Triad formed in London, Ontario Canada in 2001 after C-Note (Benjamin) and his cousin Verse-A-tyle (Acham) returned from college in the US. Benjamin linked up with Kenny Flow (Lewis) on what would become Triad's first track "E-Biz" produced by MalOne Brown. The track needed a third verse and voice. Acham reluctantly joined, penned his verse and laid the track, only to later come up with the name for the crew while leaned up at the bar in a local club. From there TRIAD was born.
The crew achieved nationwide celebrity through two talent contests hosted by CBC (the Canadian Broadcast Company) The first was CBC's "Big Break," which featured 700+ entrants. Triad were finalists and performed coast-to-coast live via CBC's radio airwaves.
The second CBC extravaganza, "The Great Canadian Music Dream" pitted Triad against 1400 bands where they were again finalsts. They performed on a national broadcast on CBC televison.
Triad found yet another level when they enlisted the expertise of DJ Butter (Butterworth) to add the CBC televison performance. Butterworth was already a renown contributor to the rock/rap group "Project Wyze" and their first album. DJ Butter had a great deal of underground popularity in London's hiphop scene not only as a producer but also as an outstanding Club Dj. Wasting no time he remixed the group's anthem "Henchmen" and added production credits on "How We Git Em" and "Git Up." After providing such bangers for the emcees to flow over they made Butter a staple in their shows and an intergral part of the completion of their first album, "COLD FRONT."
Triad is influenced by lyrical skill and the abiltiy to move a crowd. As a result these three list Jay-Z, Wu-tang Clan, Redman, Eminem, Talib Kweli, Roots and Nas among their cornerstones for influences.
"Our strength is our LIVE performance. We integrate the crowd, highlight each emcee through solos and add a DJ to encompass many aspects of hip-hop. This is our biggest asset in terms of making us different from other groups. Not only are we pleasing to the ear while on stage we also entice the eye with our antics, emotion and visuals."
C-Note (Michael Benjamin) Emcee, Kenny Flow Tight (Stephen Lewis) Emcee, Verse-A-tyle (Cheddi Acham) Emcee, PJ Bunz (Paul Bunagan) Dj
2007 - Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Team Webisode "One Way Ticket" & "No Show's Empty"
2007 - "Called To The Bars" Benefit CD
2005 LP And Justice For All - "Street Legal"
2004 LP - COLD FRONT
Current Singles released include,
Ill Relations Feat. Golden
2004 Henchmen (Remix) Feat. Golden on PENETRAITOR RECORDS MIXTAPE Vol II - "The Usual Suspects"
2002 Honourable Mention "JOHN LENNON SONG WRITING CONTEST"
2002 E-biz on HAMILTON MUSIC SCENE Compilation
2002 award winner for "best HipHop/R&B act" ath the LONDON MUSIC AWARDS
Many of our songs can be found on radio airplay on many of Canada's campus radio stations.
Our website www.triad3.ca features streaming audio from the album "Cold Front."
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"Triad has the sound to go down in history with true hip-hop." (They)-are like a string of rubber b..."Triad has the sound to go down in history with true hip-hop."
(They)-are like a string of rubber bands -- significant alone and even stronger when bonded together!"
-Aaris A. Schroeder
Triad's Latest Release
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Creating visual soundscapes with regular ease in an extremely entertaining manner are three emcees V...Creating visual soundscapes with regular ease in an extremely entertaining manner are three emcees Verse-A-tyle, C Note and Kenny Flow Tight AKA London, Ontario’s TRIAD.Variety seems to be the norm for the ‘old school’ staccato vocal trio, from the dark thug “How We Git Em” to the following track “That Guy” a series of stories about thwarting the dreaded ‘cock blocker’. The highlites of “Cold Front” include the aforementioned That Guy, Rhymenesia, Git Up (feat Lady El), Ill Relations (feat Golden), Dirty Bounce and a whole pile of the other 16 tracks.
The featured guests Lady El, Golden, and Jeness do more than an admirable job in particular Golden whose two short verses make a surprisingly solid effect to this solid LP…Also watch out for Lady El, a female vocalist definitely on the rise.
Flaws? Ya there’s a few things, mainly those really technical mistakes which most of us MP3 playin’ fools won’t notice and those that do notice and hold issue to them probably…. dabble in to many drugs (Ya I said it…and what?!). Personally, I find Dave Ciccarelli the most consistent of the three engineers involved.
So if you like hip hop on solid old school beats, skilful new school beats, battle rhymes, intricate stories, talented linguists who don’t need to curse to be thug, and hip hop that knows its roots, keep that ish to yourself…cop Cold Front and rock your i-pod ripped copy when your ‘homies’ are blasting the new Eminem wannabee crap and worshipping Marshall as the demigod of modern hip hop…. But keep that ish to yourself ….heaven forbid people know something dope comes from the “Forest City”…
Scene Magazine Gives Cold Front B+
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"TRIAD makes the most of their first full-length effort, revealing a remarkable vocal synergy. They..."TRIAD makes the most of their first full-length effort, revealing a remarkable vocal synergy. They play off each other with quips, wisecrakcs and most of all vitality."
