Photos by Jon B
So you’ve been rapping as long as your brother?
We started around the same day. About 1990-91 we started writing our own songs.
How did SBU (Supreme Being Unit) form? Did you want to be famous right off the bat?
SBU was a name that Mindbender invented in 1991. We were in Ottawa with the rest of the Nextraterrestrials. We were all talking about making group names, people were throwing ideas around. SBU stands for “Supreme Being is You”—everyone’s a Supreme Being and everyone’s in our group. We’re an international group: whether you’re retarded or rich or poor, white or black, it doesn’t matter, you’re an SBU. It used to be Mindbender, Conspiracy and the third member was Kelron, our producer, but he changed his name to Nick Knox. He looks like Evil D from Beatminerz, he’s kind of like a Premier type of producer. I’m basically the DJ and Mindbender’s the lead MC because he’s more socially activated. I’m sort of like the Phife Dog of the group.
Did you do any shows?
It was hard for us to get into clubs so we did a lot of talent shows, restaurant shows; underage stuff because we weren’t of age to get into clubs. We did peoples’ house parties. We’d do shows in Toronto.
So how did you move to Edmonton?
In 1998 I was traveling across Canada and I was in Toronto with Mindbender and he didn’t want to let me live with him because he was living with his girlfriend; so I ended up being homeless in Toronto, sleeping on people’s couches. It was the only time in my life I’ve never had my own place. I was waiting to buy a ticket in a Greyhound station to come back to Edmonton and they arrested me for trespassing. I think it was racism. I spent a week in the Don Jail, went to court, got totally discharged; they didn’t fine me, they just kept me a week in jail. After that I didn’t like Toronto so I’m like ‘Mom, I’m moving back to Edmonton.’
Who did you hook up with when you came back?
When I came to Edmonton my first crew that I was down with was the Dungeon Crew: Billy, FBI, Butta, Touch, Tanner Lane and Owen. Shout outs to the Dungeon. From about 2001-2003 I used to hang out with them, before I was part of the LBA crew. The Dungeon guys were cool, they had really good beats, but their quality was high that their output wasn’t good. They’d work on a beat for like 8 months and it would be on the Premier level, but they only had one song.
After that what happened?
In 2002 I met Chazmo and Max Prime.
How’d you meet those guys?
I think I met Chazmo around the clubs. My memories of LBA are kind of hazy. This is how I think it went down: I met Max Prime or Chazmo first, then I met Addvice, then Chris Plus and last I met the Blurb. Chazmo made up the name and we just decided to roll as a 6-man crew.
What’s happening now in LBA?
The reason why I left LBA was because I felt there wasn’t enough love between the members. In Nextra, out east we’d talk everyday, we’d smoke weed everyday and write songs everyday, but we wouldn’t have any money. Out west nobody gets together, but we all have money. Nobody gets together. People have their own lives to live, so I figured that LBA didn’t need me ‘cause nobody really said much. People were just always doing their own thing. When we did get together to do albums and stuff, it was cool, but it just wasn’t as often as it was out east. Right now LBA is: Chris Plus, Chazmo, Max Prime, Addvice and Nato. Blurb and Conspiracy are not in LBA anymore officially.
“I never throw songs away. I mean I have a couple songs that are really crappy, but I still have the songs in case someone else likes it.”
Another reason why I left LBA was because they were like ‘oh, throw this song away’—I never throw songs away. I mean I have a couple songs that are really crappy, but I still have the songs in case someone else likes it. I never lose music, ever. Shout outs to all those people who have all their original songs!
What happened with Blurb?
I guess they just decided to kick him out because we didn’t really fit the picture of the LBA that they’re trying to make now.
How are they trying to portray themselves?
Like a 4-man crew of perfectionists. Blurb’s kind of sloppy and I’m kind of sloppy, so they just got rid of the dead weight they didn’t need—that’s how I view things. I think they’ll do better off without us because they are perfectionists, they work hard at their craft: they rewrite songs, work out songs and memorize songs for shows. I was sort of like the Cappadonna or Moka Only member of the crew: where I’m not really there at all the shows, I wasn’t memorizing all my songs; I wasn’t fully participating ‘cause I didn’t feel like there was a lot of communication for me to know what to do. I like being asked or told to do something—I can’t read minds. I hope all the best for the LBA crew.
