I’m excited to play Ozzy’s again. As a youth running around these dirty Winnipeg streets, I was first really exposed to the seedy underbelly of the city through the classic punk venue Ozzy’s. It was one of the only venues in town that had all ages shows regularly; so as early as twelve years old I was meeting up with friends to hop on the bus, riding down to a-much-different-than-now Osborne Village and climbing those ominous stairs down into the grimy underground club. The experiences were definitely something novel to my fresh-faced friends and I: getting freaked out by older kids who were high on acid; seeing bands that were screaming obscenities over thundering drums and guitars; and generally just feeling like I was finally doing something! So, Ozzy’s definitely has a special place in my heart. And I’m always happy to perform there.
Manitoba Music’s New Music Wednesdays started a year or two ago, I guess with the idea of bringing together different people from the province’s music scene with the goal of influencing each other and networking. A lot of great acts have played the night in the past and I am honoured to be a part of it, along with two other great acts. As a member of Magnum KI, I’ve had the privilege of performing with Oldfolks Home before, as well as being a member in his audience more than once. I can honestly say I am more than pleased to share a stage with him again. If you are unfamiliar with his work, check it out here. Indicator Indicator I have yet to see perform live, but have heard great things and have found them to be backed up by the online content I’ve seen. The website for Indicator Indicator can be found here.
As I said before the show is on June 6th, it’s only three bucks, starts early and is in the basement of the Osborne Village Inn, in the club known as Ozzy’s, in Osborne Village. You can check out the Facebook event page here.
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 Overboardare 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Over the weekend I was lucky enough to get some of my friends into a blue-room in the Art Space building, in the Exchange district of Winnipeg, to shoot a video for a new song!
I owe a debt of gratitude to the director, Ryan Simmons, for his vision and know-how. He’s directed videos for Speed Dial 7 and Pip Skid, like this one, among other artists. I’m really happy with what he came up with for this video. It’s a whole new experience to work with a director who knows what he’s doing. Or to work with an actual director, at all, really. See for yourself.
I also owe many thanks to Anastasia and Gillian for being in the video, and for just being awesome in general. And to Josh for the lighting.
The song is a mostly unheard one, that will be featured on my upcoming EP, which is tentatively called Hearts. The EP is currently in the proccess of being mastered, and should be out early in the new year. The video will be available for viewing on RobCrooks.com via youtube sometime before the EP is officially released.