January 28, 2009




Photos by Jon B

KazMega – “Juggernaut”

A.O.K. & KazMega – “D.R.E.A.M.”

KazMega is an untapped talent. He is a producer and sometimes rapper from Edmonton who few people know about because he has yet to release a debut album. Who knows? Maybe this will spur him to do so. Calling himself the progeny of Edmonton’s hip hop studio (and collective) Tuffhouse, Kaz flew the nest and built a small, but palpable reputation as an independent producer among the capital city’s underground rap operatives. Peep the interview.

Introduce yourself, crew affiliations etc…

They call me Kaz, KazMega. Affiliations: Tuffhouse, D.G.C., L.B.A.

How come you’re such a dope rapper and you don’t have an album?

I’m a dope rapper without an album because I’ve been spreading myself out, been doing the production thing for a bit. I’ve got 3 or 4 albums which I’ve done full production on that need to be released. But with my own project, balancing it all out is tough.

Why hasn’t this stuff seen the light of day?

Mostly just busy and I’ve gone through so many different versions of myself, doing different kinds of music because it’s been such a long time of doing stuff. For example when I was 13 I thought a tattoo of a Nike check would be ill. When I first started an album when I was 19, I had a completely different concept of what hip hop was than I do now. So there’s just a whole bunch of stuff that I’ve been sitting on. But I’ll release a mix-tape with all the dumb shit I’ve dropped before.

Are you one of them producer/rapper types?

I am, but I don’t really rap to my own beats. I’m not one of those guys who produce having a song in mind. I hear dope samples, I produce beats. That’s how I’m done making a beat, I’m tired of hearing a loop over and over again and I usually don’t spit to it. There’s a few of them that are so dope I have to spit to them.

KazmegaDoes that mean that you sell a lot of beats?

A lot of unknown artists who are just working on their first albums. Baby C is one dude. He used to be in a group with Black Blaze…people don’t really remember him, but he was a battle kid back in the day. He was in the finals in the first Hip Hop 4 Hunger and kind of fell off the map. I’m also doing beats for him, so both of those guys. This girl from Tuffhouse, she’s pretty good, she’s come down from Guyana. A singer from Africa…another singer…so it’s all people who don’t really have albums out. But I am working on the new Politic Live album, I’m doing a bunch of beats for them.

Is there a difference between making beats for a singer and rapper?

Yes, big difference. Basically with a singer you have to pretty much be producing the beat with them there with an idea of what the songs going to sound like; with an idea of what the bridge is going to sound like. Whereas a hip hop beat, you make what ever sounds good to you and sell it.

A lot of people seem to be setting up their own studios, so what would give you an edge over someone else?

Nothing. My studio I don’t even want to promote it as a studio, I just want when I give someone a beat, something to get done with it. That’s why you’ve never heard any of my beats, ‘cause I give people beats and nothing gets done with it. Or they write to it never gets recorded to…Really I set this up so that I can put it out or lay something down.

What about a producer album of just beats?

I could do that. I’m currently in the works (for like the 3rd time now) with videogame guys…Bioware trying to get them soundtracks and stuff, but there’s a whole bunch of copyrighting stuff. With them, I can’t be doing any sampling with them at all. I basically got a bunch of Reason patches and downloaded a bunch of movie original soundtracks and learned how to compose stuff. But after that, you still gotta know how to copyright it. Trying to make a business out of it, but there’s a lot of hoops.

Why do you think nobody releases anything?

There’s too many cliques in the city. That’s why I’m not really a clique; I’m affiliated with a bunch of people. There’s a lot of guys when I first started freestyling…battling…we all came up together and we never made a crew. I think Edmonton should be a crew. Once all that is realized, everything will totally blow up. Right now, underground cats will only go to underground cats show or this crew will only go to this crews show…I think if you don’t like someone’s music, you’ll still go to the show. I think there has got to be a lot more collaboration…

Also, I’m gonna put this out there because I think it has to be put out there…the whole radio scene…so I’m calling out Urban Metropolis. They are not helping the scene at all. I think they’re more hurting the scene with how they choose people who are opening up. When people finally do get the chance to open up by someone big…they’re playing the whole ticket game: ‘sell tickets, you can perform.’

Does that mean the opener has to buy the tickets?

Basically I’ll be like: ‘hey, Urban Metropolis can I open up for Nas,’ then they’ll be like ‘alright, well you need to sell a hundred tickets,’ and you’ll be like ‘yeah, I can do that.’ Suddenly you’re opening up for Nas, they’re not like: ‘hey let me hear some of your stuff? Can you rap?’ That’s not the priority. I think an enormous downfall of the Edmonton scene is because of that, if that got fixed I think the whole scene would change fast.

