Interview: Regina, SK, Canada Rap Collective UNLTD
We connected with Regina, SK, Canada rap collective UNLTD for an exclusive interview to discuss the group’s new video “Lemonade”, the Hip-Hop music scene in Regina, what they would do if they were Thanos and much more.
After reading our Q&A with 8tate (Dustin Wolf, @8tateunltd), Amorfati (Pablo Santander, @amorfatiunltd), and Cuthi (Cuthbert Mwale, @cuthbertmwale), be sure to connect with the guys on social media, check out their website, and stream “Lemonade” on Spotify.
Salute to you guys for dropping such a dope song and video with "Lemonade". It looked like a lot of fun to shoot as well. From song creation, to the visuals we just featured, how did "Lemonade" come together?
It’s actually kind of crazy. Bert (Cuthi) and I (8tate) had recently gotten back in contact after about a year hiatus. We met in the studio and, after catching up on life, dipped into the music. The lemonade instrumental was the first beat I showed him. We had maybe listened for 5 minutes and Bert already had the hook. I just heard him say "lemonade" and the rest just kind of fell into place. It was really spontaneous, haha.
I had showed the beat to Pabz (amorfati) earlier in the week which he was down with it, so it was only a matter of writing the verses. We did have a deadline we wanted to keep because the window to shoot the video in a summer like climate was closing here in Canada.
When it came to the video, we as a group had an idea of the direction we wanted to go in so when we showed the song to David so he had something to feed off of. I had previously worked with David on a song I did with Nolan Janssen (Nono Rayn) called "Demons" (you can view that on David's YouTube channel). I was really blown away with his work on that project and knew he was exactly what we needed for Lemonade.
When it came to the blueprint for the video we only had the basics - it had to have lemonade, and it had to be fun. David took that to the next level. He really builds the vision in his head. It's like its already done up there, I think that’s why his editing process is so quick.
At first we struggled to find a date that worked with everybody involved but managed to set a day about 3 weeks from the meeting. The video script had changed a bit by the time the day arrived but it worked out for the best. It was a one day shoot. Things looked pretty questionable in the morning due to weather but by the time we had all planned to meet, it cleared up and the rest fell into place.
Tell us about the name of your collective "UNLTD"; what does it signify to you all?
Well U.N.L.T.D. is an acronym for U Never Lose The Dream. We originally started out as the 306 Dynasty (306 being our area code of course) but we felt it was something we had out-grown. We'd be thinking about and new name/brand for awhile and, believe it or not, 8tate had it come to him one night in a dream.
To us the U.N.L.T.D. means to never stop chasing what you love. Once the dream has been realized you never lose it. It's there for life so you best do something with it because it may turn into a nightmare if you don't.
Describe the Hip-Hop scene in Regina for us. Are locals supportive of the local talent coming from the area? And do the dope artists from Regina such as yourselves get the respect across Canada that you feel you deserve?
The scene in Regina is small, especially the hip hop scene. We're a small city in the middle of the Canadian prairies so country and folk are at the forefront of the music scene here. We go through phases where a collective of people will build a team and set up events and festivals. That tends to last a few years but fade out after that.
Trifecta was the last to successfully pull it off with a good group of people. It was a fun era but it was a lot of work for those guys who are artists themselves, so it took away from the things they wanted to achieve on their own. I'm sure it's only a matter of time now before the next phase starts with another group. Other than that, it’s hard to get support locally from people other than your friends and family.
There's a lot of really dope artists coming out of the province and making moves these days but most are leaving home to make their waves. Def3, Pimpton, Samurai Champs are just a few who are really hustlin' to make it happen and receiving Canada wide recognition in the process. All of that is really good for any artist in the province. It shines some light on what we are doing over here.
What's next after "Lemonade"? Will the song be appearing on an upcoming EP or album?
Right now we're just focused on making music we enjoy. We haven't worked together much with the team we currently have so we're experimenting a lot. We have another track in the process right now that features the artists on Lemonade plus Nono Ryan. This song is completely different from Lemonade but we're stoked about it. It's called Triumph and its all about going through the storm and coming out on top - essentially the ups and downs of life. We've already talked with David about a video for this one as well so be on the lookout.
How did you and the members of the collective meet and decide to form the UNLTD unit?
That’s a full interview worth of material on its own but I'll try to keep it short, haha. It started out with 8tate & Amorfati who met at work and became friends through a shared love for hip hop. They had made a few tracks together by the time they had met Curtis (burntchild) and then Andrew (Catalyst) jumped on board a few years after. These 4 are the founders of the group and are basically brothers who have bonded through music. The team has always been a family and throughout the years we've added to it. Our DJ Alex(DJ Tolley T)is someone we met through a call out on Facebook when we were in a bind. We met Kyle Jordan the same way, he featured on 8tate's 2012 song Lighters Up (you can find that tune on our Soundcloud page). That collaboration opened the door to a lot of great music and new family members such as Cuthbert (Cuthi) & Nolan (Nono Ryan) as well as working with David.
This is the team we are currently running with and we're excited to see what develops in the coming year. I'm sure as we continue this venture the family will grown but for right now we're content.
If there was one thing that you could magically snap your fingers (like Thanos) and change about Hip-Hop in Canada, what would it be?
We’d use the gauntlet to have the world pay closer attention to what we’re all doing up here across Canada, as opposed to just focusing on Toronto. There's a lot of great hip hop music being made here that should be getting a lot more recognition than it does. Everyone knows that we have great beer, bacon and people but they’re missing out on our Hip-Hop.