Sunday, May 12, 2013

Interview: Canadian rappers Rich Kidd and SonReal

SonReal and Rich Kidd
They say opposites attract. Rich Kidd and SonReal, two Canadian rappers who released their album The Closers last October, are about as opposite as two people could be. And no, I am not talking about the obvious physical contrast - Rich Kidd being big and SonReal being small, of course.

From their artistic style to their actions during confrontation, they couldn't be any more different, but sometimes a yin needs its yang and vice versa. Maybe that's what makes The Closers such an interesting album and the pair as entertaining to be around as a Thursday night sitcom.

A couple weeks ago I was able to hang out with the guys to talk about their album. I started pick up on their differences right away. SonReal was early, I was on time and Rich Kidd was late.

As we waited for the big guy to arrive I got a feel for SonReal. What he lacks in the looks of a gangster he does not make up with attitude, surprisingly. I was met by a down to earth charming guy who explained to me that he and his other half lived on different standards of time. Some time later, Rich Kidd rolled in drinking a carton of chocolate milk smelling like Snoop Dogg Lion saying something like, "Yo, what's up? Let's do this."

We sat down in a hotel room and the SonReal and Rich Kidd Show started. We arrived on the topic of controversy before I was able to get one of my questions off the page and the stories commenced. The gist of all the stories is, SonReal would like to keep things civil and Rich Kidd does not tolerate smack talk.

SonReal recalled a time where they were filming a music video on East Hastings in Vancouver and all of a sudden were confronted by a group of crack heads.
"Basically we get surrounded by crackheads and we’ve got a red camera and our actor bounces out of there," said SonReal,
"The red camera got the hell out of there because we just started to hear people being like “Get the f-ckin camera out of here, we’re gonna break your camera blah blah blah” and these are like crackheads and dealers and sh*t. I’m like, everybody get the f-ck out of here, we’re in their territory! And I start walkin away and I look back and Rich Kidd’s just like trying to take on 20 crack heads, like actually.
Him being like, “What?! What?!” and like 20 crackheads. So I go back and I’m like…[SonReal stands up and demonstrates how he jumped on Rich Kidd's back to get him out of the situation] I came from the back of him and grabbed him and was like “No we’re chill, we don’t want nothing, he don’t want…we’re cool, f-ck.”
And we just got the f-ck out of there. …That was a confrontation."
That was hilarious.

Then the publicist who was sitting in on the interview had to step in and be like, holy sh*t give this girl something she can actually write about. I was so entertained I didn't really care, but it was true - we needed to talk album.

Prior The Closers the two had worked on tracks together, so when they were approached by Black Box Records to do a  joint EP they were on board. At first they tried making songs cross country,
"Started recording tracks back and forth, from me in Toronto him in Vancouver," said Rich Kidd, " didn’t feel like we were really maximizing the true creativity if we weren’t in a room together...we decided to fly down to LA to record the rest of the album...we go to this place called Truth studios so we’re locked in there for about 10-11 days, right?"
(The duration was wrong...obviously, as we have established Rich Kidd doesn't have an affinity for time.)
"It was 7 days straight," interjected SonReal, "7 days straight of recording and we got the bulk of the record done and the only track that we did that wasn’t actually in the same room was Money Money, even Hometown we did in Toronto and the rest of the record we did that week in LA. So The Closers was essentially recorded in 7 days. Which is kind of tight."
What started out as an EP turned into a full album in 7 days plus two more songs. I had heard the album and knew there was a diverse collection of tracks to choose from, so continuing on with my 'complete opposite' theory I asked them each what their favourite was off the album.
"The thing is we both have such different styles and stuff like that so his favorite track is gonna be like The Openers where we are coming the hardest," said SonReal, "My favorite track is gonna be Mind All Day and Hometown because I like that sh*t."

Rich Kidd confirmed that he liked how hard The Openers opened The you see what they did there? I pretty much wrote this whole piece so I could write that sentence. Moving on.

Hometown is, of course, opposite to the hard beats of The Openers. It's softer and on the sentimental side. SonReal, who has been living in Vancouver for almost a decade originally hails from Vernon, BC. Rich Kidd, who is Toronto based, comes from a part of Mississauga, ON called Ridge Block.

Rich Kidd said that at first SonReal was going to write something about Vancouver in the track,
"[SonReal was] gonna talk more about Vancouver and then I was like naw, talk about Vernon," said Rich Kidd, "That’s your hometown. I always see these guys on your YouTube pages like, “Oh Vernon, F-ck Yeah!” You know, that’s your hometown you got some crazy fans out there." 

This opened up a whole discussion about YouTube commentators which I won't get into, but you can obviously imagine how amazing it was. YouTube comment conversations always are.

It ended with the statement that people from Vernon loved the Hometown video...I would have to say that is probably because part of it is shot in Vernon and nothing has been shot there - ever. (I don't know this as fact, but I am pretty certain.)

After starting late and the first 15 minutes being irrelevant yet hilarious stories we had to call it a day...which was unfortunate because these two were hands down the most entertaining people I have ever interviewed.

Until the SonReal and Rich Kidd Show airs again - that's all she wrote.


The Closers is available on iTunes.

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