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10 at 10 Spotlight: Muta Mouraine [Interview]

Edmonton, AB – Once a year or so, our fam over at 10 at 10 throw an Outta Towners edition that always brings a fresh new energy into the building. Last month, five not-so-local acts were thrown into the mix, and they didn’t disappoint.

Among the acts was Edmonton’s Muta Mouraine – a young cat whose words carry more weight than you’d think he could hold. Check after the jump for his thoughts on how the scene in Edmo is different than Calgary, his own background and all the projects he’s got right around the corner.

Muta performing at 10 at 10

Last month at 10 at 10 wasn’t Muta’s first trip down to Calgary, though. He’s been down here for a few shows a couple years ago- most notably opening for Sonreal at Republik. Through these few trips, he’s already starting to see a difference between the hip-hop scenes of Calgary and Edmonton. The first thing that stands out in Calgary is the amount of support in the city. He says even though Edmonton still gets more shows, there are too many shows that are dead, only full of dudes; or both (Cue YYC hip-hop heads nodding in agreement… It’s still all too familiar). Muta was blown away by the fact that a showcase of local acts without a headliner would attract that kind of turn-out and that kind of support in the city.

Coming up nine years, now, in Canada, Muta came to Edmonton in 2005 as an 11-year-old from Sudan by way of Egypt. He’s called it home ever since, but still follows the situation back home. Talking to him about it made his frustration very evident. He feels the split in the country was not only a bad idea, but also something that the people didn’t want. While there are differences between the people located in the North and South of the country, they are still one people that don’t hate each other. Muta remains skeptical of what truly separated the country; putting it on political and American interests.

With all that as a background, Muta came into the rap game as most kids do: watching videos on TV. He’d use rap on the radio as a way of practicing his English as he was growing up; practicing his cadence through 50 and Kanye. He came up DJing (which he still does on the side) and started working on his craft.

Some might even recognize him through The OverAchievers- an Edmo crew he started with his brothers. He sees himself equally as an artist and entertainer, creating art to entertain the people. As his art has grown, it’s no surprise that he relates to Canada’s two major African-born-Canadian-developed hip-hop artists: Shad and K’naan. Muta says they represent the whole story – K’naan talks about what it was like there, whereas Shad keeps his focus on things as they are here.

Muta Mouraine: 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?

Muta Mouraine: Hip-hop is a way of living. It’s not just rap. It’s DJing, MCing, breakdancing, graffiti, and all of these elements [you use] to express yourself. I can go on about hip-hop forever, but end of the day, hip-hop to me is a culture: on and off the stage.

HHC: How was your experience with 10 at 10 and how did you set your set? How do you feel the Calgary scene is growing and where does 10 at 10 fit into your own growth as an artist?

MM: My experience at 10 at 10 was incredible. The energy that was in the building was insane the crowd response was amazing. Everything was just amazing. A city such as Calgary is for sure on the come up, and 10 at 10 will be that movement that will put Calgary on the map – HANDS DOWN! It gives artists (such as myself) the opportunity to go perform to a whole new audience that is there to enjoy the music. No one in that building knew me or my music but they enjoyed every bit of it and that’s hip-hop: people appreciating the craft.

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

MM: I’ve worked with plenty of artists in Edmonton mostly – dudes like Politic Live, Kazmega, Oozeela and all of them have always pushed me to my full potential. Especially Politic Live. They are the reason I’m able to get gigs out in Calgary, or the reason I can perform as well as I did at 10 at 10, and that’s that!

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

MM: It would be an honour to work with Canadian acts such as Shad – because every time I listen to his music i go back and rewrite my lyrics; Sonreal – because I’ve followed him from his start and that dude can work his ass off. I’ve witnessed his growth as an artist. And K’naan – because I relate to him more than I relate to 90 per cent of musicians out there. This guy is an amazing dude, and he is the true definition of hip-hop.

Muta live

HHC: Tell us about past and present successes?

MM: Well, I am a Golden Black Awards nominee and an Urban Artists of the Year award winner. I’ve opened for amazing artists such as J. Cole, Pusha T, Big Sean, and more.

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

MM: I am currently working on an EP titled Cold Morning, Early Nights which is due for release by the end of June. Prior to that I should be releasing my debut mixtape titled Prince of the Nile which will be available [as a free] digital download and if you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter you’ll have full access to that.

Written by Sarosh Rizvi for HipHopCanada
Photos by EJ Negre for 10 at 10 and HipHopCanada

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