Introduce yourself, your crew , affiliations etc…
What up, my name’s Royal-T, Royal-T(reatment) for copyright purposes, some dude from San Diego already has the name and has put out a few albums haha. My crew is Muthatrukaz out of Thunder Bay, Ontario featuring Maddpsyense, Arc, Webster Death, MC One Eyed, Rogue, L Viscious, and several affiliates. Also I have a couple groups… Yes Men which is myself and Nevamind the Damage Dun who handled a lot of the production on my debut solo, and DJ Ghost on the cuts, Ghost is too nice. There’s a Yes Men album dropping in May, it’s all done and I like it a lot better than my album haha. The other group is Jacks Of All Trades which is myself, Intelev, Arc and DJ Dystrakted. We’re putting out a vinyl EP in the summer, we’ve got a buncha tracks done and we’ve been performing them lots, this EP will be most definitely the best material too date that I’ve been involved with. It’s on some crazy rapping back and forth between 3 people tip. Exchanging line for line and even word for word at times. Really fun to do.
When most people read this, they are going to ask “Who is Royal-T?”, so who is he?
I’m just a rapper who lives in Thunder Bay who’s trying to get my shit out there. I eat breath and sleep hip hop and have for quite some time.
What does the title, “Weirdo Music for Elitist Aliens” mean?
Hahaha the thing is that it actually means nothing at all in terms of deeper meaning etc… It’s just a mock on all the avante garde type stuff that’s been coming out as of late. I’m not hating on it or anything I even like some but some is way too out there and my album’s name is just an exaggeration of that. Also I was having trouble naming my album so I thought why not just throw it off and call it something that has absolutely nothing to with the album itself haha.
How would you describe your album to a kid on the street you wanted to sell your CD to?
I would probably describe it by first asking if they dig fast rap, if not they most likely would not even like my album because a lot of it’s on the fast rapping tip. And if they said they enjoy fast rapping then I’d say it’s 17 tracks of diverse content ranging from politics to battle rap to the way I see the world around me. I’d also have to mention that it’s chalked full of nice beats from producers all over the place and if they were into the technical side of rapping they’d almost surely enjoy it.
The first track “Frozen on a Bay of Thunder” is pure heat and my favourite song. What is your favourite song on the album and why?
That seems to be everyone’s choice for favorite track haha. It’s hard for me to choose a favorite because I worked hard on all of them, but if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be “Chaos” and not because I made the beat either haha I just spent more time on that track then any track, it was sort of a challenge to me because I wanted to rhyme full lines matching up syllable per syllable which is hard to do without talking gibberish so in order to not be just rhyming lots for the sake of rhyming and making no sense I spent an extra long time on it making sure I was sticking to the subject matter and I was happy with the result. But also I really like “Some Now Shit” featuring my man Maddpsyense because his verse is dope as hell and his adlibbing between my verse and his is too funny, that guy is a true comedian.
You had a lot of help with this album from mc’s, dj’s and producers. Who are they, where are they from and how did you hook up with them?
Whoa this one’s gonna be a long response. I guess it would be easiest to do this in list form. Note: there are only guest mc’s on 3 of 17 tracks hahaha the majority are producers and a few DJ’s.
Nevamind The Damage Dun – A really good friend that I chill with all the time and make music with. He’s made more beats than anyone I’ve ever met so it was only right that he handled a lot of the production on my album. He’s also a very dope rapper and my fellow Yes Men partner. He lives in Thunder Bay. He handles all the production and half the rapping on the Yes Men album with myself which is dropping May.
Maddpsyense- Another good friend from Thunder Bay. He’s been putting it down in this city for a while. Before I even moved here. He was the first mc I met here when I came and he’s been a good friend since. We do an insane amount of shows together. Syense is dropping his second solo this year. He’s a sick mc.
Fatchicano – Cool cat from Halifax currently living in Vancouver. Makes some amazing beats. His drums are some of my favorite out there, he has a distinct production style that I love, I’ll be working with him lots in the future for sure. He’s also skilled with the mic. He and D Vice have an album coning out soon.
Intelev – My actual brother. He’s dope and he’s young and will be putting it down for years to come. He’s got an EP coming out soon with production from Nevamind The Damage Dun. And he’s on the Jacks Of All Trades 12″ coming out this summer.
