features
Pip Skid
Underground Hip-Hop
March 2001
peanutsandcorn.com
n/a
n/a
n/a
Angelou J. Flores
"Pididi-Pip-He's-Strong-Jawing"
Are We Ready For Pip Skid's Truth?

Inside Winnipeg's Plan B Hip Hop Lounge, anxious heads lingered for one of the most fiery emcees to rock a show in Canada's hip hop history. The nodding crowd that cracked craniums to DJ Hunnicutt's set of late 80's - early 90's material had been anticipating the release party for "Friends4Ever". Fifteen tracks of some of the harshest truth ever uttered on a hip hop record. If you thought Paris laid down the revolution, you know nothing of Fermented Reptile, or the main subject of the evening, Pip Skid.

He is milling about, basking in the contagious intensity and awaiting the tick of 12:00, signaling his time to rock. As front row spectators ducked from the steel shards being sprayed from opening act Your Brother In My Backpack's mics, Pip Skid entered zone-out mode before hitting the stage. After a brief intermission of funky breaks, the Halifax resident appeared.

He began the night with a dedication that left an uneasy silence about the room recalling his mother's sexual assault many years back. Speechless could not describe the reaction. Just then, he eased into "Raggedy Ann", detailing the account of the haunting childhood episode.

Not many emcees have the coconuts to do such a song, but this man is no ordinary emcee. He has been praised by Sole, head of the avant-garde Anticon label and all-around acclaimed emcee, as "the last political rapper who gives a fuck." The Fermented Reptile duo of Pip Skid and Gruf The Druid's "Let's Just Call You Quits" quietly built a fan base many independent emcees still aspire towards.

Pip Skid cut his teeth with the seminal trio Farm Fresh along with producer/emcee mcenroe and DJ Hunnicutt. Though no longer a working entity, they continue to work together under the auspices of the Break Bread crew. Since the release of the final Farm Fresh album, "Crazy Friction", there have been five well-received releases on mcenroe's Vancouver-based Peanuts & Corn label, with Fermented Reptile's album boasting the highest number of units sold. Bet your last slipmat these fools work harder than Rocco Siffredi on Raylene.

This brings us to "Friends4Ever". If sap is your flavour, then run to Ja Rule and stop reading, 'cause ain't no room for the squeamish in Pip's house. Institutionalized racism from a non-minority perspective ["True Blue"], covert propaganda in mass market entertainment ["Long Live Bruce Willis"] and the hypocrisy of homophobia ["Towel Snap"] are not regular subject matter in today's rap releases. It is heavy mental and can be overwhelming if your eyes are closed - much like how people get nuts at the club to dead prez' "Hip Hop" and don't even know the words. But maybe that's the problem. Maybe the time has come to open your eyes.

 
 
URBNET HOW CLOSE OR HOW FAR IS "FRIENDS4EVER" TO "LET'S JUST CALL YOU QUITS"?
PIP SKID It's hard for me to say at this point. I'm so immersed in it. DJ Hunnicutt suggested that "Friends4Ever" makes Fermented sound like Digable Planets. I feel like I've gone quite a bit more insane. Its spans from the time Fermented Reptile was recorded until last fall. There are a couple of songs I wrote before Fermented came out. I'm definitely not doing as well as I could be mentally and it shows. The album is so angry and so aggressive and full of frustration that I thought "Friends4Ever" as a title would give it a good balance with a ridiculous name.


AS A FIRST FOR YOU, YOU ARE ROCKIN' OVER OUTSIDE PRODUCTION. HOW DID IT FEEL TO VENTURE OUTSIDE THE P&C STEEZ?
I think it was necessary. It's more a part of the growth that needs to take place. Originally when I first moved out there [Halifax], mcenroe had beendoing other things and the Fermented had just finished, so I wasn't next in line for beats. Graematter gave me a tape and I picked some beats that worked out really well. It just so happened that Soso sent me a CD with some beats to listen to and I wrote to them.


HOW DOES THE HALIFAX SCENE COMPARE TO WINNIPEG'S?
I prefer Winnipeg to Halifax. Halifax is a very, very small place. There's not as many resources as there are here. When I moved, it really hit me how goodWinnipeg was. Winnipeg, Halifax and Vancouver probably have the strongest hip hop scenes for what we're doing. For size, Winnipeg has a lot going on and it's overlooked. I miss Winnipeg. I was part of a building block in Manitoba. In Halifax, I'm opening shows and the majority of the time, I'm definitely the best show. It's cool. You have to start from scratch; climb some ladder rungs you've already climbed.


WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE DISSENSION BETWEEN TORCHBEARERS OF THE "AVANT-GARDE" AND THE "CONVENTIONAL" HIP HOP CIRCLES?
Halifax is called the "art fag/coffeeshop rap scene" and that's who I play shows with. Somehow, I fit in there but I don't. I play shows with these guys and hang out but for us to do jams together? It doesn't blend. Like Hunnicutt said last night when we were talking about it, "get some fuckin' soul." Halifax is such a perfect spot for it because there's this big art university situation there and so many artists that like rap. They like rap but it's "too violent, too scary, too many black people saying things fast". People may not admit it, but I think that's a huge part of it. There's a lot of people out there that are scared of black people and so this is perfect for them. So much alternative avant-garde hip hop is definitely out there to diss. There's animosity but I would suspect that most of the other people could give a shit or even know what's goin' on with lots of the avant-garde stuff. I couldn't picture Memphis Bleek listening to Sole.


WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION?
Sadly enough, I always write when I'm depressed. You can end up in this cycle where your brain wants you to be depressed so that you'll be creative. That's whywhen you listen to the Fermented and the new album - there's jokes in there - but it's angry. That's where I draw most of my inspiration. This is my psychiatrist. Musically, I've been listening to hip hop spanning from as early as it can go to '89 and that's been a relief for me.


SOLE REFERRED TO YOU AS THE "LAST POLITICAL RAPPER WHO GIVES A FUCK".
I don't think I am at all. I appreciate Sole sayin' nice things but I definitely don't think that comment's true. There's Gruf, John Smith, dead prez, Poor Righteous Teachers and even Chuck D at some point and that's just who I know of. There's all these "fermented reptiles" out there that no one even knows about.


YOU WERE ALSO RATED BY HIP HOP INFINITY AS ONE OF 2001'S TOP 50 EMCEES.
That was flattering, but it's just someone's list. What they should have called it is 'Top 50 Emcees Who's Albums We've Heard'. It's not as all encompassing as it sounds. For me, the live show is really important and I feel confident that if those six people saw everyone on there play live, I'd probably be closer to the number one position. It felt good but it's really hard for me to believe that people find my rapping that enjoyable. I've always thought of Gruf as a stronger lyricist. I'm glad because to me it means I'm succeeding. All this work I'm putting in is showing.


AS AN EMCEE YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH MAD EVOLUTION. WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF GOING?
That's a really hard call. As soon as I finished the album, I started writing rhymes completely different from what I've been doing. More battle/teasin' people kinda stuff. So, it's really hard to tell. Unless I'm working on an actual project, I don't envision those things. It's a creative process; it's kinda like whatever comes out. It'd be pretty rare to hear albums that sound the same from me anyway."


As with all independent artists, Pip Skid a.k.a Pamper Tape would like to see the fruits of his efforts and has no qualms about wanting success and big money. Hehas been writing, performing and recording for some years now and would like nothing more than to see him and the Break Bread fam bust nuts all over the world but the business side of music is a great detractor.
"My success for music would be to make my money doing something else that I really enjoy and keeping my music from disastrous areas such as business. That's how music gets ruined: through money. I wanna know what's going on in the business but I also don't wanna be a huge participant on that side. I'd rather just do my music."


He also recognizes the market that is gobbling up P&C releases like white on rice. Literally.
"The music we're making is made predominantly by white people, so I guess white people are gonna understand it more," says Pip.

"There's definitely a class and intellectual difference between white people and non-white people. Beyond racial differences, there are just a lot of class differences that have to do with education and where people are at."

The music is not for the archetypal backpack-wearin', middle-class livin' crate-digger but rather for everyone from the yardies to the bling-blingers. It is quite difficult to front on music that everyone can associate with even if URB found the Park-like Setting album "too intellectual". Yet, there are still many who have yet to be acquainted with Pip Skid.

"I think the music we're making is in an area of water that's not for everyone, which is cool. From what I can see, there's a lot more people who could get intous if they knew about us."


 

urbnetrecords.com
artists
distribution
shop
press photos
audio
tv/videos

facebook
flickr
soundcloud
twitter
youtube

about urbnet
privacy policy
contacts



URBNET Communications Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction is prohibited in whole or in part without permission.
For personal, noncommercial use only.