Hype Music Publicity and Promotion
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“I liked the old-school flavour in the music,. “They had a good production and a good, tight flow. I...“I liked the old-school flavour in the music,. “They had a good production and a good, tight flow. I felt that they were good enough for me to do something for them.”
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"Everyone should keep an eye out for the group TRIAD. I heard some of their stuff on CBC on Friday...."Everyone should keep an eye out for the group TRIAD. I heard some of their stuff on CBC on Friday. Damn HOTTTT...Best wishes to them in the CBC's "Big Break" contest. They are the hands down winner in my book..."
London hip-hop band releases debut CD
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Hip-hop may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about London’s music scene. But...Hip-hop may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about London’s music scene. But local rap group, Triad, is ready to change all that.
Their debut CD, Cold Front, was officially released last week at Club Phoenix.
The album’s first single, “Henchmen”, has already received considerable air time on local radio stations, charting as high as number three on The Top 7@7 on 106.9 CIXX FM.
“(Henchmen) is kind of our anthem, it’s our lead song,” said Michael ‘C-Note’ Benjamin, one of Triad’s three rap vocalists.
“It got in rotation and a lot of people started calling and requesting it,” he added.
The band hopes that Paula Danylevich, of Hype Music Publicity and Promotion in Toronto, will help them to the next level. She began working with Triad last year, after they were selected as one of five Ontario finalists in The Great Canadian Music Dream, a nationwide contest hosted by the CBC.
Danylevich, who promoted Nickleback and Biff Naked when they were still independent unsigned artists, listened to their performance and was impressed by what she heard.
“I liked the old-school flavour in the music,” she said. “They had a good production and a good, tight flow. I felt that they were good enough for me to do something for them.”
At Danylevich’s suggestion, the band produced a vinyl single, which she distributed to club DJ’s across the country. The single made it to number eight on the Toronto DJ’s urban chart.
“She’s helping us and guiding us in the right direction,” said Benjamin.
Triad did an admirable job on their first full-length, independent CD, said Danylevich: “Now that (Cold Front) is out, they’re going to have to find a national distributor, make a video, put out another single, and start touring South Western Ontario.”
Benjamin and the other group members, Cheddi ‘Verse-A-Tyle’ Acham and Stephen ‘Kenny- Flow-Tight’ Lewis, grew up together in the suburbs of South London, as part of the city’s Caribbean community.
“All of us have been writing rhymes since we were twelve or thirteen years old,” said Benjamin.
Now in their mid-twenties, the three emcees reunited when they returned to London after university. Benjamin and Acham studied broadcast journalism and played football at the University of Kentucky, and Lewis studied dramatic arts at the University of Windsor.
They formed Triad in May, 2001.
The band went into the recording studio almost immediately.
“(We experienced) a lot of growing pains at first,” said Benjamin. “We had to get used to a routine and how we wanted to lay things down.”
Cold Front took almost two-and-a-half years to complete.
Ben Srokosz, of Spur of the Moment Records, mixed and produced several tracks on the album, including “Henchmen.”
“We threw Henchmen together in one day and got it out there on the radio,” said Srokosz. “The rest is history.”
Srokosz was impressed by the band’s willingness to experiment.
“With hip-hop, the band comes in with a set beat in mind and the producer has to find a way to make it more punchy, more gutsy,” he said. “I couldn’t believe how open (Triad) was to my ideas.”
Like most rap groups, Triad rhymes about where they are from – London, Ontario – and the tracks on Cold Front are full of local references.
“With rap music, hip-hop music, it’s always about representing where you are from,” said Benjamin. “We don’t want to pretend to be gangsters or anything different from what we are. So that’s why we mention that we’re not from the inner city, we didn’t grow up highly impoverished, we went to school and got our degrees.”
Music is still just a hobby, and all three members have day jobs to pay the bills. Cold Front was entirely self-financed, and Benjamin said time and money were the biggest challenges in putting the album together.
Fellow Londoner, Matthew ‘DJ Butter’ Butterworth joins Triad on stage during live shows.
“When we perform, he provides a lot of scratching you hear with the vinyl,” said Benjamin. “He’s silent with his mouth but he does a lot with his hands.”
Break-dancers and back-up vocalists complete the performance.
“Anyone can get bored watching three guys up on stage,” said Benjamin. “We like to entertain.”
But Benjamin knows Triad will ultimately be judged on the strength of their music.
“True hip-hop heads really listen to the lyrical content, that’s probably what separates rappers the most,” he said. “They look at how well you tell a story or what kind of metaphors you use, if you say things that really inspire or move people.”
