-7 Albums and over 300 shows in 9 provinces over 12 years.
-5 year veteran of NXNE Festival and 5 years on Sled Island Music Festival
-Has charted repeatedly on !earshot Canadian College Radio Chart
Ricca Razor Sharp is a Canadian hip-hop treasure, and one of Calgary’s most recognizable and beloved performers. Whether on stage alone, or with his live band of hip hop instrumentalists, ‘Blades of Steel’, Ricca’s infectious energy and MC skills command attention. Active since the 90s, Ricca’s 7 albums and hundreds of shows have earned him fans from the underground circuit, all the way to high end gala appearances.
Ricca’s albums are consistently high quality, and routinely appear on college radio charts, while garnering praise from the press and fans alike. An accomplished video artist, Ricca’s many clips can be found at youtube.com/thesharpone
A festival favorite, Ricca has performed at Toronto’s NXNE festival 5 different years, and at Calgary’s Sled Island Festival in 5 of the last 6 years. After gaining attention by winning the highly competitive ‘Eliminator’ battle rap competition earlier in his career, Ricca converted his remarkable freestyling ability to the power of good, using it connect to audiences everywhere.
Remarkably diverse, Ricca is frequently called upon to create custom pieces for corporate events, which he books through Fuze Entertainment. His first love, however, has always been on the underground hip hop scene, where he has shared the stage with the likes of hip hop legends KRS ONE, Redman/Method Man, Digable Planets, GZA, Souls of Mischief, and many more.
Something of a ‘man about town’ Ricca can frequently be found hosting hip hop nights, attending shows and conferences, being featured as a guest on stage or on the radio, and generally making his presence felt on the music scene. Pleasing crowds wherever he goes, Ricca rocks pubs, clubs, parties and all manner of events.
For interviews, bookings, or general inquiries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Ricca Razor Sharp-Vocals (backed by beats on CD or IPod)
Often found performing with various members of the Audible Intelligence crew, including:
DJ Jetleg (CD Turntables/mixer)
and vocalists Mantrakid, EquAzn or others (Microphone).
April 2010-Ricca Razor Sharp & The EquAzn-Opposites Attract (Neferiu)
June 2009-Ricca Razor Sharp-Causeways & C-Trains (Neferiu)
2006-Ricca Razor Sharp-12 Steps to a Deffer You (Neferiu)
As frontman in previous bands:
2003-Phattoe-Phoot in da Doe
Do You in the 80s (from 'Causeways & C-Trains', June 2009)
Where You Came From feat. EquAzn
Dance to the New Drum (from 'Causeways & C-Trains', June 09)
Rampage (from 'Causeways & C-Trains'-June 09)
Blades of Steel Serious About Partying Down
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The number of people still fighting for your right to party seems to be dwindling all the time. E...The number of people still fighting for your right to party seems to be dwindling all the time.
Even the heartiest of party rockers are getting out of the game.
But the boys in local band Blades of Steel are committed to the cause for the long haul. In fact, they're just getting started, with the party proper kicking off Saturday when the live hip-hop act drops its debut five-song EP, Like A Calf In A Tubesock, with a show at Local 522. With cheeky, peaky songs about God's green herb (H.E.M.P.), paeans to more glittery times (Do You In the '80s) and even a new roof-raising anthem for their hometown (403), the six-piece shows that it takes its duties to fight for fun some serious.
"We take what we do seriously, but not serious in that way, we have fun with it," says keys player and producer Brian Campbell (a.k.a. Roopert El Toro).
"The business end, the recording end, the production end - we take very seriously. But as far as the impact of our music, man, there's too many people getting pissed off, ornery and grumpy about stuff. They can have their fun doing that. We're just going to play and enjoy it."
The band grew out of discussions several years ago that Campbell had with veteran Calgary artist Jonathan Stoddart, who raps under the Ricca Razor Sharp moniker, about putting together a live act to bring his music to life, infuse an added something into the sometimes staid MC-and-backing tracks/DJ scenario, give it a little Check Your Head rock band reinvention.
Those conversations eventually led to the additions of other musicians - Al Caissie, Jonny Vincent and Smokin Jay - as well as fellow rhyme schemer SoLeo Miguel Venegas), the cementing of the lineup into a true band, and, finally, last April 20 (or 4/20) the release of the single and video for H.E.M.P. Fans followed, as did a string of well received, insane-energy live shows, including kicking off Sled Island last year in true party-starter fashion.
That live reputation, Campbell and Stoddart say, is one that they're proud of but one that proved difficult to stuff inside of Tubesock.
"It was a challenge trying to capture that.
"The way we sound on record and the way we sound live, there's definitely a parallel. It's different though, too. The energy is even bigger live," says Campbell who put the album together. "But that was the challenge with the production, to be able to capture the energy we bring to the stage and translate it to what we're doing in the studio."
Done. The slick, expert giddiness of the four sensational studio tracks all but matches EP closer '80s, which was recorded during a show at Ubu Lounge.
You can see how, let loose on an audience, the songs and the band come to life, performing their originals alongside covers of other well-known, well-chosen blowout soundtracks such as Bust A Move, Mama Said Knock You Out and The Humpty Dance.
"That's one of the best things about being in a live hip-hop band is you have a whole catalogue of these classic covers that nobody else does," Campbell says.
"They're the hip-hop songs that you can play anywhere and people know," agrees Stoddart, noting that once the good times start its not entirely limited to in front of the stage, which is the beauty of being in Blades of Steel.
A right worth fighting for.
Blades of Steel release their new EP Like A Calf In A Tubesock with a show Saturday at Local 522 (522 6 Ave. S.W.).
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/entertainment/Blades+Steel+serious+about+partying+down/8271289/story.html#ixzz2RRnfilkW
Blades of Steel EP Has Great Legs
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“In the 1980's / I would be the freakin’ man” raps Blades of Steel MC Ricca Razor Sharp. Recorded at...“In the 1980's / I would be the freakin’ man” raps Blades of Steel MC Ricca Razor Sharp. Recorded at the Ubu Lounge last year and included on the new release by the group, there’s proof that Ricca, SoLeo, Smokin Jay, Jonny Vincent, Roopert El Toro and Al Caissie are the freakin’ band in 2013, too.
The new Blades of Steel EP is ’Like a Calf in a Tube Sock’, a five-track release that perfectly balances old school hip hop with strong musical accompaniment in a way that’s both fresh and retro, and all-over fun to listen to.I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the album, and this one is definitely a match for the sunshine that’s finally showing up today.
Track one (403º) says “put this in your boom box,” and they’re not kidding. If you blast this as you take your ”brand new shoes” (heh) for a spin in Prince’s Island Park this spring, you will definitely ”increase the funk factor”. This is a fun summer song with an old school rhyme style and catchy musican backing.
Track two (Stream of Conciousness) has a softer start, and a slight carribean feel. “Sit back,” they say, ”relax, and let the good times roll”. Again, seasonally appropriate and seriously fun, but a more mellow track.
The mellow ends on Track three (Contract), which bangs out with a 70's-style dectetive show start with an 80's-ish rap follow-through. This track thumps to a good beat as the band hollers “Hey dude / where’s our contract
Track four is H.E.M.P. which stands for Honourable Ethical Marajuana Professional. ”We want marajuana!” they say, and it sounds like Fresh Prince on a green kick. From there, it morphs into a fun, full hip-hop song. If you are so inclined to enjoy wacky weed, this one is a better toker track than Because I Got High. Plus, there’s all that Cancon (“Stephen Harper / maybe you should go relax”.)
The EP ends strong with a live version of Do You In The 80's. Recorded live in the Ubu Lounge, this one can be summed up as ’Frankie says relax with some local hip hop’. You can imagine the dance floor really hopping for this one! Fun and retro-funky, this track makes you want to see BOS live.
Which, of course, is totally doable. If you want to hear it for yourself, BOS is throwing an EP Release Party at Local 522 on, appropriately enough, April 20th (4/20). Accompanied by Blist and Rap X and hosted by Iron Lion, the night promises to be a pretty epic party. Tickets are still available online for ten bucks, or you can hope there’s room enough to pay the $15 to get in at the door. Either way, you get a great night of local rap, plus a copy of the new album to take home.
CALGARY HERALD-Local Rapper Ricca Razor Sharp Has Seen Hip Hop Come a Long Way
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While the hip-hop contingent at this year’s Sled is single-digits small, there’s one person who will...While the hip-hop contingent at this year’s Sled is single-digits small, there’s one person who will be representing loudly, proudly and, more significantly, right off the bat.
Tonight, veteran local MC Ricca Razor Sharp (a.k.a. Jonathan Stoddart) will make his fifth appearance at the six-year event, kicking off the entire musical side of the event as he and his funk-rock band Blades of Steel will be the first act to perform at the opening party at Commonwealth.
“I was on the first one when I didn’t even know what it was,” Ricca says, sipping on a Grasshopper, sitting in a 17th Ave. booth. “I think it’s a good festival and somehow I got in on the ground floor and I’m not letting go of that perch.”