Arit Harvanko – Truth is I don’t even really know this guy well but he makes great beats, he provided arguably the best beat on my album in Baron Wasteland…. and he’s hooking me up with more beats soon for my next solo effort. He heard some of music on the net and got at me with a very nice beat to so what I could do with it. He’s out of Minneapolis.
Syntactic – Very knowledgeable B-boy/head from Vancouver. He’s been into hip hop for a looooong time and puts it down in several diff elements. Knows his stuff. We’ll be working on tracks in the future.
D-Rec – Syntactic’s roommate. Has done production for numerous Van city rappers. He makes heaters. I’ve got a few D-rec produced tracks waiting to be recorded right now that are hot.
DJ Arc – My radio show partner and one of my best friends. Super good guy and fellow 40 drinker haha. It’s a shame I didn’t have him rapping on my album because he’s one of the sickest rappers I know, me and him have battled so many times it’s getting ridiculous. He’s from London, Ontario but resides in Thunder Bay now. He’s on Jacks Of All Trades Vinyl also he’s dropping and EP this year where he handles all the cuts and the raps. If I didn’t know this guy and peeped him at a show I’d be an instant fan.
DJ Dystrakted – Another good friend that lives here in T Bay. He’s been doing his thing for a while here, he had a cut album last year and he’s gonna be on Jacks Of All Trades doing cuts. He’s been dj’ing for years and keeps getting better and better. He’s a battle DJ also, DMC’s and the like.
AFP – Chill guy from Florida. Unique production style that I totally dig, it’s fresh. I’m sitting on a bunch of tracks over his beats that still need to be recorded that are heat. Recently did an album with Mikal Khill out of North Carolina. We have plans to do a full album one day.
Prizm – Newcomer to the Vancouver scene, dropped a solo album a few months back, really ambitious guy, putting out another solo soon. Produces for a load of diff people. This cat really puts in work and I can see him rocking videos on much in a few years haha.
Dr. Destructo – He owns the studio I recorded the majority of the album at and he owns a punk/metal label here in the city. He plays like 10 diff instruments, really talented guy. The beat he made on the album was made on the spot with him playing all the instruments because I went to the studio one day to record a track with Webster Death and Webster couldn’t make it and I didn’t bring any other beats so he made one on the spot and it was hot so I threw older lyrics over it and wrote a chorus on the spot and it hella exceeded my expectations and eventually made it onto the album as the closing track.
What the story behind the track called “Fatchicano”?
Well I’m a total pedestrian, I walk everywhere no matter how cold it is outside or how long of a walk it is and this track is just a summary of the typical thoughts that roll through my head on my walks. I do a lot of thinking and freestyling when I walk. On this particular day I was sorta of angry at everything because I was in the middle of a streak of bad luck so I just sorta put that to paper when I got home. I was in a very “disgusted at society’s guidelines you’re supposed to follow to achieve the general population’s definition of success” type of mood hahaha.
What was the largest obstacle you had to overcome in order to put out your freshman debut?
Money. Plain and simple. I’m a broke ass who works a minimum way wage bullshit job in order to make my music. If I had funds to put out my shit I would be pumping out albums like crazy because I never stop making music, everyday I make music and it’s what I love to do and all I wanna do.
What would you change about that process if you could do it again?
What I’m changing is my means of recording. It’s such a hassle to get to where I have to go to record and to set up time etc…. I’m in the process of building up my own studio for me and my boys to record at. I literally have over a hundred tracks that need to be recorded haha.
What is something you learned putting out this album that you wish someone would have told you before you put it out?
That you should never announce a solid release date. I must have pushed my release date back about 5 times haha. This album was in the making for a long time.
How has Thunder Bay influenced you?
This place is a great influence on me. It really builds character living here, especially when you don’t have a car. The weather gets unbearable at times and the city is just naturally grimy looking, it’s got a really inspiring atmosphere for rhyming I think. It’s a rugged city. I hated it at first but it’s grown on me and all the things I used to hate I like now and find inspiration from. Even the cold, I like the fact that I have to wake up every morning and walk a half hour to work in weather that most wouldn’t even consider walking, it puts me in this mind frame in which I’m positive I can tough anything out if needed. I just wake up bundle up, walk out the door and freestyle till I get to my destination, its dope. I’m glad I’ve had the experience of living here I’d hate to grow up with an easy ride through things.
