Back to Toronto, you mention places like Yonge Street and other spots, you ever think those little jabs go over the heads of international fans or people not from here?
Yeah, but you know what, I kind of like that. And I’ve always like that about hip-hop, because rappers I used to listen to used to do that, too. You know, they’d talk about Flatbush or whatever and I’ve never been there. It’s like you’re listening into a more intimate conversation at that point, which I think makes it a little more interesting because you’re getting closer to somebody’s environment. Even if you don’t necessarily know it, they’re telling you about it.
Does it ever make you want to look places up?
Yeah, that was always one of the things I always liked about hip-hop, like these guys are just talking about their specific kind of situations and places and so, to me it just comes naturally to make it like that, too.
Regarding your new EP, what prompted using those ’90s tracks?
It was a conversation in the car when we were in Europe in July and T-Lo and I have been talking for a while about the PM Dawn joint and the Milli Vanilli [joint]. And I was like, OK, enough talking about this, when we get back we’re gonna flip these in the studio. We just did that whole thing in about a week, it was great. It was fun. We just set up some parameters and I was like, “OK, I’m gonna dig up from a certain five-year period.” And they weren’t exactly hip-hop tracks so it makes it a little bit more challenging. The PM Dawn one is more or less a dub but the others are chopped up and sampled. We had a lot of fun doing that.
I saw you try to perform the “Cannonball” track a few times and you messed up a few times. [Laughs.] How do you put together your set list and include tracks you might know totally know?
I never do my set list until at earliest an hour before the show. I have to get really close to being on stage and know how I’m feeling and then be like, “OK, I want to have a sense of what I can put a lot of myself behind.” Most people do a set list at least earlier that day, but I’m always like I gotta see what the crowd’s like, what the environment is like, how I’m feeling, and what songs I can really get behind that day. There’s a lot of staples and then some others switched around.
Sometimes on tour, I’ll stumble upon a set list and I’ll be like, “That was really good, I like the flow of that, I might try that the next night.” But usually like, two or three nights in, I’m like, “We gotta mix it up.” Even if it’s just to keep me on my toes. I don’t want to go on autopilot like you were talking about. You want to really be in every song.
You said you’re in the studio lately, what exactly are you working on?
Working on a new album. A new full-length. I’ve been working on it for a few months now, just kind of chipping away from time to time. I’m getting closer to the end now, which is nice.
What’s the release date for it?
Everything’s kind of still up in the air. We’re aiming for early next year, sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Do you set any parameters around when you’ll release it?
Like I was saying, you kind of gotta get specific if you want to ever get anything done. So right now we’re look at that time frame and it’s got me like, “OK, cool, I gotta wrap up in a month or so.” We’re getting close to picking a specific date, we’re definitely looking at that aforementioned window of time. That’s kind of keeping me on task.
Any special guests you have so far?
Nothing I can confirm yet because I like to get all the songs to a certain point. I can’t say anything just yet.
I know I’ve asked you this before, but when will we hear you and Geo trading bars again?
I would love to do that. I’m a big fan of Blue Scholars and the whole Seattle scene really. It’s tremendous with the support and the fans and the way the artists rep their locality and just the unique flavor coming out of there. Yeah, I’d love to work with Geo and the Blue Scholars guys again. Macklemore.
Any words for the readers?
Just, “Hi!” And new music hopefully coming very soon. I’m excited about this album.