PIP SKID with GRUF, ISMAILA, TOOSHED, WORDBURGLAR, DJs HUNNICUTT and KUTDOWN as part of the Peanuts & Corn Hopeless Tour at the Dragonfly (1279 Queen West), Wednesday (October 5). $8. 416-858-5851, www.peanutsandcorn.com. Rating: NNNNN
If Fiddy, Luda and Young Jeezy make "urban" music, then what kind of raps might be dropped by the mild-mannered, self-deprecatin', beer-swiggin', workin'-class folks from Vancouver's Peanuts & Corn label?
Don't try laying a "suburban" label on Pip Skid's shit, says the artist formerly known as Wicked Nut, one of Peanuts & Corn's most prominent members.
"For me personally, that's not the case," Skid asserts in his Shaggy-from-Scooby Doo voice from his Winnipeg workplace. He's frustrated by the category-lumping that's been happening to his crew as his buddy McEnroe's long-running label breaks into the international market.
"I don't live in the suburbs, and I never have. We're mostly white guys rapping about ridiculous stuff. Shit-talking and rhyming about drinking beer. I rap about some heavy stuff, but I balance it out with humour, too. I can see how people might get the wrong idea just from listening to my music, but I'm definitely not 'suburban' rap."
When he tells me that he also works part-time helping inner-city Winnipeg adolescents record gangsta hiphop, I'm inclined to believe him. I'm less sold on Skid's claim that his hometown has the healthiest hiphop scene in Canada - but then again, the dude's been zipping from coast to coast playing the Canadian rap game for the last 13 years, working with his groups Farm Fresh and Fermented Reptile since dropping his first tape. So I'm not arguing.
"I've played every city from PEI to Vancouver Island, and Winnipeg has more talent than any of these cities, en masse," says Skid. "It's small enough that you can get good press, and it's easy to play good shows here, but big enough that there are enough people to support it."
It helps that, despite being so prolific wid' it, Skid's music lives up to Peanuts & Corn's quality standards, and his latest release proves just that. Farm Fresh recently dropped Taking Care Of Business, yet another P&C release jammed full of blunted-out, melodious golden-era rhythms and Pip's particular lyrical blend of pleasure and pain. Here's a guy who can kick doo-doo rhymes alongside some serious introspective shit, and seemingly never run out of things to say.
Unfortunately, Skid admits, the sheer quantity of amazing releases his label puts out works against them.
"I guess our downfall is that we put so much effort into making great records that they don't get promoted properly. We keep pumping 'em out like crazy and no one knows they've dropped," he laughs. "It's perfect."