I saw D-sisive at the Toronto Freedom Festival earlier this year when I was there covering the event for DOPEfm. Canadian hip-hop legend Saukrates was performing and he brought D-sisive out on stage with him. They have a song together, “Wednesday, the remix” that will be appearing on the new Saukrates album “Season One” and they performed it live on the main stage.
“It was really awesome. Just doing the song with him was a pretty cool experience. He’s definitely an artist that inspired me to start making music at a young age. So when I got the email to do the song with him, it was exciting.”
Saukrates first dropped in 1994 with the now classic song “Still Caught Up” and D-sisive dropped in 1997 with “J.A.C.” Both of those projects received a lot of attention from the Toronto music scene. In fact, I can’t believe that I’ve had the opportunity to interview these two Canadian legends. D-sisive jumped in after I made this comment and said, “I wouldn’t say I’m a Canadian legend. Icon, maybe.”
I reminded D-sisive that he was named “Best unsigned artist” in 2002 in Now Magazine and that he’s got some classic songs like ‘Lost Sight’ and ‘Popped’ and ‘Critics’ that people still talk about and play all these many years later. He’s got more recent tracks that have received a lot of attention and play as well such as ‘Nobody with a Notepad.’ When I mentioned that song, D-sisive introduced me to the producer of the track, Muneshine. I interviewed him as well so stayed tuned for that here soon.
D-sisive has some big name fans behind him as well. The fact that DJ Premier is playing his stuff is pretty amazing because there is a lot of great Canadian hip-hop that rarely gets played stateside. “It’s definitely amazing to get recognized by somebody like him.” D-sisive still deflects the legendary status by saying that DJ Premeir is “a real legend!”
I really like his song ‘Nobody with a Notepad’ with lyrics that say, “All I need is a notepad open wide and a sharpened pencil for my thoughts to jot you a letter from the heart.” That’s what emcees typically do, sharing themselves. A lot of the rappers I’ve been talking to lately are actual artists and want to say something on the mic. It’s not just about battle rhymes and sounding hype. I have to give it up for D-sisive for doing just that and not going the route that everyone expected him to back in the ‘90s.
You can hear the growth in his latest record ‘Vaudeville’ He does some unconventional things on it, if you are coming from a strict hip-hop perspective. Although the record is still hip-hop and it really bangs. D-sisive breaks it down by saying, “I tried to get more musical with that record. I wanted to separate it from the rest of my albums.” It is available now. Go pick it up. “And don’t put it on Napster” or, I added, “the blogs.”
I wanted to talk about D-sisive’s dad. He mentions him in a quite a few songs. ‘Nobody with a Notepad’ ends with the lyric “forever standing in the shadow of my old man,’ which leads right into ‘Father,’ which is a song about the loss of his father. In that song, D-sisive mentions that his father has said, “I don’t know a thing about rap but I know that I like this.” And then D-sisive says, “Listening to my songs on repeat was his way of saying, ‘That’s my boy’ from the bleachers.”
“My dad was really supportive of my music. I wasn’t the typical athletic son at all, and I know he kind of always wanted that son. I wasn’t really able to provide him with that, but he was a huge fan of my music. He didn’t really like hip-hop music that much but he stuck it out for me. It’s really awesome having him be as supportive as he is.”
I like how on “Back Then” you touch on the whole creative process and how rappers often record rhymes using homemade studio techniques such as using pantyhose to create a shield for the microphone to absorb the hard P’s and other sounds. You also touch on writing rhymes on napkins and scraps of paper whenever an idea strikes.
“Ideas will hit wherever I’m at or an idea for a punchline or something that will make an interesting chorus, but most of the time, I wait till I get the beats. I need the beats to inspire me. I am never at a loss for ideas but I usually wait till I get the beat. That’s what inspires me to write. I let the beat, kind of, talk to me and dictate what I gotta write.”
D-sisive does a majority of his work with producer Muneshine but has worked with a number of different producers.
I brought up the “Yesterday Mixtape” which highlights the amazing songs D-sisive has done over the years leading up to the last four releases he’s dropped in the past couple of years. When I first mentioned it, he rolled his eyes, however.
Apparently he made that mixtape to bring people up to speed with what he’d done over his career. He made it especially to sell during his tour over in the U.K. a few years back. He was surprised that people over there were familiar with his music because of the success “Popped” had sparked from the album Dim Sum by DJ Serious.
I think it’s a nice collection for anyone that doesn’t have “J.A.C.” tape or “Dim Sum” album and while D-sisive might not like to hear his old material, I know his fans, myself included, love to hear the old classic jams. D-sisive is a Canadian hip-hop legend whether or not he wants to admit it or not.
Listen to the entire D-sisive interview with the player below or you can download it for free. And make sure to stayed tuned to this blog and DOPEfm for more D-sisive coverage. Thanks for reading and listening!
If you missed the other parts in this series, go back and check out