Move over rock music because hip-hop has officially become Canada’s favourite genre. According to the latest Nielson Music report, hip-hop was the fastest growing genre of last year with a whopping 86.2% increase in streaming over 2016. The top-performing hip-hop artists of the year were also Canadians which could suggest that we know a thing or two about quality rap and R&B.
But when it comes to gaining recognition for the music, are Canadian rap artists getting the credit that they deserve? To put it bluntly, probably not. In 1998, The Rascalz used their power to put the genre on the map by refusing their JUNO award after the awards show failed to televise the hip-hop category. The group used their fame to help the genre gain the recognition that it should have received in the first place.
Thirty years after the controversial act, The MIX caught up with Red1, one-third of the legendary crew, to discuss the rap group and how hip-hop has changed over the decades.
Currently, the Rascalz consists of three members: Red1, Misfit, and DJ Kemo. “We have DJs, producers, MCs,” says the artist. “When we came together, we really came together as a hip-hop group.”
As a member of the music industry for a large chunk of time, Red1 has witnessed a lot of changes when it comes to creating new sounds. “I feel like now you can you can put a song out, go to sleep, and it can go viral,” he says. “Online is online but once people get to see you live and you get to make that eye contact, that’s truly the way to win over a fan.”
With several modern hip-hop artists gaining massive followings from viral online hits, we understand exactly what he’s trying to say. Fortunately, this exposure is a step in the right direction. “Definitely moving forward, a lot better than it used to be,” he says. “We still have a ways to go to be fully embraced by the industry.”
Although the introduction of the Internet is making it significantly easier for new artists to get their name out, Red1 says he values his experience when it came to how The Rascalz created and promoted their work.
“I’m happy with my life and the people in my life and the things that I’ve done and the things I’ve seen so I probably wouldn’t really change too much.”
To see more from him and the rap trio, be sure to check them out on social media.