It says a great deal about the artist’s style and standing in the city that he’s a lineup staple, able to crossover with a sound that can appeal to the alt audience just as effectively as he can with the hardcore hip-hop crowd. Other than the Sled gigs — which will pair him with diverse acts including rockers the Dudes and fellow local crew Dragon Fli Empire — he’s successfully shared the stage with everyone from Buck 65 to Redman.
It’s a skill the native East Coaster has honed in this city over the past decade-plus as a solo act, as a member of the group Phattoe and now with BoS.
“I think that the kids now who are fuelling the festival they don’t necessary remember when hip-hop was a thing that was way over to the outside of everything else — they grew up on it. I see kids wearing Wu-Tang shirts the way that we used to wear Zeppelin shirts or whatever, and they’re looking for it everywhere and in all different forms,” he says. “They’re not angry about rap’s existence like maybe people were 20 years ago. I lived through that era.”
Now, Ricca’s living in an era where the opportunities for him are many, including: BoS which features fellow vocalist SoLeo (a.k.a. Miguel Venegas) and a live band performing new stuff as well as his older material; co-hosting an increasingly popular night called 10@10, at UBU Lounge that showcases young, up and coming MCs and soul singers; and a side-business that has him writing and recording raps for birthday parties, etc.
“None of this was possible when I was driving around in my parents’ Jetta listening to the new Cypress Hill album and thinking about hip-hop as this viable thing. . . ,” he says. “It’s like a video game. You don’t even know how many levels there are but you keep getting one level further and therefore the game remains amusing.”
Ricca Razor Sharp performs with Blades of Steel tonight at the Sled Island kickoff party at Commonwealth Bar and Stage and Wednesday at the National Music Centre. Tickets and info: sledisland.com.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
FAST FORWARD (6) 2012/2010/2009/2006
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FAST FORWARD (2012) Let’s get Stephen Harper high Ricca Razor Sharp fights for weed Published ...FAST FORWARD (2012)
Let’s get Stephen Harper high
Ricca Razor Sharp fights for weed
Published April 19, 2012 by James Wilt in Music Previews
Ricca Razor Sharp with Blades of Steel & Contraverse
Blind Beggar Pub
Friday, April 20 - Friday, April 20
More in: Rock / Pop
Rapping about weed isn’t exactly a novel concept.
Snoop Dogg, Master P and 2Pac were showing love for the drug back in the ’90s. Today, artists like Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa are building mediocre careers around it. Curren$y even expressed some disdain for the obsession last 4/20, stating that “weed rappers are people who are faking to be high all the time so that they could get on and be popular and rap.”
But it’s not that often that the criminality of pot is specifically targeted and criticized in a song; it’s probably because government legislation just isn’t that interesting, and that smoking a blunt and talking about swag and cough syrup guarantees more mixtape downloads. Ricca Razor Sharp and the Blades of Steel, a G-funk hip-hop group akin to the Beastie Boys, may have successfully circumvented that problem with their first official single and music video.
The song, titled “H.E.M.P.,” tells the story of an Honourable Ethical Marijuana Professional, or a respectful and trustworthy pot grower. The dealer only sells to adults and is strictly limited to growing the herb. Halfway through the song, the political thesis emerges: “Stephen Harper, maybe you should simply go relax / and you’ll have a chance to cash in on the income tax / and understand, all dealers aren’t some deadly mob / you never know, it might assist you with your stressful job.”
Jonathan Stoddart, who raps as Ricca Razor Sharp onstage, is quick to stress that the upcoming release party of the music video is more about the celebration of 4/20 than an anti-establishment, Dead Prez-esque show. But with the recent passing of Bill C-10, more commonly known as the omnibus crime bill, writing a single and filming a music video celebrating an increasingly criminalized drug is inevitably political.
“I don’t want to incriminate everybody at the table here,” says Stoddart, motioning to the other five members of the band. “But I would venture to say that no one here would oppose the legalization of marijuana. If Ned Flanders was in the band, we’d have to kick him out over this very issue.”
Interestingly, the track was recorded in January 2011, about a year before the controversial news of Bill C-10 hit most people’s radar. Back then, the group consisted of Stoddart, Jonny Vincent — who is still the guitar player and backup vocalist — and another member who has since left. “H.E.M.P.” became a staple in the set-list after Ricca joined forces with Blades of Steel six months ago, and the group has since worked to rejig the track with a full band, which currently features two emcees, drums, guitar, bass and keys.
Most of the band members come from rock or funk backgrounds, so hip-hop’s a new style for some — although bassist Rob Reuser points out that they’ve all used elements of the genre in the past, and Vincent says it just comes down to “picking a riff and killing it.” More than anything, the backing band agrees that it’s just been about finding a steady groove, settling in it, and letting Stoddart and fellow emcee Miguel Venegas — who goes by Soleo onstage — rap over it.
“The music we’re playing here in the band is so boiled down and so minimalistic,” says Reuser. “We’re noticing this universal appeal where people are going nuts for it. To play that same riff over and over and over again as a live band is way more challenging than the sound of a record looping, ’cause we’ve got to switch up the dynamic, quiet it down, bring it up, expand it, put more notes in it, take more notes out, just to change it every four bars and make it interesting to listen to as a platform for these guys to spit.”
But the band isn’t planning to stay in one place, stylistically speaking. Keyboardist Brian Campbell recently joined the band, and has since brought an “ever growing” amount of electronic influence into the sound. Drummer Jay Schumann mentions that his favourite style to play is dance. Edmonton’s Cadence Weapon and Harlem’s Azelia Banks are both cited as electro hip-hop inspirations by Stoddart.
On that note, Ricca Razor Sharp and the Blades of Steel should be able to avoid Curren$y’s criticism with flying colours; Stoddart and Venegas seem to have no intent to write an album-worth of pot songs. Although, as Stoddart points out, that doesn’t mean that they won’t get political again in the future.
“Neo-cons and rock ’n’ roll are sort of like oil and water,” he says. “Except for Nugent.”
FAST FORWARD (2010)
On the cutting edge
Calgary MC works fast and launches a new album
Published April 22, 2010 by Gerry Krochak in Music Previews
Growing up, Jonathan Stoddart loved music and wanted to be a performer. He faced two significant problems, though: His hometown of Clark’s Harbour, N.S. ain’t exactly Hollywood East, and Stoddart couldn’t really sing.
That’s when an influential TV program fanned the flame of Stoddart’s ambition.
“If I had to attribute my passion for rap to one thing, it would be Rap City on MuchMusic,” says Stoddart, now 32, who performs as Ricca Razor Sharp. “[It was] a really cutting edge show at the time. I was like any other kid listening to heavy rock and rap and punk — I loved all kinds of music. I never had any illusions that I could sing, but in the late ’80s and early ’90s, a core group of kids at school was into a relatively new thing called rap music.”
“After listening to rap and hip hop for a while, I started thinking, ‘I could do this,’” he continues. “I started catching on to some rhyme patterns and really feeling like this is something that I love and want to do.”
Inspired by the likes of Public Enemy and A Tribe Called Quest, Stoddart decided to make for the bright lights of the big city, and in 1999 headed west with a couple of college buddies. He landed in Calgary, and it wasn’t long before he started to get taken seriously as a thinking man’s MC and a blistering freestyler. He won some high-profile rap battles, including Eliminator 2004 and Ill Movements’ “Stakes is High” contest, which got him a spot on a nationally distributed Universal Urban compilation CD.
He also fronted Phattoe, an alt-rock, hip hop and funk act that released two albums, Phoot in da Doe in 2003 and So Good a year later. In 2006, Stoddart released his solo debut, 12 Steps to a Deffer You on Nefariu Records, in which he has an ownership interest. Last June, he followed up with the acclaimed Causeways & C-Trains, which established him as a constant presence on the Alberta music scene and beyond.
His latest is Opposites Attract, which he’ll unveil at a CD release party and concert at the Palomino on April 23. On this one, Ricca Razor Sharp has teamed up with his longtime pal and collaborator EquAzn, who will join him at the show.
“This record happened really fast, which isn’t normally the way I work,” Stoddart says. “EquAzn is a ridiculously talented guy and it just seemed like one of us would pick a topic and run with it and the other would have to keep up. It has a certain urgency and spontaneity that you can really feel. It was great because it wasn’t just me sitting back and obsessing about what dozen topics should be included.”
“On [Causeways & C-Trains], I spent a lot of time making it and a lot of time thinking about what kinds of things I’m going to put forward. This time out, it’s just a lot more pure and comes down to the rapping. I’m happy for EquAzn and I’m happy for myself and what we accomplished.”
From headlining his own shows and opening for the likes of Kardinal Offishal, Redman and Methodman and Buck 65, Stoddart easily admits he’s more comfortable onstage in front of hundreds of people than he is at, say, a dinner party.
