Mixing up hip-hop

Laying low at The Triple Tiger

Illustration by Gabrielle Funk

Lyricists and emcees are often the focal point of hip-hop. That’s why Chris, AKA Crabskull, formed an alliance with FC Coconut to create a mix tape featuring instrumental hip-hop, where the producer shines.

The tape, titled Pink Quicksand, wasn’t originally something Crabskull set out to do. He just wanted to facilitate a beat maker’s jam at a local space dubbed The Triple Tiger. 

“Producers aren’t ones to take the stage,” he says. “Emcees are the extroverts while we’re making stuff in our basement.” 

After about a year of regular jams, it seemed natural to produce something that would showcase what had been happening in that space. 

“(These artists) are all dialed into the same frequency,” local musician and entrepreneur Carlen Jupiter says. 

Jupiter runs The Triple Tiger and has been immersed in the producer sessions.

“Those two cats are both friends of mine,” Jupiter says. “They’re two of the most humble dudes and really deep guys. Their style falls under a large umbrella but they have a microscopic nose for quality. They know what’s good.”

Crabskull takes pride in the fact that he uses an MPC to produce beats, which involves loading the machine up with samples and playing them like instruments. 

“It’s not a linear process at a computer,” Jupiter says. “It’s fluid and alive. They aren’t on a grid.”

For the release of the tape, Crabskull made it a priority to hire a diverse range of entertainment, including live art from The Travelling Signpainters, who will be working on a wall piece for the duration of the show. Other musicians on the bill include DJ Kinetic and White China.

Crabskull and Jupiter both express a desire to create a multi-faceted experience for all involved.

The event will be held at Jupiter’s space, though interested parties may need to go to some effort to find it. 

“It’s more of a private studio space. The people that want to find out about it, find out about it,” Crabskull says. “We’re not trying to be exclusive. It’s just out of respect.”

Jupiter echoes this sentiment, rejecting the debaucherous reputation that hip-hop can sometimes have in the public eye. 

“It’s not a coked out after hours scene. We bring a sacredness to what we do. It’s unfortunate when the public is influenced by the mainstream, because the reality is in the underground.”

Jupiter says getting into the underground scene is about waiting for events to pop up. 

“There’s not consistent support here. If we were to do a show once a week, it would be over saturated. Winnipeg’s weird like that. There’s love for it, but there’s not a big crowd. It’s unfortunate,” Jupiter says. “But it gives you more time to lay low and focus on your craft.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 21 of The Uniter (February 25, 2016)

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