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Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Solo Hip Hop Reggae


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"CD Review: Magnum K.I."

Magnum K.I.
Magnum K.I.(Foultone Records)

Our Rating: star star star star half-star

* By: John Kendle
* 26/08/2010 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

Enlarge Image

People who can’t move their asses to this album must be dead. Producer extraordinaire DJ Kutdown has outdone himself on this record, combining with Rob Crooks to brew up a head-bobbing, hip-shaking mix of swing, jazz, funk, R&B, dub and reggae grooves while MC Ismaila Alfa winds his words sinuously into tongue-twistin’, sing-speakin’ declarations of self and place and heart and hope. The mix works best when it’s upbeat and bangin’ as on Ol Skool (featuring a cameo from John Smith), Dreaming and No Way, but the reflective, groove-oriented vibes of Rhythm Addict, Tired and Sleep are almost hypnotic.
- Uptown Magazine

"Raising the bar"

Raising the bar
Local trio Magnum K.I. sets a new standard for hip hop with its intelligent self-titled full-length debut
Robin Dudgeon

Raising the barMagnum K.I. is anything but your average hip hop group. Known for its intelligent lyrics and unusual beats, the group refuses to be confined to the traditional definitions of hip hop.

“We have never done anything the same as mainstream hip hop, ever,” stresses vocalist Ismaila Alfa.

Alfa, who was born in Nigeria and grew up in St. Vital, first found notoriety with the influential Winnipeg hip hop group Frek Sho. Magnum K.I. came together when DJ Grasshopper left Frek Sho and was replaced by Michael Arnone (better known as DJ Kutdown), who took on the role of beat maker and producer. Since then, Alfa and Kutdown have released over 10 CDs and two vinyl EPs between them.

“I realized that I worked with a lot of producers (but) the beats I felt most comfortable on were the ones we had done together,” Alfa says.

Songwriter and producer Rob Crooks became an official member of the group between the release of Magnum K.I.’s debut EP Gunshy in August 2009 and the release of its first full-length album, Magnum K.I., in January 2010.

The biggest change that occurred between the two recordings was the way the group viewed itself.

“We’re restricting ourselves less,” Alfa says. “It was a big fear of not being rap all the time. It was like, we’re rappers and we have to rap. And then we realized, you know what? We’re musicians and we can do whatever the heck we want. If it sounds good we can do it! That’s one of biggest things I think we need people to start understanding. We’re not a rap group anymore. We do music. General music with a hip hop mentality.”

You won’t find Magnum K.I. rapping about the usual hip hop topics (see: hanging out in da club, living the thug life). Ol Skool, for example, references the band’s desire to get back to the golden age of hip hop, while Tired addresses social issues such as poverty, mental illness and starvation.

“The truth is that we’re all over 30. We’re not 21-year-old kids in a club, getting drunk and living that kind of lifestyle,” says Alfa, 34. “We take pride in sounding semi-intelligent.”

“We like that music that sticks with you and that connects with you, and we don’t want to make music that you just put in the background and don’t think of,” Crooks adds.

“The key is it’s all built on what we see and what we experience,” Alfa says. “You’re not going to hear us ever sounding like a Brooklyn rapper or a Toronto rapper or an L.A. rapper. We live in Winnipeg.”

March 27, 8 p.m., The Academy - Uptown Magazine

"Magnum K.I. Planning To Hit The Road"

Magnum K.I. Planning To Hit The Road

Ask any musical collective; healthy collaboration is the backbone of success. And while Magnum K.I.'s new self-titled full length might be a debut, there's a weighty and palpable sense of maturity within each of the ten island-infused and rhythm heavy hip-hop tracks. You've got to give credit to the dynamic method that DJ/Producer, Michael Arnone (aka DJ Kutdown), lead-vocalist/song-writer Ismaila Alfa and co-producer/song-writer Rob Crooks took to attain the dense and transcendental sound on their debut. Taking an organic approach, each member brought musical ideas to the table. Yet no track was ever considered finished until they'd all put their own fingerprints on it and the results speak for themselves.

Combining the relaxed yet potent vibes of early Jurassic 5 with the sensibility that only a city like Winnipeg can provide, the three members of Magnum K.I. are truly onto something here. Rising from the ashes of seminal hip-hop outfit Frek Sho, they've spent enough time honing their craft to know what it takes to play the hip-hop game with poise, energy and tracks that will drag even the shyest wallflowers onto the dance-floor.

