featured interview

Muneshine Minister of Foreign Affairs 'He been around the globe, but not enough to call it a quits, he's a vagabond, liquor to an alcohol eclipse, I know him because I is him', Muneshine raps on the intro of his latest album 'Status Symbol'. He grew up from Saskatchawan (that's in Canada), moved to Toronto and has one of the most universal and extensive networks of all artists representing the other side of the ocean, from Australia to Holland to Brazil and, of course, the US.

What's your top-five of favourite hip-hop status symbols?

A good turn-out to a show, a marketing budget, a co-sign from someone respectable, critical acclaim and a South Pole endorsement deal.

Status symbols also indicate the cultural values of a society. If you're looking at your top-five, would you say hip-hop is doing fine?

Hip-hop is doing just fine, haven't you seen South Pole's fall collection?

Do you have some luxury goods of which you're really fond of?

The most luxurious item in my possession is a pair of Gucci sunglasses. I'm not that fond of them, but it's hard for me to find sunglasses that don't make me look ridiculous. It meant spending a little more than I normally would on such a thing, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do.

What's the story about the distribution of your new album as it was released in different time zones in different periods?

I've always licensed my music overseas. 'Status Symbol' is no different. The only thing that changed this time around is that the record is also out in North America and Europe. The labels I'm with in Australia and Japan wanted to get a jump on things by releasing it first. At the time I hadn't made a decision as to who I was going to release with here in North America so I was cool with it. I switched up the playlists a little to keep things interesting.

So how did the playlists differ from each other?

I kept things a little smoother on the Australian and Japanese versions, a little more raw for North America and Europe. There are 6 different tracks on the version that just dropped with Domination.

Wouldn't you consider a worldwide on-line release next time?

I've had the most luck licensing my music with different companies, but it's definitely proven to be a lot more work. I'd be down with a worldwide on-line release if the deal was right. If only South Pole would expand beyond fashion and break into the music game, that's a movement I would attach my name to.

Could it be possible that you're more known in Japan than in Canada?

That's definitely the case. The only people in Canada who know about me are people I grew up with, people I've made music with and people who've seen me perform, mostly in Toronto. I've sold a lot of records in Japan, had a lot of marketing dollars behind my projects and received a lot of correspondence from fans over there. I still haven't been out there though, that's the crazy thing. It's nice to have a release on domestic soil, feels good to get some love at home.

What's so funny about South Park?

Everything; that show is fucking genius.

It all started for you with producing the entire 'Pure Thoughts' album by Lightheaded.

Ah, the good old days! I met Braille through an old online hip-hop community called 'Hip Hop Infinity'. I've met a lot of people I still work with through there actually. At the time, I was just getting started with the beats, and Braille had heard a few I had posted online. He hit me up about doing a single, 2 tracks, but as I sent more beats, the project snow-balled. Before we knew it we had an album worth of beats and he had recruited Ohmega Watts and Othello. That's how Lightheaded was born. I flew down to Portland, we knocked out the entire album in a weekend and that was that. The rest is history! That was really the beginning for me. It was a great experience.

Are there any upcoming collabos between you and Lightheaded?

I haven't been in touch with Braille for quite a while, but I know he's doing his thing. Last track I did with them all together is called 'Call My Name' which will be appearing on my still-untitled and slowly-progressing production album. I also just put together a new track called 'Reach' for The Residents album that features Ohmega Watts. We'll always be crew.

Speaking of crews; where would you be if you wouldn't have been in a collective called Wax Reform?

Either dead, in jail, or dipped head to toe in South Pole. Just kidding, I'm too pretty for jail.

You're a globetrotter, you always try to connect with people from everywhere, you worked with people from Holland to Brazil, haven't you had any contact with Belgian artists yet?

I love working with cats from different countries! Only artist from Belgium I've been in touch with is a dude named Krewcial. We spoke briefly, but that was years ago. Nothing ever came of it. I need to be schooled on what's good out there, I'd love to build!

How different of a musician is Muneshine the MC compared to Muneshine the producer?

I used to think it was really two separate parts of my persona, but as I get older I don't see much of a difference. I'm just trying to make the best music I possibly can. I just know it's a rare occasion when I feel the urge to write to one of my own beats. I know so many ill producers it's just not as much fun to rap on my own shit.

Have you learned a lot through studying engineering?

It's helped me to earn some money to pay rent which in turn allows me to produce music, but that's about it. I definitely learned a few things in my studies, but I believe I've developed my ear for music and sound through experience, not so much through schooling.

I've known Muneshine forever and yes he is from Canada . He even says 'eh' a lot.' Any idea who said this?

Probably someone American. I know this because I don't actually say 'eh'. I say 'hey'. Don't stereotype me man, I refuse to be profiled! Who said it?

Can-U... So, how hard is it to update a blog?

Apparently it's hard for me to update my blog, it's mad neglected. It doesn't really make sense either, I use the internet all the time. I guess I just spend more time on Facebook than anything. While most things have taken a nose-dive compared to how they used to be in hip hop, one thing I think is better is the ease of communication between artists and fans. I love how accessible that connection is now, especially for bridging long (geographical) distances.

What's the first rap record you bought?

The first rap tape I ever bought was Public Enemy's 'It Takes A Nation of Millions...', the first rap CD I ever bought was Ice-T's 'Original Gangster', and the first rap LP I ever bought was Jeru the Damaja's 'The Sun Rises in the East'. All great records!

What are some of the latest (rap) releases you uploaded unto your iPod?

Kenn Starr's 'It's Still Real' mixtape, Drake's 'So Far Gone' mixtape, Ghettosocks' 'I Can Make Your Dog Famous' mixtape, DJ Spinna's 'The Recall' mixtape, Pacific Division's 'Church League Champions' mixtape and D-Sisive's 'Let The Children Die'.

What's next for Muneshine?

Well after I ink this multi-million dollar deal with fashion mogul South Pole I will be able to get back to making music. Until then I'm working on a few different production jobs, mostly D-Sisive's next two projects (Road to Jonestown and Jonestown), my homeboy Fice's album 'Break of Day', and my boy Zemek's album 'The Red Haskel Story'. Behind the mic I'm working on a few projects as well. I just finished up The Residents album 'Open House' with Saint from NY. That's dropping in Japan this fall. I'm also doing a collaborative project with my boy Ghettosocks, an exclusive project with a number of crazy UK producers, and my next solo record 'The Rate Race'.

Tell us some more about 'The Rat Race'?

Well, it's my next solo record, still in the production phase. I've already got new joints finished with Buckwild, Oddisee, Illmind, M-Phazes, Freddie Joachim, MoSS and more. There'll be a few exciting appearances as well. It's definitely my best work to date. Stay tuned!

We will. Thanks for the chat!


POSTED 09|01|2009
conducted by cpf

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