Buck 65 at the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg with Rob Crooks

       In less than 2 weeks I will be opening up for one of my all-time favorite artists, Buck 65 at the Pyramid Cabaret in Winnipeg. When I first heard Buck 65, around ten years ago, he really changed the way I thought about not only music, but so many other things as well (for example what it meant to be a hip-hop artist/fan). This show was originally supposed to happen in May, but due to unforseen circumstances had to be rescheduled to July 13th. Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote about the show that was originally supposed to happen a couple of months ago:

“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 III 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 Soso 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 his earlier release Language Arts and the Sebutones album 50/50 Where It Counts (Sixtoo, the other member of the Sebutones has also been a great influence on me). 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.”

For the Facebook event page you can click here.

For those of you who only know of Buck 65 through his later videos on Much Music or as Rich Terfry from the CBC radio show The Drive, here are some of my favorite earlier Buck 65 songs from the late 90’s early 00’s, just to give you an idea of how much an influence he had on indie/underground hip-hop culture:

 

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)

 

I hope to see you at the show!!!

 

Moka Only & Factor Chandelier with Birdapres, Rob Crooks and Dj Co-op at the Green Room

       This coming Wednesday, June 13th, I will be opening up for Canadian Hip-Hop legend Moka Only, who will be performing with my long time homie from Rapskatoon, Factor Chandelier. Also on the bill are some other good friends of mine, but more importantly great artists, Bridapres and Dj Co-op. This is gonna be a good old rap show, like we used to have, and it will all be going down at the Die Maschine … I mean, the Green Room in Osborne Village, Winnipeg.

I think most people who are of a certain age and who have paid any attention to popular music in Canada over the last ten years are familiar with Moka Only, and likely have had one of his songs stuck in their head. Maybe best known to the populace as a sometimes-member of Swollen Members (during the years when Swollen Members had catchy hooks; coincidence? no), Moka Only has also had ties to Vancouver’s pop sensation Len. But what some people might not know is how prolific Moka Only is as a solo artist. He releases several quality albums a year, that he raps on, sings on, does all the production for and records himself. He is a true artist. This show should be very entertaining and I intend to take some notes of the man while he’s on stage.

Along with Moka, manning the ones-and-twos, will be my main man Factor Chandelier. Speaking of prolific, Factor has put out more albums over the past year than anyone I know. His merch table puts anyone else’s to shame. And his albums move! Probably because it’s great product. He’s worked with artists such as Xzibit, Josh Martinez, Kool Keith, Awol One, Noah 23, Moka Only, Aesop Rock, Gregory Pepper, Buck 65, Living Legends, Ceschi, tha liks, Sadat X and of course two of his main go-to emcees the L.A. legends Awol One and Myka 9. He started making noise back in the late nineties with the Side Road imprint, which he began with another Saskatoon legend, Dj Chaps. They put out records by some of Western Canada’s best rappers, such as Def 3, Ira Lee, Kay the Aquanaut, Cam the Wizard and many, many others. I’ve known Factor for probably ten years now and he’s one of the funnest people I know, so I’m looking forward to chilling with the homie, talking rap and taking shots of tequila with him. Come see us at the bar after the show!

Finally, I’m pretty sure that anyone who would be checking out my website knows all about Birdapres (we’re just finishing up our EP together!) and Dj Co-op. Birdapres has deep roots to Vancouver and has known Moka for years as well. (In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s both of them in the “If You Steal My Sunshine” video). And Co-op is undoubtedly one of the top party rockers in Winnipeg. So this is going to be a crazy night, guaranteed. Tickets are insanely cheap, drinks will be flowing and girls will be dancing. Wednesday, for the next few months, is the new Thursday. So come down to the Green Room on the 13th and have some fun, why don’t cha?!

You can check out the Facebook event page here.

Manitoba Music Presents: New Music Wednesdays with Rob Crooks, Oldfolks Home and Indicator Indicator

       As I mentioned in a previous post, it is starting to look as though this summer will be a busy one for me. Which makes me happy, although I can never be busy enough! And so here is another show that I have coming up, this one on June 6th: Manitoba Music and Osborne Village Inn present New Music Wednesdays featuring Rob Crooks, Oldfolks Home and Indicator Indicator! It’s only $3 to get in! And although it is on a Wednesday, the music does get going early for all of those responsible people who have to get up in the morning on Thursday.

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.

Ok …. Show’s Rescheduled

So, the Buck 65 show that I was supposed to perform at last week has been rescheduled to July 13th. The Facebook even page has been updated and you can check it out here.

Stay tuned for some other great show announcements coming up right away. This summer is going to be busy and I am really looking forward to it!

SHOW CANCELLED: Buck 65, Colleen Brown and Rob Crooks

Here is the message from the promoter:
“Hate to be the bearer of bad news.
Buck 65 has been postponed until July 13
Rich is really sick.
He’s been fighting a cold all week and it exploded into a crazy sinus infection last night. He isn’t fit to travel let alone perform.

We have to postpone the wpg+sk shows this weekend.

I’m so sorry about this, certainly not our intention to bail last minute.

The show has been rescheduled for July 13th ,tickets will be honoured or if you can not make it refunds are available at point of purchase.
Friday,July 13th it will be.”

So, it’s a bit disappointing, but July will come.

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.