Citizen Kane
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Citizen Kane

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Get ready for a hip-hop explosion.

JEFF DUKE, one third of the Scarborough rap trio CITIZEN KANE, predicts that the nation will soon be buggin' to the sweet sounds of old school rap and new talent once the word gets out.

"We're like a time bomb," says Duke, a.k.a. SWINGER SPADE. "Nobody's going to be able to hold us back."

The 26-year-old Duke, who co-founded Citizen Kane with boyhood pals ADRIAN (AJE) PERRY and ROB (BLOW) PARIS, isn't necessarily talking about his own band leading the breakthrough. Citing a recent gig at Toronto's Shok Club that he claims drew 10,000 hip-hop enthusiasts, Duke points to the diversity of talents perfecting the verbal nectar of rhythm-punctuated street poetry as the key that will eventually unlock the door to success.

"Groups in Toronto are beginning to get their props," explains Duke. "The U.S. rap scene has been fairly stagnant. The rappers talk about sex and violence, and it's getting stale. Canada has a fresh approach that features more consciousness, and focuses in on the mentality."

Naming such outfits as Vancouver's RASCALZ, Toronto's SIXTH SENSE and Juno-award winners SAUKRATES and CHOCLAIR as leaders of Canadian rap's brave new frontier, Duke is hoping to capitalize on an internationally lucrative path first cleared by Toronto rappers MAESTRO FRESH WES, SNOW and DREAM WARRIORS.

Duke is convinced that Rap Essentials Volume One, a compilation issued by Toronto hip-hop label Beat Factory and featuring Citizen Kane and seven of the eight acts appearing at Inner City on Saturday night, is a good start.

"The Rap Essentials Volume One is highly regarded and highly respected everywhere," he says. "Even the music industry in the States is shocked at the amount of unique talent north of the border. There's so much happening in Toronto and outside Toronto, that it's just a matter of time."

Duke also credits the influence MuchMusic and some of its hip-hop-oriented programs for keeping the rap fires burning.

"MuchMusic, and especially their programs Rap City and Electric Circus, are letting people know what's out there," says Duke, whose outfit makes its first visit to Kitchener Saturday night.

"They're an important voice."

As for Citizen Kane's voice, the jazz-spiced contribution the trio makes on Rap Essentials Volume One called "Structure, Foundation" suggests a philosophy that uses truth and experience as its chief weapons.

"There's a lot of corruption around," says Duke. "We bring you reality or truth. We pose the questions. You draw your own conclusions."

Even "Raising Kane" -- the group's upcoming single currently being recorded for distribution on its own Treehouse Records label -- has an autobiographical touch.

"It's about raising yourself above the turmoil and becoming more than your environment," Duke explains. "I grew up in a tough neighbourhood where there was a lot of drug trafficking and armed robberies. So you either became a drug trafficker or a stick-up man. This is to show people that those two options aren't the only way out."

As for a personal wish list, Duke hopes that Citizen Kane will play its part in changing the way media perceives hip-hop culture. He's especially hopeful that the media interest in some of the sexual and violent aspects of rap music will eventually wane.

"The media loves controversy," he says. "They focus in on the sex and violence, but seem to forget the positive things. It's just like in the NBA. STEVE SMITH of the Atlanta Hawks donates over half of his salary to his high school to help out the kids.

"We only hear about DENNIS RODMAN."

Since eight acts, ranging from toaster Kardinal Offishall to Toronto based rapper Choclair, are sharing the Inner City Stage, Citizen Kane figure they'll do a 20-minute set.

"It depends on the crowd," Duke admits. "But we've got enough material to drop joints all night."



1999 -- Deliverance -- Treehouse



COLLABORATIONS

1997 -- Various Artists, Beat Factory Rap Essentials One

- Nick Krewen


I’m fucking amped! So much heat coming out of our backyard right now. I’m loving it! Seems like all the ‘old school’ cats are coming back out. T-Dot Hip Hop icons Citizen Kane leaked this to us, produced by one of my favourite production teams, Down Ta Erf, you might remember them from such joints as Mathematiks’ “Formation”, “Learn To Earn”, and Citizen Kane’s “Blackrain” (the discography is much longer, those are just my favs). Heat!

Citizen Kane - “Let It Build”


- Inzane.

- The Real Frequency


On Saturday, January 14, 2006, Toronto’s hip-hop community will come together and RISE UP! at The Drake Hotel in support of GuluWalk, a campaign created to bring attention to and generate support for the children of northern Uganda, who are the innocent victims of a civil war that has been terrorizing the nation for over 19 years.

Some of the biggest names in urban culture will be showcasing their talents at this unprecedented event. DJs, MCs and artists from all over the city, country and continent will be coming together for the sole purpose of continuing to bring international attention to this forgotten emergency.

