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Mega Ran & Fresh Kils weigh in on their collaborative Biggie tribute video “Lyrically”

Toronto, ON – In honour of Biggie’s two-decade death anniversary, Toronto producer Fresh Kils teamed up with DJ DN3 and Philly-Arizona nerdcore-chip-hop rapper Mega Ran for the release of the Notorious R​.​A​.​N: Ready To Live tape (which you can scoop up over here).

The project features 10 resampled flips on classic B.I.G. tracks and one scratch interlude courtesy of DJ Reflekshin. The tape pays proper homage with Mega Ran’s own addition of fresh lyricism and perspective. The entire project was produced by Fresh Kils and DJ DN3, and serves as a reinvented 2017 look at the timelessness of one of the greatest MCs of all time.

The tape also comes accompanied by a video for the Fresh Kils produced track “Lyrically” (which is a flip of “Untouchable”).

Here’s what Mega Ran had to say about the track: “I wanted to make something similar in style and lighting to classic B.I.G. videos I’d watched, and we were able to pull that off. Rhyme-wise, I studied Biggie’s patterns and some of my favorite verses and offered an alternative take on how I feel he would flip it in 2017. I’m very proud of how this track and video came out. Kils put his foot in this one.”

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On the production side of things, Kils says that the task of paying homage to Biggie was a rewarding challenge to take upon himself. “As a producer, I wanted to delve back into the original samples; mining some of that inspiration, and make sure I was stimulating the brain stems of DJs and producers. As Mega Ran got to flex his skills as an MC, I wanted to flex mine as a producer. It’s become very popular of late to flip 90s R&B samples, and Debarge is one of those groups with such a great catalogue. But they’ve been flipped so many times that I wanted to make sure I was bringing something new to it… something we hadn’t heard.”

Q&A: Fresh Kils

HipHopCanada: Tell me a bit about how you added your flavour into the mix, here.

Fresh Kils: For me, adding my flavour meant very specifically not doing stuff that had been done before, being aware of well known flips of acapellas and samples, and steering away from that. Having been doing it as long as both Mega Ran and I have, our sounds and styles have been well forged. So anything we do will inevitably sound like us, thank God… If we were still trying to find ourselves it’d be harder. But thankfully our instincts are honed in at this point, so our influence over the music comes more naturally.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about some of the challenges of paying homage while still making this your own.

Fresh Kils: The key here is having fun with things; we’re both huge fans, and as long as we’re loose with it, the homage will come out genuine. Trying too hard tends to come off inauthentic. And with projects like this, or even songs that are directly inspired from other artists or movies, etc, you just try to make sure you’re coming at it as a fan first. The more pure the love for it, the more humble and the less forced everything will seem. Much of my career has involved paying homage to things – all my routines are essentially homages – which thankfully gave me the experience I needed to help Mega Ran and I pull this off right.

HipHopCanada: Tell me a bit about your vision for reworking this particular track.

Fresh Kils: When I first sent [Mega Ran] the beat for “Lyrically”, [he] said that it didn’t sound enough like the original; that the point of the project was not to harken back to the original, which is why I put the sample in at the beginning. Here’s where it started, and here’s where we go with it. It’s a fine line where you can be doing something new with the sounds – something that hasn’t been done – but not obscuring its origin.

Twitter: @freshkils | @MegaRan

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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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