“I definitely love to be onstage and it’s where I feel best,” he says. “I’ve done shows in front of 1,000-plus people right down to eight people and bar staff, and I approach it the same. The shows with EquAzn make it even better because he’s a great showman as well. We like to bounce off each other and I think we’re part of the old-school rap mentality where you’re exciting live or you’re nothing.”
“Whether I’m watching a rock band or a rap act, or whatever, I like to see performers act like they’re burning a few calories to earn their way on that stage,” he says. “The more we get involved, the more the audience gets involved.”
Ricca Razor Sharp - Causeways & C-Trains (2009)
Published July 9, 2009 by Garth Paulson in CD Reviews
To most Calgarians, the city’s C-Trains are a mundane part of existence. Sometimes they’re a welcome convenience; sometimes they’re a source of frustration; mostly they’re just there. To local rapper Ricca Razor Sharp, though, the C-Trains are a source of endless inspiration.
His sophomore album, Causeways & C-Trains, is laden with references to Calgary’s above-ground light rail transit, which becomes tedious as the album progresses. Indeed, it’s when Ricca drops his Calgary fascination that he sounds the strongest. On “Dassay,” he boastfully flexes his verbal muscles overtop of a propulsive funk beat, demonstrating his technical ability behind the mic. On the new wave-influenced “Do You in the 80’s,” he tells a goofball tale about romancing a lady with a time machine. On “Funky Moms,” he waxes poetic about, well, moms who are funky.
These moments highlight Ricca Razor Sharp as a talented and playful MC, demonstrating that he’d be better off without the constant references to local landmarks and personalities that mire much of Causeways. That said, there are worse things one could listen to on their next C-Train ride.
FAST FORWARD (From an article about your favorite Calgary bands in the last 20 years) (2009)
Hiatus: Between the Lines (Indie, 2002)
Before hip hop’s marriage to hard rock bit the Bizkit, it was pure potential. Hiatus represented this with substance, style and musicianship. Old-school MC Greasy B, silent and unassuming offstage, transformed into a hard-hitting frontman, mixing political philosophy with introspective hard-knock booze-fuelled party rhymes. Paired with a lineup of solid metal vets, the result was even greater than the sum of its parts, as evidenced here, in the group’s last and best album.
— Ricca Razor Sharp is a Calgary-based musician and vice president of Neferiu Records.
FAST FORWARD (June 2006)
Let's set sumpin' straight from the get-go: however slippery defining the
"true meaning" of hip hop may be, you can't front on the fact that if you
ain't about reppin' your hood, you're a whack biter and suckah MC. With that in mind, let us dispense with the tired "pretty good for Calgary" or "pretty good for Canada" or even "pretty good for underground" bullshit. 12 Steps to a Deffer You is plain ol' pretty good.
You could easily draw comparisons to his flow from old skool crews he name checks (KRS-1, ATCQ, Das EFX and Wreckx n Effect) but Ricca Razor Sharp makes it clear with his eponymous wit and incisive insight that he knows exactly where he is, when he is and what he's doin' while carving a unique style in the process. On point with his prose and deft in his delivery, 12 Steps stands up to repeated listening not just because so many tracks are damn catchy (the bumpin' AYA, the raw saw-wave riot Keepin' On,
Game of Life's 8-bit Nintendo boogie or the dirty distorto-funk
reality-check Dope MC for example), but thanks to the fact he's got
something to say and he's damn good at sayin' it.
Flippin' effortlessly between socio-political commentary ("It ain't religion that's makin' people die/that's just a way for warlords to get people on their side"), self-deprecating humour ("I'm in a hurry to get things done/doin' 140 in a K-Car with a paintball gun") and slice-o-life storytellin' ("I get to the store/walk in the door/a kid just puked/./in a city of thugs and pimps and whores/I'ma walk real tall like I'm all
hardcore"), RRS stays on top of his game and makes full use of his strength at intelligent word play without gettin' all academic on your ass.
In fact, if anything, he'll take that ass of yours and get it
shakin', thanks to the top-shelf production courtesy Mantrakid. Kickin' off with heavy boom-bap and a wild-ass wobbly bass that morphs into a grimey electro-swing kinda thing on opener New Shoes, the kid's really hit his stride on this release. Throughout the course of the album he lays down'nuff ruff beats, tweaked-out sounds, party-rockin' riddims and left-handed
grooves that catch you off-guard and leave you grinnin' with their
imaginative change-ups and subtle trickery. Screw supporting the local
scene, just pick up a copy and get yourself a good album.
FAST FORWARD 2006
This is just a fun little article. I was approached by Fast Forward for a story they were doing where musicians listed the best and worst musical memories of 2006. For brevity I will only include my own responses:
Ricca Razor Sharp
Best: "Personally, releasing my CD on the same night as Planit and the co-operation between Audible Intelligence and his crew, Olive Hour Records, for the show. Some other faves-System of a Down, Cadence Weapon, DisOriental on Saturdays and Abbamania (goodbye street cred)"
Worst: "Some people from the hip hop, punk and indie rock scenes continuing to believe that their exact lifestyle and musical preference is the exclusive definition of legitimacy. Also, my IPod breaking, and buying fake Madonna tickets from a scalper in New York City"
EXCLAIM (4) 2010/2009/2008/2006
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Ricca Razor Sharp & the Equazn Opposites Attract (2010) By Thomas Quinlan As opening track "Oppos...Ricca Razor Sharp & the Equazn
Opposites Attract (2010)
By Thomas Quinlan
As opening track "Opposites Attract" reveals, shaggy rap bum Ricca Razor Sharp and self-employed computer nerd the Equazn (or the EQ) use the common ground of hip-hop to explore their differences with this collaboration. A veteran battle rapper, the EQ can flow, and he proves that with fast raps on "Procrastination" and "Funk The Bank," but he sometimes sounds out of his depth on Mantrakid's mid-'90s-influenced party jams, which could very well make up a Ricca solo album if not for the heavy mic presence of the EQ. However, as much as this is Ricca's show, the EQ does steal the spotlight momentarily for a touching tale of multi-generational immigration over a melancholy new age beat for "Land of Chances," a perfect counterpoint to exciting, energetic songs like "The Anthem," "The Message" and "Break The Mold." It would be great to hear more beats like those latter ones from Mantrakid. And with hardly any downtime among the album's ten tracks, Opposites Attract is the right choice to get a house party started or to act as a hype-builder for those nights out.
Ricca Razor Sharp
Causeways & C-Trains
By Thomas Quinlan
The murky, old school-influenced production provided by Soleo and Mantrakid for Ricca Razor Sharp's sophomore album could find him some serious success on the dance floor, although the aggressive, abrasive mix of synths, guitars and hard drums that make up many of the beats means it's most likely to happen in rap-friendly alt-rock clubs where they're willing to play classic Beastie Boys or Public Enemy. In fact, intro track "Rampage" would be a great blend from the Breeders's "Cannonball." As for RRS, he keeps his lyrics and flow simple, entertaining with his "don't give a fuck" attitude, humorous raps and concepts that include everything from an obvious ode to MILFS ("Funky Moms") to a chance to wax nostalgic for a whole decade ("Do You In The 80's") to an interesting comparison with public transportation on "C-Train Dancefloor." He even gets serious once, cautioning against excess on "You Can Have It." However, if it's aggressive, danceable, rock-influenced rap that you want, you can have it with Ricca Razor Sharp's Causeways & C-Trains. (Neferiu)
From EXCLAIM, in reference to my NXNE set... (2008)
Ricca Razor Sharp
North By Northeast Toronto ON June 11 to 15
By Thomas Quinlan
Placed in the daunting position as the only hip-hop act on an acoustic bill paired with an apathetic audience in attendance just to pick up their wristbands and passes, Calgary rapper Ricca Razor Sharp still gave it his all for a fun set of tunes likely to translate really well for his one a.m. slot at the Boat. This was most evident in his medley of hits like “Groove Is In the Heart” and “Gin & Juice,” assisted by a cute, fun-loving female singer. Ricca’s own hit song “Aya (Spin Your Head Back Round)” was also a party starter that turned a few nearby heads.
Ricca Razor Sharp
12 Steps to a Deffer You
Evolving through rap/metal and funk/hip-hop hybrid bands before going solo, Ricca Razor Sharp debuts his battle-honed mic skills with his 12-track debut, 12 Steps to a Deffer You. Ricca dabbles in the battle raps youï¿½d expect but also delves into humorous punch lines, tales of everyday existence and socially conscious raps. His flow is solid, with an early-90s influence, and is easy to understand whether the beats are slow and minimal or rockin and up-tempo. Mantrakid's production is a mix of old school styles updated for the 21st century and beyond. While the two have a natural chemistry that is evident throughout the album, things don't really become interesting until the Cypress Hill-sounding AYA (Spin Ya Head Back Round) four songs in, which ups the tempo and the energy level. But once Ricca has your attention, he doesn't let go. He flexes his skills and brags for the next two tracks (Keepin' On and Dope MC) and then mellows out with some relationship woes (Call Her Honey), cracks jokes about life (Game of Life, which becomes a recurring theme in the artwork), relates a too-true low-income experience (Safeway Card), riffs off the children's song of the same name for Hokey Pokey, and ends with a couple of meaningful songs (War Against Ignorance and Planet's What You Make It). Before you know it, it's over and you're left wishing for more, but maybe now you're just a little bit deffer.
