D.O. will be performing Live tomorrow night for The Blast SXSW Edition 2012. Check the flyer below for more details.
I recently got back from spending a week out in Nova Scotia. Now I can’t wait to get back.
I got a chance to make music, rock shows, see friends, and best of all – see family.
There aren’t too many places you can go and do all of that!
The first stop was to see my man Classified. Next thing you know Mic Boyd rolls through.
After working with Class for so long, it wasn’t so much about making sure we recorded something as much as it was about catching up and listening to new beats. We talked about the first time we met up, almost 10 years ago now. Not too many cats still in the game that was doing it ten years ago!
Now Class is going out to do arena shows across the Country. It’s good to see people succeed that deserve to succeed.
As he went through some of his beats, I started typing a list on my blackberry – but then I stopped. Every beat was banging! It got to a point where I liked everything he played – and I’m picky when it comes to beats so this was a good thing.
The next day I was back at the studio but just as an observer. Kayo was in the lab and they were writing a new track for Kayo’s debut. I just wanted to come through and introduce myself. I knew Kayo was from St. Lucia so we connnected talking about the Caribbean.
From there I was back in Halifax, I thought about writing some business emails but decided to pop in the beats CD. Then I got out the rhyme book and proceeded to write a few songs. It felt like deja vu. The last time I was in Scotia – to shoot the Now I Understand video – I had met up with Class and then wrote a few songs in the hotel room right after. The first song was “She Likes You” which became one of my biggest releases, and the next was “It’s On” which I’m about to release in 2012.
After writing my third song, the phone rang – it was the fam.
I met up with my cousins and we went out to the Seahorse to see a dope funk band play – The Mellotones http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1ckPAallT4
On Friday I headed up to New Glasgow to see more family. The highlight being kicking it with my 97 year old Uncle Sonny.
The thing that amazed me was that he kept on saying “October 6th… October 6th…” He was saying my sons birthday. But how does he remember that? For the next couple of hours I was silent as I listened to story after story – many of them I’ve heard before – but it didn’t matter. When you are around older family members you treasure the time because you say “maybe this will be the last time.” The thing is I remember feeling that way almost 20 years ago. After all he was 80 at the time.
The next day I was up early for the drive to Cape Breton. It’s one of those drives that I look forward to – especially when there isn’t snow! It’s not like driving on the 401 where you have to compete with the traffic. It’s a familiar road and beautiful scenery along the way.
I showed up at my grandmothers house around 3. It looked the same as it always has. As a kid, I moved around alot but the one constant was my family. I’d been to this house for 30 years now. Looked a lot bigger when I was a kid though!
Before I went out for the night, I stopped at the neighbour for a beer – or two. They do a lot for my grandma so it was important to stop by and give my thanks. Its a tight knit community where people look out for each other.
Then it was time to head out. I had a show to prepare for.
My man A.G. rolled through to pick me up. He’s a young MC that I met by chance in a hotel elevator in Halifax. Since then we’ve kept in touch and he’s always encouraged me to come out to do a show. We even did a track together recently.
We did up the soundcheck and then I stopped in at a hotel party to connect with my cousins. That’s when I knew we were in for a big night. We spent some time catching up and then A.G. came back to give me a ride to the venue.
It’s always good to walk into a crowd. You know its not going to be “one of those nights” – when the venue is half empty and you have to create the vibe. I could feel the vibe walking in.
When it was time to perform, I already had a packed dance floor. Even though I had family out here, you never know what the response is going to be like. If you are going to have to call people to the floor or if they came to get down. I’m glad this was the latter.
And the spot was live! I did a few Art of Fresh tracks at the end as an encore, but then they wanted to keep going!
We ended up at another bar for an after party before calling it a night.
On my final day I took it easy in the afternoon… ran a few errands for my grandma, stopped by some family, and shot scenes for a video with A.G. I had planned to connect with my cousins in the evening, but after a week of non stop action, it was good chilling on the couch kicking it with my grandma.
As I got on the plane for the flight back, I was a little tired, but refreshed. It was a great week and even more, I felt like the mission was accomplished.
Now time to plan the next trip… I’m serious… I’m checking flights right now!
I woke up this morning and felt like I should be getting ready to go to the airport… that’s how I’ve spent the previous three days so I was getting in a routine!
On Wednesday morning the crew was off to New York City for the CMJ Music Festival… We were playing as part of the Canadian Blast event and were the only hip-hop act on the line up… but first, I had to get my Diddy on. I was invited to be part of a luncheon with music executives from the US. It was interesting because it was held at the Canadian Counsel… Shout out to CIMA for organizing it and doing an amazing job on the catering!
From there we only had a couple of hours to rest up before the big show…
The venue was Arlene’s Grocery in the Lower East Side of NYC…
The first act of the night was Rich Aucoin from Scotia… I didn’t know much about Rich before but whoa! This man can put on a live show. First he was giving out 3-D glasses… next thing you know he was getting everyone to hold a parachute while bouncing glow sticks off of it…
We were on next and as always, Nana made sure that the crowd was hype before we went on. We’ve heard in the past that a New York crowd was similar to Toronto in terms of lack of crowd response, but we didn’t have that problem. The crowd was hype and were rocking with us from beginning to end!
