Introduce yourself, crew, affiliations etc.
Epic, Beatcomber DJ Crew, Clothes Horse Records, also affiliated with Up In Arms studios, Edmonton, AB.
You just released your sophomore album called “Local Only”. What does the title mean?
I’m content in rapping in the 6 prairie cities forever. I’ve already achieved my goals in rapping. I set new ones, but they all relate to getting bigger in these 6 cities. I love these people. Though I try and make it out to BC and London Ontario every second year.
What has changed or stayed the same from the last album?
This album I planned out more than the last one. The last one I made up as I went along, not knowing what to expect. soso pieced it together so it made sense. I had more input in this one as to how it would sound. I rejected some pretty dope Maki and soso beats. This album has really amazing beats. 8:30 was written in a time of turmoil. This album was written from a settled down into my destiny perspective. But i’m the same rapper who earns his respect cipher by cipher.
Who chased you out of Saskatoon to a land of greater opportunity?
Up until my 30th birthday I tried to be a successful person. I was 29 working midnight shifts in a kitchen, university educated. This is what chased me from town. I love Saskatoon, but It has so many dirty secrets. Winnipeg was the murder capital last year; though Saskatoon was in 2002, 2001, 1999 and 1998.
Why are you and others always running back to Saskatoon?
I go back for friends, family, rap shows, and to visit my little brother. Same reasons Joni Mitchell goes back.
You have a song on your CD that talks about old guys rockin’ the mic but on another song you are quite animate about only liking rap. Could you explain?
It sucks when successful rappers turn there back on the Canadian Indy scene. The Canadian indy rap scene supports people when everyone else could really give a fuck. I love rap and that’s 95% of what I listen too.
What is it like being a “middle aged white guy” in Canadian hip hop?
Its cool, people look to me for perspective. I had a talk with DJ Dice of DGC. He was down in Edmonton here before I was. He talked to me about the old Edmonton scene, E-Dot and everyone, It was great. I hope a lot of knowledge doesn’t get lost.
People are always asking about the mystery of Epic’s grey hair. Is it from stress, drugs or genetics?
A little bit of all 3 I guess. “Hey Richard, 2 minutes for looking so good”
How has Canadian hip hop changed since you first started making music? Is it better or worse now?
Better, we sure did a lot here. built healthy scenes in many cities, developed a network. Though, we don’t support our DJ’s like we use to. Support them mix tapes. What is really important is distro. mcenroe hooked alot of people up. We need to keep control of our distro. Once we lose that, then shit gets unpredictable. Buy from Canadian distro. Bug your indie rock stores to carry that.
Who are the best and worst Canadian MC’s in Canada?
Best Canadian rapper – Kunga 219 on Tharpa’s Transcripts, Pip Skid on Fermented Reptile. Worst – I use to be able to criticize and diss rappers back in the day without repercussions. Now every time I diss someone, it gets back to them. Kyprios I guess, just based on his one radio song and his gay slam poetry.
Who is your favourite mc?
Best rapper – Volume 10
Why do you feel the need to be the king of the streets and rip people’s posters?
Any so called gangsters who wanna diss. Put up your rap show posters, I guarantee they will be gone by the morning.
Why do you hate tow truck drivers?
They towed my vehicle
Did someone really steal your autographed picture of Milt Steagal?
Yeah, right out of my vehicle
What does the future hold for Epic “The Grand Wizard of the North’?
I want to do a CD with Ira lee, Maki and Kutdown. We got 3 songs already. Do another album with soso 3 years from now hopefully. Rap with Touch and Ben.e.
You have a few songs on your album that are produced by Maki. How did you guys hook up and are you two working on any future projects?
I think I emailed Maki about getting his mix CD. Next thing I know I’m in Kamloops for a show, chilled there with IP and Nigel. Shrimpy and Boya were there but they were too rock starred out to hang. We ended up clicking, his djing is really something else, he puts out the best mix cds I have ever heard. My next CD will be with all Maki beats. We managed to get together quite a bit. He will roll here or I will roll there.
The track “Strictly for the Masses” has a name taken out at the end. What name is that and why was it taken out on the record?
That’s a secret. Khari called out someone. Maki doesn’t like him though.
Are you and Conspiracy ever going to work together in the future?
Yes, but Khari has his own way of going about stuff. His birthday party was real fun. When I first moved to Edmonton I rented a room in this house with real sketchy parties and people. Conspiracy would go to sleep at like 11 pm in my room while the party was on. I didn’t have to worry about people fucking with my shit. I think khari wants to do stuff with Max Prime.
What are your future hip hop plans?
I plan on spending my 30s rapping. As I get older, I think its about contributing to the community. I never want to move to the suburbs, fuck that. I know where I am from. Effect positive changes somehow; maybe volunteer to help people get off the street or something. I talk a good game but haven’t really done anything big to help people. though I think I let my opinion hang on stuff and direct people where necessary.
The bonus song on your album “Blood Money” featuring soso is my favourite track what is yours and why?
“It ain’t easy.” I love the beat, performing it live. This song was written after coming home from out east and going to scribble jam and all that. This song would fit in nicely with the shit Ira and I are doing. I’m on that local Saskatchewan perspective shit. There are lots of reflection songs out there in rap, but this is just so original in my opinion. If you check what i’m saying and the structure, this song is pretty crazy when you think about it. When they played it on the Sook Yin Lee show on national CBC radio, I was so moved, that is one of my proudest moments. They picked the same song I like. This song is about my experiences in hip hop, but is really universal. This song is about being an underdog and my people being underdogs.
How do you manage to balance hip hop politics and humour in your music?
Same way I do in my life. I believe in all 3, at least I believe in the first two so much than when i put humour in, it lightens the first two up. I don’t consciously try to balance.
What is a typical day like for Epic?
Get up, go to work, work, sometimes run into Conspiracy at the mall downtown and rap, go back to the office, go home, listen to music, watch CBC news at 10 then in bed at 10:30.
How many midnight moves have you pulled?
2, one a year ago. The crasiest in Saskatoon in 93. I didnt pay rent. These 2 goons showed up who couldn’t speak much english. They were like, you have 1 hour to leave. these fuckers meant business. In Saskatoon, 3 companies own all the buildings. Some have specialists that go around evicting people. Packed my stuff pissed in the sink and bounced. On midnight move, my original line was “and I pulled out my dink and pissed in the sink,” instead of burning bridges. I thought that shit was immature and am not proud of it, so I changed my lines.
Anything else you would like to share?
Yeah, if you are thinking of signing me, fuck off. I don’t need your slimy shit.