While you may not hear much about urban music in Canada, Toronto has bred so much talent. Starting with rapper K-Os, the list continues with K-Naan, Kardinal Official, and of course Drake. We’re ow seeing a new line of fresh talent coming through, and K-Slick is leading the pack. With the release of “Twenty One” in 2013, he’s built quite a name for himself already.
Still riding high on the success of Crime Chronicles I, he recently released the follow-up to fans. With near-immediate overwhelming success, and given the buzz that Toronto is getting right now with the upcoming Canadian Urban Music Conference, we thought it was only fitting to spotlight K-Slick with a feature. He gives us the rundown on how he got started, just why the Toronto hip-hop scene hasn’t been buzzing, and how he plans to change that all around. Check him out!
Urban Grandstand Digital: The biggest thing I want for this is people to get to know who you are. So start off by telling me how things got started for you?
K-Slick: Basically, I started when I was young. I’ve been doing it professionally for about two years now. I released an album last July, called Twenty One. From the success with that, I was able to craft the second cd. I just haven’t released it yet. I feel like it’s my best work to date. I just took my passion and decided to make a living from it.
Urban Grandstand Digital: That’s one of the best pieces of advice I can offer to anyone. You have to take what you love and make a career from it.
K-Slick: Definitely. You don’t want to do something that will have you miserable for the rest of your life.
Urban Grandstand Digital: What has the process been like, putting things together? What was the feeling you had following release?
K-Slick: Releasing Twenty One was dope. it was much less work than this one. It was more raw. I had no idea what I was going for the first time around, whereas now, I know what people really want. With Twenty One, I used everything that I felt and that was going through my head. I did a collaboration with Saigon too, and that was really dope. It was one of my favorites actually. It was such a good time in my life because [recording an album] was a new experience, and something I always wanted to do.
Urban Grandstand Digital: The fact that you’re really being embraced by the hip-hop community, what is the feeling behind that, and what are you doing to keep the momentum going?
K-Slick: To be recognized this early in my career is a blessing. i did a track with Joell Ortiz and I have a behind the scenes video on YouTube. He basically was saying thank you for being a good artist and how good it was to make music with another good artist. You’re proud of your product, as I am, and it was dope hearing that from him. I feel like the buzz I’m getting is well-deserved because I put a lot of hard work and passion into what I do. I want to show the rest of the world that Toronto has more talent than Drake. Our city is represented only one way because of his success, and I want to show that we have variety.
Urban Grandstand Digital: What is the hip-hop scene like there, in term of getting yourself out there?
K-Slick: There’s support for rap, but there’s an influx of rappers. It’s not as lucrative as hip-hop in the states, but there’s a lot of people who will support. I was able to open for Joe Budden, and Canibus. When artists come to town, they usually hit me up, which is really good. Things are moving in a great direction.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Do you find there to be support from the artists that have made it from the area?
K-Slick: No. Not at all. The support is not there, like you would see it in New York. It’s just not the same. Artists who make it don’t really come back and pull other artists. I wish it was that way, but it just isn’t. That’s my whole thing. i have a team that I want to bring out. I’m glad you mentioned that.
Urban Grandstand Digital: It actually flows along with my next question, which is basically what you envision for Toronto hip-hop? Do you see yourself working to build it more than it is now?
K-Slick: Oh yes, definitely. From the business point of view. I would definitely sign other artists to continue my business venture. I have a team that I would like to bring up. I have a group call K-9, and I rap with them as well. One guy is named Nunez. He would be next in line. I already thought about it. Once I make it and am in that position, I would keep the focus in Toronto and help them make a name for the city. I want us to be like New York, L.A., and Chicago.
Urban Grandstand Digital: I look at the way things have transitioned in hip-hop, and it has become increasingly difficult for the underground and up-and-coming acts to maintain or survive. Then you have the people who keep up the drama, and ruckus, those are who make the limelight. Why do you think that is?
K-Slick: Those people are really selling themselves. Everybody that started said initially they wouldn’t do it. Things change, and it’s easier for them because they’ve been on labels. They just want the fame and the money. The up-and-coming are still in touch with that side that doesn’t want to sell themselves that way. The job is 90% exposure and 10% rap. You have to maintain your dignity. The artists who lose the most dignity make it the biggest.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Talk to me about Crime Chronicles II
K-Slick: It’s a follow-up to Crime Chronicles I, there’s no hooks and no chorus, it’s just rap. I did part one, and many of my fans list it as their favorite. So this comes from the demand from the fans. It’s just raw. I like doing tracks like that. It’s like a short movie, and we developed different characters.
Urban Grandstand Digital: So where do you go from here? What is next on the horizon?
K-Slick: I have another mixtape coming out, it’s called K-9 vs the Industry. I got everything done. We shot all the videos and recorded the songs. I’m building off the reception from the last one. I’m venting about situations and things in my life. I do say some controversial stuff. It’s all art. Hopefully, I can tour internationally like last time.
Urban Grandstand Digital: This all sounds really good. I think you’re definitely doing things the right way. I’m seeing so many more artists releasing more mixtapes, as opposed to full label deals and albums. Do you see that as being more beneficial?
K-Slick: With mixtapes, it helps you build your buzz. I had meetings with a few labels and they want you to be fully established. Otherwise, you get the worse possible deal. There’s offering 360 deals now, which in my option is like taking out a loan. I personally wouldn’t take a loan. It makes more sense to just save up the money and finance it all yourself. I’m can’t speak for anyone else, but that’s just me.
Urban Grandstand Digital: To me, it just makes more sense to do it all from an independent angle. You know better than anyone else how to build a buzz, and if you can’t sell yourself, how can you expect someone else to sell you? If you’re truly doing it the right way, then what is the point of the majors?
K-Slick: Exactly, Like, Macklemore, he’s independent and doing it good. It’s more the financial benefit. If they give you a decent deal, it doesn’t hurt. But they’re just not offering decent deals anymore. I would rather do it myself and have full creative control and get 100% of my profits.
Urban Grandstand Digital: What else should everyone be looking out for from you?
K-Slick: I’m releasing two more videos, then the mixtape. One called Fully Loaded, and one called Claudia. We shot a video in L.A., and we did it to Ice Cube’s “Check Yo’ self”. I may release that after the mixtape is released.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Your mixtapes, where are you offering them?
K-Slick: This one will be released on Dat Piff. After that, I’ll sell hard copies on my website.
Urban Grandstand Digital: Any type of final comments?
K-Slick: Just for everyone to check for K-Slick. I represent real hip-hop, and I try to keep it live for people whelk that. Stay tuned to me.