Another year, another Juno nomination for Toronto’s Kardinal Offishall. Amongst a field that includes Classified, D-Sisive, Swollen Members and Drake, the category for best rap recording is as tight as it has been in years. But even in the thick of things, Kardi is looking at the bigger hip-hop picture.
“I really expect and hope for Drake to win this category this year,” says the four-time Juno award winner, adding that Drake should have really won it last year in his eyes. “Drake’s put in mad work and he deserves it. I’m hoping that they give it to him, you know what I’m saying? It would be a good look on (the Junos’) part.”
As a veteran of the Canadian hip-hop game, Offishall’s observed and weathered the industry ups and downs with his trademark positive mentality intact. Indeed, over the years the Junos and hip-hop have had an interesting relationship together, particularly when it comes to seeing the genre properly represented on a mainstream stage.
“I know what goes on in and around the Junos … like any other awards system it has its pluses and minuses,” Offishall says. Being an artist is never easy and “it would be ignorant to be mad” about how hip-hop has been perceived in the mainstream over the years, he adds.
In speaking with him about it, you can sense that 2011 was a year of career transition for Offishall. Interminable album delays and a few changes in management might have led a lesser artist to pack it in for a comfortable nine-to-five. “There’s stuff you can get out of everything,” Offishall says of the lessons learned in striving to be a successful Canadian hip-hop artist. And it’s a testament to his love and passion for hip-hop that he still pushed out music and scored the Juno nomination for his “Anywhere (Ol’ Time Killing Part 2).” “I’m always thinking about my fans,” Offishall says of the rationale behind releasing the well-received track last year.
After briefly taking a some time off for some family time, Offishall says that he’s back with a lot of good musical stuff in 2012. New mixtape music is on the way, he says, along with a few projects and collaborations that he says people will be excited about. Regardless of who wins in April, Offishall notes that, so long as Canadian urban music gets properly represented on Juno night, he’s good.
“You’ve got to make sure that you use it to your advantage,” Offishall says. “When Juno time comes around, you make sure you have on your fancy suit and just have fun [with it]. We just honour our Canadian greats as we usually do and just keep it pushing, you know?”
Visit cbcmusic.ca/Junos for complete coverage of the 2012 Juno Awards.
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Ryan B. Patrick
on Mar 23, 2012