Introduce yourself, your crew and affiliations…
?My name is Jonathan Stoddart, AKA Ricca Razor Sharp from the Audible Intelligence Crew based in Calgary. I represent Audible Intelligence, but in a larger sense, I represent the Calgary music scene, of which I have been a part of for 10 years, in various capacities.
You’re 50% owner/operator of Neferiu Records, how did the label come about and what kind of artists are on it?
?In fact, I am Vice President of Neferiu Records, but it really belongs to Mantrakid. He is the creator, graphic artist, visionary and primary talent scout, and has been working at it for about a decade. When Mantrakid produced my first album, 12 Steps to a Deffer You (2006) I became involved in promotions, and found myself in somewhat of a ‘Right-hand-man’ position, which Mantrakid eventually rewarded by bestowing upon me the title of ‘Vice-President’.? ?
Does the label work ever get in the way of making music?
?I have been able to manage both. In actuality, Nate (Mantrakid) does more label work than I do, although I have spent considerable time assisting him. In effect, I think it has been beneficial to me as a musician, kind of like getting a college education on the music business, or an internship so to speak. Being a part of the label has expanded my?knowledge and scope, and in turn, led to better perspectives in my rhymes. And, to be fair, a lot of the work I have done for the label has been in support of my own albums, so I have been helping myself. Being the VP tends to ensure that you remain a label priority, so I am grateful for that.?
Do you have any future plans for the label? If so, what would they be?
?A big part of what Neferiu focuses on are the free download series. There are a lot of quality albums available from neferiu.com absolutely free. By putting out innovative projects from the likes of Planit, Metawon and many others, we have been able to draw a lot of traffic and positive attention to the label, which in turn opens doors to our entire roster. It’s a work in progress and an evolving vision, but the Mantrakid and I are always putting our heads together and continuing to work the angles. I think that Neferiu Records is definitely more well known now than it was several?years ago, and we do intend to capitalize on that. Ultimately, Neferiu follows the creative vision of Mantrakid, who likes material that is slightly alternative or experimental in nature.? ?
Your new album is called Causeways and C-trains, what are you referencing? What’s the album about?
?I grew up in a place called Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. It was connected to the mainland by a causeway, which is essentially like a bridge, except it is affixed to the ocean floor. The C-Train is an obvious reference to Calgary’s public transit, which has been a part of my life since arriving in Calgary in 1999. The album is in part a contrast between?small town life and the big city. In addition it is about girls, parties, choices, fads, the future, and of course, hip hop. I also tried to reference different decades, and have material on here that borrows from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today. I would like to think that the album is entertaining and witty without being dumb and intelligent in the right places. And the beats are fat, thanks to the production of SoLeo and the Mantrakid.?
Which is the doper rap scene, Alberta or Nova Scotia?
?My 22 years in Nova Scotia were mostly spent in more rural areas, so my hip hop experiences there consisted of bumping Ice Cube out of my parents’ Jetta, and getting crazy to Funkdoobiest at high school dances. Halifax has a great scene, and was early on board as hip hop started making inroads in Canada, but I only experienced it in bits and pieces. Obviously Alberta has a great deal of talented artists and enthusiastic supporters as well. I think that in 2009, wherever you go, there are going to be hip hop circles adding and thriving, and others who are contributing close mindedness and wackness, so geography is only one factor. Peace out to all of those doing their thing in Canada, and the world.? ?
What made you want to pick up a mic, write rhymes on a page or otherwise keep it real as a rapper?
?I just really liked the music. In the early 90s, when I was in junior high, it was the new thing, and I really liked it, from a point of view of the potential for expression, but also just the rhythmatic possibilities of the spoken word over dope beats. After just so many thousand hours of admiring the rhymes of others, I got the idea that maybe I could try myself. In short, it was some combination of Rap City, the Fu-Schnickens, cassette mixtapes, Master T & Roxy, Public Enemy, and a Radio Shack karaoke machine. It wasn’t so much one MC, as it was just getting inspired by the arrival of something relevant and new (at least new to me). Anybody who remembers Michael Williams hosting Rap City knows what I’m talking about.?
Do you ever see rapping as a viable career path?
?I did at one point, but it was way outside of my reality. Ironically, the?more I achieve, the less I fiend for the success that once guided me.?Don’t get me wrong, I still have aspirations, but the star struck sense?that career success was going to provide me some kind of happiness in life?has faded somewhat. I just try to work my musical career into my life as a?32 year old well adjusted human being. At this point, if I am able to do?what I want creatively with the respect of my peers, and some help from?the industry, that would be considered success. I suppose I could get?rich, stranger things have happened, but supplementary income is probably?a more realistic goal at this point, and I’m cool with that. I would like?to think that I could still be rapping at 55, and putting out material?that is relevant to somebody. It’s not like I’m going to forget how to?rap, or stop wanting to speak on the changing world around me. That is? more important than a gold chain to me.??
Shout outs/hidden knowledge?
Be yourself, and walk the line. As hip hop heads, it is our job to call?out bullshit when we see it. On the other hand, obsessing about the?actions of others is child’s play, and I’m an adult. Don’t waste your time?picking apart every detail, or artist who might not have the historical?knowledge you have. Unless you lived in New York in the 70s, you didn’t?have anything to do with the invention of hip hop, so just do you. We’re?all in this together.?
Special shout outs to Mantrakid, and SoLeo, who put countless hours into?my new album. EquAzn, Iron Lion, King Lou, DJ Jetleg, Wyzaker, Rynocuts,?Stillz, and all the Audible massive. Props to Cole Binder who accompanied?the Mantrakid and I on tour as our videographer. Big ups to all Calgary?MCs, as well as the B-Boy/B-Girl scene, and all doing their thing on the?DJ and promotions tip. Big ups to the hip-hop scene, as a whole, and also?those from the rock scene who have continued to support me, after my days?in defEKt and Phattoe. Props to JustBen, working it on the East Coast.?Peace to my boys in Ripcase, and to all of those in the world who know?right from wrong. Everybody doing their thing, keep on keeping on.