View Full Version : Canibus XXL interview

Bis Fan
03-19-2007, 01:59 PM
My Life
Interview: Bill Heinzelman

Canibus is an enigmatic figure that has been revered for his lyrical ingenuity and criticized for his poor beat selection and inconsistent albums. Once hailed as the second coming of Rakim, ĎBis was on top of the world during his legendary 1998 rap battle with LL Cool J. But that changed once his debut album, Can-I-Bus [Universal], was released in that same year to scathing criticism for its lackluster production. ĎBis followed up two years later with 2000 B.C., the album many expected from his debut. But with little support from his label or the media, it was too little, too late. íBis retreated into the underground, releasing his worst received album, ďCĒ True Hollywood Stories (2001), before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2002. In the next three years C graduated Fort Knox and began working as a reconnaissance specialist. In 2004 the rapper turned soldier was discharged from the military, allegedly for smoking weed. C was able to release new material during that period, though. Mic Club: The Curriculum and Rip The Jacker were stellar releases that satisfied his core fan base. But 2005ís Hip-Hop For Sale, Canibusí collaborative album with producer Nottz, was a disappointment that found ĎBis swaying from his battle rap origins. Now, two years later, Canibus returns this May with his seventh album, For Whom The Beat Tolls [Waste Management Records]. íBis takes a minute to discuss his new project, the war in Iraq and criticism over his beat selection with XXLMag.com.

What can we expect from your new album, For Whom The Beat Tolls?

The album is 17 tracks and ďPoet Laureate InfinityĒ is the grand finale on the album. There are 1,000 bars in that track and due to the way itís layered, itís an infinite rhyme. When you mix it and spread it throughout five channels, [you have the ability] to mix the track differently every time. Because when you hear the mix, whichever one you hear, you are only listening to one layer at a time. But there are four other layers there. You are only going to be hearing 200 bars per record. But at any moment and every moment, there are 800 bars that youíre not listening to. So Iíve created something thatís never been done before. Every time itís mixed, youíll hear a different song. Iím gonna put [the song] up on my site, www.poetlaureateinfinity.com, and once itís up, there is going to be a mixing board. All the layers are going to be laid out, so youíll be able to play and listen to every single layer. Youíll see that itís an infinite track. Itís the greatest rhyme of all time - bar none.

There were rumors that you were going to sign with Kay Slay and Shaq. What happened?

Well, I went down to meet with Shaq at his home in Orlando and I did three or four tracks and Kay Slay took that music back to New York. I went back home to Georgia, this was in Ď04, and I was waiting for a move. Nothing really materialized. So, I moved to Vegas and started working on other projects. I know if I see Shaq itís always love, but I donít know what happened. Iím as much in the dark as anyone else is, I suppose. But I know Shaqís intentions were to help. He said it out of his own mouth that he wanted to put me where I was supposed to be. And I believe it because he has no reason to lie to me. So there are no hard feelings because it didnít work out.

Whoís doing the production the new album?

I got J-Wells, Plus Science, Scram Jones, Domingo and I was trying to get a track from DJ Premier. Iím still waitingÖ.

Fans have anticipated that for a decadeÖ.

Iíve wanted it too, but hey, I got the rhymes. Canít no nigga look at me and ask, ďDo you have the rhyme for the track?Ē I work with people that want to work with me. If I think the track is fresh, Iím gonna rhyme to it. I like using producers who have an ear for composition. So production wise, Iím still the same as I was before. If you think a beat is going to dictate how I rhyme or if it means anything to me, then youíre stupid. Itís poetry. I rhyme to the best of my ability on the freshest beats I can get. If people are still complaining about the beats, then take a number, stand in line and join the club. Iíve been hearing about that for decades.

Does that make you angry?

Sometimes it gets me tight because I know they are looking for a chink in the armor. I donít produce beats. So itís the most frustrating thing in my career for someone to tell me they donít like something I did because of the beat. I want to ask them, ĎAre you a fucking dancer?í [Chuckles] When people talk about beats, I donít even think they know what the fuck they are talking about. I used to read and write sheet music. I know composition. For people to think beats are going to save me is wrong. My music doesnít need to be saved, its still around. People [act] like the right beat is going to make my music go platinum. Maybe I wasnít meant to go platinum. Maybe going platinum is wrong because thatís whatís been selling hip-hop and all the fans short. This platinum craze has milked every one of their lyrics and concepts.

