Thursday, February 24, 2011
catch an L
man, stoked to see the official release of birdapres' latest manifesto. i had the extreme privilege of penning a short set of liners for the album (*read below) and wanted to thank bird for his ceaseless honesty, integrity, and quality... you rule hommie!
download the album here: http://marathonofdope.com/?p=1818
Call me a sucker, call me a poseur, but I don't have the same appetite for rap music that I used to. Adopted by big business and mass media as their own personal songbook in the most crass and commercial way, it's often straight suits and soulless executives that draw "hot" tracks for the latest multimillion dollar promotion or advertising campaign rather than the rock steady, suave, and knowledgeable DJs of yore. Apparently, the kids still "love it!", but a main ingredient seems to have gone missing. It's a shame to say that even genre founders like Kool Herc are left to disintegrate in the dust like forgotten heroes in a bad Hollywood fantasy. But who knows, maybe I just need a few more Krispy Biskets in my diet?@#$!!! Of course, true hearts are what keeps this world-wide movement really burning. Which brings us to East Vancouver-born, Winnipeg-based rapper Birdapres, a unique quango in this game called hip-hop. Without going into lengthy biographical details—please note that he's been doing this music thing forever, surely bonus points for any jaded journalists out there—Bird has continued to grow as an artist (*extra points round here) while his class of 1990's-something peers have either quit altogether or lost the plot with an embarrassing series of progressively bad haircuts. Far beyond fashion or style, Birdapres has vision (and a sharp barber). He also has integrity and hasn't sold out… Yet!!!
So what about Catch An L, Bird's latest musical manifesto??? "On 5th listen, I like it," says the rapper, with his usual self-deprecating sense of worth. That's not to say that the man named Dane Goulet by Canadian hippie parents doesn't believe in his own work, it's just that he's not the ego-driven type of musician quick to brandish some sort of bigger-than-you presentation and unfounded arrogance in regards to his craft. Birdapres simply speaks from the notepad of his mind and produces straight from the heart. Or is it the other way around??? At any rate, listen to the album's words and gritty production (co-recorded by Belgian native Tom De Geeter, aka Speed Dial 7) and form your own opinion. Powerful, literate, and engaging to these ears, it's certainly a welcome and fresh update to an ever evolving discography. While I've known the man for many years, it was only during the post-millennium events which led to his monumental 2008 Toothpaste EP (also released on Marathon Of Dope) that I witnessed a true metamorphosis unlike any I've ever seen, a progressive re-birth without any of the evangelical hooting and hollering. No longer was Birdapres bound to the chains of your typical rapper-producer collaboration, he became a self-sufficient and well-rounded creative entity of his own making, deftly pairing his uncanny wordplay and charismatic cadence with private press beats handpicked from the dusty trails of Prairie vinyl graveyards, rainy day coastal thrifts, and BIG city come ups, all filtered through the sounds of minor key technology. Never one to embrace the "latest and greatest" fad or fast-moving trends, Bird patiently studies from the blueprint and drafts his own hieroglyphics.
Perhaps it is the province of Manitoba and its pace, people, climate, architecture, and food that has shaped his recent music more than anything else. For that, P-R-O-P-S!!! But who really knows??? Though he's been to University, he never over intellectualizes things, as a proud home owner, he still lives and breathes with an ear to the street, and regardless of his stature as a valued community player, he savours solitude. One thing that Bird isn't, is a phoney. Armed with a handful of 7" singles, portable turntable, and a trusty SP-303 sampler, he's more than likely to write a song about the time a troubled neighbourhood thug pulled a gun on him than pretending to be an OG gangster himself. It's this type of honesty that makes Birdapres transcend tired genre cliches and carbon copy clones. "Fuck Red Bull, I'd rather eat gruel," rapped the rapper's rapper on Toothpaste's title track. A line spurred on by jealously of those who take the corporate cheddar? Never… To put it bluntly, the world is fucked, the music business is pretty well fucked, and the mass media is definitely fucked, but Bird knows these truths all too well and doesn't attempt to get caught up in any of that brain drain fame game or artistic hopelessness. In this era of over documentation and false prophets, Catch An L is a humble and engaging tale of reality. Birdapres lives his music and this music reflects his musical life. He's even inspiring enough for this cynical hack to dig a little deeper and look beyond (once again). So if you're an old school head, new jack hustler or mere curiosity seeker, keep watching this sound...
Kevin "Sipreano" Howes (Voluntary In Nature)