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RationaL teams up with Toronto Blue Jays for Tom Cheek tribute [Interview]

Saskatoon, SK— Saskatoon-based MC Matt “RationaL” Brotzel has teamed up with the Toronto Blue Jays to bring us his latest track, “A Swing and a Belt.” The song was penned as a hip-hop tribute to the late American sportscaster, Tom Cheek (also known as the “Voice of the Toronto Blue Jays”), who was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“The track was basically just an overflow of my love affair with the Blue Jays,” said Brotzel. “Then finding out about Tom Cheek’s long-awaited Hall of Fame induction…everything for “A Swing as a Belt” just sort of fell into place.” HipHopCanada caught up with RationaL to chat about his new track, his duo passion for hip-hop and baseball, and his exciting meeting with the executives from the Blue Jays. Check out the track and peep our exclusive interview after the jump.




RationaL: Q&A

Interview conducted by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada

HipHopCanada: Tell us about your first Tom Cheek moment.

RationaL: My first memories of Tom Cheek were from the 1992 and 1993 World Series. I was just a cute lil’ rash back then— eight years old. My fondest memory of Tom is, of course, [his] legendary, “Touch ’em all, Joe,” [line] after Joe Carter’s World Series-winning home run.

HipHopCanada: If Tom Cheek was still alive, which hip-hop tracks do you think he’d be bumping?

RationaL: Dang, that’s a good question. Tom would definitely be bumping “A Swing and a Belt” and my solo album The BirthWrite LP and my free album I’m giving away. Oh, and I could most def’ see Tom being a fan of the homie, Shad K.

HipHopCanada: A little shameless self-promotion never hurts. So tell us about your meeting with the Blue Jays executives.

RationaL: I was pretty nervous. We met at the Bessborough Hotel in downtown Saskatoon. I was wiping my sweaty palms every five seconds. I didn’t know what to expect. It was kind of surreal—much like this whole experience has been.

HipHopCanada: What’s the parallel between hip-hop and baseball?

RationaL: Baseball – as a game— is similar to freestyling or creating something from scratch in the studio. The unscripted drama of it all. Baseball—as a business—is quite similar to hip-hop in that it’s a dog-eat-dog and what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business. The business of thousands [of] rejections. Just like in baseball, in hip-hop you have your amateurs, semi-pros, minor leaguers, professionals and all stars.

HipHopCanada: I hate to ask the obvious, but are you a Blue Jays fan?

RationaL: I’m a life-long Blue Jays fan. They remind me of some of the greatest moments in my childhood. Their win-loss record directly affects my mood.

HipHopCanada: And do you play baseball?

RationaL: I grew up playing ball with the Saskatoon Blue Jays little league baseball team. I had a nasty heater—absolutely filthy. I threw one too many curveballs [and] messed up my right elbow. There went my Big League dreams. So I picked up a mic and the rest is history.

HipHopCanada: And now you get to rap about baseball. So you’re living the dream. What’s next on your to-do list?

RationaL: I have a bunch of cool stuff coming up. A couple of brand new music videos [and] a documentary. And I am really excited about my new EP I’ll be dropping before the end of the year. [I’m] working on it with my dude, Relic, from Toronto.

HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada readers?

RationaL: The best thing that all my Jays-hip-hop heads could do for this song and for Tom is to blow up the comment section on and Lets show them how we do. Keep on. I love what you guys do. Thanks for the interview and go Blue Jays.

Interview conducted by Sarah Sussman for HipHopCanada
Photography courtesy of RationaL

Twitter: @thinkrash | @BlueJays

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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