(Neferiu Productions, www.neferiu.com, email@example.com)
CALGARY SUN (2), 2009/2006
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CALGARY SUN, JUNE 2009 Ricca Razor Sharp could move to Toronto, hit the hottest urban clubs and ...CALGARY SUN, JUNE 2009
Ricca Razor Sharp could move to Toronto, hit the hottest urban clubs and hustle his way into the inner circles of Canadian hip hop's movers and shakers.
But he can't be bothered.
"Hip hop is a grind and there are a lot of young dudes trying to put their tape in your hand and trying to claw their way up from the guys you see at the back of the room to the guys who get up to do open mic to the guys who actually headline," says the 32-year-old Calgary rapper.
"I work hard and I'm down with working hard, but I can't wait in line behind 21-year-old dudes who can act cool in a bar in Toronto.
"I have a label that does a good job. The net is there and I've established myself in Calgary as both an entertainer and personally. I'm not going to move to Toronto just to try to find music opportunities."
It's not that Ricca Razor Sharp doesn't think he has the skills. He's actually very confident in his rhyming ability having started rapping when he was a junior high student in his native Nova Scotia.
But Ricca, who moved here 10 years ago, found his niche in Calgary and says he finds lyrical inspiration on the streets around him.
"I ride public transit and I like to be around Calgary," says Ricca, whose new CD Causeways & C-Trains is available through the B.C./Alberta label Neferiu.
"I could be derivative of somebody else, or I could look for inspiration in my own life and my own city," he says. "I also use east coast slang, which is kind of unique in hip hop. I like to write about a bit of the daily stuff I see around me."
Ricca Razor Sharp performs tonight at the Bamboo with Cam the Wizzard and DragonFli Empire as part of Sled Island.
Calgary Sun, June 26/06
by Mike Bell
Jonathan Stoddart remembers when hip hop was a welcoming sound. As Ricca Razor Sharp, he's hoping to bring it back.
"Rap was a fun genre," Stoddart says, speaking very much in the past tense. "If I was 16 right now there is no chance that I would choose hip hop as the musical genre I would identify with.
"But at the time, in the early '90s, it was fun. And not that they couldn't say something and it didn't have to necessarily be silly-it was serious, but fun...
"Now you've got to dig around to find any kind fo new hip hop that pleases the reason you got into it in the first place."
You don't have to look much further than 12 Steps to a Deffer You, his debut CD under the Ricca Razor Sharp name. The album, which he drops tonight at the Amsterdam Rhino as part of a double release party with fellow-MC Planit, features rhymes, beats and an approach recalling acts such as the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill.
It represents a new focus for the Calgary artist, who laid to rest his hip hop rock band Phattoe in order to follow up what began as a rock guy's hobby of doing freestyle battles.
Still, the rap community welcomed him early and he was brought into the Audible Intelligence crew. One of whom, Mantrakid, expertly produced 12 Steps and is releasing it on his Neferiu label.
Ricca Razor Sharp's 12 Steps To A Deffer You is available by following the Neferiu link at www.riccarazorsharp.com, where you can also watch the locally shot video for the album's first single, New Shoes.
BEATROUTE (4) 2009/2007/2006
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2009-MARCO PRINGLE "When I came to Calgary, I was like, 'I wanna be a rapper,' but in '99 (the Ca...2009-MARCO PRINGLE
"When I came to Calgary, I was like, 'I wanna be a rapper,' but in '99 (the Calgary hip-hop scene) wasn't quite what it is now and I literally didn't have more than a handful of friends."
Calgary emcee Ricca Razor Sharp is explaining how despite wanting to be a rapper, he became involved with a metal band upon his arrival in Calgary from Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. It was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience for Ricca, but eventually, he would return to his original passion, hip-hop. Now, nearly three years after the release of his debut album 12 Steps to a Deffer You, Ricca is set to release his sophomore and best effort to date, Causeways and C-Trains on local hip-hop and electronica label Neferiu.
However, Ricca Razor Sharp's return to hip-hop wasn't easy. The emcee struggled in the local battle circuit, honing his rhyme skills at contests renowned for displays of quick wit and brutal and biting verbal put-downs. Recounting his first battle, he explains, "I didn't even know how to freestyle - I had my verses and they weren't even attack rhymes. I didn't even get the concept, I guess. So, I lost. And rightfully so."
Through hard work and perseverance, Ricca kept improving his placement in each successive battle, eventually battling and besting fellow Calgary rapper the Equazn for 2004 Eliminator title. The humble Nova Scotian was somewhat surprised at the notoriety he gained with the title. "I'd go buy beer at some liquor store in Harvest Hills and there'd be some guy wailing 'Eliminator! I never got Defekt!' (the aforementioned metal band) walking down he street or taking the bus."
Ricca's time in the local battle scene proved crucial not only for improving his flow, but also expanding his circle of acquaintances in the local hip-hop scene. Through Equazn, Ricca became involved in local crew Audible Intelligence and the producers who were most involved with Causeways and C-Trains, Neferiu label owner Mantrakid and Audible Intelligence member Soleo. "Soleo came to me and was like, 'I wanna have something to do with your new album.' So, we started hanging out and really taking the slow methodical approach to it, tweaking ideas. Sometimes, we'd meet a couple times a week, sometimes not for a month."
The album, as alluded to in its title, combines odes to local haunts and his hometown back in Nova Scotia. Songs span a wide range of influences and touch on musical references from the '60s up 'til present day. It was clearly a labour of love and it was also a very collaborative effort. The Lion's Den studios, where the album was recorded, is located in Soleo's mom's basement. Back-up vocals include contributions from Soleo's sister and her friends, as well as members of the Audible Intelligence crew.
Both proud and excited of the upcoming album, Ricca Razor Sharp is most excited about using the album as an excuse to go on tour. "Performing is my favourite thing," states Ricca. "On tour, it's like you go to a city and instead of having to go look for a party, the party finds you."
With the release of his album and upcoming tour, spring has Ricca Razor Sharp feeling optimistic. "Just enough tiny things happen to keep me in the mindset that maybe potentially, one day it might work out."
The Drunken Bachelor and Absentee Father Tour - featuring Ricca Razor Sharp and the Mantrakid - touches down on June 12 at the Palomino. Cover charge includes a copy of Ricca Razor Sharp's latest effort, Causeways and C-Trains.
BeateRoute, August 2009
Ricca Razor Sharp
Causeways and C Trains
“From prairie plains to the ocean/y’all get busy with this dizzy Nova Scotian.” From the opening bars of “Rampage,” the first cut on his sophomore effort Causeways and C-Trains, Calgary-based emcee Ricca Razor Sharp sums up the essence of his new album. An ode to both his place of birth and his current hometown, Ricca Razor Sharp takes us on a fun-filled tour of his favorite hangouts, be it catching a Flames game, watching the scenery along 17th, or the beach and ball fields back home. Though the production is split between the uptempo electro-tinged tracks of Neferiu president Mantrakid, and te boom bap of fellow Audible Intelligence crewmember SoLeo, the album coalesces into a surprisingly tight package, no doubt owing to Ricca’s widespread musical tastes. Writ large throughout the album are shout-outs to various decades from the ‘60s to present day, including the more-infectious-than-it-should be “Do You in the 80s.” With Causeways and C-Trains, the hardworking Ricca Razor Sharp adds another strong album to the list of quality albums expanding Calgary’s spot on the hip-hop map.
BEAT ROUTE-Alberta 2007 Predictions
For some reason the local music press have deemed me panel worthy, and I was included in another one, this one about predictions for 2007. It was a good panel discussion, again for brevity, I will only include the intro and my own responses:
Oh, 2006. You played host to the nail biting Polaris Prize awards. You gave invigorating pep talks to small local outfits, saying that they too can become the next Wolf Parade or Peaches, all without a label. And most importantly, you set the bar of musical potential and an oh-so-high height for 2007.
Music lvoers can only speculate what's in store for Alberta's local scene in 2007, but with our artists being right in the center of tune-flinging battles for recognition, we figured there's no one better suited to gauge just how heated things will get in the upcoming year. Thus, BeatRoute took a fine toothed comb to Calgary and Edmonton and asked some active players to give us the low down on what we can expect in the New Year.
BEATROUTE: What do you thik 2007 holds for local music in Alberta?
RICCA: The stew will continue to to stir. Some long time favorite band will call it quits. Some simi-popular band will step it up to complete awesomeness. Some unknown band will become simi-popular, and somebody will do a kick ass reuninon show. The big question is whether 'on the verge' artists like Lyn Olagundoye, the Villains, and Cadence Weapon have peaked, or will continue to be upwardly mobile. Good luck to all!