Interview with Triad
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HHC: First off, I've only had the opportunity to check one of your joints, and until recently I had ...HHC: First off, I've only had the opportunity to check one of your joints, and until recently I had never heard of Triad. After reading a very lengthy and impressive discography/biography, here are my questions:
Which one of our joints did you get to check out? What did you think? The reason for us accomplishing a lot of things but still in some respects being unknown is because we've only been at it as a group for a year and a half. Being 100% independent, trying to finance, market, and create an identity is a tough thing. We do this as a hobby something that we love and do on the side hoping for a big break. If we could devote all of our time to music it would be great, but unfortunately something has to put food on the table and pay the bills. One day it will be nice to have our love and our trade be one in the same.
HHC: First and foremost, please introduce yourselves to our readers and give us a lil' info on what y'all are about & bring to the hip-hop world?
¢-Note: Michael Benjamin- also known as Sling Shot. It's all about the Benjamins stems from the $100 dollar bill in the US with Benjamin Franklins face on it. A $100 dollar bills street name is a C-Note. My last name being Benjamin so there you have it. Kenny Flow Tight: Stephen Lewis- also Known as Mr Hazardous. You ask this question, can he flow tight? Well once you listen to him that question is easily answered. The question then becomes an exclamation as in boy can he flow tight! Verse A Tyle: Cheddi Acham- also known as Emcee Many Ways. Simply put it describes him as a person as well as an emcee and a lyricist. People who know him know that he has many interests in life as well as music, not to mention he does many things well. As a result the name Verse-A-Tyle accurately depicts the way he goes about things in hip-hop. There are many ways, styles and flows that we flip as a crew over a wide range over beats and topics. A capitol 'A' for Acham
Together we are just three cats out of London who have an appreciation for hip-hop and want to stay true to ourselves. Meaning that if you saw us out on street we'd still be the same way that we were on the stage killing it at our last show. We've collectively been doing this for only a year and a half, but we each bring many years of prior performing history to the table.We give our unique style and perspective on what we see going on in our corner of the world and in our lives. Through what we have done so far we have touched a great deal of people with our tunes that usually wouldn't have taken an interest in hip-hop. So in that respect we have turned a few heads already.
We talk about issues and situations that you could actually believe we've been through. We aren't ganstas and weren't raised in the streets. We are three educated guys from the suburbs with a talent for rhyming so you here this simplicity in the themes of our songs.
HHC: With all of the various things that y'all have done individually, how did you come together? (in London, I'll logically guess)
¢-Note and Verse A Tyle are cousins born 5 days apart related through our fathers. We've always had similar interests and have helped each other develop as lyricists over the years. Kenny Flow Tight is a close family friend. Our parents all know each one another, being apart of London's West Indian/Caribbean community. We all played on the same soccer team as youths. In fact ¢-Note's older siblings use to baby sit young Kenny Flow and his sister. Kenny performed with a different group of friends as an adolescent, but we often did the same shows and frequent the same dances or parties. We all grew up in the same hood in the South side of London.
Where Triad really got together is when ¢-Note and Verse A Tyle got back from University in the states (University of Kentucky where they played football and majored in Broadcast Journalism) we all kept writing with little forethought of taking it further. Kenny Flow Tight got back from University of Windsor (Where he played Rugby and majored in Dramatic Arts) and hooked up with ¢-Note on a track that eventually came to be as "E-Biz" Triad's first cut. At the time those guys started writing the track they needed a third verse to make it all fit. I finally came in feeling they couldn't have all the fun without me and we put it together.
HHC: What's the concept behind Triad? How did you come up with the name for the group?
A Triad is a group of three components or musicans. A musical core of radical sounds. Verse A Tyle first came up with the name. Since there are three emcees it is easy to play on the number 3. With us three being the main components it just fit. 3 emcees, 3 equal parts or elements, a musical chord of 3. There is also an Asian gang that goes by the name Triad, although we claim no affiliation. That reference gives the name a little bit of an edge to it and also shows we are serious and mean business in whatever we do. We often go by TRIAD Clique because there are many that contribute to our songs shows and success. The three emcees we are definitely the main triangle with branches off of us.
HHC: What sorts of things are in store for the group and for the listeners? An album perhaps, concerts, tv spots, furthering your education, etc?
-Jan.24, 2003 will be doing a show at Call the Office in London
-Watch for us as part of the Great Canadian Music Dream host by CBC TV and Radio and sponsor by General Motors. It will air nationally Feb.5, 2003 at 8 pm. There are five regional semi finals we are in the Toronto show for the Ontario group. We are one of 5 representing Ontario out of 1400 entries, and to my knowledge the only hip-hop group involved. Viewers will get a chance to watch and cast their votes http://cbc.ca/musicdream then click on Toronto
-We are working on the finishing touches of our freshman album. To be titled Cold Front
-A website and future shows will follow as well maybe even a video.
