The Bishop aint just up in church. A man of status of Scarboroughs saturated Hip-Hop scene, Bishop Brigante has cleared a spot for his name out of the brushleading him into a pasture laden with opportunity. You know youve heard of him. If youre looking for album names to tie him to, dont hold your breath. Amazingly, Bishop has acquired more status and success than many Canadian Hip-Hoppers, without even ever releasing a full length album (yet).
You may know Bishop from his many mixtapes or his group projects such as S.L.U.G. (Scarborough Loves Us Gangsters). You may have seen him on 106 & Park, raising hell as on their Freestyle Fridays segment before being disqualified for using profanity. If youre from Canada, youve probably also borne witness to his legendary beef with battle rapper Jin, and no matter where youre from, youve been catching his latest single Hard Times on heavy rotation everywhere and have definitely caught one of his award-winning singles Its Fo Twenty with Nate Dogg.
With all the needed hype behind him and finally some security behind him on a business front, Bishop is preparing to drop his first solo LP, all the while throwing energy into a million other projects. AllHipHop.com caught up with the Toronto rapper to find out the real deal on the new album and more.
AllHipHop.com: First off let’s clarify the album situation. You recently completed the recording process of your upcoming release on High Stakes Music/KOCH Entertainment, The Poker Face. Where are you on the release of this project and when can your fans expect to see it?
Bishop Brigante: The Poker Face album is finished in regards to recording the recordsit’s all in the mixing and mastering stages as we speak. We are releasing a triple single in the next two months entitled “Money, Money, Money” because there are three songs that are money driven recordings. But each takes a different approach at it. Then we will work the hell out of the promo side and once the time is proper in all aspects we release! I’m hoping for Christmas time at the absolute latest.
AllHipHop.com: So, in terms of the label details what went down with Bodog Music, what drove you to start your own label, High
Bishop: In short form, Bodog is a great company for a lot of things except music. I think they really wanted to be great at putting out a Hip-Hop record, but they didn’t want to learn the different approach you need to take with Hip-Hop. They were used to making punk rock records before they signed me, and the transition was a bit much for them. But they were completely understanding in my wanting to leave and they gave me no issues. I think they wanted the project to workit just didn’t. After the freedom came, it was back to the grind. I approached Jay [Devonish of KOCH Entertainment] about doing a distribution deal, so we sat and chopped it up. It made sense to him because I have so much foundation and groundwork that it was a no brainer. We were both on the same page from the gate. Now we raise the stakes.
AllHipHop.com: Saw you and Snoop chilling in the studio so obviously the opportunity ended up trading off for more musical opportunities, for one thing! Is he appearing on The Poker Face?
Bishop: That video was just us clowning around in the lab after we recorded our joint “All My Homies” which was supposed to be on the Bodog record. Once again a prime example of how big artists get in the room with a talented cat from the Dot and just click. If I could choose a good home for me to record albums, I would love to do that with Snoop. The way his whole team gets down in the studio is exactly how I love to work; the work ethic is crazy! When I’m in the lab I just want to bang out joints all day. Not a lot of people utilize the luxuries of having a studio at their disposal.
AllHipHop.com: Can you give some more tidbits about The Poker Face i.e. guest artists and producers, vibes, new things you’re trying production-wise or lyrically?
Bishop: With The Poker Face I went a different route. I only took one beat from 13 of the best producers in the country, in my opinion, and put together this record. When you listen to the record, youll think that we all sat down and created it together. I have a good ear for picking beats, so I knew how to make it gel. I have great producers to pick from as well: T Williams, Spinz, Kinsmuv, Rich Kidd, BoI 1Da, Dj Kemo with Hazel and Vangaurds (Kardinal Offishall – Dangerous) Snaz, C4 Ent, OB Productions, Dru N Maine and Stomp from Rezofficial. I hope I didn’t forget anyone!
As far as features, there is only a very select few that made the record. I really want the fans to get a Bishop Brigante record. I will save the feature talks for when we get closer to the release. As far as how I go in on the record? I am surrounded by great artists all the time and some of the younger cats help me stay on my A-game. I went all in, on this album!
