Bishop Brigante gives us the backstory for each song on his new Legacy project
Toronto, ON – With the release of a new playlist yesterday featuring some of his most well known singles, Toronto artist Bishop Brigante stopped by HipHopCanada to give us the backstory on how each track came to be.
When it comes to the battle scene, Bish has done it all. Be it winning tournaments, appearing on 106 & Park’s Freestyle Friday, taking part in high profile battles (see Bishop Brigante vs Jin The MC) or co-hosting one of the biggest battle leagues on the planet (KOTD), his resume is as long as it is impressive.
On the flipside, when it comes to his discography as a recording artist, Bishop has released several mixtapes and singles, and been on plenty of other people’s projects, but has yet to release an official album debut. The reason is complicated and personal, but something Bishop has worked through and overcome. In fact, it could all change by the end of 2017, or the top of 2018, and it all starts with Legacy.
“I’ve always been anxious about the music that I make, and I’ve allowed myself to let things that can advance my career hold me back or fade away, without really embracing the idea of success. Perhaps mentally I was never really ready until now. So putting out this ‘best of’ album is just the first step through that door that I used to fear.”
Legacy represents closure. It’s the end of an era and the birth of a new one.
Aside from demonstrating Bishop’s growth as an artist over the years, Legacy groups some of the Scarborough veteran’s biggest tunes into one official project for the first time. There’s “Shorty Grindin” featuring his former Wise Guys groupmates, Drake and JD Era, the MC Lyte and Sticky Fingaz-assisted “That’s Still The Way,” which is a nod to his first big single, or “It’s Fo Twenty” which saw Bishop become the first Canadian rapper to record with the late great Nate Dogg (RIP). Other features include members of Bishop’s Section 6 squad while production was handled by S.C.A.M., T-Minus, Spinz Beats and Nick Zervos.
It’s 8 tracks in total and available now on iTunes and Apple Music via High Stakes Music. Take that in and keep reading for a breakdown of each record, courtesy of Bishop himself.
“The legacy only gets bigger through hard and beating the grudge.” – About 2 Change
Bishop Brigante – Legacy
That’s The Way
Produced by S.C.A.M.
Even though “that’s The Way” was the first official single I’ve ever put out, it was probably the one song that had the least preparation and time put into it; out of all the records I’ve ever made. Daymon (my manager) and I were approached by RT! (Randall Thorne) who was an up and coming video director. He caught wind of the buzz that we created, and he felt we needed a visual to go along with it. I was killing everyone on the battle scene and started picking up steam with the 106 & Park appearance, but we were also making a lot of music in the studio. We loved the idea of shooting a music video, but we had no idea what song we wanted to actually come out with first. So literally the day before the deadline for the grant had to be in, S.C.A.M. made this beat before I got to the studio. As soon as I heard it, I just started rapping about all the things that were happening in my life at that time. It all fell right into place with what we wanted to do. We wanted the entire country to put a face to the name Bishop. It actually worked out a lot better than we expected and thanks to RT!, the video was a huge success.
About to Change ft. Big Zeeks & Mikey G
Produced by S.C.A.M.
To this day, I feel like this song was a very defining moment for me in my music career. After the success of my first video, I really wanted to take that opportunity to kind of go left field with things and talk to the people about something much more powerful. Survival. I would always have these little kids in my neighbourhood that looked up to us as rappers and stuff, so I wanted to talk directly to them with this song. This was also a moment that I was able to put my childhood friends Bigg Zeeks and Mikey G on a record that would be a single. As much as I love this particular song, it was the video that really made the impact in my hood. It was one of the few times that the entire area was all out and on the block supporting the movement as one big family. It’s literally my favourite song I have ever done. Mikey’s hook was perfect and Zeeks assist really make this a Scarborough classic for me. Everywhere we went, on tour, people were singing this song like it was their own.
6 Up ft. Mikey G
Produced by S.C.A.M.
“6 Up” is a direct example of my battle history. By this time, I had been on and doing a lot of shows and getting my stride. The problem with any type of success at all is that it comes with a certain level of hate or jealousy. So this record in particular was me firing off on any naysayers in the streets or in the music industry. S.C.A.M. killed this beat and it really brought out that aggressive raw rap from me. I didn’t think it was gonna be a single at all but, along came RT! again and he had a great idea for the video. I had Mikey G add some vocals to give the hook a little life and there it was. The funny thing is, you would think because of my battle history, and reputation, that this would’ve been more the style of music I would’ve been making the whole time. Eventually over time, I stopped paying attention to that kind of energy from the haters and just kept it moving.
