Introduce yourself, crews, affiliations etc.
Yo this is soso of Clothes Horse Records and the world famous beatcomber crew (not actually that famous)… card carrying member of the New Democratic Party of Canada, CFCR Community Radio, AKA Gallery and Paved Arts.
You have just finished your 3rd project Tenth Street and Clarence, is there any meaning in the title?
The title refers to the place I lived while I was putting the album together. I lived there for about 3 years and it was the site of a period of change in my life. It was the first house that my girlfriend and I lived in together as a couple and marked my transition into adulthood…I know that sounds pretty gay. There were a lot of things happening around me and I feel like this album just starts to pull these experiences together — I finished university, facing massive student loan debts I started working at my first career type job, my mom lost her parents, my dad had a heart operation, I had to deal with being a partner in a relationship… just real life type shit.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when you write?
My work is based on personal experiences… depending on the nature of the project; I’ll use these personal experiences to put together songs that contribute to the work in some meaningful way.
You mention that you like old drinking songs, how have they influenced you and your music?
I was exposed to a lot of old drinking tunes as a child and to this day I find myself attracted to sad music. I like the raw, heart-breaking vocals on old cowboy songs. I appreciate their use of plain language to create these compelling stories of heartbreak and hardship… I try to use language in a similar way, using both very descriptive language — almost teetering on romantic at times — with a more unpolished vernacular (how many times was that word dropped in a rap song? a hundred?)
How did you get the name soso and what does it mean to you and say about you?
Back when I fancied myself as a bit of a graffiti writer, I used to go by “sol.” At some point I decided to abandon my stupid graff handle for something less rappy and perhaps more stupid… I came up with soso when we were sitting around the fire at a camping trip. The name fit my anti-posturing philosophy and I thought it would keep me modest. I remember you furious with the name change and swore you would never call me soso!
You have been receiving favourable reviews and charting quite well on campus radio. What does that mean for an artist like yourself?
It’s great… as an artist working on the peripheral, in some ways it validates my practice and gives me something to brag to my mom about. It’s encouraging to know that people are listening. It provides me with a tiny bit of leverage when I’m looking for distro or maybe a show or something. I’m not in a position to spend a lot money on advertising and promotion so radio play really helps get my album out there.
You have crafted your own unique style of hip hop how do you deal with the naysayers that say soso ain’t hip hop?
If I was sixteen years old I’d probably front on me too. I love hip hop. I’m at a different stage of life. I’m more mature. I don’t give a fuck about repping the elements anymore… this is not a “lifestyle” or a way of dressing. This is my life. I’ve invested everything into this music.
How have you grown as an artist and a person since Sour Suite?
I think getting a fine arts degree provided me with the tools to think critically about my music and gave me the opportunity to work and develop my craft. I think I’ve matured, I am more focused. I’ve improved my writing, delivery and production over the last 5 or 6 years… I still have a lot to learn.
What is your take on the Canadian Independent hip hop scene and where do you see yourself?
The Canadian indie scene is diverse… there’s good energy right now. There are a lot of artists working hard and releasing good music. I think we are starting to develop the infrastructure needed to nurture a bigger scene… there are more venues, promoters, artists, radio shows, etc. I like to think that I’m contributing to the success of our scene through my work with the Clothes Horse Records and Phonographique.
Who would you like to work with in the future?
What are you currently working on?
Killing myself slowly, making poor decisions and collecting new material for the next soso project. Other than that, I have a handful of beats I put together for some of my favourite rappers including Ira Lee, Yy and Thesis Sahib… hopefully by stating it in writing it will force me to work on that project. I also started working on a project with Satchil Paige — he’s the illest!
strong>The Release of Recyclone’s Corroding the Dead World marked the first CHR release that you did not produce. How did that materialize?
I fell in love with Recyclone – Numbers. Pip Skid was living in Halifax and he introduced me to Jon…We had started working on our project, Stagnation and Woe, and Jon was looking for a label to release Corroding the Dead World. I wanted to expand the label and I thought it would be a good fit. I want to continue to slowly build the label and bring in new artists. We’re dropping Thesis Sahib’s new album HOWL this spring.
What has been your favourite hip hop moment or experience?
I used to love getting records in the mail. Getting my first test press was great. Sometimes when I perform certain songs like “Midnight Run” or “We Always Thought She’d be the First to Go” I get chills… I like that.
What is your favourite Beer?
Holy… this is like the “name your favourite hip hop album” question. You know me Chaps, I drink for volume, so I tend to go for the affordable easy-drinking lagers like GW Premium Light or Olympia. At the pub I gotta drink Leprechaun lager (cuz it’s so cheap) or maybe Alexander Keith’s. On dollar draft night I usually end up drinking Pilsner, but our local delusional-jiggy-rap-dj ruined that night so whatever. On a payday I might pick up some Heineken or MGD but those days are few and far between. When I’m in Winnipeg it might be Moose Head or those giant cans of Blue or Fort Garry Pale Ale. I like the 6 dollar 6 packs in Alberta — it was Lucky Lager or Crest. They had a bunch I can’t remember… drinking regional beers is one of the better things about touring. When I go camping I like to get fun old school beers like Calgary, Labatt 50, Boh or OV. I don’t knock back too many 40’s anymore, but my brother and I killed quite a few 40’s of Old Milwaukee way back when.
What do you like to do when you aren’t making music?
I like to scheme about music, cook, drink beer, do a little art, drink beer, gossip and scheme about music.
What are you listening to these days?
Today I listened to Matre – Struggle Music, Blockhead – Downtown Science, Cage – Hell’s Winter, I Self Divine – Self Destruction and the Epic & Nomad album!
What is the best hip hop performance you have ever seen?
My favourite show was either the Alkaholiks and Rascalz show here in 1997 or the Heiro show in 1998 in Calgary.
Why did you quit writing Graffiti?
There were a couple of contributing factors. I was getting old and I was losing my nerve for illegal pieces. I was doing legal stuff and that kinda made me feel like a herb. Once I started going to art school, it didn’t seem like “real art” which is totally fucked. I’ve always loved the “fuck you I’m gonna paint this whether you like it or not” attitude…
Who would win in an MC battle me or Epic?
Well it would probably start out as a friendly little battle. You would say “I’m in the place to be, you can’t see me” and Epic would come up with some funny lines about you liking the Browns or something. Then the battle would change sharply… you would pull out 10 years of dirt you’ve collected on Epic and kill him with personal attacks…
What do you like best about Saskatoon and Saskatchewan?
My friends and family live here. There are no earthquakes, hurricanes or volcanoes.
Do you have any last words or stories you would like to share?
I’m gonna be noyz’s best man so I think I’ll start sun tanning now so I’m really, really, really brown for the wedding. And I’m gonna use some of them white strips too… there’s nothing more pathetic than a really, really, really tanned man with yellow teeth. Holler if you hear me!