Has it been a curse or a blessing making music in Thunder Bay?
It’s been a blessing without a doubt. Ever since I moved here and connected with my crew I’ve done and insane amount of shows. If not every week, we rock shows every other week. We’ve opened for a lot of dope acts including some hip hop legends, and I’ve met a lot of excellent people and good friends through making music here. I’m due for a move, but I’ll never forget this place and my people here. Even when I move from here I’ll be sure to come back often for shows and to chill with my people.
What is a typical day like for Royal-T?
Wake up, put on my clothes, walk to work, endure 7 hours of shitty work, walk home, go on the net for a bit before supper, get supper, walk to the liquor store to grab some forties (old english hahaha), go to arc’s or nevaminds and drink forties, get baked and make music till it’s time to walk home, then walk home, eat, go to bed and not sleep long enough at all and repeat cycle. Oh and often it’ll change if we have a show. And if it’s the weekend I’ll do the same thing minus work, so I’ll sleep longer and work longer on music. And I do my radio show Saturdays.
How did you get the name Royal-T and what does it mean?
I got it from thinking I was clever when I was like 13 and living in St. John’s, NF. My real name is Travis so it was Royal-Travis hahaha. I used to freestyle lots with my friends and we’d write really frontin’ ass tracks and I called myself Royal-T for those and just kept it and when I moved to BC when I was 16 I found out there were others that went by that which was definitely disappointing for me at the time so I tried a few other names but decided to keep it Royal-T after all. And recently a homie from here called me Royal-Treatment and I laughed and decided to put that on releases for copyright purposes.
What is you favourite hip hop experience?
It’s pretty hard to choose. Off the top of my head I’d say opening for Naughty By Nature last June because of the size of the show and how responsive the crowd was. But a show we did in October was up there as well cause it was us headlining and we drew 600+ people and the crowd was hella rowdy and wilin the fuck out.
Do you think Epic served you last summer at Peg City Holla with his line “your fast raps are half ass” or did he just win because he had more homies around or do you think you served him?
HAHAHAHA nice. That was a good line for sure. As for serving me nah… I didn’t even take it as an actual battle we were just having fun at a show outside the club. I treated it as more of a cipher than anything. Definitely didn’t serve him. I had fun freestyling with epic. Funny that you brought that up hahaha good times that was at pegcity holla.
Do you battle a lot and what do you think of battling?
I battle a lot yes. I think battling is dope. One of my favorite things to do and witness. I’ve won several battles, but haven’t gotten around much to them. Won a lot of battles locally, it seems me and my boy Arc end up meeting in the finals of just about all of them haha it almost seems rigged, he brings it too, we’re 4-4 in organized battles and probably 344-344 in non organized battles haha. But yeah man I love to battle, I’ll battle anyone, anytime. I want to make it out to some bigger battles soon. I’m definitely gonna hit up scribble jam but most likely not until 2005 because I have a lot of stuff going on this summer that I need to spend my savings on. On the battle topic though, there’s nothing like a parking lot/street corner battle, when it comes to organized battles those shit’s need to be judged! Crowd reaction is fine if it’s an unbiased crowd, but that’s never the case… someone will always have more boys in the crowd, if some out of towner comes and beats your city’s favorite rapper the crowd is still gonna be a home town crowd, whoever has the most friends in the audience win those kinda battles which is weak. Battles need to be judges by true heads you can trust, ideally actual MC’s who know what’s really going on and can follow it better.
Who would win a battle, Royal-T or Phife Dog from A Tribe Called Quest?
Oh man! I’m not gonna touch this one. I love Phife yet I’m not gonna sell myself short. That’s almost asking for blasphemous response hahaha. Long live tribe.
What can people expect when they see Royal-T live?
Energy. I try to pour my heart out on stage every performance and I move around a whole lot haha. I like to work all angles of the stage and put my all into my rhymes and get the crowd into it. I try to perform the way I like to see people perform, which is high energy.
What do you have planned for future releases and when can we expect to hear them?
I like this question.
