Advo hails from 182 st. deep in Edmonton’s Westside and received his rap education from Stray and Touch of the now dormant rap crew Dangerous Goods Collective. Non Status exists with fellow emcee (and cousin) Nekkbone. Over the years Djs have joined the fold, producers have provided the beats and Advo has remained the constant of the group, working as the manager and actively pursuing the big shows. Consider this: Advo opened for Guru before he was old enough to get into the club he was playing at. Thus far, the group has an impressive resume: Masta Ace, Del the Funkee Homosapien, the Game, as well as the p.b. and j of Canadian rap fare – Kardinal Offishall, Choclair and Classified. But such as the case of underground rap and especially the independent music coming out of Alberta, it straddles the line between total support or complete reckless abandonment – Advo has experienced this first hand. Non-Status have rocked “10-people-in-the-crowd shows” up to sold-out crowds at Commonwealth Stadium. The group’s very name ‘Non Status’ reflects the cultural limbo in Alberta.
Advo’s direct ancestors married out of the reserve system. Advo is a self-proclaimed mutt and as such, does not qualify for the privileges that treaty Natives do. He is by definition, a Non-status Aboriginal. Originally the group was predicated on this political message, but it evolved into a group with a broader appeal, especially for the traditional rap listener. Advo explains that he never wanted to embellish this part of his heritage because “a lot of those guys are overly preachy and to me it’s kinda corny, too many people use it as a crutch. I do hip hop, I consider myself to be a varied emcee.” Advo is versatile, but his heart is in the “pure boom-bap hip hop, that’s where I’m comfy at.”
Nowadays Advo’s motivations are palpable, he is a father. His drive to produce has increased and it he has had to work hard to satisfy their needs. Children bring a whole new dimension of commitment to all of one’s endeavors and for Advo, part of it means stepping up his rap game. He tells me that no matter what, he’s “here for the long haul…because you don’t stop rapping.” Destroy and Rebuild is a new album due to be released later this year and it’s rumored to feature Nekkbone, Julez Lavish, Benny E, and K-Riz, J-Mac with production from DJ Nato, Rellik and Classified. Here’s the rest of our discussion, in his words.
You’ve been away from us for a while…
Advokit: From that point up until today, I’ve been through a little situation. Where I was, it wasn’t too inspiring to write, but I got a lot of life experience in the past 18 months. I take that with me. The moment I got home – that’s when I got a lot of inspiration to write. During the time I was gone – regardless of what you hear in movies and television, that place is not inspiring. I cannot see how a man like Tupac Shakur can write an incredible fucking album. That whole thing is false: coming out a superstar with albums written and stuff – it’s stereotypical bullshit…
How do you feel about getting out there again?
When I first got home, I didn’t know what to expect. First time I made it out – me and Rellik opened up for R.A. the Rugged Man, which was like being thrust back into the limelight, that was a shock. After that, it was just like old times, dust off the shoes, dust off the mic…and get ready to do this.
Are ideas coming to you constantly?
It used to be a struggle for me to write – it’d take me a day or two to write to a fucking track. But these days…there’s a lot that I need to get out. I notice it in the style of my writing; my flow’s actually changing as well. I’ve been recording the past 2 months, so it’s a little different and it’s a growth process.
Hip hop is sometimes discussed with pessimism – is hip hop really fucked?
As far as hip hop dying? You just need to look in the right places. The music has changed and the number one reason is the Internet – everything is accessible now, it’s easy to be an artist and that brings a lot of garbage. 10 years ago, you had to have money, the drive to record and make good music – you had to make that effort. These days it’s effortless music; you can get production from anywhere, get yourself a $20 radio shack mic and start rapping. B-boy culture is still holding strong. The DJing thing is kind of dying down, I remember early 2000s, Djing was the thing to do and emcee took a backseat – but that’s all good, it’s hip hop, everything comes in cycles. Hip hop is nowhere near death, but these days, you gotta know what you like and look for it. There’s some really good underground stuff which you just gotta find.
What is the record label situation?
On the solo thing, I’m part of Red3 – a production company which is a crew of artists, which almost works as a label. Non Status was working with a label south of the border, but things went sour. We had an indie label that showed interest in the states, but it fell through. If we decide to do a full reunion and get this album out, then I’m sure we’ll find someone to put it out.
I want to thank everybody out there that’s still got love for me and continued to support me, to everyone who has held me down through my troubles, Shouts to the entire Ugs site, Nekkbone, Stray, Touch, Ben.E, K-Riz, DJ Creeazn, Julez, Red3 fam, Arlo Mavrick, Stray, you Jon b and the whole 182 section – thanks for everything. Most importantly my beautiful daughter Eliza, I do this for you baby girl.
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