MEDINA GREEN with MOS DEF at Harbourfront Centre (235 Queens Quay West), tonight (Thursday, June 23). $35-$40. 416-973-4000. Rating: NNNNN
My talk with DCQ of Brooklyn backpacker rap set Medina Green - he's also Mos Def's little brother - begins normally enough. My warm-up question's a simple "What have you been up to today?"
"Right now I'm just hangin' out at home," he says in a cooled-out voice that sounds exactly how you'd imagine Mos Def's little brother would sound, like a slightly higher-pitched Mos.
"Oh, cool. How old is your son?" I ask.
"To tell you the truth," the MC who was put on the map with Medina Green's 98 single Crosstown Beef, featuring Mos Def, asserts, "we gonna do an interview, but we not gonna get into politics or any personal business in my life."
I respect his need for privacy, but seriously - easy there, buddy. Still, in an earnest attempt to segue from this awkward little moment into a chat about his music, with an understanding tone, I go: "Well, I guess you already say what you need about politics and family on your records anyway."
"I guess you talk that stuff in your music already anyway," I repeat.
"You're still asking me about politics and my kids?" he explodes. "If we gonna do this interview, I already explained that to you."
Holy fuck. Uh, okay, so - what does he talk about in his songs anyway?
"Just good music, man, just good music," is his reply. "Nothing really - no major topics in particular. It's just, you know, a good album with good vibes on it in reference to hiphop."
Well, if that spirited description doesn't get you rushing down to Kops to pick up the album immediately, what will?
Medina Green's mixtape, You Know The Flex, Volume One, has beats from Diamond D and appearances from Mos Def. It's been out since October, but since he's released them both on his own Illson Media label, DCQ plugs the album like he's been programmed to.
Same with the reissue of the debut album, Manifest Destiny by UTD (Urban Thermo Dynamics), DCQ's original early 90s group with female MC Ces and (guess who?) Mos Def.
I'm careful with questions about DCQ's punk-rockin', conscious-rappin' Harbourfront Centre-show-headlinin' Emmy-nominee brother, who's been in Toronto for weeks filming 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis. After all, they are family, and, technically that falls under the "personal shit" category. Surprisingly, he has no problem talking about the star of The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.
"That's a beautiful thing. I'm very proud to be Mos Def's younger brother, and I know he's proud to be my older brother. In reference to his relationship with Medina Green, he's always gonna have a home here with us."