What are you working on?
I have my “Conspiracy Theory” album; it’s a 4-part album. I named each CD after my favorite artists and actresses. CD 1 is: “Tyra Banks, Abstract Rude and Black Thought”; CD 2 is: “Vivicia Fox, Busta Rhymes and Method Man”; CD 3 is: “Pamela Anderson, Cage and Eminem”; CD 4 is: “Jenna Jameson, Ill Bill and Apathy.” No Canadian artist has ever put out 4 full CDs in one project, so I’d like to claim a historical first. It’s like a double-double album project: black man (the black Christ) on the front cover and white woman on the back cover (Jenna Jameson).
“one time I did like 2 grams of crystal meth and I wrote 3 albums over a 7 day period, perfectly written, sequenced, edited, everything.”
How do you write so many lyrics?
Weed and coke. Without weed, coke and alcohol I wouldn’t write anything. ‘Cause I don’t get high and just sit around and watch TV and do nothing. Me, I’m a productive drug user. When I used to do crystal meth…one time I did like 2 grams of crystal meth and I wrote 3 albums over a 7 day period, perfectly written, sequenced, edited, everything. I’d just like to shout out all the drugs I do.
[Drugs fuel] the imagination. If you have a vivid, active and childish imagination; whatever it takes to get you to create, usually you have endless potential. I just smoke a joint, I have my 10 or 12 free beats, record 3 beats, record 3 songs in a day, I got 3 new songs. At the end of the week, I got 15 new songs and 20 empty beats kickin’ around. It all just adds up. Shout out to this Jeru the Damaja line: “Organization kills more devils than bullets.” I have never lost a song, a lyric, a CD, any artwork. I think there’s 1 out of 450 solo songs I’ve record as Conspiracy, only 1 I don’t have on my computer, my brother has it. I cherish my music as much as a diamond thief cherishes the diamonds he steals. I look at creation as like a reflection of my responsibility; so if I’m sloppy with my creation, then I’m an irresponsible bum.
Tell me about “Sex Is the Key to Immortality”
“Sex Is the Key to Immortality” is based on the metaphysical magic experiences I’ve had in my lifetime. I have a book called The Necronomicon, which is a demonic spell book, like a real evil black magic book. I opened it up and it cursed me. There’s two magical beings that listen to my conversations (they’re listening right now probably); I think they’re either Vampires or Succubuses (female version of Incubus), so like sexual energy leeches. They came because I opened The Necronomicon. That’s why I wrote “Sex Is the Key to Immortality”; the first song is “I’m Cursed By A Demon” and the last song is “Demon Slayer”; so the first song I’m cursed by the demon and by the last song I slay the demon.
When did you pick up The Necronomicon?
I bought it in 1997 and I got cursed probably two weeks after.
What made you think you got cursed? Creatively, is it a good or bad?
I look at it as a balance. It could be worse and it could be better. It’s like a prank caller. You know what a medium is? They’re using me as a medium. They channel my thoughts through stream of consciousness and they basically feed off my energy or cause random communication. They create lucid dreams or talk to me during the day; they’ll be like: ‘go catch your bus’ or ‘don’t drink that juice, drink some milk,’—they want me to be like them basically.
“You don’t have to believe in god, even god knows that.”
I suggest that people believe in themselves and follow their own instincts. What I’ve learned from being cursed is that: belief is a feeling from the heart and thoughts are feelings from the mind. You gotta separate the two. You don’t have to believe in anybody; that’s my religion. If god’s not going to save me, I’m not gonna believe in him because I’m just as cool as anybody. I know that there’s a god, but I don’t have to believe in him because I believe in freedom of religion. You don’t have to believe in god, even god knows that.
So why is it called “Sex Is the Key to Immortality”?
Shouts to…I can’t give his name, I’d be divulging a secret. Just some dude. He said it was his favorite saying he goes: ‘don’t you think that sex is the key to immortality?’ I just jacked it. ‘Love conquers the demon,’ that’s what the album’s about.
