These are the transcripts of an interview with the Toronto-based crew BrassMunk. The interview was conducted on June 1st, 2003.
Phayde sat down with the group -- who recently established a position at #45 on URB's reknowned "Next 100" list -- for an interesting and thorough interview covering the Canadian hip hop scene, relationships, and the future of big Brass.
MVRemix: Have you guys had time to check out the scene in Vancouver?
Agile: Just what I heard on the radio, and the scene I've seen out there with Brass and my boy Mastermind. I like what I see and the vibe is hot! I wanna go out there for a few and take it in properly. I anticipate doing that!
MVRemix: What did you do on your spare time while you were here (although I know you didn't have much spare time to begin with)?
Agile: We were just in the studio with Concise and Checkmate. We hung out with Moka a bit too, but once again we were laying tracks with him. Actually, Moka took us to this restaurant downtown that had the finest waitresses I've ever seen in one place at one time, and the food was off the hook. I can't remember the name though - must be that BC Bud!
MVRemix: Do you feel that Canadian hip hop is given the credit that it deserves?
Agile: Fo sho!!! Good music is good music - you can't deny it. As BrassMunk, we've sold more records in America than we have in Canada. That tells us we can compete on any level and that they (the US) don't look at our shit as 'Canadian hip hop.' They just take our songs in as another bangin' joint, period!
MVRemix: I know that you guys rep Toronto very proudly, but would you be willing to relocate to the US if you were presented with a good opportunity?
S-Roc: I think the real question is "Why wouldn't I move?!" It's a business opportunity, and in this rap game not many windows for advancement are presented to you. If I got a chance to broaden the market of people that listen to Brass, I would move on it like Speedy Gonzales. S-Roc, as well as Brass, is reppin' T.O. to the grave. You can take the cat out the jungle but you can't take the jungle out the cat.
MVRemix: When was the first time you realized that you guys actually succeeded as artists?
S-Roc: Success for me is not a silver plaque or an award or anything like that. Seeing regular cats on the street giving me love and letting me know how Brass music has affected them is much more of an achievement to me. That's what makes my day and whenever I see that I know that I'm doing my job correctly.
MVRemix: Do you work other jobs?
S-Roc: Not anymore. Back in the day we all had to hustle to pay bills as odd jobs here and there. My favourite job was as a secretary. Imagine that - S-Roc taking your calls! I would straight kick my feet up and chill… write raps and talk on the phone… Hard work, you know!
MVRemix: What is BrassMunk contributing to hip hop?
S-Roc: We "FEWturistic!" Brass is one of a few groups out here today that's making real hip hop music, and doing it creatively. It's a mountain of music out there that's just plain old generic cookie cutter material. I know everybody got to eat, so I don't hate, but personally we try to hit the masses with some prestigious joints that have the ability to survive on a commercial level too. I make music for the soul! If it goes pop, I ain't mad!
MVRemix: If hip hop was a woman, what would she look like?
Clip: If hip hop were in its ideal state: Sexy… yet dignified. Powerful in her demeanor. Impeccable taste in style. All ethnics mixed into one. Now hip hop in it's current state: She's a woman who's gone through a long period of being abused, and you can see it in her face. She knows her true value inside, so she has moments when she's bright-eyed and glowing. You see and feel it when artists create pure undeniable hip hop (our classics), when emcees cipher on the block and when everyone in the party is having fun listening to our classics.
MVRemix: Do you feel that in relationships, it's important for the woman to be interested in hip hop?
Clip: Not necessarily, but she has to respect it. Even show a little interest. Just because she's not a "head" doesn't mean you can't build with a woman. That's foolish.
MVRemix: Name three likes and dislikes.
Clip: Likes: Women, new gear, and properly done hip hop. Dislikes: Girls with no booty, them peeps that don't wash their hands after taking a piss, and poorly done hip hop.
MVRemix: If there was a movie about BrassMunk, what kind of movie would it be, and who would you want to play you guys?
Clip: [Hysterical laughter] Brass's movie would be a piss-in-your-pants, laugh-til-your-abs-cramp, damn, you-see-that-booty?!?!, lesson-of-the-day type movie and we'd probably play ourselves.
MVRemix: Besides your own, name an album that you think is hot right now.
May One 9: Hmm… We would have to say the new "Rough Draft" EP from J Dilla! That shit is smoking! Everything is raw and nothing too fancy. Just straight gutter raps with no chaser. Turn it up!
MVRemix: If you weren't emcees, what would you be doing right now?
May One 9: Woah… that is a painful question to ask, luv. We would be still trapped in the matrix, being real unhappy working for Uncle Sam probably. Thank God for hip hop! Hip hop is definitely the red pill!
MVRemix: What would make you happy in life?
May One 9: Based on your question, it would seem that we are not happy now?! [Laughs] But for real though, right now we are pretty content with life. We are doing something that we love, and most importantly, we are doing it together. Brass have been friends for over 12 years, and it's wild how we all still fam doing what we do best: hip hop! You can definitely add in some things like free treez and a billion-dollar advance. That would keep us happy for a long time…
MVRemix: Where do you see BrassMunk in 5 years?
May One 9: Five years from now I see BrassMunk as a world entity that is known for producing hip hop that is true to its form. I see ourselves getting into other genres of the entertainment world such as acting, producing movies, and most importantly running our 54th label. Look out for the album because it's gonna be bananas. We definitely wanna produce acts that will continue the foundation we are currently laying down. 54th Music is in the house, y'all!
MVRemix: Anything else you wanna say to fans?
May One 9: Look out for the new BrassMunk installment coming summer 2003! Shit is about to get silly y'all! Hit up www.brassmunk.com to stay in the game!