of the War side. The last three releases for us were theme mixtapes – “Killer Elite” was some mercenary geopolitical business and G’s Next Door 1 and 2 were more hustle oriented. With this album we wanted more freedom musically and as songwriters so the result…a lil’ love, a lil’ war.

[Love & War is available now on iTunes]

HipHopCanada: Love & War features some impressive guest appearances such as Royce Da 5’9, Evil Ebenezer and production from Hazel. Each of these artists bring a unique sound and style to the table. Talk about your experience in collaborating with these guys and how they enhanced your vision for this project.

Checkmate: When it comes to collaborations, basically we produce a song, record it and then we present that to our guest performer. That way we set a tone, and all the artist has to do is follow through with his/her skills.

In the case of “Big Time”, hAZEL presented us with like three or four beats and one of them jumped at us immediately, so we threw the hook on it. The horns dictate the whole track so we let them breathe and plugged the holes. After that we sent the track to Royce who had two days off in Detroit (Slaughterhouse is constantly touring) and a week later, Asar sends us Royce’s waves and the rest is a piece of cake.

Same with Evil. Cise made that beat and I threw the first verse down then we sent it to Evil. Evil passed through our studio a few days later and recorded his verse then Cise cleaned up with the third verse and the hook.

When you’re working with talented professionals like the guests we have on this album, it makes everything easier and better. Fizal Stars, P. Jericho, Realm Reality, Deli tha Genius, Olivia May, Darryl Riley, Kemo, Allen Rodger, Mia Moth, Ryan Dahle, Stef Lang, K-Rec, Drugz n Dreamz, and B. Morales – they all have crazy skills!

HipHopCanada: Do you have plans to tour with this album?

Concise: Honestly, we’re gonna do as many shows as are good for us…and by that I mean if it helps us reach a bigger audience or it pays accordingly. Nowadays, opening acts have to pay for a spot on a tour as well as cover their own expenses and promoters exhibit no quality control, so any little value there was in being an opening act, is completely gone. We’re gonna be selective and create a demand for a high end brand.

HipHopCanada: As Vancity hip-hop veterans, are there any up-and-coming Vancouver artists you would vouch for?

Concise: Not really. I’m sure there’s some talent and plenty of ambition out there but to be honest, nobody who isn’t doing it big already, has caught my attention. I’m not easily impressed and if we liked you that much we’d probably sign you.

Written by KassKills for HipHopCanada

All Is Fair In Love & War: Checkmate & Concise [Interview] -

All Is Fair In Love & War: Checkmate & Concise [Interview] -


Checkmate & Concise – Congratulations

Love & War is available for purchase on iTunes and you can check out the official Defenders of the Faith (Checkmate & Concise) website at

Twitter: @DefendersMusic

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Kassandra has her hands in several cookie jars. Born in Ontario but raised on the West coast, she is currently located in the wonderfully diverse East side of Vancouver. With a passion for all things creative KassKills is a hair stylist by day and HipHopCanada's West Coast Regional Editor by night. Music and public relations are her true passions and although she didn't inherit the talent of her musician father she makes her mark on the industry through other avenues. By night you can catch KassKills at almost every Vancity hip-hop show, shaking hands and snapping photos while covering and supporting the local music scene. On top of that she works closely with one of the cities most reputable concert promotors, Timbre Concerts. Kass is a hustler by nature and works hard to play a key role Vancity's hip-hop scene. Over the years she has seen, photographed and interviewed many of hip-hop's top artists such as T.I, Raekwon, Sheek Louch, Noreaga, Black Milk, Waka Flocka, Ab-Soul & Dizaster.

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