Tell the people about “Screw the Underground, I’m Going Commercial”
My first solo album came out in 2001 it’s called “Screw the Underground, I’m Going Commercial” recorded on Chazmo beats. I had a lot of people giving me a lot of positive feedback on that album. I feel that next to “Sex Is the Key to Immortality”—most perfect album, easily. Front to back, top to bottom—flawless. It sounds like a robot made the album, it’s just completely and absolutely perfect in every way. I did an outro called “An Important Discussion”; I break down how politics is based on haves and have nots and what if the roles were reversed? That’s where real justice in life comes in. God always says ‘the last shall be first,’ if you’re poor: don’t really worry and if you’re rich, you shouldn’t really care; no matter what, everybody gets what they deserve.
“I don’t want to be around a freestyle battle where they’re selling liquor to underage kids and 8 guys have guns.”
What are thoughts on the Canadian rap scene?
The best city to do hip hop in Canada is Vancouver because there isn’t a lot of violence in the city. For some reason a lot of ignorant people are involved in hip hop. The smaller the city, the safer it usually is. I mean Toronto…I live in Edmonton ‘cause I left Toronto. I don’t want to be around a freestyle battle where they’re selling liquor to underage kids and 8 guys have guns. That’s the Toronto scene, people pack gats to shows. I don’t want to be around that shit. Second best is Ottawa or Montreal. Edmonton third.
The reason why hip hop in Canada sucks is the population. America has 300 million people and Canada has 32 million people—just think of the numbers for support; they have 10 times the support we do? You could sell 10 times as many CDs. That’s why there are guys like Master P going platinum from their trunk…
Anyway the Canadian hip hop scene: shout outs to Swollen Members, Saukrates, who is signed to Redman’s label. I’m happy ‘cause it goes to show that Canadian artists can network with the biggest American artists. Even Classified. Classified is not bad, I don’t mind the guy. He’s like an average rapper; to me he’s sort of like a Juelz Santana or Camron type rapper. Just some guy who’s got something to say; there’s nothing special about him, he’s not that extravagant or super fast with the tongue like Twista; he’s just a nice guy who likes to make music.
What about gangsters in rap? It seems sort of irrelevant in Canadian rap…
I think it’s because America is older than us. Most real gangsters are 35-40 years old; in Canada if you’re a criminal, you’re probably 15-25 and you’re not really economical enough to make a difference. You got the snot nosed Canadian kids or the old gangster. There are a lot of older dudes in the US who make gangster music, pimp hos, sell crack, pack guns, and drive a Lexus. Age 30 is where the bar is drawn. Canada has to age about 7 or 8 years; we’re probably 9-12 years behind America in terms of social structure and just musical accomplishment. Canada’s just like…we’re searching for an identity; we don’t want to be known as the nice guys anymore; ‘cause I mean ‘nice guys finish last’ as they always say. Everyone wants to be known as rough and tough and big and rich and powerful…America’s got that image down-pat; I mean super powerful, monstrous, big huge corporate entity sort of country. Canada’s looking for that corporate support; in Toronto there’s a lot of corporate power and there’s a lot of thug rappers in Toronto. There’s a lot of gangsters in Toronto and they have a lot of corporate support, but they don’t have the true creativity that New York had. Ghostface has that song “Criminology”; Gangstarr’s “Just To Get A Rep”—they’re interesting with their crime.
My twin brother Mindbender who I love forever; God—who is a really weird person; my favorite 5 artists: Black Thought, Ill Bill, Busta Rhymes, Cage and Eminem; Project Blowed and Def Jux…
This is my one wish: get signed to Def Jam or Aftermath. As a rapper, those are my two basic goals to complete my careers progress.
How are you going to do that?
By making enough noise to make them call me.
But don’t you need to call them?
I’ll call them, I got their numbers.
I’d like to say that officially Conspiracy and Rewynd are the only two artists on Astral Majesty Creations (AMC Records) which is the label of SBU and Nextraterrestrials. Peace to Jon b and all the cats at ugsmag and to all the people who will die for hip hop music—we’ll party on in heaven.