There’s a New Rap Duo in The Queen City
The Regina hip-hop scene is growing rapidly and a major part of this scene is the Stoop Kids – Kav the Bruce (Ivan) and Stupid Clay (Amoz). Ivan is the more vocal of the two and Clay speaks with his beats.
When did you first start hip-hop?
Ivan: “For me it was born when we were at Amoz’ house and recorded some track about our friend Dustin’s mom. It was just a joke but Amoz’ dad Reggie comes into the room and compliments my rapping, and we chased that. Amoz was already making remixes. I never asked him why he started doing it.”
Amoz: “I don’t know. It was fun?”
Describe the beat making process to me.
Amoz: “I usually just open up Fruity Loops and try to find some sounds I like. If I hear a sample I like, I’ll chop it up and throw some drums on it. It’s usually pretty random. I usually don’t have an idea before I start.”
Does pop culture influence you a lot?
Ivan: “When you listen to a group of people talking its references, we try and capture that. I think right now Amoz is making beats pretty organically, without samples but having outros and intros really captures that attitude. Amoz approaches beatmaking like making a model for a video game. It’s like he’s hacking the process. I don’t even know what the fuck I’m looking at. It’s an intricate process, way above what I can do.”
So do you get involved in the beat-making process?
Ivan: “I’m sure he’s used to feeling a presence over his shoulder while he makes beats. I don’t know how many hours I’ve been just watching, listening, starting to inform ideas about tracks as it slowly starts to progress.”
What kind of attitude do you put into your music?
Ivan: “I think the idea is to look at similar movements that try and create these scenes. We try and be confident, almost cocky up on the mic but in our dealings with everybody it’s about being humble and collaboration is number one. You lead by example and try and activate other people who maybe didn’t think it was possible. It’s like a family, we want everybody to work hard and build this scene up. We want to change the definition of Saskatchewan hip-hop.”
I’ve heard that it’s easier to make yourself known in a smaller centre.
Ivan: “Absolutely. I think all good artists have a conflicted relationship with the place that they grew up in. All the people you see out there, everyone’s just a character that gets added to the zany script that is your life. Maybe it gives you room to breath? But now we’re all connected it’s not that we can’t be exposed to things, we can be exposed to everything.”
That hip-hop family you mentioned, do you get together often?
Ivan: “There’s definite collaboration. We’ve sat down in one night and pushed out a track that’s constantly in our repertoire. Like Darkness for example is a track that we did with Kid Kris and James Worthy in one night in my apartment, in between two mattresses.”
So you made a sound booth out of mattresses?
Amoz: “Pretty much.”
Ivan: “That’s the thing, with the technology the way it is you don’t need a big sound studio to make professional sounding shit. A kid with a laptop in his backpack could be so much more powerful than some old dusty producer with big fat diamond earrings in Atlanta. “
Is it important to have other creative outlets besides music?
Amoz: “I like 3D modelling. I find if I just do one thing I get pretty burnt out on it, I’m pretty ADD. When I get burnt out on one thing I got to have other things to do to keep the creativity going.”
And what about you?
Ivan: “Dungeons and Dragons, baby. You need to have something to nourish that other half. I feel that the creativity that comes from that… you could perform in front of a bunch of people you don’t know, but it doesn’t take as much courage as it takes to pretend to be an elf in front of another man for six hours. If you can do that, then you’re pretty much impervious to any type of criticism. Being vocal about the dumb shit I do and the dumb way that I look is really important. We’re not gangbangers.”
You’ve even included Dungeons and Dragons in your lyrics.
Ivan: “Absolutely. However, I’m not a fan of pandering nerd-core kind. It should be informed by what you do, not a gimmick. The best thing is, so many D&D terms sound like hip-hop lyrics, ‘1D12 with the flat-blade!’ and they’re like ‘Oh Shit! He sliced that dude up! Is that code for killing a guy in Saskatchewan?’”
Do you guys have other jobs?
Ivan: “I work full-time.”
Amoz: “I don’t work at all.”
Ivan: “So it balances out!”
Amoz: “I work a lot I just don’t get paid.”
Ivan: “The work that he does in other centres could be considered professional six-figure work. There’s beats out there on top of the billboard that are way worse than what’s being made here. It’s difficult because you can’t fully commit unless you got something to back you. The idea is to hopefully make that segue.”
You’re performing at Trifecta on Aug. 15, could you tell me a bit about it?
Ivan: “Trifecta’s put on by Marvin Chan and his group of guys, Casey de la Cruz, some of them are also members of the group DGS who are family. It’s a free event and is like a tiny festival right in the middle of the city. There’s a ton of bands on the card. It’s young. It’s got energy. The whole family is going to be there.”
What artists should we be looking out for?
Ivan: “Voodoo Child, he’s moving fast. He’s my favourite local rapper and his energy at shows is phenomenal. There’s also James Worthy, he’s been with us from the start. He’s an absolute vet and his freestyling skills keep us safe from people that might want to freestyle battle us.”
It’s clear these two have a strong vision for the future of Regina hip-hop. Right now they’re focus is on making the best possible set they can for the Trifecta festival Aug. 15. Do yourself a favour and see these guys live. Check out their album Bag Fries: queencitystoopkids.bandcamp.com