After the show we didn’t get a chance to take a break… we were doing a few interviews outside of the club.
We caught a couple hours of sleep and had to head to the airport for the next stop… at least we managed to hook up a nice ride to the airport!
Then it was off to beautiful Miami… after reading tweets and status updates from our Canadian friends of the cold weather it was a little different here and we could tell as soon as we touched down – sunny sky, no clouds and 86 degree temperature. We performed at Barry University which is in North Miami. As soon as we hit the campus, students were showing us love and we saw lots of posters up so we knew it was going to be a hype show. “You guys are going to do Out This World right??” – yep we knew it was about to get hype. The best part about the show was the group of dancers that came. They danced the whole time so it was easy for us to maintain the high energy. After rocking a couple of encore songs we chilled out with the students for awhile before bouncing… after all we had another plane to catch in a few hours.
So there it is – two days – two wild nights – from East Coast to down South to back up to the North… wish we could have spent more time in each city but it also feels good to be home!
Next stop?? stay tuned!
On Friday night we celebrated the release of our album “When The Night Comes In” with a party at Czehoski’s downtown Toronto… Album release parties are always a great time… you’ve got your fam, your friends, and fans coming out to celebrate… how could it go wrong? The evening began at the hotel catching up with my peeps from The Come Up show… although we were doing an interview, it was bigger than that because we’ve been working together for the last few years, so it was good that they were able to come early to get in on the celebration. It was the only interview we scheduled before the show. We had to give them the exclusive because like their slogan, Real Recognize Real!
Look for the interview to appear soon at www.thecomeupshow.com After the interview, it was time to rehearse for the show… Without mics, we had to substitute with a blackberry and a flipcam… did the job though!
Soon it was time to hit the jam… and hit the stage! This is a look at how we put it down..
Everything was going smooth and the crowd was hype but then we ran into a slight problem… At first I thought Nana was dropping the beat in the middle of my verse so I expecting him to bring it back in… but as my verse finished, I realized it was something else – the Serato messed up and Nana had to reboot the computer… We’ve done hundreds of shows, but this was the first time it happened in the middle of a set!
What could have been several minutes of deadtime, turned out to be an opportunity for us to do what we do best – get a freestyle popping! There was a piano on stage and Slakah started playing Enjoy Yourself… I started freestyling and Slakah came in singing the hook… By the time the computer was back up, we were ready to finish off the set with Out This World. We closed the curtains and were ready to chill but then we were called back out to rock an encore!
After the set we got a chance to chill and kick it… Here’s a look at the rest of the night…
Instead of a merch booth we had our two Art of Fresh girls holding down the merch all night…by the end of the night seemed like everyone had a Hoody or T Shirt!
All in all a great release party and perfect way to get ready for the album to drop! Unfortunately there were no cameras around after the venue shut down… another freestyle session popped off this one with myself, Rich Kidd, I James Jones, and DL Incognito… ahhh yeaaah!
He’s far from just a DJ… Shout out to DJ Nana for organizing the event and including it in the It’s A Party series… a weekly every Friday at Czehoski’s.
Last week we got a chance to open for the Black Eyed Peas… It wasn’t just at any spot – but in Sarnia – a city that I grew up in and a place not known for Hip-Hop. Yeah they did have Snoop Dogg several years ago, but besides that Sarnia isn’t known as a spot for Hip-Hop. But this is Bayfest. One of the biggest annual concert events in Canada. In the last few years they have had everyone from Kiss to Aerosmith to Nickleback… all the big dogs. At some point they had to have some hip-hop… right?
The opening spot didn’t just fall in our laps.
When I got the word that they were coming all I could think was – How can we make this happen!?
I made several calls to the head of Bayfest but everytime I called it went straight to voicemail. Then I followed up with emails. After several messages and emails I eventually got through and I was told to send some material and press clippings. Months went by. It wasn’t looking good. But then we got the official announcement that we were added to the bill.
The day of the show turned out to be crazy, starting with the morning. Coming from Toronto, I had to pack up all the new T’s and all of the cd’s in the ride. I was just about to leave when we ran into a crisis – Turntables!? A couple of months ago when we discussed the equipment needs, they told us that we would have to supply turntables. This is something that is usually taken care of so I hadn’t thought of it – till now! The problem was DJ Nana was almost there. I couldn’t get him to turn around and head back two hours to get the turntables. It was a Sunday so it would be difficult to rent.
I had one Haily Mary in me… I called my man DJ Phatfingers… a DJ from Sarnia that we’ve worked with over the years. Thankfully he picked up on the first ring and his response was music to my ears – “Cool man, no problem.” Ahhh yeaaah…
When we hit Sarnia, we knew the party was on. We had a hotel right beside the spot and there were lots of people already there. From then, it was on! We went right into soundcheck and half an hour later we were on the stage.