BR: What record releases are you most anticipating?
RICCA: EquAzn (hip hop). EQ is my friend and labelmate on Neferiu Records. Also Impirical (hip hop) and Special Agent Johnson (rock), which is the new band created from my former bandmates in Phattoe. And even though local mega-metal heads Divinity are not my sound exactly, i happen to know that they have been very hard at work on a new album, and i fully expect it to catapult them into the sphere of insane popularity on their scene.
BR: What Trends in Music do you hope get left behind from 2006?
RICCA: I would like bubble gum punk and 97% of monotonous R&B to get married and move far, far away and never mate. Also, I would like for people to stop thinking that they're the only ones who know what 'good' or 'legitamite' music/lifestyles are. Is that contradictory?
BR: What do you think 2007 holds for the venues that feature live local music in Calgary?
RICCA:Loud music. Sweaty folks. Insane fashion. People in jeans and t-shirts second guessing said fashion. More and more mid to upper level talent adding Calgary to their tours. Maybe some more multi-genre shows, and a prevailing attitude that it's okay.
BR: What shifts do you see occuring in local music as a reslut of the internet?
RICCA: Some local band taking out a full page ad in BeatRoute to announce that they are the city's first band to reach one million Myspace friends.
BEAT ROUTE -I Heart Alberta Rap
Trapped between two Canadian cultural hubs, Toronto and Vancouver, Alberta stands alone in the face of an industry that refuses to recognize the talent that exists here. From the veterans of the scene to the up and comers, hip hop in Alberta has always had a unique and creative flavour true to the environment, and reflective of the issues that affect us.
Two long term local artists, Mantrakid and Ricca Razor Sharp of the locally owned and operated Neferiu camp, have taken it upon themselves to unite the prominent hip hop artists in this province under one roof. It is these two men’s hope that they will provide fans of hip hop music with a better understanding of the level of talent that exists right here at home in Alberta. The ‘I Love Alberta Hip Hop’ festival takes place in September, showcasing the many different styles from Edmonton to Lethbridge in a series of shows in one city, for one weekend.
“Not only am I organizing and performing, but I’m genuinely excited to see all the performers on the bill, especially all in the same place. That’s never been done before,” says the Calgary MC Battle champ and promoter Ricca Razor Sharp.
Alberta might be the underdog, but it is undeniably a force to be reckoned with. Hip hop lives here, it’s just hard to find sometimes, and it’s festivals like this that help make it more accessible to a wider audience. Guests will also receive a limited edition compilation album with the purchase of their ticket, featuring tracks from all the different artists performing.
Although the scene often feels segregated between cities, there are many people dedicated to the music and the culture here, who consistently make sacrifices in the name of a shared passion; hip hop. The scene here is one big family where the need to stick together and unify is greater than anywhere else in this country.
Edmonton’s very own Politic Live, who has received national airtime on MuchMusic and critical acclaim for their debut and sophomore albums, will be performing at this event. Groups like this are taking positive steps in the name of this province, and helping to gain the respect and credit they deserve on a national basis. Other performing artists include Dragon Fli Empire, Lexington & Whatevksi, Touch And Nato, Intricate Minds, King Dylan, Boom Bap Baboons, Impirical, Mantrakid, Ricca Razor Sharp, King Jamez & Tarren, Emcee E, Lyric One, and Deezuz.
“Instead of just another show, let’s make it mega, and call it a festival!” says Mantrakid, owner of Neferiu.
It’s mega alright, and for a few nights only everyone can forget about all the things they think hip hop should be, and just enjoy it for what is. Positive, powerful, and a good fucking reason to get your party on.
BEAT ROUTE-June 06
Ricca Razor Sharp-12 Steps to a Deffer you
By Lindsey McBride
Getting Ready to sit down with local rapper Ricca Razorsharp was like dragging those sharp little razors across my wrists, ridiculous and boring. I made the mistake of picking a real ‘workin’ man’s bar to have our sit-down. Five minutes in and someone mentioned how ‘there ain’t no good strip bars in Calgary.” Immediately regretting my decision to wear fishnets, Ricca strolls in and I am no longer the coolest person in the whole dive.
He was far less intimidating than I expected. Rap really ain’t my bag, baby, mostly because I’m the type of lame, suburban white girl who classifies it as ‘good Will Smith’ or ‘bad Will Smith’.
After a few minutes with Ricca I learn there’s more to it than bowel-quaking beats, scantily –clad women and gun violence.
“If I were to have a dark persona, it would be obvious bullshit,” he tells me. And it would be.
If 50 Cent were to meet this Nova Scotian in a club (I doubt they’d frequent the same joins, anyway) Ricca, a.k.a. Jonathan Stoddart, would probably keep his eyes fixed square on the floor. He’s not completely non-threatening however; he’s got a rock streak that could make Avril Lavigne quake in her Dickies. He explains to me that his favorite part of a song is the ‘Ugh!’
“It when the music goes from here (hand kinda low) to HERE(hand shoots straight up). Boom!”
He ain’t lyin, The ‘ugh’ is pretty sweet. The ‘Grr’ is good too, though.
He got a taste for the ‘ugh’ while fronting local funk-hop band Phattoe for close to seven years.
“There are certain things I miss (about the band,” he says. “I always felt that Phattoe was the best band no one heard of.”
He assures me that the breakup was not necessarily because he’s a dick, as his lyrics so eloquently state, but “because it became too difficult to coordinate everything among four people.” On the bright side, the breakup gave him the kick in the ass, and the time, needed to concentrate on his debut solo album, “12 Steps to a Deffer You.”
Released on Neferiu Records, 12 Step may make Ricca and producer Mantrakid the best hip-hop team since the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“We sort of eased into the union, it seemed natural,” Ricca says. “We really trusted each other’s instincts, and it was a collaborative effort.”
Mantrakid’s millow, bob-inducing beats perfectly compliment Ricca’s unconventional lyrics. Ricca raps about (or pokes fun at) weed, pop-culture, cheese (he LOVES the cheese, people), politics and your everyday Joe problems (“and I forgot my Safeway card”), poking fun at himself throughout. It’s this ‘grain of salt’ type of attitude that he thinks makes the Calgary hip hop scene so entertaining.
“Crowds want only this, or only that,” he says. “Not in our corner of the hip hop scene.” He explains how, for the most part, Calgary’s scene is supportive and encouraging, unlike the competitive feel of some larger cities.
“(Commercial) rap has become shitty. Here, we really support each other and the creative juices flow.”
I chug the last of beer number one. “What’s with the name,” I ask. Ricca Razorsharp?
“Ricca was just something people called me as a kid,” he says. “Then one day we were hanging out and (fellow musician DJ Jet Leg) was like ‘Ricca! Ricca Razorsharp!’ It kinda stuck. Then I was listening to Wu-Tang a while ago, and Rza was like ‘Rza Razorsharp’. So I’m like ‘is that where he got it from?’ So it might be stolen.”
Oops. Not quite as refreshing.
I nurse my beer and ask him what the favorite line he’s ever written is. He gives me a little disclaimer (“I’m not a sex perv”) and dives right in; “I take a magic marker/between your girl’s thighs/write 3.141/and aim for the pi(e).” He explains how “some math inclined person is going to think it’s hilarious.” And I feel like a nerd because I’m already laughing. I then add to the nerdom by whipping out an inkblot I found earlier. It’s obviously a naked lady, but I ask him to tell me what he sees.
“Two Trojan people facing off, wearing headdresses.”
‘Sex perv’ he is not, as he can’t even identify a naked woman. Probably because he’s never made a video with ten of them in the background.
The 12 Steps to a Deffer You release party is being held on Friday June 23 at the Amsterdam Rhino (formerly Brew Bros.) with DJ Planet, Audible Intelligence & Overit, and DJ Jet Leg).
WHO: Ricca Razor Sharp
WHEN: Friday, June 23
WHERE: Amsterdam Rhino
24-MARITIMER HAS RAZOR'S EDGE-Dec 09
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Everybody says I've got this accent, it's a gift...why invent a concept when you're bestowed one?" T...Everybody says I've got this accent, it's a gift...why invent a concept when you're bestowed one?" That, in a nutshell, is Calgary-by-way-of-Nova-Scotia hip hop artst and MC Ricca Razor Sharp.
Born and raised in the rural confines of Clark's Harbour N.S., on a steady diet of late '80s and early '90s hip hop and rock the East Coast transplant has slowly but surely created a name and a niche for himself in his adopted hometown.
On his sophomore release, Causeways & C-Trains, Ricca rhymes in his East Coast twang about everything from partying on 17th Avenue (Avenue) to the current turmoil around the world (Rampage and Dance to the New Drum). It seethes with a positive energy, never talking smack and never falling into the diss track rap cliche. The combination of east meets west seems to be working. >The old fish out of water, Fresh Prince of Bel Air story is winning over audiences around the province and across the country. According to the MC, it's pretty simple formula.
