URBNET recording artist DL Incognito says that his name means "delivering lyrics on the low, incognito." The truth is, however, a little different.
Since "A Sample and a Drum Machine" his 2002 debut, DL has secured a place in Canada's hip-hop elite the old-fashioned way. He earned it. His sophomore
bow, 2004's "Life’s a Collection of Experiences" found him nominated for a 2005 Juno Award in the Best Rap Recording Category. Several years of non-stop
touring and recording have resulted in even more accolades for the talented and prolific MC, including two more Juno nominations, three more full length
LPs (along with countless one-offs/guest features) and several tours acrossCanada. |
Now with his fifth and latest release "Some Day is Less Than a Second Away" being issued this spring on URBNET, some are saying that DL Incognito is one
of the best MCs Canada has ever produced. Ever humble, DL dismisses such talk with a shrug, but as he tells it, there is a solid base behind his
inspirational artistic output.
"I look at my music in the same way Porsche looks at automobile design," DL says. "I keep trying to improve on the things that have allowed me to build
a strong grassroots fanbase. I think it's just evolution over revolution -- the little changes that I hope will perfect my original ideas."
DL Incognito's original ideas were manifested in the freestyle ciphers and mix-show pyrotechnics of hip-hop's 1990s golden age, when microphone skills meant
far more than a contrived Hollywood image and to show and prove was all an MC needed to make the people move.
"I’ve always been a big fan of Nas and Q-Tip," DL says unashamedly. "Those are probably the two artists that have influenced me the most. Just like me, they
strive for longevity and it's clear that they’re both still relevant in hip-hop today. I think that’s what it's all about, having lyrics without always
preaching and also staying consistent."
Consistency may as well be DL Incognito's middle name. His lyrics are always on point and his beats are chosen with the finely tuned ear of the true rap
aficionado. It's this rare consistency that allows DL to have a career recording and performing hip-hop all across Canada, a feat that has eluded all but
the most dedicated MCs hailing from the Great White North. The magnitude of this achievement has not eluded DL. As he tells it, being a Canadian rap artist
takes a special sort of commitment and dedication.
"I would say being a Canadian artist means being humble, resourceful and independent." says DL. "Canada is an enormous country geographically with a fairly
small population. In order to succeed, you need to tour and reach out to other markets, big and small. Once you do, you realize that hip hop lives just about
anywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to expand my brand beyond traditional hip-hop circles and branch out into ski, skate and snowboard culture. The support comes
It's no gimmicks with DL Incognito. What you see is what you get. Beats, rhymes and life. One song may be a trip down memory lane, the next a rocket into the
future. DL's voice is the guide, the microphone is his muse.
"My goal is always to have fun making intelligent music," DL explains. "I base a lot of tracks on my life or close experiences, but I want people to have a
good time when they’re listening. On “Someday is Less than a Second Away” I hope listeners can hear some of the hunger they heard on my earlier LP’s with a
more mature and focused sound."
The buzz you hear on the street from those in the know is that 2013 is going to sound a lot like DL Incognito. From a hip-hop loving youth rocking any stage
he could into an internationally respected artist well-known as one of Canada's premier lyrical MC's, it's been a dizzying ride for the Ottawa native. In one
of his more contemplative moods, DL takes the time to break down where he sees hip-hop going in the next 10 years.
"I think hip-hop will continue to branch out into different sub-genres," DL predicts. "I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw more political and social artists
in the forefront of the scene in the near future. As the world changes, so will the music. Since we’re living in a time of abundance, the music we’re hearing
reflects that. But we all know change will come because nothing lasts forever. As for myself, I hope people can look back at my career and be inspired to walk
a similar path. Make music for the right reasons -- and have fun doing it."