Things were going good, until in the middle of the set when it started to rain… at first it was just a few drops, then you could feel it picking up… then it comes down HARD! Just when it was looking like it might kill the event, it turned out alright. There was really no where to go to get dry, so people stayed and partied jumping up and down and waving their hands in the air.
After the show we came out in the crowd and it was good seeing old highschool friends, family, and fans from some of the schools that I’ve gone to speak at.
The night was only beginning though… And that’s after the Peas came out and did their thing!
We headed to the legendary bar Paddy Flaherty’s – right beside the concert – and joined our boy Andrew Austin on stage to rock Small Town. At this point it was about 2 in the morning. But the crowd was still there and going strong.
As I say in my track, “Some people move away and never come back, I could never do that, its where my heart at!”
Shout out to Kerry Belliveau for the pics
As well as the homie Doug…
What day is it?
Half the time I’m not sure, still trying to get used to the 14 hour difference in time so while it is Wednesday afternoon here it is Tuesday night back home…
We spent Monday checking out some more of Tokyo… Hitting up Harajuku, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Came back and wrote a dope Art of Fresh track…
Yesterday we took the bullet train to Kyoto.. as soon as we got to the hotel we got inspired… a crazy view with lamp that was perfect for converting to a mic stand left us no choice but to record…
Check this exclusive behind the scenes footage!
DAY 1 – Tokyo, Japan
In a rush after traveling for 21 hours…
We didn’t have time for jet leg. After the 13 hour flight and a 2 and a half hour drive into the city from the airport, we were on an Amazing Race like hustle to make it to the venue in time for the show. For awhile it wasn’t looking good…but you know we didn’t come this far only to miss out on rocking it in Tokyo… right!?
We were supposed to go on at 7 pm… I guess some shows start early here. Thought we’d have time because our flight landed at 3, but bumper to bumper traffic coming into the city meant we dropped our luggage at the hotel and bounced immediately. We took a taxi to save time and made it to the train station where we were supposed to meet the promoter. We called him from a pay phone but he wasn’t picking up. But no problem, I’d printed a map to the venue from the website.
That’s when the next adventure began. There must have been 50,000 people outside of the train station. Like – for real. It was that crazy. Made Times Square seem like Petrolia. On top of that it was raining, so everyone had umbrellas. We tried to bob and weave thru the crowd without losing an eye. We stopped at least 15 people and asked them to help us decipher the map. Most didn’t speak English. The ones that did were confused with the directions on the map. Finally we got ahold of the promoter and he met up with us to bring us to the club.
In addition to being the promoter, he’s also an artist – Hiro-a-key – and we were opening for his CD release party. He led us down a backalley to a spot we would never have found on our own… we walked down a few flights of stairs to “The Plug” and it was on! After thinking that we may not make it to perform, we didn’t need a reason to get hype. The place was filling up nice and by the time we went on it was rammed.
We had a printed map from the venues website but it was no help. We’d stop and ask people but they couldn’t even decipher it. Finally we were able to find a pay phone and call the promoter who came and met us and led us to a backalley where the club was.
From there it was on! We were just glad we made it and even though we were late it was all good… more and more people were coming into the spot and by the time we hit the stage the place was rammed.
We tore thru our set and the crowd was diggin it… even though they weren’t the ‘hands in the air’ type - it was crazy that when Out This World came on people were singing the lyrics! The power of the internet… it was wild.
We chilled at the venue to watch Hiro-a-key tear it up… Came out with a full band and ripped it! Homie even did an ill R&B rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”! you’d have to see it to believe it…
After the show we hit a sushi spot… first time I’ve been to a sushi ‘bar’ – you place your order and it comes on a conveyor belt… fresh!
After that it was time to learn the subway system and head back to the hotel room. At this point we’d been up for at least 30 hours so we had some well deserved rest!
We kicked off day 2 with an illmatic breakfast buffet… everything from bacon and eggs to miso soup and some food that i’ve never seen in my life but tasted great… I ain’t scared to try something new!
Me and Slaks wrote an ill track and I got my coffee on at the vending machine… can’t believe the can comes out hot!
In the afternoon we went exploring and checked out the sites… ended up spending a lot of time in the Japanese version of the Future Shop… 9 floor electronic superstore… they got every and anything there.
Now we back in the hotel room and ya boy Slakah is passed out… It’s 6 am Toronto time but just 8 pm here… I don’t think we’re heading out anywhere else tonight. Going to check the fish market in the morning.
Now going to a fish market may not seem like a big thing, but from everyone from the cats last night to the tour books that’s the one thing you have to do when you come to Tokyo. The freshest fish you’ll taste in the world comes from the fish market.
Right about now I’m bout to hit the makeshift studio… you’ve got to give it up for my invention. See we brought a mic but couldn’t fit a mic stand in the suitcase so we knew we were going to have to get creative. I unscrewed the lightbulb from the lamp and what do you know, the mic fits perfectly in. So right about now s’ on!