Buck 65 at the Pyramid Cabaret, May 11th, with Colleen Brown and Rob Crooks

        Things are starting to pick up for me as summer starts to roll around. I have a few big shows coming up that I am really excited for, including this one: opening up for Buck 65 at the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg, this Friday, May11th, with Colleen Brown.

This show means a lot to me for a number of reasons. Buck 65 has been a huge influence on my musical outlook since I first heard his album Vertex over ten years ago. At the time, I was just getting out of high school and was a major “backpacker”; I listened exclusively to New York underground rap, from Black Star to Mobb Deep, Thirstin Howell to Gang Starr etc. But with the opening up of the Wax Museum (a now defunct) record shop in Osborne Village, hip-hop fans in Winnipeg like me didn’t have to rely on what HMV had in stock anymore. Thanks to the dedicated people at the Wax Museum our eyes were opened up to a whole other contemporary movement in hip-hop that was happening all over Canada and the States at the time. With the guidance of the people who ran the record shop, all of whom were active in the local scene themselves, I was introduced to so many mind-blowing acts, from locals like Fermented Reptile and Frek Sho, to Canadian artists like Epic and the Goods, to American crews like Living Legends and Anticon.

But out of all of these acts, Buck 65 made an impression on me that was unique and particularly influential. The music he creates is undeniably hip-hop, but unlike any other hip-hop I’d ever heard before. His album Vertex was my first glimpse into a relatively uncharted territory, a completely novel way of thinking about breaks, cuts and rhymes. It wasn’t long after I heard Vertex that I picked up is earlier release Language Arts and the Sebutones album 50/50 Where It Counts (Sixtoo was also a huge influence). These three albums, along with Man Overboard are without question masterpieces of modern hip-hop music. Their influence on me is still unfolding, even a decade after my first contact with them.

You can check out the Facebook event page for this show here.

Buck 65 – Eye Make-Up Excuses (Language Arts)

Buck 65 – Slow Drama (Vertex)

Sebutones (Buck 65 & Sixtoo) – Tranquilized Tones (50/50 Where It Counts)

Buck 65 – Untitled (Man Overboard)

 

 

 

 

 

“Hearts” EP Now Available for Digital Download from Marathon Of Dope (.com)

Rob Crooks - Hearts

After three very fun CD release parties in Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon, my brand new EP Hearts is now available to the masses through the magical wonder of the world wide web. By going to MarathonOfDope.com, you can download Hearts to your computer for free; or for a dollar; or for ten; or for a hundred; the price you pay is entirely up to you! While you’re there, please check out all the other collections of music that are available to you under the pay-what-you-can model from the artists at Marathon of Dope.

At this point, making my music easily available to you is of the highest importance to me. So, if you just spent your last buck on that cheap beer you’re drinking; or you’re already way too far into your overdraft and the collections agencies keep calling; or even if you’re just not sure what you’re going to think about the album that you’re about to download;  feel at ease by paying whatever you can, all the while knowing I’m happy to have you as a listener. And then when I finally get to your city to perform live, hopefully you’ll come out and enjoy the night with me.

NOTE: For anyone who may be wondering, physical copies (i.e. CDs) of Hearts will continue to be made available at some stores in Winnipeg, at my live shows and by emailing me here. The CD as a package looks pretty slick, if I may say so.

Thanks to everyone who has already bought a copy and to everyone who came out to the shows this past weekend. Also, an advanced thank you to everyone who will buy or download Hearts and/or who will come to a Rob Crooks performance one day. I’m not going to stop any time soon and I’ll try my best to keep everyone posted on everything that is upcoming.

For a direct download to the Hearts EP click here.

The “Hearts” EP CD Release Party!

        I am ecstatic to announce that on Thursday, March 15th, at the Lo-Pub in winterful downtown Winnipeg, I will be officially releasing my brand new EP, Hearts. Joining me for the occasion will be my good friends Nestor Wynrush and Two Rocks of Stone. It’ll be five bucks to get in, but if you feel like balling out a little bit, there is also the option of paying ten bucks  and receiving – in addition to admittance – a free compact disc version of the Hearts EP. The show is brought to you by CKUW, UMFM, Marathon of Dope and Face Entertainment. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

In addition to the CD release show in Winnipeg, Nestor Wynrush and I will also be heading out West to perform in Regina on Friday, March 16th (with InfoRed) and Saskatoon on Saturday, March 17th (with Chapter Thrive and Soso). More details to come.

The following Tuesday, March 20th, the Hearts EP will be available on www.MarathonOfDope.com for pay-what-you-can download.

I am very excited about putting the EP out, and I know the turn-out for these shows will express the quality of people in our part of the world. I can’t wait to have some drinks, laughs and play some new songs for all of you. See you there!

(For more information on the Hearts EP, go here.)

 

Marathon of Dope

      I am very happy to announce that my upcoming EP Hearts will be made available online through my good friends at Marathon of Dope. In addition to this fact, you can also expect to see some tours involving me and my new label-mates, such as Pip Skid and Speed Dial 7. My EP will be released in Winnipeg on March 15th, Regina March 16th, Saskatoon the 17th and to the whole planet through the world wide web on Tuesday, March 20th, via www.marathonofdope.com. (More details are to come.) Let’s get weird.