1. Yes Men- myself and Nevamind the Damages with DJ Ghost on the cuts. By May 1st maybe even sooner. 9 tracks produced by nevamind and rhymed over by myself and nevamind, also 6 bonus cuts of random collabos I’ve done with people. This is gonna be a cheap album 5 bucks…on cd-r it’ll be all done up and printed and such but it’s a cd-r release, we’re only pressing 200 copies. It’s gonna be a solid album, better than my solo in my opinion, nevamind’s best beats and he kills it on the mic, he’s got a Pharaoh Monch type delivery which is off the hook.
2. Jacks Of All Trades- myself, Intelev, Arc, and DJ Dystrakted. Coming out sometime in the summer, no set release date or anything but it’s looking like early summer so far. It’s gonna be a Vinyl EP with a bonus cd-r LP. Myself, Arc, and Intelev doing back and forth type rap over sick beats exchanging line for line and even word for word at times, it gets crazy. The story telling tracks are where it’s at on this one.
3. My next solo LP- Aiming for late this year/early next year. I’ve got a bunch of songs waiting, I’m gonna record about 50 tracks and narrow it down to the best 15. As for production look for re appearances from some producers from my last album and a maybe some fresh ones, who knows, I’m not gonna stick with one producer because I get way too many good producers getting at me with sick beats all the time and I wanna do them all justice.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
Man there’s so many people I’d like to work with its crazy. Most of them are really really unrealistic though hahahaha cats like Souls Of Mischief, MF Doom, Nas, Ghostface, Sage Francis, haha way too many. In terms of Canadian rappers there’s a whole bunch too some again quite unrealistic but yeah. See question below, all of the rappers names there are dope to me and people I’d like to work with.
Who do you think is really bringing it in Canada?
I consider myself somewhat of a Canadian hip hop connoisseur. Here’s a list haha.
Bookworm, John Smith, Kaboom, Noah 23, Emotionz, Sixtoo, Epic, Jesse Dangerously, Theology 3, Fatchicano, Rels 1, Pip Skid, Birdapres, The Verbals, Baracuda 72, Kunga 219, Gruf, Jay Bizzy, Selfhelp, J-Starrrrrr, D-Sissive, ILL Seer, Mindbender, Shylow, Vangel, Nish Rawks, Prevail, Shazaam, Gumshoe Strut, Thes Wrex, Yy, Shrimp(agape) and Boya D from Isosceles, Josh Martinez, Ismailia, SnidleyWhiplash, The Verbals, Wordburglar, Black cat and Cory Deez from IRS.
There’s actually a bunch more I’m feeling too. That’s long enough for now though. I love Canadian rap.
What are your favourite hip hop song, album and artist?
Song- way to hard to choose….I have like a hundred favs here’s one off the top: “Oakland Blackouts”- Opio and Del.
Album- Nas- “Illmatic”
Artist- man I hate choosing hahahaha. I’ll just choose a group instead: Souls of Mischief
What inspired you to start rapping?
One year, 3 albums: Wu-tang- 36 chambers, Nas- Illmatic, Cypress Hill- Black Sunday
What continues to inspire you?
Everything inspires me. From dope hip hop to the amount of snow on the ground, to buddah, to the way someone looked at me etc….Everything I see everything I do, one thing I will never run out of is inspiration, I’m more worried about not getting to write about everything I want to before I die than I am of not having something to write about. I’m always inspired by something, I always have something to say, to get off my mind.
What do you do when you don’t rap?
I don’t mean to sound like the stereotypical rapper but drinking and smoking weed is up there on my hobby list. I don’t like to not be productive though so if I have free time, even whilst getting drunk and baked it’s usually spent on hip hop related ish whether writing, freestyling with boys, business related ish, or just checking out new hip hop for my radio show.
Give the readers the 411 on your radio show!
My radio show rules. It’s so fun to do because I’m a head first and foremost which leads to a sick music collection so it’s always good stuff. I’ve had nothing but positive feedback on the track listings show after show for the past 2 years. It’s myself and Dj Arc, from 8-11 Ontario time every second Saturday night (recently changed to bi weekly due to our hectic schedules at times) on luradio (local university radio, www.luradio.ca). We’ve been the top rated show on the station for 2 years running and its good times. We play the dopest of hip hop take phone calls do interviews and do lots of ciphering, and there’s always an open battle invitation for anyone who ants to call in and have a friendly battle against either myself or arc.
What is the largest obstacle facing independent Canadian rappers?