RISE UP! will include a ticketed showcase event in The Underground at the The Drake Hotel, with The Lounge featuring some of the city’s hottest DJs. Headlining the event will be three-time Juno nominees BrassMunk, local standouts Mathematik, Shylow, 9th Uno and Citizen Kane, as well as New York City natives Red Clay and Okai.

The evening will be hosted by Big Jacks, DJ Linx & Taktiks and Seven:30, with The Lounge featuring FLOW 93.5 DJs Starting from Scratch and P-Plus, and CKLN’s Son of S.O.U.L.

RISE UP! will take place on Saturday, January 14, 2006 at The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St. W at Beaconsfield Ave.). The doors at The Underground will open 8:30 p.m. with the events in The Lounge set to start at 9:30 p.m. For complete event listings and ticket information visit the official RISE UP! website at www.guluwalk.com/riseup...

- j smooth


To many trying to gain fame, hip hop is just a game. Raisin’ Kane: a rapumentary takes a look at people who view hip hop as life and food on the table.

The documentary focuses on the Canadian urban music industry by following the up and coming hip hop group Citizen Kane from the ‘back in the day’ 80s and 90s to today and their Juno nominated album (2000), Deliverance. It’s an insider’s point of view that is gritty and truthful in portraying the realities of independent labels and the struggle for longevity without the aid of major record companies.

On the issue of hip hop artists and the business aspects of the industry, Alison Duke, the director, said, “We’re doing something new by showing young Black people as entrepreneurs. Hip hop is life for them, but it’s business too.”

Citizen Kane is about loyalty to hip hop, Toronto and each other. The group mainly consists of Rob Paris (a.k.a. Rob Byle), Jeff Duke (J Spade) and Adrianne Perry (manager) who have been friends since childhood. They grew up loving and respecting the various forms of hip hop such as breakdancing and rapping. The documentary shows that their love for hip hop is for more than merely monetary reasons. They use it to reach a greater fan base in order to spread their messages of unity and equality against discrimination and racism. They want to better their lives away from the hardships within the housing projects where drugs, crime, violence and despair are predominant.

“Hip hop is struggle; it’s happiness and it’s love. You can’t have hip hop without the streets. You have to represent the streets first before you represent anything else. Know where you come from as much as you know where you are going.” J Spade said.

Rob Byle added, “This is life to me. Citizen Kane is a part of me.”

Citizen Kane represents the plight of many independent artists who must fight to be heard by a mass audience. These individuals focus more on what they know and where they are from than on surreal material. Hip hop is strictly real for them and garnering the respect of their neighbourhoods is foremost. Raisin’ Kane is an instrumental piece of work that has the power to influence one’s mindset on a part of the Canadian music industry that has not received much attention. Hip hop in Canada has been vibrant since the 80s with Maestro and earth-shaking since the 90s with the Rascalz rapping and breakdancing their way to world-wide acclaim. Raisin’ Kane shows that hip hop in Canada must receive more radio play on major stations in order to move to the next level. Nelson George, author of Hip Hop America, said, “Every major U.S. city has at least one station that plays almost all hip hop.” Yet until recently, Toronto didn’t even have one.

The documentary makes it clear that radio support here in Canada is vital for these independent artists who need it as much as they need to tour in each city. Milestone Radio, led by CEO Denham Jolly, was granted radio frequency of 93.5 just last year in Toronto and it became the first station to exclusively play hip hop music.

This kind of initiative must be spread across the country for Canadian hip hop to flourish.

Raisin’ Kane focuses on the now, in the situation where the majority of hip hop artists are independents. It features interviews with Canadian music mogul Ivan Berry, manager Farley Flex, recording artist Michee Mee and MuchMusic’s Master T commenting on the hip hop scene and independent mentalities. Maestro, Choclair and Mike Bullard also make cameo appearances. Alison Duke has done a commendable job in showing that hip hop in Canada will continue at the underground level until more support is gained from Canadian fans. Raisin’ Kane: a rapumentary fittingly begins with the subtitled message:

“Hip hop is a worldwide phenomenon, yet independent rap artists are not being heard. But that’s never stopped’em from trying…”

- Ricky C. Gordon


Citizen Kane are veterans of Canadian Hip-Hop, and rap about what its like to grow up in a Canadian ghetto and tell stories of what they know. Scarborough-bred duo Citizen Kane, comprised of J-Spade and Rob Blye, manage to combine deep-conscious lyrics while still maintaining their hard-edged delivery. After 10 years of hard work and dedication, CK have graduated from b-boys to being one of the most respected hip hop duos in Canada. TAKE my word there lyrics are deep and the speak what is real,and every single song is AmaZING!!!! Even though its an old cd this cd will last for generation to generation because it has so much sole and a diverse rap style. When u star listening to this cd it wil change ure whole outlook on rap MY WORD.So stop buying shit cds like G_unit and all that mainstream shit and and start listening to the true veterans of HIP-HOP - Theo samuda