How do you respond to the criticism that your lyrics are too complicated?

They seem complicated because they are listening to it like they are reading a book. This response takes an open mind to understand, but I believe that my rhymes, at times, are fragmented. In the fragmentation, each piece of the rhymes or concepts Iím trying to get across has a psychic overtone to it. Something that is almost quantum in theory. Its reaching out to a part of you that you might not use everyday. I donít make music thatís intended for you to go to the clubs. I give them my poetry. Iím giving them a piece of myself. If the poetry I write sounds complex, thatís because they arenít looking at it like something organic. There is nothing mechanical about my rhymes. Its just my delivery and the pace is mechanical. If you think itís too complex, maybe you havenít reached those stages in your life. Maybe your life is so mechanical and robotic, and youíre such an automaton, that you canít step outside of your mundane tasks for even 10 minutes to listen to at track.

Some fans feel you are too guarded and want you go open up more, like on ďI Honor U.Ē Is that a valid criticism?

I think so. But if I give you ďI Honor You,Ē what the fuck do they do? They donít respect ďI Honor You.Ē You donít get anything for it. All you get is a muthafucker going on a site and laughing at the shit. Todayís society has become a virtual reality. People get a bottled up idea of how your life is. Iím not a fucking pincushion. I dealt with a lot of things in my life. So this is not a virtual reality show or sitcom. I donít know what to say to the fans about opening up more. The only way I can open up to them is if it stays positive. You canít open up and leave your whole life on front street. Thatís what fucks up a lot of these celebrities. They open up their lives and gave the people everything. And what do the people do? They consume you. I canít be consumed, man. No fucking way. Think about it. You got fans that want me on the battle shit. Then you got fans who want me to open up more. One side is battle, which is total fucking destruction and submission. You following what Iím saying? The same people who want me to open up are the same ones who will turn around, write a battle rhyme, and try to get me upset enough to do some shit out of character. The battle shit and opening up is almost like a paradox. It doesnít make sense.

Whatís your thoughts on the current status in Iraq?

Itís a snafu, man. Itís a meat grinder. No matter what I say in this interview, nothing will change. So I chose to not say anything. Nothing is going to fucking change, no matter what I say. If youíre outside the box and looking in, then you need to think about the families that are affected and the soldiers that are their sacrificing everything. You need to be thankful. If youíre inside the box, and youíre looking out, then I want to give you a token of my respect. But itís difficult to talk about the situation on the ground. Iím not a fucking CNN analyst. Its one of those things we are going to be remember for the rest of our lives. The sand in the hour glass is almost up and people who donít want to pay attention to whatís really going on, then its going to get to the point where youíre not going to be able to do anything else but pay attention. Everybody wants to act like they know it all and they have all the answers, but they still ainít doing nothing to really help the troops. Nobody has any fucking respect.

03-19-2007, 02:58 PM
This is a great interview. I love when interviews actually have some substance and its not all the same shit. I cant wait to get this album because canibus is the last of a dying breed.

03-20-2007, 03:42 AM
"Poet Laureate Inifinity" does sound pretty crazy, 200 bars..

i dunno about the layering, i guess its kind of cool, but it seems like a bit of a waste or a gimmick.

looks like no premo production, its a shame.

he says hes sick of people saying his beats bring him down, but they do, you cant make a track with a terrible beat sound good, no matter how good your lyrics and delivery is.

03-20-2007, 05:07 AM
"Poet Laureate Inifinity" does sound pretty crazy, 200 bars..

i dunno about the layering, i guess its kind of cool, but it seems like a bit of a waste or a gimmick.

looks like no premo production, its a shame.

he says hes sick of people saying his beats bring him down, but they do, you cant make a track with a terrible beat sound good, no matter how good your lyrics and delivery is.

true, the first thing that will make me like a track is the beat...even if the lyrics are average...

but that's opinions (beats vs lyrics)

I hope his album is good, with GOOD beats :)

i'm curious to that poet laureate infinity track...poet laureate 2 was ill

03-20-2007, 06:18 AM
I tought Premo was producin Poet Laurette Infinity?wats da deal wit da layerin on dat track i dont really get it