AllHipHop.com: Who’s up and coming in Canada that you’re excited about, and are there any other projects that youre involved with that youd like to plug?
Bishop: I’m really excited about a couple of projects. For one I’m excited about the Drake project. His lyrics are out of this world and dude can do a 180 and drop and crazy slow jam and have the game weak. So he definitely is one to watch out for. Next I would say is JD Era, another crazy lyricist and talented song writer who is just a sick talent altogether. Also I couldn’t leave out Kinsmuv in my “excited about” mentions! Crazy lyricist, songwriter, producer and all around talent. He is like the backbone of the music behind S.L.U.G. You can Google all of these dudes [laughing]we gets it in with this music.
AllHipHop.com: You appeared on 106 & Park’s “Freestyle Fridays,” as the very first Canadian to appear on the show. Some might remember you from the controversial call that got you disqualified be truthful, did you cuss or were the judges flat out wrong?
Bishop: [Laughing] Be truthful huh? Ask Lil Wayne! Nah but for real, 100 % I did not swear on the show. It was edited when it aired so there was no disputing it at all. The funny thing about it was everybody in the audience and the staff were disappointed. Lil Wayne tried to dispute it for me and even told me in front of everyone, during commercial, he thought that I murdered that s**t and got robbed. I mean, it could have opened up a bigger outlet for me, had I continued on.
It was a great experience. Shouts to my man Swave Sevah for riding with me on that one. My 106 and Park appearance got me exposure worldwide and I was only aired for 2 weeksplus I got disqualified and still came home a hero! People in NY would stop me everywhere: on the train, at the Rucker in Harlem. All kinds of people to this day remember me tearing it up on 106
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of another Freestyle Friday veteran, Jin. You had an ongoing situation with him. Can you break that all down?
Bishop: Jin is a great freestyle battle emcee. During his rise on 106, he made a stop in the Dot for a show. Before the show he was on the radio talking about how he was there to take the title of the best in the city. During this time I was still undefeated and everyone just knew that Bishop Brigante was the guy he had to beat. When I went to the club, the promoter was adamant that Jin wasn’t gonna battle me. They wanted it to be a show where he just ripped up a couple of battlers and kept it as simple as possible.
So I was like whatever, Im a take in this s**t and leave it alone. Funny thing was, the “no names” he was trying to slaughter for the show were giving him a serious run for his money. But Jin came out on top and took them out. Then the crown did it. They started chanting Bishop, Bishop! He said “Who the fuck is Bishop?” Then it was on. We went at it. The s**t was cool. We both went for each others head and at the end of it, it was all coolor so I thought.
The next time he was in town he was promoting his album with Ruff Ryders. The Dot was in the building; it was packed from top to bottom. So I went to the club to check out his show. Not one intention of battling at all. I walk thru the VIP and I see Jin. I walked over to the homie and said what up. We small talked and everything was cool. Then his people asked to talk to me on the side. So I didnt expect any nonsense. But because I was alone, these three dudes start screaming on me about how they are Ruff Ryders and how they hear I talk about being better than Jin and all this mess.
I just came to check his show. He then told his people to chill and they proceeded to the stage. I was laughing because I thought it was hella corny what just happened. So the crowd is taking in his show, and he just ain’t getting the usual response from such a diverse crowd. So he stops the music. I’m on a balcony in VIP watching. He then proceeds to tell the crowd that he keeps hearing people ask him about Bishop this and Bishop that. Then he asked the crowd if they wanted to see him body Bishop right now on stage. He points the crowd to look up at me. So there I am, on the spot with a packed crowd waiting for my response. So I jumped on that stage and bodied him at his own show!
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything else you want to touch on? Any other projects, notes, events or causes you want to mention?
Bishop: Just want the world to open up their eyes and take a look at the North, cause we have a lot to contribute to the game and all it takes is the right movement to take the initiative to make the difference. Also to remind people to cop my debut album The Poker Face as soon as it hits the stores and online sites! You can hit us up directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me on the myspace at www.myspace.com/bishopbrigante. Peace!
Jessica Linnay is an Associate Editor at HipHopCanada.com