Closer Than They Appear: Manspino & Beeyoudee find chemistry on Rétroviseur
On the surface, the pairing of Manspino and Beeyoudee may seem like an odd one.
Manspino is a grizzled veteran of the late 90s Montréal rap movement, most notably as one third of seminal group Sans Pression. He served as their DJ on tour before joining the group full-time with the release of Réplique aux offusqués in 2005. He’s also been responsible for crafting the soundscapes of some genre defining classics like “Térritoire hostile” and “L’étage souterrain,” just to name a few.
In the early 2000s, when the movement was still in its infancy, Manspino was working with some of the most influential artists of the time. Names like SP, Yvon Krevé and Muzion are now seen as pioneers of Rap Queb’s Golden Era. Though he is most known for being a member of seminal rap group Sans Pression, prior to joining the group, Manspino also had his own buzz and was touring the province.
“After joining Sans Pression, I started really making a name for myself as a producer. I worked on a mixtape series called Well Enough to Be Ill. It was was hugely successful and getting me more and more traction in the city, by featuring local artists on my productions.”
This series of mixtapes took him all across the province. “I was the first DJ in Québec to have an opportunity to hit the road.”
It led to him being offered a record deal with Mont Real Records. Right around the same time, Sans Pression (the group) would sign their deal with the label as well.
He adds: “I’ve never mentioned this publicly. I had a deal on the table from Explicit Records in Québec City before I was offered the Mont Real deal. But I signed with Mont Real out of loyalty to Sans Pression. The situation at Mont Real fell apart pretty quickly after that. Explicite is still active to this day. It’s one of my biggest regrets in 20 years of making music.”
Beeyou, as he likes to be called, is probably the hardest working man in Rap Queb. He has made his name in the Québec City underground, where he’s self-produced, engineered and has mixed a string of albums including the Talent disparus series which united an international roster of talent from the United States, Bosnia and Tunisia.
It wasn’t until 2010 that he would release Ultimatum, his first true solo album. Packed with his signature dark and brooding production and politically driven, and some would say incendiary lyrical content, Ultimatum was a critical success. After several appearances, here and there, Beeyoudee would return in 2012 with the album Laisse-les pas faire.
He would then immediately release Faut qu’tu comprennes with Leveq, a member of the duo known as The Ambassadors.
Beeyoudee and Manspino would meet in 2013, through a mutual acquaintance, Joker from DManyak Tattoo.
Manspino says: “Whenever I was in Québec City, I would stop by the shop to kick it with the owner Joker, and he would tell me about a local MC who’s looking for beats.”
He continues: “At almost the same time a friend of mine hands me a CD featuring a local MC, I loved the flows but I wasn’t feeling the production.”
Beeyou: “I knew Manspino from all of the classic tracks he’s produced and scratched on over the years. He’s a legend! I wanted my new album to be a little less political. I wanted to take things in a different direction.”
What came out of this meeting is Rétroviseur (Rearview Mirror).
“It really is a look back in a sense, with an eye towards the future.”
The project itself was three years in the making. The album is a nice mix of their respective styles.
Beeyou: “I really wanted an album that the OGs would love but that the youth could relate to as well. This is a much more accessible album for me. Manspino brought soul samples that in turn brought different things out of me. The result is a much more personal album.”
There was a period of adaptation for Manspino. At first the veteran beatsmith started by sending beats, he thought he’d like. “I would send him beats that I thought were fire and he didn’t like them. So I had to start tailoring my beats for Beeyoudee, and Many times he surprised me with his choices.”
Beeyou says: “Some I liked and some less. Others forced me to move in a different direction, and adapt.”
Certain themes that seem to come back are nostalgia, the generation gap, love of self, balanced with the love of others. “Greyscale” is a love song that deals with very heavy subject matter. While songs like “Québec moderne” address the more political subject matter that Beeyou is known for. “Dégénération” is a song in which an ‘old head’ and a youngster are having a conversation only to realize that they more in common than they first thought.
Now that this project is complete, both artists are back to working on separate projects but have not ruled out another collaboration. There is currently a Montréal remix of “Flesh and Blood” in the works featuring a heavy roster of MCs who are mainly from Montréal area that will include SP, Le Reptile Rampant, Koopsala, Samy Elmousif, C-Drik and Pat-K7.
Beeyoudee has a new album on the way with some more experimental work. Retroviseur is a great introduction to the world of Manspino and Beeyoudee. It takes a critical look at our society all back with incredible production.
Written by Hugues Lamour for HipHopCanada
Beeyoudee & Manspino – Retroviseur
Beeyoudee & Manspino – Glacial
You can check out the John Henley-directed “Glacial” video below.