Downtown ’09 Now Available for Free Download

Downtown 09My new EP Downtown ’09 is now officially available for free download from Marathon of Dope! Please download, listen and pass it around! If you’d like a preview, listen to the song “Stab Somebody.” And please don’t forget, for those of you in Winnipeg, I will be performing every song, plus some others, next Thursday at the Good Will.

Here’s a little more about the EP:

“Winnipeg is a cold and isolated city, dirty and dilapidated. It is a city divided between the South and the North, by race and by class. It is surrounded, like most cities in the Western World, by cookie-cutter suburban homes, box stores and fast food chains. But in the gut of the city, in downtown Winnipeg, the very real divisions that make up its essence intersect in an anarchic clash of hedonism and despair.

It is this image of Winnipeg that serves as the backdrop for Rob Crooks’ new EP Downtown ’09. The iconic punk clubs and temporary speak-easies, the dive bars and late-night beer vendors, the dark alleys where drugs are bought, sold and consumed all make up the setting for Crooks’ story telling. The loosely connected coming-of-age narrative stitched together in these six songs guides the listener through the progressive stages of young adulthood, all in the span of a single weekend. From the earliest encounter with “City Sounds,” and the immature and not-so-innocent trysts with “Friday Night Girls,” to the moral hangover of “Monday Morning,” Downtown ‘09 is an often dark depiction of dysfunctional scenesters in a dysfunctional city.

Sonically, Downtown ’09 matches Crooks’ raw and rapid vocal delivery with the gritty punk aesthetic predominant in Winnipeg’s counter-cultures. The upbeat tempos and catchy hooks give the EP the feel of an illegal dance party, in an abandoned warehouse, ready to be shut down by the police at any moment. Guest appearances by Winnipeg hip-hop legends Pip Skid and John Smith help to round out this short, but detailed vision of the dark side of Winnipeg’s edgy and unpredictable nightlife. So why not spend the weekend in downtown Winnipeg, with Rob Crooks as your guide?”



Stab Somebody

So, here is a song from my new EP, Downtown ’09. The song is called “Stab Somebody.” Although, the EP doesn’t officially come out until tomorrow, it is available for free download now. So please check it out, and share if you like it!

“Stab Somebody” is about a guy who has developed a drug dependency, and has gotten into debt trouble with his dealer. The story takes place at a dance party, where he is freely using drugs, dancing and trying to have a good time. While he makes his way through the party, from smoking a cigarette outside, to getting a drink at the bar, he keeps overhearing people spreading a rumour that someone is going to be stabbed at the party. However, he’s too concerned about having fun that he doesn’t realize, or maybe wants to ignore the fact that, the person who is in danger of getting stabbed is himself.

Up in a loft, in the spot, the bass is bumping heavy / Have a taste to your face, if you ain’t done already / We in the place, in the space, dancing and getting sweaty / Until that powder that I parachute rush out to get me / I need to chill just for a minute, let me get outside / To smooth it out, to cool it down and then I’ll feel alright / Who’s got a smoke, what’s the quote, fifty or twenty-five? / A quarter or two is affordable, who’s got a light? / A social ceiling of smoke and dealings makes it feel cloudy / Rumble like thunder, like lightning striking up all around me / I hear some phrases from conversations floating around me / Tiny quips from their lips, they let slip and here they found me / “He says he’s gonna get it, that’s kid’s really in trouble” / “He’s disrespectful, in debt to him, never on the humble” / “Can’t let the kid forget it, I guaranteed the drugs will” / “Last time I saw him he had the look upon him like the devil” /

They say that he might even stab somebody / They say that he might even stab somebody, a druggie / They say that he might even stab somebody / They say that he might even stab somebody, for money

The side walk talks and talks, meantime the music’s calling / There ain’t the time in this life for the ties you get involved in / I head inside just to vibe and get live and try to ignore it / My mouth is pasty so maybe I’ll pour some alcohol in / Blathering at the bar gets louder and mad and insaner / I’m on Saturn enamoured, I’m seeing neon tracers / The bar tender is wondering what drink he can make me / But all I hear is atmosphere chatter, I’m acting spacey / “He says he’s coming tonight, I guess that kind better hide” / “He say he’s bringing a knife, he won’t be coming to fight” / I have a drink, then I think maybe another capsule / Maybe a line just this time, I’m looking for the bathroom / “I heard that somebody saw him, he’s in here and looking for him” / “That kid has got real problems, let’s go before all the cops come” / I’m in the stall with a ball in my pocket, break out a key / Until he kicks in the partition and he’s looking at me /

He looks like he could even stab somebody / He looks like he could even stab somebody, he’s thrusting / He looks like he could even stab somebody / He looks like he could even stab somebody, I’m bloody

I don’t see their moves moving, just their eyes all shifty / A whole crowd has gathered to me, looking down and worried / Stare at the ceiling, a warm feeling in the light above me / “This guy just got stabbed by somebody!”



