Crew Profile: The Come Up Gang – Ben E Brix [Interview]
Edmonton, AB – The guys in the Come Up Gang are getting ready to launch themselves across the nation. The Edmonton-based crew of Lion (aka: L. Luciano), Raw Malone, Akay Audemar, Ben E Brix, and Shaw Langley, are gearing up for the launch of several forthcoming projects and albums.
HipHopCanada recently caught up with Ben E Brix (while he was getting inked), who raps with the Come Up Gang, as well as the Victoria-based Vic Vets trio. He told us about some of his Public Enemy influences, classical music appreciation, upcoming projects, and more. Check it out after the jump
“My craft is lyricism. I love to rap. And I will rap ’til I’m dead.” – Ben E Brix
Ben E Brix: Q&A
HipHopCanada: How do you define yourself as an artist, and what specifically is your craft?
Ben E Brix: As an artist I would describe myself as being a prolific writer with a street mentality. Every syllable is precisely where it’s supposed to be. My rhyme schemes are on point. And I capture the thoughts and emotions I’m feeling as I live out the daily hustle. While answering this question I’m getting tattooed, and I feel like my music is a tattoo on time that will exist forever. My craft is lyricism. I love to rap. And I will rap ’til I’m dead.
HipHopCanada: How did you get involved in hip-hop?
Ben E Brix: Hip-hop got involved with me. My brother was the first one to bring it into my life when I was like six. Run DMC. I started writing when I was 11. Then first started recording with my peoples, Ideals and Milz, in Victoria when I was about 15. We formed a rap crew called the SD Trio. And we killed shit.
HipHopCanada: What are some of your early memories about music, performing and writing? How did you start becoming who you now are?
Ben E Brix: The very first song I wrote and recorded was when I was 11, it was titled “F*ck the KKK.” I was heavily influenced by Public Enemy at that point in my life. Then at the same age, I performed (in front of Marigold Elementary) an anthem for my school that I wrote and choreographed a dance for. Then over the years I got into all genres of music. Started writing again at 15 and took influences from all music and the life I live to develop into the MC I am today.
HipHopCanada: What do you feel most inspired by?
Ben E Brix: Life. Things I’ve been through and lived through. Trials and tribulations: coming up with a single mom on welfare kind of life. Living through that. Grinding [and] doing what I could to get by. Protecting my family. It inspires me to be better [and] to build off it and become a better person and live a better life. So I’ve been working hard for that. Music inspires me – even classical. I like how Paganini changed music because he stepped out of the norm and they thought it was satanic and they sent him to jail for playing different notes. Great minds inspire me, like Nikola Tesla (who never for recognition for it), Socrates, [and] Plato.
HipHopCanada: Tell me about your crew, and what your role in it is.
Ben E Brix: My Come Up Gang crew is just a gang of super talented artists that I am real honoured to be a part of. My role is to rap. That’s what I’m good at, and that’s what I love to do. I’ve been friends with Lion for 13 years and he introduced me to Shaw. And the rest is history. I also represent a rap crew based out of Victoria, BC with Pyoot and Zes Nomis called Vic Vets. V double for life.
HipHopCanada: How do you represent for your city and how has your city/region shaped who you are?
Ben E Brix: Edmonton is where I was born, and where I currently reside. I rep it by being vocal about it in my rap, showing love at shows and cyphers, collaborating with and supporting talented artists in the city. But most importantly, by being consistently dope. You will never hear a whack verse from me, and I think that makes people in my city proud of me. I will always have love for Vancouver and Victoria as well, as they have always shown me nothing but love in return.
HipHopCanada: What is your greatest success so far as an artist?
Ben E Brix: I have opened for some of hip-hop’s biggest artists [including] Nas, Lloyd Banks, Swollen Members, [and] Gang Starr. [I've] performed in front of huge crowds. But for me the biggest success is making music that I am truly proud of and knowing that I am now a top-tier MC. You will never hear another rapper sound like me. And if you do, slap him. He’s biting my style.
HipHopCanada: If you had some sum up your musical/lyrical style in one sentence, what would you say?
Ben E Brix: From the streets to your soul, Brix delivers.
HipHopCanada: What are your goals for your life as an artist, and what are the steps you plan to take to achieve those goals?
Ben E Brix: Well my main goal at the moment is to make a solid album that I am truly happy with. Just to put my stamp in the hip-hop history books, regardless what comes out of it. A big part of me moving back to Edmonton was to connect with my peoples, Shaw and Lion, to make this happen. Shaw makes beats that are catered to my style. And we already began a classic album that will definitely be felt by hip-hop purists and street mufuckas, alike, being as I am in the streets and my passion for hip-hop is true.
HipHopCanada: What are you most excited about right now, and how can others get involved in it?