"Everybody knows a dis-placed Maritimer. You just write what you know about. Just by default (my style) became what it is and people like it."
LIke so many displaced Maritimers out west, Ricca Razor Sharp's work ethic is sizable. After dropping his record this summer and touring coast to coast, he's also released three videos, including his latest, Do You in the 80s, a fun romp through the decade by budding director Colin Hart.
And he's not done there. As we stare down a new year and a new decade, the MC is looking at new possibilities.
"They're tons of cross-genre collaborations going on. That's what's shaking up the snow globe of music. I'm not going to worry about what's hip hop or not, I'm just looking at cross genres and wondering what's possible."
GUANTLET-Ricca's On the Razor's Sharp Edge-March 2010
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Ricca Razor Sharp's Causeways and C-Trains release this summer brought a new voice into a budding hi...Ricca Razor Sharp's Causeways and C-Trains release this summer brought a new voice into a budding hip-hop scene in need of another powerful local MC.
Ricca, whose labelmate on Neferiu Records is Calgary-based art-rapper Mantrakid, is an immigrant to the city. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, he finished school at Acadia University and found himself heading to Calgary for work.
"[It was] just random," says Ricca. "I finished university and didn't have enough money to do much, but I got a job at Jasper Park Lodge. Just like, come out here, check out the country, check out Alberta, it seemed like a cool place -- figured I'd stay here a year. That was 10 years ago, so it's home now."
Working with DJ Soleo on Causeways, Ricca found a partner-in-crime in the recording process. Unlike the typical recording sessions -- where producers are paid by the hour and artists try to finish the ordeal as fast as possible -- working with Soleo allowed for sidetracks and diversions. It was a slow-cooker of a process, one that helped Ricca release a better final product.
"We took our time and really thought 'let's stew on this a week and come back next week and do it again,' " says DJ Soleo.
"Me and [Soleo] had a lot of discussions, got sidetracked and listen to some old tunes and get into an hour-long discussion about what we liked about 1993," adds Ricca. "Just things that wouldn't have happened if I was paying by-the-hour with a stranger."
Soleo explains that the album is a connection process between his birth home and adopted home. This connection is found not only in the album, but in Ricca's biography as well, best seen with the emblematic photo of Ricca sitting on a C-train in his Nova Scotia baseball jersey with an ad for his album in the background, which features him in a Calgary Flames jersey.
"That goes with Causeways and C-Trains," says Ricca. "A causeway is a thing back in Nova Scotia that connected my hometown to the mainland. The C-train is Calgary, so the album is dedicated to both towns."
"That poster summed it up nicely," adds Soleo. "The album is a tribute to, I see it, both places. He lives in Calgary now, but he definitely had his roots in his hometown as well."
During one of Ricca's first cross-country tours in support of Causeways, he paid particular attention to the east coast. Returning home to Nova Scotia, with Mantrakid in tow, he was given a warm welcome by friends and family alike.
"[Mantrakid] had a two month-old kid, he couldn't do it when his baby was old enough to know the difference," says Ricca. "It was a good tour, a fun time, I got to take those guys to the East, show them my home."
During the tour, they realized how small but fiercely loyal the Canadian hip-hop crew is. Ricca was able to put faces to the names of numerous forum posters, gaining perspective on the small but powerful community.
"Once you get out and about in the hip-hop scene in Canada, you realize that the dude breakdancing is such-and-such a name on the chatboards, and the guy from this city is the friend of a guy we met yesterday in another city," says Ricca.
Not only that, but during the tour he managed to find himself in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, home of Sydney Crosby in the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Penguins win over Detroit in the Stanley Cup finals. A huge hockey fan -- he wore a Calgary Flames wristband during the interview -- he waxed about how huge the win must have been for the community.
"We were in Calgary the Friday that the Penguins won the cup," says Ricca. "We flew to Nova Scotia the next day and the very next night we were in Cole Harbour. Driving down the street in Cole Harbour and all the signs in the window say 'Congrats Sydney' or 'Go Pens Go.' . . . It's not the biggest place in the world -- it's like Airdrie would be to Halifax's Calgary -- so obviously with Sydney Crosby winning the cup everyone is on board with that. It's not as good as the Flames, but it's the next best thing."
MISC. (Calgary Herald/Sled Island/Urbnet/Coast Guard, Etc.
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Vex Magazine-July/Aug 06 by David Berrade The bar is near empty when Jonathan Stoddart shows up....Vex Magazine-July/Aug 06
by David Berrade
The bar is near empty when Jonathan Stoddart shows up. Immediately, I’m aware of his resemblance to Hunter S. Thompson. Maybe it’s his sunglasses; maybe it’s the beer I’ve already consumed. We’re at Amsterdam Rhino, a convenient downtown location that also hosted the CD release party for Jonathan’s alter ego, Ricca Razor Sharp. The album, 12 Steps to a Deffer You, is his first ever solo effort.
We are both nursing our beers when our third party shows up. Nate Schmold, aka Mantra Kid, owns and operates the Calgary based Neferiu label. It has become glaringly obvious that I have the uncoolest name between the three of us.
Ricca and Mantra Kid have known each other for two years. The former gained notoriety for his adeptness on the mike, the latter for the electronic creations crafted on the computer. Together, they make music. Both artists do agree on one thing; the need for a common philosophy, which leads to a mutual understanding. Ricca, who says the early 90s music was easy to get into, and a time when fans “wanted to hear what people said,” is hoping his album is a reflection of that era.
Arriving in Calgary in 1999, it wasn’t long after that Ricca helped comprise the alternative metal band Phattoe. The band enjoyed modest success in Canada but before his official departure in November of 2005, Ricca had already begun exploring rap as a primary music route. His talent was evidenced by winning Eliminator 2004, an MC Battle competition with a style now made famous by the movie “8 Mile”. Ricca attributes the actual completion of his hip –hop solo project to his friend and peer, Mantra Kid, stating that, “without Nate, I’m just another guy rapping in the shower.”
Concentrating predominantly in the electronic music industry, Mantra Kid has produced albums on three different continents and finds this experience to be useful in the hip hop genre. Apart from being the more business-minded of the two, Mantra Kid creates the majority of beats and loops used by Ricca (amongst various other local M.C.s) on his album. I didn’t even know you could do that on a computer. At only 25 years of age he has accomplished a lot, but still has a greater vision for his Neferiu Records, which started out as purely a design company. The design aspect is still the money maker, but Mantra Kid hopes the music production and promotion will eventually sustain the company. Still, he is not without praise for his counterpart, crediting Ricca as not only a great MC, but as an influence into his own dabblings on the mike. Mantra Kid, who also does vocals, has postponed the release of his own album to Fall 2006 so as not to conflict with the promotion of Ricca’s 12 Steps CD.
There is an obvious respect regarding the other’s propensity to excel in his forte. Mantra Kid says the kinship they’ve built also gives them the confidence to sometimes “tell each other they suck,” but also adds, “they don’t have to do it often.” Ironically, on and individual level, they are extremely humble about their own abilities. I tell them I can play the kazoo. They are unimpressed.
Noticing my near empty beer glass in the reflection of Ricca’s oversized glasses, I feel the interview is coming to an end. No beer in hand means the uncomfortable necessity to fidget. And with two humble musicians and a starving writer the only three present at the table, I don’t foresee an endless flow of brew this afternoon. Not on our salaries.
Catch the sleek vocals of Ricca Razor Sharp at www.myspace.com/riccarazorsharp
From the land of the Hart Family Dungeon and the Calgary Flames comes Ricca Razor Sharp, who also goes by the government name Jonathan Stoddart. Stoddart owns 50% of Neferiu Records, which not coincidentally is the label releasing his album "Causeways & C-Trains." Skeptics among the readership will have already written Ricca off at this point, but those who know about the Canadian rap scene realize many of its best artists are self-produced or distributed. In Ricca's case only the latter is true as he has called in outside artists to put his album together musically - Calgary's own SoLeo and Vancouver Island's producer du jour Mantrakid. In a sense this could be considered to be an all-star underground Canadian collaboration, especially given that Ricca may be Calgary by association but originally hails from Clarks Harbour, Nova Scotia.
