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10 at 10 Spotlight: Masters of Ceremony [Interview]

Calgary, AB – Every month, we team up with the 10 at 10 team in Calgary to profile one artists who rocked their stage at the monthly showcase. This month we highlight Masters of Ceremony, the local duo of Grenade and Abstrakt who originally got together in 2005 as Raw Illest, and have been representing the Calgary scene ever since. Check after the jump for their thoughts on the scene in the city, potential collabos and news on their upcoming full-length release!

Masters of Ceremony

Masters of Ceremony: Q&A

Interview conducted by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada

HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?

Masters of Ceremony: Hip-hop is a lifestyle. A conglomerate of different arts as a crest for the urban life.  From graffiti to break-dancing, we speak the words that inspire the other four elements of hip-hop.

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?

MOC: Don’t rush your work. Take your time  grow tough skin and learn how to take constructive criticism and use it as stepping stones towards your career.

HipHopCanada: How do you feel the Calgary scene is growing and where does 10 at 10 fit into your own growth as an artist?

MOC: Calgary’s been super adapting to the hip-hop culture. Out here is a huge party scene. Slowly, people are coming to more hip-hop shows and seeing how inspirational and fun it really is. With the help of 10 at 10, more and more local artists are gaining a fan base which really helps an artist grow. The plateau is being set by some great young artists (including ourselves), who are really setting the bar high and putting our city on the map.  Performing at 10 at 10 was a humbling experience. The response from the crowd of just over 200 people was amazing.  Our hometown is really putting together a great community for hip-hop.

HipHopCanada: How did you set your 10 at 10 performance?

MOC: We wanted to open with a song that was upbeat and feel good. We chose “Don’t Waste Your Time,” a track that everyone can bop their head to. From there we only had seven minutes left and a brand new single to perform. We decided to end the night with the two tracks we had the most fun performing during our tour with Raekwon across Canada: “Brainstorm” and “Black.” Just from the show itself, we’ve landed this particular interview and many fans, which helps us know the music speaks.

Masters of Ceremony live at 10 at 10

HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?

MOC: We think the biggest impression so far has been left by Raekwon, himself. We toured across Canada with him in June and having a legend like that accept us and be glad we’re on his tour really helped us feel like we’re making the right music. The conversations we had with him day-to-day were pretty casual. An experience with a hip-hop legend like him was very humbling, especially having the chef shout us out and accept our work as new artists in the game. It’s definitely a milestone in our career.

HipHopCanada: Which local and Canadian artists would you most like to collaborate with?

MOC: Currently we’ve worked with Moka Only, who will have a feature on our full-length album. One of the biggest names for Canada right now would be Drake. To collaborate or to even get him to review our music would be so influential. He has so many stories and so much experience [that] I think he would be an amazing person to be able to indulge in life conversations with. But there’s so much other talent… Matt Brevner is on the rise and he’s a super humble guy. He would be dope to jam with, as well.

HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes?

MOC: We’re honestly so grateful for every moment, every chance on stage, every time the crowd cheers. It’s all sounds of success for us. Every fan gained is so appreciated. From hitting the reset button and starting again with nothing, it’s a huge success story when we  look back and see a year in which every song made or moment shared was a reflection of who we are, and the trial and error each of us put towards perfecting our art. Especially knowing we inspire others.  There isn’t one specific thing that’s made us succeed this far. We’ve had a Fortune 500 social brand rep hold a private listening party in NYC. Touring with Raekwon. We even had the chance to do a brief Alberta tour with the Demigodz who, in return, were very impressed with what they saw. We got introduced to some of Ryan Leslie’s team, as well. But it’s the entire movement that doesn’t stop.

MoC shot by EJ Negre at Commonwealth Bar, Calgary

HipHopCanada: What new projects are you working on?  Any upcoming release dates we should know about?

MOC: Right now were working on our full length album. We’re reaching to a lot of people for collaborations and more.  Really involving people we’ve met, who are just like us. That take music seriously and have developed their own plateau as well. We got a producer who’s worked with Kardinall Offishall, Moka Only, among others (we gotta keep some secrets). But this album is, for sure, one to go down recognized. We also have a new single off that album out. It’s titled “Black” and the response has been amazing so far. Winnipeg’s Streetz FM [has] been blasting it out there and we’ve been told there’s mad love for it.

HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?

MOC: Thank you, to our friends, family, supporters, our city … Everyone in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal Toronto and everywhere else in the world that are keeping the support alive. As artists, it means the world to us.

You can keep up with Masters of Ceremony on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And keep up on all things 10 at 10 here and here.  You can also check their single “Black,” featuring Pleuto on iTunes here!

Black - Masters of Ceremony feat. Pleuto

Interview conducted by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
Photography by EJ Negre for HipHopCanada

Twitter: @MOC_music

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@HipHopCanada is Canada's largest source for Canadian hip-hop. Check back regularly for new music, videos, stories and discussion. Be sure to follow our updates on Twitter @HipHopCanada. This account is maintained by various members of the HipHopCanada team.

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