With showcases at CMW, SXSW, NXNE and Pop Montreal 2010 lined up, there seems to be little that can get in the way of this trio. They'll be hitting stages across the country from January to March of 2010. It's about time too; Magnum K.I. have worked hard enough to know what it takes to make a hip-hop outfit work. Now, it's time for the rest of the world to see what they're onto.

See them live in Winnipeg February 10th at The Pyramid opening for Raekwon of Wu Tang. More tour dates to follow. - Antimusic.com

"CD Reviews: Magnum K.I."

MAGNUM K.I. - Magnum K.I.

by Lee Repko (Volunteer)

Magnum K.I.

* Label: Foultone Records

4 out of 5 stars

Magnum K.I. picks up where their 2008 Gunshy release left off: cultivating a West Indie vibe with subtle jazz touches over molasses-thick beats. The trio of DJ Kutdown, Ismaila Alfa and Rob Crooks continues here in an obvious trajectory. Three tracks carry over to this release, but the new treatment is nothing short of phenomenal. Proper respect must be paid from start to finish: meticulously crafted beats, deep couch-comfortable microphone work and superb mastering by Darcy Ataman (Grand Analog) that brings the levels to the clarity that this deserves.

Delicate sax touches on Rhythm Addict and piano flow on No Way are reminiscent of Black Sheep’s debut, while Ismaila’s calypso/reggae chattah style bear comparison to KRS-One or even Das Efx. They seamlessly mix Native Tongues with ‘80s-style synth rock, Caribbean flavour and boom-bap head-bangin’ beats to great result. My sub-woofer is still smiling. - The Uniter

"Fenom-enal start to Black History Month!(published Feb 5, 2010)"

February is Black History Month. Today I'll be featuring some tunes from Fenom aka Rhonda Thompson. She's a great artist, a rapper AND singer, who's been part of the scene as part of Bonafide, Chilly City and on the solo tip. This month she's also helping to spread the word about a couple of events in honour of Black History Month. One is the Comedy Night being held at Rumour's on Friday February 5. She's also helping out and PERFORMING at the Black History Month Gospel concert at Truth and Life Worship Centre in St. Vital. Head here(http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=293163889744&ref=ts#%21/ical/event.php?eid=279404663841) for the details on Facebook. Sounds like a good time, so go and support.
- Wab Kinew (CBC Radio 3)

"And The Winner Is..."

HOT 103 is proud to bring you the Canadian Radio Star National Songwriting Competition.

And the winner is...Fenom and her song Reflectionz!

Congratulations to Fenom and a big thanks to everyone who entered and voted.

All of our finalists will be featured on upcoming editions of Locals Only with Young Mike, which airs Saturdays at 6 AM and Sundays at 10 PM. And our winner Fenom will be added to the HOT 103 playlist and will be featured alongside artists like Kanye West, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake.

Fenom also wins:

- GARRISON AG-500-CE Acoustic/Electric Cutaway Guitar with Solid Spruce Top & 4 Band EQ

- SENNHEISER Studio/Live package including: E 865 condenser vocal microphone, stand, cable, and HD 280 professional headphones

- 2 ½" Carving Leather Guitar Strap with foam padding and garment leather backing from LEVY'SLEATHERS LIMITED

- An all-expense paid weekend at the FAIRMONT ROYAL YORKHOTEL TORONTO- March 6-8, 2008


- A private seminar with some of Canada's most successful songwriters

- Opportunity to perform at the SONGWRITERS' FESTIVAL - March 7, 2008 in Toronto

And you could have a shot at winning the National grand prize package that includes:

- $10,000.00 in cash (first runner up receives $2500.00 cash)

- TASCAM 2488 24-Track Digital Portastudio

- NEUMANN TLM 49 Professional Studio Microphone

- 30 hours of mixing and mastering time from METALWORKS, Canada's #1 Recording Studio

- $5,000.00 National Radio Promotion Package from dB PROMOTIONS & PUBLICITY INC.