Coming Soon: Downtown ’09

Downtown 09 Later this week I’m going to be dropping a new EP entitled Downtown ’09. It’s a collection of 6 songs that depict the sometimes dark side of Winnipeg’s nightlife. The songs form a narrative arc through the immature hedonism of one night stands and self-destructive drug use, leading up to a violent stabbing that brings the consequences out of the moral realm into the material world. Finally the album culminates in the epic hangover that makes one question everything.

The title Downtown ’09 is a reference to the film Downtown 81, in which a broke artist (Basquiat) roams downtown Manhattan going in and out of dingy, underground clubs, encountering a who’s who of New York’s new wave musicians and artists. I decided to reference this title because the journey embarked upon by the artist in the film reflects the journey that the narrator takes in this album: an aimless wondering through downtown streets, from party to party looking for something that is always just a few steps ahead. Of course, in Downtown 09 what is being sought after is never found. And instead of the grand streets of New York City, this album takes place in the despair-paved streets of downtown Winnipeg, the dark heart of the continent.

The reference to Downtown 81 also seemed appropriate because of the intersection of punk and hip-hop culture that is prevalent in both the film and the album. Although the album is a rap album, the punk influence can’t be denied (from the sometimes aggressive vocal delivery and catchy hooks to the Black Flag sample and the Bad Brains cover art rip-off).

Ultimately, however, Downtown ’09 is meant to be fun. But how can I show the fun side without the edgier dark side of fun? After all, the edgy dark side is what makes fun so fun, am I right? So, the beats are high tempo and the raps match them. I hope you like it. It will be available for download this week!




End the War on the Holiday Rap Convention

dec18postersmallerThere is a War on the Holiday Rap Convention and we are sick of it. That’s why I have banded together with John Smith, Nestor Wynrush, Lonnie Ce, 3Peat and Cvlt Wvffle to end the insanity.

Every year when we report Haters assaults on the traditions of the Holiday Rap Convention, the crazy loons begin a vitriolic campaign to diminish me and this event. There is a reason why they are doing that. And it has nothing to do with Iggy Azalea.

Let’s take it step-by-step. No one tells you a person could possibly see a Holiday Rap Convention as an imposition of hip-hop. When the City Hall Holiday Rap tree here in Winnipeg was lighted no one threw themselves to the ground screaming about Dj Kool Herc. That did not happen. Winnipeg police did not round up the onlookers and force them into the Good Will a few blocks away. Nothing like that happened at the tree lighting. It was just a fun occasion.

Also you heard a hater on this program last night say the Holiday Rap Convention imposes hip-hop on him. But hip-hop is not an organized culture that can be imposed. There are many different styles of hip-hop that promote rap in many different ways.

Does the hater think the Holiday Rap Convention is promoting NWA? Three 6 Mafia? Wu-Tang Clan? What? After that interview the crazy Web site People emerged screaming that I’m wrong. Hip-hop is indeed being imposed. These people are so stupid it’s painful.

Hip-hop is a philosophy. You don’t have to believe Afrika Bambaataa is God in order to admire his breaks.

Millions of hipster kids admire Bambaataa as a great selector. In fact today’s pop culture was founded on hip-hop philosophy, that’s what shaped our music and slang. Again if you are stone-cold dumb and don’t understand the difference between hip-hop and rap, I cannot help you.

In 1987, President Eric B. made my point when he sent this Holiday Rap message to the American people, quote, “the Holiday Rap Convention is not just at the Good Will on December 18th, it’s a state of mind. To cherish Holiday Rap and the Good Will, to be plenteous in freshness is to have the real spirit of the Holiday Rap Convention. If we think on these things there will be born in us a Dj and over us will shine an emcee sending their dope lyrics and ill flows to the world.”

That’s from my private collection, by the way. Is Eric B. imposing hip-hop in that Holiday Rap greeting? Of course not. He is promoting a fun time at the Good Will, December 18th. Now the more intelligent haters realize that what I’m telling you is absolutely correct. Historically and scientifically but many of them don’t care, they want any hint of freshness out of the public square.

The haters want a new Winnipeg and the Holiday Rap Convention isn’t a part of it.