INTERVIEW WITH TORONTO RAPPER SPORADIC “THE DARK POET”

Sporadic defines himself as more than an MC, boasting a musical background that started at the age of 8. In 1999, he enrolled in the Humber College Jazz program where he studied jazz music. The program would broaden his musical horizon, which shows in his diversity as an artist.

 In 2002, he became heavily involved in the Toronto hip-hop community when he became one of the hosts of the Internet radio show, Gladstone What?! Between 2003-2004, Sporadic began his solo career and released the Alcatraz Bootleg EP, first edition (check insert). Later that year he was inducted into Camp X, one of Toronto premiere hip-hop crews, consisting of some the best MCs, DJ’s and producers in Canada.  

In 2005 Sporadic became the first winner of the Just Entertainment Demo Showcase for P.A., the lead single off the Alcatraz Bootleg EP second edition, which would be released in 2006.

In 2008 he began working on his third release, Walking the Line The LP, featuring more solo tracks and various producers from Canada, U.S., and Japan. Continuing to gain more international exposure, Sporadic found himself performing in the Mecca of Hip Hop, New York City.

Sporadic has opened for the likes of Smif n Wessen, Sean Price, Ill Bill, Necro, Def Juxx and performed with CampX. Sporadic live onstage is unforgettable. He captivates an audience with his word play, energy, message and stage presence, commanding the audience attention, defining a true MC/Musician/Entertainer. Sporadic is the true meaning of a hip-hop artist.

BCP: Why the name Sporadic? What does “The Dark Poet” mean?

Sporadic: An old friend gave me that nickname because I would be chilling out not making myself known until something would make me step into the light, surprising everyone. As well for when I would freestyle in the ciphers my verses would randomly hit topics and points that people wouldn’t expect.

BCP: How did you become involved with rap/poetry?

Sporadic: As a child I was immersed in music. Both of my parents were active in their church choir and my dad was always playing gospel records on a regular basis. When I learned how to read and write in the first grade I took an interest in writing short stories and poetry. When I saw Maestro’s video for Let Your Backbone Slide I knew that I wanted to rap and started practicing rhyming words together when I would be chilling out. I had to keep it on the low because my mom hated rap music LOL.

BCP: What is your writing process?

Sporadic: At first I would just write about anything, then I started writing to beats to develop rhythm on the beat. After a while I found myself just writing when I had a minute to myself whether it was on the transit, during class, break time at work, or late night at home.

BCP: Who have been your main influences?

Sporadic: I found that a lot of writers like Langston Hughes, Farley Mowat, and J.D. Salinger were great with providing imagery and emotion in work. Musically I gravitated to KRS- One, Public Enemy, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonny Stitt, Miles Davis, Johnny Cash, Ice Cube, and Canadian artists like Maestro, Rascalz, and Saukratese. The list extends past there but to sum it up I wanted to listen to anyone that had a message in his or her work.

BCP: You are a practitioner of Praying Mantis Kung Fu. Has Kung Fu influenced your rap/poetry? If so, how?

Sporadic: I’ve found that the martial arts training makes me more disciplined in creating something of substance. You can find a club that can teach you all the pretty flowery moves and give you a black belt because you can mimic them, where in contrast you can find a club that teaches proper technique and application and will only grant you a rank recognition after toiling and showing that you have truly learned the art. I feel that’s the same with writing. It’s a talent that now seems to be viewed as not a necessity to be an artist, which in turn produces a lot of bullshit.

Sporadic uses his Kung Fu locks

 

BCP: The name of the album is Walking The Line. What message are you trying to convey to your listeners?

Sporadic: When I did my first release, The Alcatraz Bootleg EP, a lot of people thatbought it felt that it was too abrasive, whereas a lot of core hip hop heads embraced it and felt that it was a dope release. I felt that with the follow up release I would tone it down a bit for those that have never grown up in an area like Jane and Weston, but yet keep a bit of an edge.

BCP: Many different communities of colour believe that Hip Hop/Rap belongs topeoples of colour and that white rappers are appropriating such culture. What is your opinion?

Sporadic: Majority of the entertainers are people of colour so I feel that it still identifies with those communities. There have been some great white rappers like MC Search, Prime Minister Pete Nice, local rapper Theo 3, and of course Eminem. I feel whatis really appropriating the culture are the cookie cutter pop acts using the rap format and jacking lines or beats.

BCP: Four of your songs are about love for different women and one of your songsmentions your mom; all are done in a respectful way. In your song Triple Threat fellow rapper Scripts aka Sweats uses sexist and misogynist language. In other songs you also use such language. Why did you allow such disrespectful language to be on the album?

Sporadic: Well there’s never an intention to disrespect anyone with my music unless it’s a battle track. With a track like Triple Threat, the both of us jump on the track with the attitude of who can be the cockiest which creates the element of bragging on the track. At times I may use a word that seems derogatory like “bitch” to not just describe a dislikable act, but to add some tension and cause an emotional response from the listener.

BCP: How long were you working on the album?

Sporadic: I had started working on the album shortly after releasing the Alcatraz Bootleg EP, but didn’t get to start compiling the songs and recording them till 2007.

BCP: Are you working on a new album? If so, when do you expect it to be out?

Sporadic: I just finished a project with Tyme called Growth that will be released in the next few weeks through TopLeft Recordings. The 8-song EP has Tyme producing the majority of them. The lead single for the project, Foundation, will be released November 13, 2010.

BCP: Canadian Hip Hop/Rap still seems to be in the shadows of American Hip Hop/Rap. Why do you think that is? How can Canadian Hip Hop/Rap start getting more respect and recognition?

Sporadic: I think that Canadian hip hop/rap had been denied the spotlight in the US for many years, but it was still getting recognition from a lot of rappers, DJs, and underground listeners. Drake’s release has been able to put Canadian hip hop/rap into the mainstream, which is good because it creates an interest for someone to check out what else we’ve got and produced. Respect and recognition from the US has been there to some degree, but it’s hard for them to respect it when a lot of the top artists here are fighting for that recognition in a smaller market with only a handful of media outlets.

BCP: Walking The Line is a really good album. How is this album different from your previous albums? How has Sporadic grown since the first album?

Sporadic: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. This album, like I said earlier, is more toned down from my first release. Definitely in regard to songwriting I played with different areas to show flexibility, but I feel that a lot has changed between that album and the new EP to the present moment. To keep the listener coming back you have to not only maintain a certain standard quality, you also have to give them something different like a surprise you planned just for them.

BCP: What advice do you have for young rappers out there just starting out and trying toput an album together?

Sporadic: Definitely do your homework and check the history of the music. There are many influences that created a culture through the music and dance so you have to be aware of that. Take your time, be original, truthful, and always make sure that you’re providing something new to add to the mix.

Tune in to Black Coffee Poet Friday November 12, 2010 for a video Sporadic “The Dark Poet” rapping, and for our first feature of BCPs “Poetry in Motion” series.

 

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About Black Coffee Poet

Black Coffee Poet is a mixed race poet, essayist, and journalist who focuses on Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, STOPPING Violence Against Women, Film, and Literature.
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One Response to INTERVIEW WITH TORONTO RAPPER SPORADIC “THE DARK POET”

  1. Test Anchor says:

    Very good write-up. I certainly appreciate this website. Continue the good work!

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