Discography

1995 - Giant Steps - Nettwerk Records

1996 - Its all Good Compilation-Zu Lu Nation - Quality Records

1996 - Black Rain/Structure Foundation 12" single - Treehouse Records

1997 - Rapessentials vol: 1 BeatFactory/EMI

1998 - The Epic - EP - Treehouse Records

1998 - Global Warning/Reality 'n Facts remix - Treehouse Records

1999 - Monopoly Money/Remembrance Day single - Treehouse Records

1999 - Deliverance - Treehouse Records

2000 - Rapessentials 2000 - BMG

2000 - Mastermind StreetLegal vol49 - Virgin Records

2000 - Ecko Unlimited Athletes World Compilation - Virgin Records

2000 - Mastermind Vol 50 - Virgin Records

2001 - Rapessentials 2001 - ISBA

2006 - Headnodz Trafficking - Treehouse Records

2008 - Let It Build - Muddyork Records

2008 - Top Left - Muddyork Records

2008 - Blood, Sweet and Tears L.P coming soon - Muddyork Records

2009 - Hood Rich Single

Photos

Bio

citizen: striving to live an honest and meaningful life
kane: child of sin, ancestor of man
The force embodied in CITIZEN KANE: Spade, represents the daily struggle to balance the good and bad from within ones inner self. Each track that CITIZEN KANE slams out melds these two dynamics and it is precisely because of this fusion that CITIZEN KANE is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the hip-hop world.
A long time members of the Toronto hip-hop scene for the past twelve years, CITIZEN KANE has been steadily building foundations and has emerged as one of the leading rap groups in Canada. A string of extremely well received singles and an EP had led to the release of their debut album Deliverance (Treehouse Records, 1999). Deliverance was nominated for Best Rap Recording at the 2000 Juno Awards.

Flashback to 1995: CITIZEN KANE released their first single Soul Survivor on the compilation ITS ALL GOOD (Zulu Records). They followed up in 1996 with the single Structure/Foundation, produced by ERF Productions, which appeared on RAP ESSENTIALS VOL. 1 (Beat Factory, 1997). CITIZEN KANE also worked with ERF Productions on Black Rain, which was released in 1996 on their own Treehouse Records.

It was the ERF Productions/K-Cut (formerly of The Main Source) produced EP THE EPIC (Treehouse Records, 1998), which started focusing even more attention in their direction. THE EPIC was nominated as Best Hip-Hop Album or EP at the Canadian Urban Music Awards in 1998 and CITIZEN KANE were also nominated for Best Rap Recording at the 1999 and 2000 Juno Awards. CITIZEN KANE was also featured on Mastermind vol50: Street Legal (Virgin Records 2000), and RapEsentials 2000: The Unsigned Hype (BMG Music Canada 2000). CITIZEN KANE has put together hot collaborations with artist such as K-OS, Alana Bridgewater, Mood Ruff, Fin-s and most recently Shy Love.

The urban music scene on both sides of the border has embraced CITIZEN KANE. Feature articles, performances on MuchMusics program Da Mix, The Down Lo, Musique Plus, RapCity and shout outs in RAP PAGES and XXL Magazine as one of the up and coming groups in the Toronto hip-hop scene have started spreading the buzz.

The National Film Board of Canada produced a Rapumentary featuring CITIZEN KANE titled Raisin Kane. This film was awarded best Canadian documentary at the Reel World Film Festival and won the HBO Best Documentary award in New Yorks Urban World Film Festival.

CITIZEN KANEs live show is also gaining them notoriety. They exemplify the true hip-hop esthetic: a dope DJ, breakdancing, and ill MCs.
CITIZEN KANE has toured extensively in Canada and abroad opening for other notable acts as Kardinal Offishall, Rascalz, Saukrates, Choclair, BrassMunk and Rahzell. Performances at the 416 Graffiti Expo (99-01), NXNE, CMW, Flows 93.5 Launch Gala, Torontos Urban Music Award Festival (01-04) and Torontos Street Music Festival (00-03) has gained them new fans and much respect from their peers.

CITIZEN KANE is not only making a mark in the rap world. In May 2003, Spade of Citizen Kane wrote and composed the musical score for the movie Deadly Silence that was directed by Allison Duke.

In April 2002 Citizen Kane continued to turn heads, as they were featured in Xposed, the national theatrical release of Raisin Kane sponsored by Universal Music and 2Bscene Film Releasing.

CITIZEN KANE is now poised to elevate the rap game to the next level as they are about to release their sophomore album, NEVER SAY DIE. CITIZEN KANES new 12single Diamonds in a Ruff/My Life (April 2004) was a fan favourite, so watch out for their new single LET IT BUILD coming soon.

With their insightful lyrics, intricate rhyme structures and unique samples, CITIZEN KANE is poised to break out as one of the most respected acts in the Canadian hip-hop scene. Much like the film Citizen Kane, which was deemed a movie well ahead of its time and an epic to this day, CITIZEN KANE aspires to leave a similar impression on the rap world.