Man I don’t even know. I guess exposure but truth is if you ain’t in it for the love you’re in it for all the wrong reasons. And myself and most other indy Canadian artists that I’ve met are in it for the love so really I see no obstacles, it would be nice to make a living off the music and there are definitely obstacles in the way of that but if I can’t make a living off the music I’ll still be doing what I’m doing now, as would many others. We do it for the love not the money and that’s why the scene is so special up here, the real underground scene of the north is one of the freshest scenes around there’s little to no materialistic bullshit involved.
Why should people check for Royal-T?
Because I’m bringing something fresh to the table while at the same time making HIP HOP rather than avante garde or hippy rap or whatever tip most underground white dudes are on these days. I stick to strictly hip hop while at the same time doing something unique in the way of technical rapping with a wide range of topics and styles.
On the cover of your cd you are holding a 40oz of Malt liquor. How has booze helped or hindered your mc’ing?
I’m actually straight edge, that pic was a marketing scheme to get drinkers to think I’m cool and buy my album. Truthfully though I couldn’t say if it hinders or helps…. I drink a whole lot, way more than I should, 5 times week usually, sometimes more haha. The thing is though I don’t go out to clubs and drink and dance around and accomplish nothing. I usually grab a couple Old English and head to a friends pad to drink, get baked and make music all night. Basically I go about my everyday activities whilst under the influence come 9:30-10pm hahaha so I wouldn’t say it hinders anything because I’m at my most productive as far as writing and such while I’m drinking but as far as helping it I can’t see how it’s a help either. I’m just glad a 40 of OE costs under 4 bucks and that I’ve developed a tolerance for the taste, I even like the taste after all these years.
What does that picture say about you?
It says I’m a fool who drinks too much and gets photos taken at my graffing stomping grounds.
Next time I see you we have to get torn up!!! What do you think about that?
If torn up means what I think it means DEFINETLY. Is that Saskatoon slang?
When can people expect to see Royal-T in their community?
Well that depends on where they live… a lot of places: NEVER. Canadian cities: I’m doing a tour this year haven’t decided on for sure dates yet but I plan on heading west to Vancouver Island to kick it off and moving back east to thunder bay with as many stops in between as possible. I have 6 for sure stops and I’m working on networking with folks to get some more on lock before I start organizing the whole thing. You can look for that anytime between late summer and November…. I’ll be touring with Jacks Of All Trades and maybe one or 2 other people who I won’t disclose until shit’s set up for sure just so I don’t make an ass of myself if they don’t end up doing it.
What is the craziest thing you have experienced as a result of you participation in Canadian hip hop culture?
Once someone from Winnipeg messaged me on msn because he got my contact off some hip hop message board and he sent me one of my old tracks that I thought no one had haha one that I was sorta happy I thought no one heard because it totally wasn’t up to par. It was odd, he didn’t know I was the same person in the track he sent me he just happened to send it and say “check this guy out, what you think of him” when I told him it was me he didn’t believe me until I sent him like 10 tracks of mine haha.
Any last words, shout outs or stories you want to share?
Definitely don’t wanna give shout outs because I always forget people and not just people who I sorta wanna shout out like my best friends and important people to me hahaha my memory only works for the strangest things that don’t need to be remembered so shout outs to all my people and all my extended people etc. Holy shit I ramble too much even when I don’t have time too. Stories huh? Last year right around the time our crew was getting known around town myself and Arc went out tagging after a show where the soundman fucked us over badly so we were hella angry and very drunk and rowdy ready to do as many throw ups as we could on buildings in plain view and main streets etc….just stupid shit. Anyways all we had for paint was 2 cans and one was an ugly orange color but being the stupid drunk I was decided that was OK and to go ahead with plans. So we went out and tagged up whole blocks in plain view and luckily didn’t get caught but the throwups were butt ugly due to the nasty color of paint and our intense level of intoxication hahaha. They were everywhere on a main strip in ugly orange and read Royal-T which was super stunned of me to write and very heatscore hahaha. The next day arc said he walked by our ugly tags and there were cops peeping them and taking notes hahahaha. We never did catch any heat for it which was dope but to this day some of those ugly works of drunken anger still haven’t been covered up. Hahaha there’s a story. I always see interviews with a similar closing question and hardly anyone ever opts for the story part so there it is. Peace. Thanks for the opportunity to speak my piece.