CANADA WEEK 2008
They say the city is an urban jungle. Both environments are volatile, dog-eat-dog. Mayhem Morearty, hailing from Torontos Lawrence Heights area actually dubbed Jungle City has clawed into the GTAs hip-hop scene and pounced on success like its prey.
As with many, Mayhem Morearty treats his lyrics-writing cathartically and uses his lifes conflicts, quests of spirituality, parenthood and family, hardships and celebrations to form some of the tightest lyrics to escape this mighty jungle. Mayhem draws on his experiences in this concrete landscape and has gained acclaim as both a solo and group artistas one of the founding members of Torontos celebrated Hustlemann crew. He has opened for such A-listers as Mobb Deep, Juelz Santana, The Roots, Raekwon and The Boot Camp Clik. With a steady line of single, mixtape and DVD releases and more performances under his belt than you could shake a stick at; Mayhem is now preparing to drop his first solo full length album, The Audiobiography.
I recently sat down with Mayhem in a Lawrence Heights apartment complex and had the pleasure of listening to his debut album The Audiobiography while chopping it up over a plate of ackee and salt fish. Good eats and good ear treats all around.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think about the current state of Hip-Hop coming from Canada?
Mayhem Morearty: I think its in the best shape that Ive seen it in. I can finally honestly say that Im a fan of a lot of the music that is coming out. I think its that new untapped market, like the South was a decade ago.
AllHipHop.com: What inspired you to rap?
Mayhem: Thats a good question man; more than anything the artistry in my community of Lawrence Heights aka Jungle City. There was a lot of reggae music coming out of my community but there were always hip-hop elements to it too. So just hearing that and being exposed to the music made me want to be apart of it.
There was also a big reggae artist named Junior D from a neighborhood close to mine called Jane & Finch. D was well-known for DJing, performing reggae vocals over Hip-Hop beats, and was a hood celebrity . He seen me as a young buck out here doing it and encouraged me to rap with a group from the neighborhood called The Smuggalaz. Unfortunately D was murdered January 1, 2000, but he was definitely a mentor and inspiration to me. R.I.P.
So Jungle City, D and the artists that I grew up listening to like Black Moon, Nas, Kool G Rap, Mobb Deep, Snoop, Scarface, Pac, Biggiethose artists that really brought a feeling to their music.
AllHipHop.com: What do you feel you have to offer the rap game?
Mayhem: My passion. My passion for the art form and the music is unrivaled. I also have a life story that I feel the world needs to hear. A lot of struggle and pain. You can feel it in my music and it makes me stand out.
"My passion for the art form and the music is unrivaled. I also have a life story that I feel the world needs to hear."
AllHipHop.com: Where did you get your name from?
Mayhem: I had this street name Criminal Kid and I was rapping under that at first, but it was little too over the top. So at 16 I switched it to Mayhem and went through a phase where I felt like had I had to live up to the name, and so I did some pretty outlandish shit. So that slowed down the rap aspirations. When I decided to really focus on the rap again I added the Morearty. That comes from Sherlock Holmes arch nemesis Professor Morearty. The reason why I took that last part is because I felt like it described the other side of me intellectually. Because as much as he was Sherlock Holmes' nemesis and the bad guy, Sherlock still had that respect for his mind and his strategy.
AllHipHop.com: You have the alias of Anarky. Whats that about?
Mayhem: Its the beginning of the end for wack music coming out of Canada. Thats my wild aggressive side. Thats the side of me that makes music that makes you wanna do something wild when u hear it! Its Anaaarrrkyyyyy!
AllHipHop.com: In your song Had It Hard you rap the shootouts scars and jail bars I was involved. Can you speak on that?
Mayhem: Just coming from that street element, that gang background. I don't want to go too in-depth but coming up those were the things I went through. Im not looking to glorify it. But I definitely want to share my experiences and shed light on the situations that are going on up here: the positives, the negatives and the realities. All the sides of the issue, you feel me?
AllHipHop.com: Your music is very passionate and emotional. Where does that come from?
Mayhem: It comes from the heart. Also my grandfather -R.I.P.- used to play a lot of oldies on his radio and I used to soak them in. I think a lot of that soul thats missing form the music nowadays got into me.
AllHipHop.com: What can we expect from your debut album The Audiobography?
Mayhem: Expect that real classical Hip-Hop. Its been 5 years in the making. Its definitely a real journalistic picture of my life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Youre gonna feel my pain and understand my struggle on it. But youre also going to be able to get loose and wild out in the club cause we got those bangers!
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about your self promotion. You have people wearing your Anythings Possible and Out Here t-shirts and I hear everyone saying theyre out here. How did you get it to that level?