The Foultone Crew on The Dope Joints

        On December 21st, 2o11, the Foultone Crew (Dj Kutdown, Ismaila Alfa, Influence, Mikel Rondeau and myself, Rob Crooks) took to the University of Manitoba’s campus radio airwaves as guests of Winnipeg’s longest running hip-hop mix show, the Dope Joints. A huge thank you goes out to Dj Kinteik, Dj @Large and Dj Stress for their hospitality and good humour. It was the second Foultone Christmas special that we’ve done in three years, and I for one, would like it to become an annual tradition. So hopefully next December we’ll be back on the air at 101.5 fm, to wish everybody a happy holidays. Just like the 2009 edition, the 2011 Foultone Christmas special included live on-air performances and freestyles by all the emcees, and mixing and scratching from Dj Kutdown. Download or stream the podcast here and tune in to the Dope Joints every Wednesday night, 10pm-12am, 101.5 UMFM.

 

 

This Friday, the 13th!

        As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be performing at Golden City Fine Arts in Winnipeg’s Chinatown this coming Friday! It will be Friday the 13th, so try not to get brutally murdered or anything.

In addition to my solo-set, there will also be the triumphant return of Two Rocks of Stone! I love these guys. If you are unaware, Two Rocks of Stone are an experimental hip-hop duo from Winnipeg, who perform their beats live on a set up of samplers, drum machines and effects processors, while taking turns rapping about insane things. It’s pretty awesome. For a more concrete idea of what they are all about, check out one of their youtube videos here.

In addition to myself and Two Rocks of Stone, there will also be Dj Aaron Bragar. So, this will be a fun-packed night for sure. The atmosphere at Golden City is always very chill. I don’t think there is a cover, and as always, it’s BYOB. If you forget to BYOB, it’s no problem, as the McLaren is just across the street. The party starts around 11, performances will start around midnight, and go ’til late. Again, it’s at Golden City Fine Arts,  211 Pacific Avenue, in Chinatown.

For more information check out Golden City’s Facebook page here, or their blog here. See you there!

 

 

Masters Are Back!

Rob Crooks - Hearts

Today I got the masters to my upcoming album Hearts back. So, I’m that much closer to releasing the album! However, there are a few details that still need to be worked out before I can announce a release date and start planning the party. But it shouldn’t be too much longer! In the meantime, you can catch me performing some of the tracks from Hearts next Friday, the 13th (!) at Golden City Fine Arts Gallery, 211 Pacific Avenue (Chinatown), Winnipeg. That show will also mark the return of one of my favorite hip-hop groups to ever come out of Winnipeg, Two Rocks of Stone. (More on this show to come.)

Much thanks to Tom DeGeeter (aka SpeedDial7) of Marathon of Dope for the master, and Greg Arcade for the recording and the mix.

 

Auld Lang Syne – 2012 ’til Infinity

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pu’d the gowans fine;
But we’ve wandered mony a weary fit
Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidled i’ the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin’ auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid-willie waught

For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Happy End of December!

        So, here we are again at the end of another year. I hope everyone is having, and will continue to have a wonderful winter. Two-thousand-eleven was quite a year for me. I played shows all over Canada, from Vancouver to Montreal, and everywhere in between. Next year I hope to play Victoria to Halifax and beyond.

I have some big things brewing for 2012, including a solo EP, called Hearts that is currently being mastered. On this one I collaborated with Greg Arcade as producer. He recorded all the songs, and I think did a great job of getting them to sound how I wanted them to. You can expect Hearts to be available early in the new year.

Another collection of music that will be available in early 2012 is the EP that Birdapres and I have been working on. You can check an earlier post for more information about this up-coming release. I am really excited about it!

And finally, another release that is set for release in 2012, this one for spring, is the new Magnum KI record! I’m probably most excited about this album, over the other ones, because I know how hard we’ve worked on it, and I know that expectations are relatively high for it. It’s a bit nerve-racking to have so much energy and time invested in one project, but I think it will prove to be a success. I know Magnum KI’s existing fans will be happy with what we have come up with, and I’m pretty confident that we will gain a bunch of new fans as well. We’re going all out on this one, so watch out!

You can also expect a big show announcement from Mikel Rondeau and I in early January, so keep checking in here for all the up-to-date news. Otherwise, whether you’re going to the Pyramid for Co-op, Hunnicut and D-Lo, or going to the Lo-Pub for the Lytics and Ultra Mega show, even you’re doing something I don’t even know about (!) HAVE  A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Crooks and Bird

Over the weekend, Canadian hip-hop legend Birdapres and (not so legendary) I finished writing the EP that we’ve been working on! The next stage, which will take place over the next few weeks, will involve recording, mixing and mastering, and all the other fine-tuning that must be done before a music collection is released.

I’m really excited about this project. Not only because the EP is a concept album (you can see how much I love concept albums here), but also because I get to hear Birdapres rap with me over my own beats! So, that’s pretty awesome. It seems so long ago that I first heard Birdapres and Moves’ album Alleged Legends; it was probably ten years ago, come to think of it. Wow. That was such a great album (check out a sample of it here).

Anyways, the EP should be out early in the new year. We both have other projects that we have to focus our time and effort into for the spring, so we’re shooting for a February-or-so release for this EP. It will most likely be available for free (or cheap, but probably free) download, with a limited edition cassette run, courtesy of Witchpolice.  I’ll keep ya posted.