To start off the December/January cycle, we have this sick mid to late 90’s project from Canadian MC & producer Shylow aka one half of the excellent First Division crew. Cats will know this from YouTube no doubt, as only 100 cassettes were ever made in 2000 then the project was leaked on the toob by our man. For this project on Herring, Shylow collected all the original 4/8 track tapes together, along with the original tape deck model and he re-recorded and re-mastered them for the crispiest sound possible. Included are 2 super-dope, previously unleaked demos from the same time period. This makes for a SOLID LP of 90’s, Canadian indy madness.
Shylow – Listen To My Demos LP [VINYL]
A1 Prefixed Fate (Original Demo)
A2 Manic Depressive
A3 Religious Sacrifice
A4 From Parts Unknown
A5 More Than Life (Original Version)
B1 6th Alias (Extended Version)
B2 Restitution (Original Version)
B3 96 Degrees
B4 From Parts Unknown Pt II
B5 Reign Supreme ft. Silent
B6 Flow Chart
Tracks A1 & B6 produced by James Stang.
A2 prod by FEAR. A3,A5,B1,B2 & B5 prod. by Shylow.
A4 prod. by DJ Who Else B3 & B4 prod. by Beat Rapists.
Check this short but sweet interview with the man like Shylow >>
Where did you grow up man?
No one specific place unfortunately, I moved around a lot as a kid. I guess you could say Durham Region because those are the cities I’ve spent most of my life in other than the one year that I lived in Thunder Bay which was back in 92/93.
What are your earliest memories of the culture?
I’d have to say the day I bought my first cassette back in 84, it was a tape called Breakdance by K-Tel. One side had a full rap instructional on how to break by Alex And The City Crew, and the other side had joints like Herbie Hancock Rockit and The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel. Nobody I knew as a kid really listened to music like I did so I was kinda on my own when it came to hunting down information until I’d say around 4th grade. That’s when cats in school started hooking me up with mixtapes and what not. Up until that point it was just whatever I heard on the radio which wasn’t much unfortunately.
When did you first grab a mic?
If I’m not mistaken it was at a Christmas assembly in 9th grade. I’d already been writing for a few years but that was the first time I’d ever held a mic and rocked in front of a crowd. I distincly remember forgetting my lyrics and launching into a freestyle to save my ass, thankfully everyone in the gymnasiam was too busy going nuts that they didn’t notice my fuck up, hahah.
When/where did you first record?
My homie James Stang discovered me at a battle in Ajax where I came in second place to Nigel of the Pocket Dwellers. He approached me and asked if I wanted to come thru to his studio to record some joints. That was back in like, 95/96 I believe. I’ve never had copies of those joints all these years and just recently he dug them up in his archives and sent them to me. Was so strange hearing them after 20 years, I was like “whoa is this really me?”, crazy.
How did the Demos project come about?
Back when we were getting ready to drop the Moment Of Clarity 12″ my dude Beatsmith and I were brainstorming of a way to get the word out and came up with the idea of putting together a collection of unreleased demos and mixtape skits to give out for free. We pressed up 100 cassettes (half were clear and the other half translucent blue), handed those out, and leaked the mp3 version on the net shortly after that. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked about that shit over the years, it’s a blessing that heads felt it like that.
Who do you consider to be your greatest influence hip-hop wise?
DJ Premier, hands down the greatest hip-hop producer of all time. I ain’t even gonna say “in my opinion” imma just say FACTS, hahahah. Nah but seriously, there hasn’t been anyone in the game who’s music has affected me like his. He’s the epitome of real hip-hop, everything about him and what he’s accomplished has inspired me to no end. On top of all that, he’s one of the coolest and most authentic individuals I’ve ever met. Can’t say enough good things about the legend.
Did you have any older cats around you growing up who put you on to production, rhyming and scratching?
Absolutely. I credit Tekniq, Nigel of the Pocket Dwellers and G Knight as my MC mentors. All three of those dudes helped me take things to the next level in different areas. While Nigel and G both helped sharpen my freestyle skills, Tek taught me so much about the science of rhyming, patterns, syllable structure etc. On the production tip all credit goes to Tekniq for showing me the ropes. The time I spent in the studio with him bangin out on the S950 was invaluable. As for scratching goes, I taught myself for the most part by watching videos on Rap City and just studying the music, but I definitely picked some things up from my DJ homies, and I still do. A lot of the more difficult scratches that I’ve learned came from watching my homie BeatWyze, dudes just as ill on the cuts as he is with the beats, trust me.
Any local acts you grew up listening to?
Oh man of course. Maestro Fresh Wes, Kish, K-4ce, Dream Warriors, Michie Mee, B-Kool, Frank Morell, Split Personality, Frankenstein, Saukrates. There’s more for sure but those are the artists who’s music comes to mind immediately.