Produced by T-Minus
The craziest thing about the “Hard Times” record is every single experience I talked about was from a person I knew or myself directly. When I was creating this piece I was wild emotional about all of these things I was talking about too. Cause I spend a lot of time reflecting and thinking about my community all the time. So when it starts coming out in my music, it really tugs at my soul and my feelings. So when I created this song originally it was on a S.C.A.M. beat that had this “hard times in the city” sample and it had a real underground sound and feel to it. I wanted the song to have a little bit more of a commercial feel to it so that the vibe could touch more people rather than just get buried in the underground. So I went to a young rising producer who we now know as T-Minus. I remember we were on Skype all night while he was creating the music for the new version and I thought this kid was the most talented producer I had ever met. That was an understatement. The hook supposed to be a reference for another singer to get on, but with the back ups from an incredible singer named Neenah, the hook sounded good as is. I was nervous at first to leave it with my vocals singing but eventually it grew on me. It’s very close to my heart like “About to Change” is. I love this song.
That’s Still The Way ft. MC Lyte & Sticky Fingaz
Produced by S.C.A.M.
My first single “That’s The Way” was a big success with radio and the video was in heavy rotation on television. So while I was filming the TV series Platinum I was lucky enough to meet one of my favourite MCs ever when I met Lyte. I was always a huge fan of her work and respected her as one of the Queens in this hip-hop thing. I was spending all my time with Sticky on and off set so he was already down to get on the remix. I never thought for a minute that I was gonna be able to get MC Lyte though. I kinda threw the idea to her on set in a very casual way, and before I knew it, she called my cell and was like, “Hey, let’s do that remix, I’m with it.” My guess was that she was probably kicking it in the hotel and must’ve seen the video 5 times a day on MuchMusic and it might’ve grown on her. Whatever it was, I was thankful because her and Sticky are legends. The thing about Sticky’s verse was he literally was in every single club in Toronto during the time he lived there for filming. We went out pretty much every night so when he name dropped the hottest clubs in the city, he wasn’t fucking around. That was a wild part of my life filming that show.
Shorty Grindin ft. Drake & JD Era
Produced by Spinz Beats
The thing about “Shorty Grindin” was that it was almost just a JD Era and Bishop record. The producer Spinz was really working hard and he started coming up with some crazy beats. So when Era brought this record to my studio, I knew right away that it was gonna be a banger. We didn’t take long to put our verses together and come up with the hook, but something was missing. We needed another verse on it to make it a complete song. So I called Drake and broke down what the record was about and all that. He told me he was gonna be in a session in the next couple of days downtown so I brought the session to him so we could get it done. We were known as a few of the top rappers from the city, so it was dope to get to actually make a real single together. Drake wrote his verse right on the spot and recorded that night. I was the one at the time with the record deal so with an album on the horizon, we felt that this record would fit best on there. Ironically, this was all around the time Drake became the biggest artist in the world. We had a lot of radio play but the label was going through a disastrous change, so that album never came out. I’ve always loved this record because it was raw and gave a real look into how well the three of us would gel on a record. It’s a classic to me.
It’s Fo Twenty ft. Nate Dogg
Produced by T-Minus
I actually recorded this song in Los Angeles with Nate at Fred Wrecks crib. I had a bunch of beats that I brought to LA with me. I had stuff from DJ Kemo, Boi-1da, T-Minus and everyone else I could think of from the city. I hit everyone up before I left so I was stocked up. We just cam dup with a bunch of ideas and laid them down one after another. But one thing was missing. We had been waiting a long time for someone to bring him his smoke. It was April 20th (4/20) and for the non-weed smokers, it’s basically international Weed Day everywhere. So Nate was pissed cause we had been waiting for a long time. I can’t remember who it was actually that was supposed to bring the weed but it was another legendary rapper from Cali. I just can’t remember who exactly. So a frustrated Nate went into the booth and started talking about, “you went and hit the weed spot, but the spot was fresh out, on your way home. hot! cause you can’t seem to find none.” And that’s how the song “It’s Fo Twenty” started out.. I think that’s how the best music gets made, when it’s right on the spot and about what you’re going through at the time. I was honoured to work with him and as comfortable as we were in the studio, I’m glad we could get a few songs in. We had huge plans for the video too, but tut’s when his health issues started becoming serious. We were going to recreate the movie “Bugsy” and recreate Las Vegas from the ground up again. The whole treatment for that video was nuts. It really was an incredible loss to the music industry and the whole world when we lost Nate Dogg. But even so many years later, and every April 20th, fans all over the world still bump that record or hit me up about it. God Bless you King. Rest in paradise.
Produced by Nick Zervos
It’s funny cause the last song on this album is actually very similar to the first song. I had met a producer named Nick Zervos who had sent me a bunch of beats to my email. As I was going through them all, I landed on this beat. I loved it right away and I kinda just went in to the booth with what I felt at the time. This record was cut and finished very fast. I can’t remember who was with me in the studio at the time, but I remember being surprised at how fast this record was cut. The crazy thing about this song was how it ended up being the one that got me four awards from an American radio station in Buffalo, WBLK 93.7 FM. We won the Producer of the Year, Hip Hop Song of the Year, People’s Choice Award, and Hip Hop Artist of the Year awards. I love the energy of this record and it rounds out the album perfect to catch everyone up to my current state of music.
— HipHopCanada (@HipHopCanada) March 18, 2017