HHC: Who were your influences and inspirations?
Our musical influences to name a few are: Tribe Called Quest, Erick B & Rakim, NWA, Big Daddy Kane, Maestro, Jay Z, Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. (Biggie), MosDef, Wu-Tang Clan, Kardi, Choclair, Common, Redman, Saukrates, Rascalz, Reggae, Soca/Calypso, all forms of music as well.
HHC: How do you feel about the changes in rap music that have taken place over the years and where do you see hip-hop going, moving forward?
I think that hip-hop has made a lot of positive and negative changes. Growing up in London hip-hop wasn't as popular as it is now. You can walk into any high school in London and you'll probably find close to 90% of the kids listen to some form of Urban Music. When we were in high school it would have only been 10%. The negative thing is that many are only listening to the Urban Music that talks about solely the glitz and glamour and nothing else.
The art form is still alive and flourishing. Things change with time. It's not the same as it used to be but you can either evolve with the times and adjust or be a hater. We love all music and always look at the positive. People complain sometimes that it's not as good as the old days, but these are the same people who either know, dance, buy, listen to, or download the same artists and groups they complain about. As long as people are staying true moving forward positively and making some money while doing so that's fine.
People think that there is a problem or an epidemic with hip-hop and that money and riches have infiltrated the game. Of course it has Money has it's profound affect on all aspects of life however, anyone who knows anything about hip-hop knows the good from the bad and the money from the heart. We all know a quality rhyme, lyric, song album from a shitty one. How many times has an album got 5 mics in THE SOURCE and not been a solid respectable album that was bangin'? If it has happened it is rare. Rap has changed for the better. For us to say it's all good we'd be lying but it has more pluses than negatives.
HHC: What are your thoughts on Ontario's hip-hop scene? Do you feel it is headed in a good direction?
Growth is the key. More emcees, more jams, more mics, being rocked. Good, positive exposure will never hurt. Ontario is relatively untapped yet definitely the leader in the Canadian scene. There is more than just Toronto and the major players who have made it and paved the way. As the largest province we take the role of Canada's New York to hip-hop. If you can make it from Ontario you can make it anywhere. We need to give more recognition and support to our own home grown talents. Ontario is making big moves and will one day be an international force. We really want to put London, Ontario on the map because we have a lot of talent here just little exposure.
HHC: Are there any specific emcee's/producers you would like to reach out and collaborate with?
Producers: The Neptunes, Dr. Dre, P. Diddy, Timbaland, and Premier Emcees: Jay-Z, Eminem, Red One, Saukrates, Nas, Redman, Ludacris, Nate Dogg
Just to name a few.
HHC: Where do you see yourselves 10 years from now?
We hope to all have families and have this rap game sewn up have become Canadian Icons. We would love to transfer our success to other avenues of entertainment running our own record label. We'd like to finding, produce, and manage new emerging talent. We all aspire to work in Media doing our own shows that would enable us to display our musical and sporting influences.
HHC: Any other comments, thoughts or shout outs you would like to address?
We'd like to give a shout out to our families The Benjamins, The Achams The Lewis' The Turrey's and The Camacho's, and our friends for their love and support. Also to everyone else who have helped us along the way like: Dave Ciccarelli at theflyingdisc.com, Mal0ne Brown, DJ Butter, Ben Soroksz, Ran & Russ, Adam, Roger, Jenness, Lady EL, Golden, Soul Choice, JBR's, Dj Res, Starr Child, Dj Free, Huggy B, Mista Flex, Striknine, Brooke Da Tech. Dutch, James Rainey, Denise Pelley, MaCauley, Scene Magazine, Chop Shop, Crate Raider, Lisa and her crew Team Rock and associates, CBC, and everybody in the L.O.C (London, Ontario Canada) Keep it LOCed.
We have numerous sets that run from 15 minutes to an hour. Songs are: How We Git Em, That Guy, Henchmen, Henchmen Remix, Rhymenesia, Git Up, Planet Groove, Ill Relations, Dirty Bounce, Bathroom Confessions, The Party Move, 3rd Power, Metaphor Masters, Situations Change, Ebiz, Anger Management, Git Down Wit Us, One Way Ticket, No Invitation, No Show's Empty, Two Weeks Notice, Platinum Rhymes, Stop Drop and Roll, 3Hundred 50 Thousand, My Love Song, Blind Date, Common Cold, More Rhymes, Move Back, Oh No, Rock Paper Scissors. In terms of covers we can cover the classics like SugarHill Gang, Run DMC and Tribe Called Quest to contemporary hits from Jay-Z, 50CENT, Eminem and Kanye West. Or, put our on spin on a current, hot beat.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.