Edmonton Journal

Lo­cal hip-hop healthy with a few hic­cups

Some artists still look­ing for air­play

- SAN­DRA SPEROUNES Jour­nal Mu­sic Writer EDMONTON ssper­ounes@the­jour­nal.canwest.com Music · Malaysia · Sony · PlayStation · PlayStation · Ne-Yo · Vancouver · Edmonton · Toronto · Alberta · Calgary · Black Hand · Georges Laraque · Panic! at the Disco · James Stuart

There has never been a bet­ter time for lo­cal hip-hop, but some artists are still ques­tion­ing the level of sup­port shown by­what­was­sup­posed­to­bethecity’sur­ban ra­dio sta­tion.

Cadence Weapon’s video for Black Hand is get­ting ma­jor air­play on MuchMu­sic. His de­but, Break­ing Kay­fabe, is nom­i­nated for the Polaris Mu­sic Prize, a$20,000award­forCanada’smostcre­ative album, which will be handed out Sept. 18.

Red­dNa­tion’snewal­bum, NoworN­ever, is al­ready up for an Abo­rig­i­nal Peo­ples Choice Award and the five­some’s video, Fab­u­lous, is on its way to Much. Dark­son Tribe re­cently per­formed at ESPN’s Asian X Games in Malaysia and recorded a sin­gle with for­mer Oiler Ge­orges Laraque.

To­to­pi­talloff,Tuf­fHouse­bossOrvill­e Green re­cently launched his la­bel’s stu­dio head­quar­ters, web­site and tal­ent agency on Whyte Av­enue. He em­ploys a stable of four artists, two DJs and four pro­duc­ers,in­clud­ingDanielJ­ones,who uses a Sony PlayS­ta­tion to cre­ate his tracks.“DJ­tomake3Tuf­f­house­beat­sper Day,”read­so­ne­of12in-house­rule­sposted on the door to Green’s board­room.

No­ne­ofthose­beat­sareget­ting­played onTheBounc­e91.7FM,which­switched fromapop,dance,R&Band­hip-hop­for­mat to more of a Top 40 hits playlist last De­cem­ber.

SoGreeniso­pt­ing­forad­if­fer­en­troute — he’sgo­ing­toad­ver­tise­hisTuf­fHouse stu­dio on the sta­tion in the com­ing months.

The com­mer­cials will fea­ture short snip­pet­sof­t­rack­spro­duced­by­his­artists and DJs.

“It’s frus­trat­ing, but it’s all about the money,” says Green.

TheBounces­tillplaysa­fairamount­of ur­ban acts — in­clud­ing R&B singer NeYo,Black­Eyed­Peas,rap­perChamil­lion­aire— and spon­sors an an­nual tal­ent search.

The­lasttwowin­ner­swereR&Bacts— Kree­Sha, who has signed to Vir­gin Records, and Shilo, a 16-year-old who sub­se­quently recorded a sin­gle, Al­right, with two up ’n’ com­ing Van­cou­ver pro­duc­ers.

But with the demise of 96X, The Boun­cenowspin­srock­actssuchas­Nick­el­back, Panic! At The Disco, mak­ing it tougher for­local­hip-hopartist­stofind­their­way on to 91.7 FM’s playlist.

While the sta­tion’s gen­eral man­ager James Stu­art thinks Edmonton’s scene is health­ier than ever, he must jug­gle a di­ver­sity of in­ter­ests.

“The role of The Bounce is fairly sim­ple,” he says.

“We try to sup­port lo­cal acts as much as we can while still keep­ing the sta­tion com­pet­i­tive in the lo­cal ra­dio mar­ket,” he says.

“We view our­selves as com­mu­nity lead­ers and we are do­ing all we can to help. Some will say that we aren’t doin­ge­nough.But…we­have­tostay­compet­i­tive in a very tough mar­ket. We are prob­a­bly­more­lo­calthanany­ofour­main com­peti­tors. In some cases the prod­uct isjust­sim­ply­not­good­e­noughyet—and some­times peo­ple have a hard time ac­cept­ing that.”

Stu­art says the sta­tion has sup­ported a variety of lo­cal acts — Cadence Weapon,Dark­son Tribe­an­drap­perKon­flict — and not only with air­play. Be­hind-the-scenes help is equally as cru­cial, though not al­ways widely pub­li­cized.

“For Cadence, we gave sig­nif­i­cant air­play to Oliver Square,” says Stu­art. “We also flew him to Toronto for a per­for­mance at Cana­dian Mu­sicWeek.

“WithDark­son,ithas­beenair­playand pro­mo­tion­al­push­es­fortheir­local­shows. We also have writ­ten sup­port let­ters to the gov­ern­ment in their bid to get sup­port­from­var­i­ous­fi­nan­cial­grants.With Kon­flict, he has re­ceived huge air­play with­theOil­er­song­she­made­forus.Iper­son­ally have also made sure his ma­te­rial is in the hands of the na­tional record com­pa­nyVPs­be­causeI­be­lievesostr­ongly in his tal­ent.”

Red­dNa­tion’spro­ducer,Dar­renBrule, un­der­stands The Bounce is a busi­ness buthe’sstill­frus­trat­ed­bythelack­of­sup­port.

He says one of the Bounce’s DJs, Kwame,di­dask­fora­copy­ofthe­group’s new album, but hasn’t heard a peep since.

“He said he’d try to get it played,” says Brule,whoal­sorun­sRed­dRoc­cRecords.

“Thenagain,busi­ness­comesin­to­play where the pro­gram di­rec­tor makes the de­ci­sionofwhat­airs.I’mgo­ingtodoan­other mail out and send an­other copy, maybe they’ll get the hint.”

Orville Green, who has re­leased more than three discs un­der his Tuf­fHouse la­bel, won’t let the lack of air­play stand in­hisway.“Havealit­tle­faithandy­ouwill go far,” is one of the­mot­tos painted on the walls of his WhyteAv­enue stu­dios.

“If they don’t help, when I do get to my des­tiny — where I know I’m sup­posed­tobe—I’mgo­ing­to­buy­itoutand fire ev­ery­one from top to bot­tom,” he smiles.

“I’ve gone frommy mom’s couch to this.Twoyears­from­now,we’re­go­ingto climbeven­more.We’ve­g­otafew­plans, you’ll see.”

In­the­mean­time,Green­could­send­his tracks to Ma­trix.FM, a hip-hop In­ter­net ra­dio­sta­tion­launched­byCal­gary’sBeatMa­trix Crew in­Au­gust.

One of the group’s mem­bers, rap­per and ra­dio DJ Getti, says sub­mis­sions by Al­berta acts are wel­come. But just like a tra­di­tion­al­ra­dioex­ec­u­tive,he­can’tguar­an­tee air­play. “I know for my­self that any­thing new I pro­duce which is good will first get show­cased on that sta­tion, de­pend­ing on how it’s re­ceived oth­ers may want to send in de­mos as well,” he tells the Cal­gary Her­ald.

“We’renot­go­ing­playjus­tany­thing,it’s got to be up to par with the other mu­sic on­thes­ta­tion—but,we­would­takepeo­ple’s tapes se­ri­ously, lis­ten to them and con­sider them.”

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