Mayhem: Just being cutting edge with the music and having that constant grind as far as getting it out there.
Me, Soze and Navy have been going from city to city opening for major label artists and handing out 2-300 of the out here CD/DVD packages in each new place that we touch down.
The music is good so it spreads. Once theyre feeling the music they want to get down with the fashion and rep that too.
So its a combination of the power of the music and our work ethic as entrepreneurs.
AllHipHop.com: What is Hustlemann?
Mayhem: Hustlemann was the rap group that I started from. It was made up of artists from Jungle City, Village and Neptune which are the three main areas form my neck of the woods. We put out a lot of mixtapes together did a lot of radio runs and changed the mixtape game in this city. We performed with a lot of major artists like Mobb Deep and Raekwon, and headlined a lot of packed shows in the city. Some people left the group to do their own thing. Some passed away. Some ended up incarcerated, others are still rapping. Im still repping it, doing my thing, but as far as rap goes the groups no more. Now its more a representation of the neighborhood and our roots as artists.
AllHipHop.com: What is Mosaic Music and how did you guys hook up with Koch Records?
Mayhem: Mosaic Music is my and Big Soze from Hustlemanns record label. Were distributed physically in Canada and digitally across the world by Koch Records. We started that together because we had like-minded business ideas and were ready to move at a fast pace. So thats our record label and Navy Sealz is the next artist from Hustlemann that is also on the label. The kids a problem, you can hear him on my debut album and all over The Hunger. My debut album The Audiobiography will be available via Mosaic Music/ Koch in the second week of September. So you can pick up the kids official debut across Canada and on iTunes and other digital hubs across the world. Look out for us as a company as well as artists. Also look for us to re-issue the Out Here street album digitally with the release of the new album. So if youre feeling one you can pick up the other, you dig?
AllHipHop.com: You produce as well. How did you get into that?
Mayhem: Just being around a lot of artists and producers and being a fan of all genres of music and the oldies made me want to get my sample game on and be creative. I dont produce as much as I should but it definitely made me a better rapper having that experience. You can hear a song I produced called In My Life on my upcoming debut album The Audiobiography.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about The Hunger?
Mayhem: The Hunger is the second installment of my street album series I Need My Nuggets. It features Navy Sealz and other friends and family. My partner Big Soze actually got the project together and released it while I was incarcerated so when I came home it was like I never left. We got singles from that bumping on radio and in clubs across the country right now. Its an epidemic! Download that shit for free and take the kid in, I guarantee you, you will not be disappointed.
[Download The Hunger for free here: http://www.sendspace.com/file/j4t53r]
AllHipHop.com: On the song No Names you rap Instead of loving each other were slugging each other/ Were all thuggin but we aint coming together/ When we do it gets swept under the rug/ But publicized when were slumped covered in blood . Can you speak on that?
Mayhem: I just feel through the years Toronto has had public housing issues, whether it be gangs or drugs, and they werent acknowledging the problem, just sweeping it under the rug. Now that its become a city-wide issue and isnt just limited to the poor pockets theyre publicizing it and approving all types of funding to terrorize the hood. Instead of acknowledging or trying to fix the core problems, theyre coming up with quick fixes and raiding all of the neighborhoods taking in everyone and mom dukes while theyre at it. Now theyve got the guns and gang taskforces, T.A.V. units and a Hip-Hop police unit to monitor rappers, and all these units are focused exclusively on the hoods. Meanwhile when we do something positive we get shut down.
"Now theyve got the guns and gang taskforces, T.A.V. units and a Hip-Hop police unit to monitor rappers, and all these units are focused exclusively on the hoods."
For instance during 2005 -the media-branded summer of the gun- I was part of a song Jellestone organized called The Hood is Here Remix. It featured a lot of the artists from the communities they are focusing on incarcerating now. But the overall picture of unity and camaraderie was overlooked, and instead they tried to vilify the song. Much Music wouldnt rotate the video. Police used scenes from it in schools during their anti-gang speeches. But this was a song promoting unity and positivity among the neighborhoods.
AllHipHop.com: Anything else you want to say or touch on?
Mayhem: Yeah fo sho.
Go download my free street album THE HUNGER right now: http://www.sendspace.com/file/j4t53r
Join my facebookgroup: The Official Mayhem Morearty Facebook Group!
Hit up the myspace: myspace.com/mayhemmorearty
Join the youtube channel: youtube.com/mayhemmoreartytv
And cop My debut album The Audiobiography this September on Mosaic Music/ Koch Records!
Jessica Linnay is an Associate Editor of HipHopCanada.comhttp://www.HipHopCanada.com