Toronto’s Muneshine is a renowned multi-threat in underground hip-hop and, with his bright, dynamic new album There is Only Today (out May 29), he’s poised to hit an unsuspecting audience with a vivid blast of skills. The highly regarded producer has worked with a who’s who of Canadian artists, crafting crisp, bouncy beats for the likes of Maestro, Shad, Factor and D-Sisive. He has also showcased his considerable skills as an MC in the past, but never with the concentrated determination exhibited on There is Only Today.
“I was missing writing myself and was getting very inspired by the MCs I work with, like D-Sisive,” Muneshine explains. “So, it was a challenge to put myself in the same class with these guys. It’s like, I can do this; I can write great songs, I have a voice and something to say. And because I know so many other producers, I wanted to take advantage of that and make something [with them]. I don’t plan on having a long career as an MC but I wanted to make a great record.”
Raised in Saskatoon, Muneshine began to experiment as a DJ in his teens, eventually buying an MPC sampler because his hero, Pete Rock, used the same one. As his production skills progressed, Muneshine began collaborating with artists like Lightheaded out of Portland, Ore., and began to make a name for himself overseas. When a Japanese label asked him to consider releasing a solo album there, he said he’d only do it if he could work with DJ Spinna and Pete Rock.
“I put it on the table expecting them to say, ‘No, of course not,’” Muneshine recalls. “The next thing I know, Pete Rock got my number from the label and just called me and said, ‘I guess we’re gonna be working together.’ Mind blown.”
Such unlikely scenarios clearly inform Muneshine’s work ethic and outlook on life, and his new record has a ripe kind of optimism and urgency bubbling to the surface. It’s not shiny and happy, but his devotion to the culture is palpable; hip-hop fans will feel the love when listening to There is Only Today.
“I can honestly say, for once, Canadian hip-hop is the most exciting hip-hop that’s coming out," Muneshine says. "That inspires me and gives me some hope; the fact that I’m seeing my friends doing great, exciting things inspires me to do the same and try and step up. It’s like, we’re here right now; we might as well do something special.”
Hear this entire conversation with Muneshine, including a discussion about free downloads, the state of hip-hop, the power of music media and more, now. Download it here (right click + "save target as") or stream it by pushing play.
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on May 25, 2012