How’d you get involved with Tuffhouse?

If I’m a child of hip hop…I’m like the offspring of Tuffhouse. All those guys you see rollin’ Tuffhouse are basically the neighborhood there Duggan – I lived in Duggan. I was kind of seen as the little brother…even though I sucked they kept on telling me to do it, until I got really good. I’ll always be affiliated with Tuffhouse, there’s no paper contracts or anything like that.

Is it important to build a strong scene in Edmonton…Alberta…Canada?

I think that’s super important. I think that the South is probably the best example of that. Hip hop just totally blew up there. The South is really running shit right now. They’re self-supporting, they sustain themselves…they don’t listen to New York stuff unless it’s screwed and chopped. To them Nas is like garbage, that’s how they see it.

What do you think government could do? Is that an answer?

They actually pretty good, I think we got it good with the government. I think with the boards and stuff who govern who gets the money and whatnot…they maybe want to spread it out a big more. People who know how to do it are doing it constantly, so there are always the same people who are getting the funding.


Tuffhouse, Blaze, L.B.A. crew, Balzac…he’s got the mad opinions of rap and more hip hop than a lot of rap, so extra shouts. John Dubs…a guy who makes crazy beats, Touch, Dj Nato. I know I’m forgetting people, don’t hate me. I’m gonna do a general Edmonton hip hop scene shout out!

For more KazMega check out myspace.com/kazmega



27 Responses

  1. “For example when I was 13 I thought a tattoo of a Nike check would be ill.” hahaha classic

    Dope read, lookin’ forward to some new shit.

    I agree about Urban Metropolis, it seems like every other city has a better set up to get local acts some attention outside of the regular heads. They can run it how they want – and I like how they bring in huge acts but some of the openers I see it’s like ‘who are these people’ and it’s like it’s the first show they’ve done. It makes people think Edmonton has a weak local scene cause they see these myspace rappers who sell tickets to perform.

    I don’t know any other city that operates like that.

  2. It’s too bad these dope clique-less producers like Kaz and Weez-ill never get any albums out. That might help bring some unity to the general Edmonton scene.

  3. “It’s too bad these dope clique-less producers like Kaz and Weez-ill never get any albums out. That might help bring some unity to the general Edmonton scene.”

    I agree – but it’s easier said then done – we’ve tried lots of times to get Weez-L on board and would accept any beats from anyone; and actually put them out on an album…but for some reason it’s more attractive to sell a beat to someone for $50-$100 and have it sit on a hard drive and never be heard.

    I’d love to hear a Weez-L or Kaz or Nato compilation with Edmonton or Alberta based artists only – I’m really suprised no beatmakers have done that yet.

  4. wicked read, and interview!

    i’m disappointed in myself for not leaving my house when i lived in edmonton.

    props to jon b and kaz!

  5. Kaz has gotta be the most creative hip hop cat in this city. He’s gonna surprise alotta cats in these coming years!

  6. Dope article. While I have always thought Kaz was a dope MC, I was one of many that slept on Kaz as a producer over the years. It was not until fall of 2007 when I heard some stuff that he had produced for Proveli Paragon that I stopped sleeping. He is one of the key producers for the next Politic Live album and he’s brought a new life to our ever evolving sound.

    I do think he could use some tips on his fashion sense though!!!

  7. Thanks for the support y’all. I am also down to make the greatest compilation album Edmonton has ever seen if NATO and WeezL are. I think we should pursue materializing this…

  8. I would also like to add that Arlo Mavericks fashion sense got him a Tyrone Biggums comparison last night. REAL TALK. LOL.

  9. Congrads Kaz, great article. I love your beats but still think you are a DOPE rapper and that wasn’t addressed enough, You have some of the sickest battle punchlines.
    1 luv

  10. Woooord homie! I just posted DREAM on my myspace too, independently. Kind of funny that within a few days we both premiered the song without even knowing.

  11. dope interview. i met kaz at scribble this year, dude was real chill. the tracks up there are sick too.

  12. So it was you who made that beat for us. Wayz hooked up the boys with a beat and we got it all done. Should come out soon. assailEnt CRU.

    Nice words in the interview, I agree with it wholeheartedly. When I peeped the hip hop scene in Halifax a couple years back that’s how it was, everyone pulling for each other. Classified working with underground cats like FAX 4 and Mark-It.

    Obviously Kaz holds tru to his word cuz we got one of his beats and only now do I realize it was created by the man himself. Keep reppin’ your roots boy and the shots will go your way.. peace