- One Free Digital Radio Station Upload to any format of choice by RDRMUSIC GROUPin conjunction with DMDS

- Complete Website Design, One Year Web Hosting & Customized Enhanced CD Package from J.E.T. MEDIA AND DESIGN

- www.hot103live.com

"JunoFest Rocks Downtown"

JunoFest rocks downtown
With its mix of roots, rock, hip-hop and world music, bars were buzzing into the wee hours

Urban Music Night, Part One

The scene at the Empire Cabaret started out slow, but by 11 p.m., the place was packed with about 250 people -- including a heavy contingent of tank-topped chicas ready to shake it at the Peg's best (only) hip-hop venue. The biggest roar of the evening came for homegrown and Jesus-loving Fresh I.E., a Notorious BIG-like rapper (this guy is pretty hefty and tough, but admitted to be nervous about his upcoming turn at tonight's awards show).

But the lady who stole the show was the baby-blue faux-fur coated Fenom. Fenom is part of local hip-hop group Bonafide, but her voice and Lauryn Hill-looks meant everyone -- everyone -- in the venue had their eyes on her. Fresh I.E. spent the evening checking her talent out, and other fans included Fresh I.E.'s Louisiana-imported back-up talent Marcus, who asked, "What's she doing in Winnipeg?"

(excerpt taken from Winnipeg Free Press April, 2005)

- Winnipeg Free Press


DJ Dow Jones(Peter Parker) Free Trade Vol 1(2010) - "That One"

Reflectionz(single - 2008) - Featured in film, "How She Move" (now available on DVD)

Fine Time(2008) - Featured on Ravi Poliah's "Iahphillies" release

Lover's Paradise(2007) - Galaxie Reggae Top 5 Single

Give A Little feat. Fascade@137db(2006) - Featured on Fascade@137db's "Character of the Moment" release

Shake The Dust (2006) - featured as a guest vocalist on Ade's single "Shake The Dust" (on "49 54" release)

Hot Tonite(Official Cdn Remix-2006) - high rotation


Magnum K.I.
Label: Foultone Records
Release Date: 2010

Gun Shy
Label: Foultone Records
Release Date: 2008



She's baaaaack..

FENOM is a singer/songwriter/lyricist. Being an outgoing spirit from early on, she has had the opportunity to perform through many artistic outlets but it was in her late teens that she had chosen to take her passions to the next level. She originally joined the hip hop crew, BONAFIDE and things snowballed from there. Promoters began to notice that perhaps there were some “Lauryn Hill-esque” qualities in the group’s lone female member. Collectively, the decision was made to push FENOM as a solo artist, and she has since been a feature on College and Commercial radio, performed at Toronto’s Honey Jam, and collaborated on projects with the likes of New Edition, Megan Rochelle, Torae and many others!

Embracing her Caribbean roots, she is also quite proud to be heavily involved in Reggae music. She held the #2 spot on Galaxie Reggae station’s charts with the hit, Lover’s Paradise (featuring Mello Man) and she has had the privilege to open for award-winning artists such as Kay Morris, Sanchez, and Singing Melody.

FENOM welcomes the challenges of performing, song-writing and at times handling her own bookings, all the while, keeping family and continuing education a priority, so she is no stranger to hard work and dedication. She loves the Lord, and is proud to use music as an avenue to embrace her spirituality and share the great blessings that have been bestowed on her!

Target audience: 13-49

Radio Formats: Gospel, Urban Contemporary, Contemporary Hit Radio (or Hot AC), Caribbean

Recent Musical Milestones:

  • -music mentorship with Girls Rock 2018 (Winnipeg)
  • -featured at Soca Reggae Festival 2018 with REVELATION (Winnipeg)
  • -music mentorship with Studio 393 (Winnipeg)
  • -showcasing with MAGNUM K.I. and CITYREAL at CMW 2011 (March)
  • -featured at 2010/2011 Calgary Reggae Festival
  • -opened for The Roots w/ MAGNUM K.I. as part of 2010 Winnipeg Jazz festival
  • -chosen as Semi-Finalist in Canadian Radio Star 2009
  • -2 Songs featured in motion picture “How She Move”
  • -featured at 2008 Winnipeg Jazz Festival
  • -awarded "Entertainer of the Year" honors by 2008 Black History Month Committee
  • -chosen as finalist in 2008 Canadian Radio Star Competition
  • -chosen for Honey Jam Showcase in Toronto(2006)

Professional Affiliations:
Western Canadian Music Alliance
Urban Music Association of Canada
Manitoba Music
FACTOR Accredited Juror
Manitoba Film & Sound Accredited Juror


Email: itsfenom@gmail.com