Gain more insight into significant hip-hop figures by checking out their revealing answers to our questionnaire.
Canada's most dedicated, determined and prolific MC, Toronto's D-Sisive, has been nominated for Junos and won SOCAN's Echo Songwriting Prize for his 2008 single, "Nobody with a Notepad." This week, he proudly presents a new mixtape called Asian Elvis, which you can hear down below, after reading his thoughtful responses to our questionnaire.
What was the first hip-hop record you ever bought and where'd you get it?
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper. Purchased from Zellers, located at the now non-existent Westside Mall, on Eglinton Ave. close to Caledonia. I was a major Nightmare on Elm Street fan. Then, music to me was whatever my brother listened to. Judas Priest. Guns N’ Roses. I had my own tastes as well. Aerosmith (Pump) and the La Bamba soundtrack. Oh God.
Music changed my life one afternoon while I was watching television with my grandfather. We stopped on MuchMusic when I saw Freddy Krueger. He was in a music video. The song “Nightmare on my Street” blew my mind! I needed to have it. I remembered the artists’ names and begged my mother to buy it for me until she couldn’t take the whining. I still see her pulling her giant wallet out of her purple purse to pay the man removing my cassette from the large, rectangle case tapes were kept in for security purposes.
I played the shit out of that song. After a few days, and a couple hundred plays, I was sick of the song. I had no interest in listening to “Donna” from La Bamba, so I decided to check out what else was on my new cassette. The lyrics blew my mind. I’ve never heard anything like this before. Sure, “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)” is a masterpiece, but Steven Tyler didn’t use as many words. The Fresh Prince was hilarious. I fell in love. So in love that I decided I wanted to tell stories like that. That was the beginning of it all.
Where did the name that you perform under come from exactly?
It’s a sad story. I’d like to think it could be cute to some, but the fact I still hold the pseudonym at 32 years strips it of all cuteness. The pseudonym was not given to me. It’s not a play on my last name. It’s not from a specific sport team I played. Nope. It was all me. Me at 16 years old, sitting on my bed, flipping through the dictionary, looking for cool words. When I go to the letter "d," I knew I’d find something perfect because that’s the first letter of Derek, my real, correctly spelled name.
It took a few pages before I landed on "decisive." It felt strong. I could hear open mic hosts announcing me, followed by loud applause. The only problem was the spelling. Though correct, it didn’t have that hip-hop flare I was looking for. I then proceeded to weld it to shit!
Here I am. In my 30s with a butchered rap name. Welcome to my nightmare. My 16-year-old nightmare. Half glass full. At least I made it the actual name and decided to ditch Malicious the D-Sisive One. Don’t ask.
What was the last book you read and how was it?
Not last, but the current books I’m reading are Henry Rollins’s Broken Summers and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, by Peter Guralnick. Rollins is a dick and I love it. It’s diary structured. He says some pretty powerful shit. There’s a lot of repeating, but he gets a pass because he has giant muscles.
I’m reading the Elvis book because my next release, Asian Elvis, is Elvis inspired. Whenever I dive into a themed project, I immerse myself in the subject. Like Jonestown. I bought everything I could find on the subject. It helps me feel complete.
The other night my valentine and I went to Canada’s Wonderland and they sold this figurine in their gift shop of Elvis, only it was a skeleton. A far cry from the usual Flintstone merchandise. I tried to steal it, but I think the manager was watching me so I pussied out and coughed up the $8. It would have been embarrassing getting arrested for shoplifting at Wonderland – for my girl! I would have loved it. My catalogue could use some thug-inspired songs!
Where is your favourite place to eat on planet Earth and what are we having?
It would have to be Albert’s on St. Clair and Vaughan Rd. Fine Jamaican cuisine. I grew up not far from the restaurant, on Eglinton and Oakwood. You had to love jerk chicken or you’d be forced to move. It’s a way of life!
We’re having the jerk chicken dinner with rice and coleslaw. And I always grab two spicy beef patties for tomorrow. If you’re a vegetarian, you can’t come. Which is why my valentine and I have never had a date night there. I’d be forced to take sides, and I’m not in the position to.
Which artist, living or dead, would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Bowie. Bowie. Bowie. I worship that man. I was so pissed when I found out he performed with Arcade Fire. I love Arcade Fire, but f--k that! He’s supposed to be mine. “Five Years” is the greatest song ever written. Listening to his melody on “I never thought I’d need so many people” feels like eating jerk chicken made by an angel from heaven. A hot angel. Whatever.
Listen to Asian Elvis by D-Sisive right here:
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Allow me to reintroduce myself: Skratch Bastid
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Allow me to reintroduce myself: NYCE
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Allow me to reintroduce myself: Wonder Mike of the Sugarhill Gang
on Jul 31, 2012