Despite that entirely Canadian lineup, Ricca Razor Sharp doesn't have any of the frozen tundra stereotypes of a ruggedly independent self-distributed rapper from the Great White North. In fact if you were given "Causeways & C-Trains" without a press kit or any background on the man behind it, you might think Ricca was a California suburbanite who alternates between hanging out with Asher Roth, the Kottonmouth Kings and Linkin Park. That's not meant as a knock. While each of those artists has their fans and their detractors, the one thing they've all got in common is a cult following and some degree of commercial success. Ricca would have no problem opening for any of these artists on tour or appealing to their same fanbase, as he has a serious lyrical presentation clearly informed by a middle class lifestyle. When rappers try to be apologetic about that background they undermine the validity of their very presentation, and Ricca makes no apologies for his white boy sound or Canadian heritage on "Rampage":
"Here it is fresh frozen?Guerilla webcam, causing a commotion?From the prairie plains to the ocean?Y'all get busy with this dizzy Nova Scotian?Now a Maritime ex-pat'?Calgary, Alberta you can check that?I've been in the Wild Rose son?since the year of the Y2K, minus one?In the meantime, rocked mad crews?Made mad moves and I paid mad dues?...?Put work on the underground scene?Which means, there ain't a whole lot I never seen?I'm not seen on the cover of magazines?But people on the scene steady recognizin me"
Incidentally Wild Rose is a microbrewery in Calgary that describes their product as "the wildest microbrewed beer around." Wild would be a pretty apt description of Ricca Razor as well, an artist who is never soft spoken or lacking ego about his abilities. When he cranks up his flow to the maximum on "Dassay" he proves he can hang with the speediest and most loquacious of lyricists:
"Well my lyrical agility thrills your sensibilities?Tranquility is killed by my lyrical artillery?My TNT combined with ability kills, so why you grillin me??You know your rhymes ain't worth a hill of beans?Silly me, it's a matter of moxie?I'm foxy, another rapper can't stop me?Props G, you buy my disc at a swap meet?or flea market, K*Mart or Target or Zellers?I'm fatter than a portabella"
No matter how white and American he might seem to be on a surface listen, Ricca's cultural references like Zellers keep him firmly planted on Canadian soil. That's fine because the local audience he plays to will appreciate the references, while the larger audience he's aiming for with "Causeways & C-Trains" won't notice them or won't mind. That audience is going to be largely rap rock, as the best of his songs are heavy on guitars and drums as opposed to R&B and funk, and again this suits Ricca perfectly. Exceptions include "Raise Ya Glass Up" featuring SoLeo with an echoing spaced out instrumental suitable for Saafir or Ras Kass, "Where You Came From" featuring The EquAzn with a throwback Bomb Squad style backdrop and the understated electronics of "You Can Have It" that sound like a parody of Lonely Island.
Nearing the end of "Causeways & C-Trains," the title track of the album comes in and sums up Ricca's style nicely by funking up the guitar backdrop and linking his verses together with solo riffs. "Back in Calgary you must understand/the train's packed up like a sardine can/with the wonderful, wild and the weird on board/'til the day that I leave and I go on tour." That's Ricca Razor for you - wild and a little bit weird but with an album that's definitely packed tight with entertainment. Not every listener will be down with an album that borders on being Canada's version of frat rock hip-hop, but for the open-minded rap listener or those who are already a fan of this fusion style, "Causeways & C-Trains" will be right up your alley - or should I say right down your bridge.
Click this link to check out a profile on Examiner.com
Taken from the Sled Island Festival Guidebook:
Ricca the lyrical killer brings verbal devastation to any show that he rocks. From his love of fresh kicks to buying groceries or the Quebec referendum, no topic is safe from his verbal assault. Quick witted raps and beats that snap are delivered with a rawness and passion reminiscent of early 90's gangster rap. But fear not, as Ricca would much rather party with you than be frontin' on some beef. Word!
It's easy to be proud of the local hip-hop of Ricca Razor Sharp. The pushing of needless posturing to the side allows for his hyperactive, witty and honest rhymes to be pushed up to the front where they belong. With fellow Audible Intelligence hip hop crew member DJ Jetleg laying back in the cut, this one's guaranteed to be tighter than a nun's...
The Coast Guard-July 4/06
Clark’s Harbour native Jonathan Stoddart, AKA “Ricca Razor Sharp” is set to release his debut hip hop album ’12 Steps to a Deffer You,’ with a party at District 34 in Barrington Passage this Friday night.
Stoddart, who moved to Calgary in 1999, started his musical career as a vocalist for a heavy metal rap band called defEKt who disbanded in 2002.
That same year, Stoddart become a founding member of a new band, Phattoe, which combined rock with rap and funk, releasing two albums.
After Phattoe disbanded in 2005, Stoddart decided to focus on hip hop music. His solo debut album was completed in the spring of this year, and has met with critical praise from many on the Calgary music publication scene.
For Stoddart, being from rural Canada has not been a stumbling block in pursuing his musical career.
“I think it’s actually been an advantage to be from somewhere that is not so urban,” said Stoddart. “So many rap artists today are trying to all sound the same and trying to copy each other’s slang. Rappers from Toronto try to sound like they’re from New York, but there aren’t too many people trying to sound like they’re from Clarks Harbour. One of the songs on the new album is called Aya. Instead of calling it ‘yeah’ or ‘Oh Yes’ I figured why not call it Aya.
Although Stoddart has played more than 200 shows in every province in Canada except Newfoundland and PEI throughout his career, coming home to perform is a tough act. .
“Playing in Barrington is the hardest, just because you know that everybody knows you, and have always known you, and knows your parents and everything about you,” says Stoddart.
As for the lyrical content off his debut CD, “The front of my album says agest 16 and up, because there are a few choice words here and there and some party themes, but nothing too out of hand,” said Stoddart. “If reflects my point of view, I’m not trying to be somebody that I’m not.”
From BLOG TO in reference to my NXNE set...
The NXNE music festival wrapped up last Sunday, and I'm still trying to recuperate from the intense three days I spent jumping from venue to venue, taking in an eclectic mix of shows.
Overall my experience this year at NXNE was memorable. From Monotonix (who gave the craziest in-store performance at Sonic Boom) to Ricca Razor Sharp (who rapped his funny lyrics, full of energy, to a handful of people at The Boat like they were hundreds), NXNE seems to get better every year.
From URBNET (Thomas Quinlan)
Thursday, June 12, 2008
For the first time in more than a decade of attending the festival, I finally took in one of the daytime performances held at the conference center. Knowing I wouldn't be able to make the 1 a.m. set for Calgary's Ricca Razor Sharp at The Boat, I figured the next best thing would be to check him out at his special afternoon set on the Galaxie Acoustic Stage. That it also happened to be where I would pick up my passes was just an added bonus. A few rows of seats were set up with only a handful of people actually watching. A few others were sitting nearby in big comfy chairs reading Now Magazine and the NXNE calendar. Not the most receptive audience. I'm sure it was also a little weird being the only hip hop act on an acoustic bill. Still, Ricca gave it his best, busting through a little over half an hour of songs from his debut album, a couple of new ones, and a medley of rap covers featuring a sweet guest songstress on the hooks. It was a highlight of the set and likely went over really well later that night in front of a drunk crowd in the mood to party at The Boat. Another highlight was one of my personal faves, his mid-set banger “Aya (Spin Your Head Back Round).” That was it. My lunch was over, so back to work .
From CALGARY HERALD (on my Sled Island Festival Performance)
Ricca Razor Sharp and DJ Jetleg followed by Dragon Fli Empire (The Palamino, 11:30 p.m.) — Ricca Razor Sharp was obnoxious and snotty, with a sharp, witty tongue. Dragon Fli came across more like an average joe, almost nerdy, in fact. But man, are his raps catchy. Fun shows both.
(Ricca's Note: I'm a nice guy, really, LOL. But I did have a hell of a cold that week, so I was indeed 'snotty')
Introduce yourself, your crew and affiliations…
?My name is Jonathan Stoddart, AKA Ricca Razor Sharp from the Audible Intelligence Crew based in Calgary. I represent Audible Intelligence, but in a larger sense, I represent the Calgary music scene, of which I have been a part of for 10 years, in various capacities.
You’re 50% owner/operator of Neferiu Records, how did the label come about and what kind of artists are on it?
?In fact, I am Vice President of Neferiu Records, but it really belongs to Mantrakid. He is the creator, graphic artist, visionary and primary talent scout, and has been working at it for about a decade. When Mantrakid produced my first album, 12 Steps to a Deffer You (2006) I became involved in promotions, and found myself in somewhat of a ‘Right-hand-man’ position, which Mantrakid eventually rewarded by bestowing upon me the title of ‘Vice-President’.? ?
Does the label work ever get in the way of making music?
?I have been able to manage both. In actuality, Nate (Mantrakid) does more label work than I do, although I have spent considerable time assisting him. In effect, I think it has been beneficial to me as a musician, kind of like getting a college education on the music business, or an internship so to speak. Being a part of the label has expanded my?knowledge and scope, and in turn, led to better perspectives in my rhymes. And, to be fair, a lot of the work I have done for the label has been in support of my own albums, so I have been helping myself. Being the VP tends to ensure that you remain a label priority, so I am grateful for that.?
Do you have any future plans for the label? If so, what would they be?
?A big part of what Neferiu focuses on are the free download series. There are a lot of quality albums available from neferiu.com absolutely free. By putting out innovative projects from the likes of Planit, Metawon and many others, we have been able to draw a lot of traffic and positive attention to the label, which in turn opens doors to our entire roster. It’s a work in progress and an evolving vision, but the Mantrakid and I are always putting our heads together and continuing to work the angles. I think that Neferiu Records is definitely more well known now than it was several?years ago, and we do intend to capitalize on that. Ultimately, Neferiu follows the creative vision of Mantrakid, who likes material that is slightly alternative or experimental in nature.? ?
Ricca Razor Sharp
Your new album is called Causeways and C-trains, what are you referencing? What’s the album about?
?I grew up in a place called Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. It was connected to the mainland by a causeway, which is essentially like a bridge, except it is affixed to the ocean floor. The C-Train is an obvious reference to Calgary’s public transit, which has been a part of my life since arriving in Calgary in 1999. The album is in part a contrast between?small town life and the big city. In addition it is about girls, parties, choices, fads, the future, and of course, hip hop. I also tried to reference different decades, and have material on here that borrows from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today. I would like to think that the album is entertaining and witty without being dumb and intelligent in the right places. And the beats are fat, thanks to the production of SoLeo and the Mantrakid.?
Which is the doper rap scene, Alberta or Nova Scotia?
?My 22 years in Nova Scotia were mostly spent in more rural areas, so my hip hop experiences there consisted of bumping Ice Cube out of my parents’ Jetta, and getting crazy to Funkdoobiest at high school dances. Halifax has a great scene, and was early on board as hip hop started making inroads in Canada, but I only experienced it in bits and pieces. Obviously Alberta has a great deal of talented artists and enthusiastic supporters as well. I think that in 2009, wherever you go, there are going to be hip hop circles adding and thriving, and others who are contributing close mindedness and wackness, so geography is only one factor. Peace out to all of those doing their thing in Canada, and the world.? ?
What made you want to pick up a mic, write rhymes on a page or otherwise keep it real as a rapper?
?I just really liked the music. In the early 90s, when I was in junior high, it was the new thing, and I really liked it, from a point of view of the potential for expression, but also just the rhythmatic possibilities of the spoken word over dope beats. After just so many thousand hours of admiring the rhymes of others, I got the idea that maybe I could try myself. In short, it was some combination of Rap City, the Fu-Schnickens, cassette mixtapes, Master T & Roxy, Public Enemy, and a Radio Shack karaoke machine. It wasn’t so much one MC, as it was just getting inspired by the arrival of something relevant and new (at least new to me). Anybody who remembers Michael Williams hosting Rap City knows what I’m talking about.?
Do you ever see rapping as a viable career path?
?I did at one point, but it was way outside of my reality. Ironically, the?more I achieve, the less I fiend for the success that once guided me.?Don’t get me wrong, I still have aspirations, but the star struck sense?that career success was going to provide me some kind of happiness in life?has faded somewhat. I just try to work my musical career into my life as a?32 year old well adjusted human being. At this point, if I am able to do?what I want creatively with the respect of my peers, and some help from?the industry, that would be considered success. I suppose I could get?rich, stranger things have happened, but supplementary income is probably?a more realistic goal at this point, and I’m cool with that. I would like?to think that I could still be rapping at 55, and putting out material?that is relevant to somebody. It’s not like I’m going to forget how to?rap, or stop wanting to speak on the changing world around me. That is? more important than a gold chain to me.??
Shout outs/hidden knowledge?
Be yourself, and walk the line. As hip hop heads, it is our job to call?out bullshit when we see it. On the other hand, obsessing about the?actions of others is child’s play, and I’m an adult. Don’t waste your time?picking apart every detail, or artist who might not have the historical?knowledge you have. Unless you lived in New York in the 70s, you didn’t?have anything to do with the invention of hip hop, so just do you. We’re?all in this together.?
Special shout outs to Mantrakid, and SoLeo, who put countless hours into?my new album. EquAzn, Iron Lion, King Lou, DJ Jetleg, Wyzaker, Rynocuts,?Stillz, and all the Audible massive. Props to Cole Binder who accompanied?the Mantrakid and I on tour as our videographer. Big ups to all Calgary?MCs, as well as the B-Boy/B-Girl scene, and all doing their thing on the?DJ and promotions tip. Big ups to the hip-hop scene, as a whole, and also?those from the rock scene who have continued to support me, after my days?in defEKt and Phattoe. Props to JustBen, working it on the East Coast.?Peace to my boys in Ripcase, and to all of those in the world who know?right from wrong. Everybody doing their thing, keep on keeping on.
WILDSTYLE WEDNESDAY MAILOUT, June 2009
Tonight we are bringing Western Canada’s hip hop game together. From Vancouver to Calgary to our homegrown talent, we’ve got a soundboard array about to bombard Wildstyle Wednesdays. With Nesfariu record company owner/producer Matrakid and Calgary’s freestyle champion Ricca Razor Sharp alongside Wildstyle’s own Locution Revolution, this night is gonna be bangers and mash. Wildstyle Wednesdays…TONIGHT. Because there is no imitation.
Jonathan Stoddart is 32 years young and when he’s not duking it out on the Calgary rap battle scene he’s collaborating with Matrakid. He first got caught up in the rap game with Dr. Dre beats circa 94, spitting on a karaoke machine that he’d either rap along with the lyrics or compliment the beat with his own versions. “I was into rap music for 10 years before I started performing. Cadence and flow was something I studied a lot.” In 1999 a DJ at a bar in Ricca’s university town let him do a couple of songs. There was no turning back after that point. He moved to Alberta from the east coast and moved up the rap ladder earning his lyrical respect in Stampede city. His influences are in due part to a the rock scene and include a great many talents from Nirvana to Sublime, Franz Ferdinand to AC/DC. In his song “Dance to the New Drum” he takes an electro synth beat a la Nine Inch Nails mode and converts the feeling of the 60s era hippies and slices it into his lyrics. “In the 1960s there were a lot of things that were relevant to the things going on then, the music and the time match now. I wanted to write something about now. Now is a period of big change.”
Jonathan who is also part of a group “Audible Intelligence” has noticed a positive increase in the way hip hoppers are marketing themselves now a days. “People are touring and getting videos together” which is “taking it to the place where they have gotten their shit together so to speak.” The ‘Drunken Bachelor & Absentee Father Tour’, a coined slogan courtesy of his producer’s (Mantrakid) wife, goes coast to coast with the majority of the focus being on Alberta, B.C. and Nova Scotia, Riccas’ home province. It ends with a final performance at North by North East (the rival to SXSW) in Toronto where they two hopefully can capture enough attention to continue what Nathan Schmold also known as Mantrakid, President of Neferiu (Na-fair-ee-oh) Records hopes to continue with his label so that it may “self sustain itself financially; be a self sustaining family.”
Nathan who is a 28 year old web designer, got his music start on his Grandma’s Casio keyboard back in the day just fooling around. Later came an entrancement by the rave movement that took the world by storm in the late 90s. While going to raves, he saw “people flying in from London and Germany and performing live. It clicked that people are actually doing this. [I] started getting a bit more passionate about doing it” and he caught the bug to which there is seemingly no cure for.
Nathan uses a free, almost unheard of program to create his beats called “Renoise” that he swears is “much more powerful” than its competitors. “It overcomes the limitations the other programs have. It’s all encompassing and it’s cheap.” But his favourite instrument isn’t even one he can create with his lab essential lap top. The amazement in the human voice and its ranges of noises that it can produce is Mantrakids favourite “instrument” and that is where Ricca comes in.
The two work closely together after a rough draft of a beat is produced. Mantrakid comments that the “beat comes first, vocals come after. Grows from that point. Get other MCs involved, get other instruments involved. Then it grows from there in all sorts of directions.” And a finished product is finalized beyond what either of them could have imagined. “People are really good, whether they are from Calgary or Edmonton,” Jonathan offers. “Western Canada's [music] is as good as it is coming from anywhere.” Considering all the varying artists underneath our maple flag compared to the US with a population 10 times ours, and honestly Mantrakid comments that “the quality is the same as it is all over the world. People (in Canada) just have government grants” which allows an opportunity that US citizens don’t have.
See ya tonight cool cats.
Love + Peace
The WSW Crew
Ricca Razor Sharp takes the stage with his excellent hip-hop/funk/hybrid live band, the Blades of Steel. The talented team of veteran musicians, (guitar/bass/drums/keys) combine with stellar electronic production to create a genre bending party that rocks dancefloors with their blend of original songs, freestyle crowd pleasers and cover medleys.
Those who have witnessed the Ricca Razor Sharp show have commented on his stage presence (exciting, comfortable), his freestyles (which often involve current events and address specific members of the crowd) and his enunciation ("he is one of the only rappers that you can actually tell what he is saying.")
Yet another comment that Ricca Razor Sharp has often heard is, "I don't usually like rap, but I like your stuff."
|Aug 10, 2013 Saturday||12:00 PM||Mud Hero Festival||CA|
|Blades of Steel rock the stage at the Mud Hero Festival on August 10 and 11th!|