Sko-Shun Tiez
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Sko-Shun Tiez

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"STREET CENTS EPISODE .8 BENZ INTERVIEW"

5 Ways: To Freestyle
Did you see 8 Mile and think that rap battles were something you’d want to do, but you didn’t know where to start? Street Cents strips away the cinematic fact from fiction when it comes to freestyle. Young and up and coming free style MCs give us the ins and outs of battles and freestyling.

What is Freestyle?
Alright, we’re pretty sure that most of you know what freestyle rap is, OK, we KNOW you do, but we’re gonna give you a little synopsis to begin with anyway.

Freestyle rap is rapping in the heat of the moment, delivering rhymes in a free flow. Nothing is precomposed, it’s all thought of in the moment – and often it’s about the moment.

Most rappers and MCs base their freestyle set on their current environment, situation, and mental state, but often have a ready supply of prepared lyrics and rhyme patterns they can use to fill-in or use as building blocks for their set.

John Sobol, author of ‘Digitopia Blues’, writes “The best rappers are fantastic improvisers-freestylers-extemporizing lyrics of extreme semantic and rhythmic complexity in fiery public competition.” Freestyling is an ART FORM that demands a lot of practice just like anything else.

Freestyling is usually done in a group setting, a cypher, or as a battle. In cyphers and battles, freestyle verses are often prepared in a MC’s head as the other MCs in the cypher or in the battle take their turn. Freestyling is also used by MC when beginning to write a song, in order to get a feel for the beat and to brainstorm lyrical ideas.

Sobol, in ‘Digitopia Blues’ continues on with the importance of freestyle to hiphop, “Freestyle battles between MCs are the essence of the rapper’s art and are akin to the “cutting sessions” that were once a mainstay of jazz. Just as jazz musicians tore into one another, determined to show whose chops were supreme, so do MCs battle it out…”

Now that we’re all inspired, here are Street Cents’ tips on how to make it happen.

One: Starting Out
Start off slow, start off easy. Rapping slowly will give you more time to think of what sounds good and what doesn’t. Once you can make anything rhyme slowly, pick up a little speed. Get a feel for your flow, your cadence, and the sound of your voice. Don’t think that a word can only rhyme if it’s spelled the same. Rhyming is all about your flow and delivery.

Two: Listen
Flocabulary.com and several wikihow.com guides suggest building a body of knowledge. The trick to being a good writer is to read and read a lot, the trick to being a good MC is to listen and listen to a lot of MCs. Pay attention to other MCs and their skills until you can form your own style. The best rappers know how to freestyle rap. Listen to your favorites and copy what you like, don’t borrow permanently or attempt to imitate, but take what you like about their style and incorporate it into your own style. Listen and learn.

Rap Over Anything
Listen to instrumentals, bop your head, and get a feel for the rhythm. When Benz, a female MC from Halifax and a member of Sko-shun Tiez, gets ready to freestyle she says ”I just get myself really into the beat and nodding my head, and then when I’m ready to start off I come out with a ‘yo, yo’ just to get myself going.”

Emcee Escher of Flocabulary.com suggests that aspiring MCs should, in addition to rapping over a variety of music, “Rap in the shower, on the bus, before you go to school, during your lunch break, and after dates. Freestyle rap while you're out on a jog, rocking out your iPod. Yeah, people will think you're crazy, but they won't think you're crazy when you go Platinum!”

Expansion
Increasing your vocabulary, both musically and orally, will help you. You’ll be able to draw on a number of different references. In the end your creativity will expand. Quake, a Halifax MC, doesn’t necessarily prepare for battles or ciphers, but he does suggest that a way for MCs to “get better is to increase your vocabulary, which I am constantly trying to do.”

Benz echoes that statement, “when I first started freestyling I wasn’t choosing my words carefully, but now I know that you have to be more open minded when it comes to freestyling or writing.”

Rhyming
Several sites (see side bar) suggest the following tips to keep in mind when it comes to building your repertoire of rhymes.

Make sure you know your “easy rhymes” such as the long ‘E’ and the long ‘O’ sound. Mainly rhymes that come easy to you.

As soon as you know what word you're going to end line one with, your mind should start racing to find out a word you can use at the end of line two. DJ Organic aka Kevin Fitzgerald, the director of Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme, says that “in freestyling, you really have to be thinking ahead of yourself.”

Always remember to rap in groups of four bars at a time, and save your best bar for last, because most beats drop after four loops.

Content
Flocabulary.com suggests rapping about what you know. “This is def - CBC May 2006


"FROM THE STREET TO THE STUDIO"

From the street to the studio By Shauntay Grant The Daily News Tyrone Simmonds (a.k.a.Syco of local hip-hop outfit Sko-shun Tiez) has been sharpening his lyrical skills since before he can remember. His dream of crushin' microphones was almost cut short in his late teens. "I'd wake up in the morning, (go) out with the homeboys, and do robberies all day," remembers Syco. "And while I'm (robbing), I'm rappin'. I'm lookin' at rappers on TV and I'm sayin', 'I'm just as good as these guys, if not even better.' But I'm still out in the streets - my mind was set on doin' street work." Not long after his 18th birthday, Syco was sentenced to two years in jail for robbery. "I'm sittin' in jail, and I'm just writin' music," says Syco. "And the guys in the jail cell were like, 'Man, what you doin' in here? You should be out there doin' your thing.' So when I got out, I kept rappin'. But I was still doin' the same old dumb s---. So my brother came and picked me up and was like, 'Man, we're gonna open up this company to keep you outta the streets.'" That marked the beginning of Halifax-based music company Homiez Productions. Homiez founder Paul Simmonds says his desire to help young artists realize their potential is the driving force behind Homiez Productions. "The time I visited my brother when he was in jail, I looked around and all my family was in jail at the time," remembers Paul. "Uncles, cousins ... that's a real moment when you look around and you say, 'This picture is totally crazy and wrong.' And I just felt that there's so many of our kids that are out here that we gotta find a way to stop it." Sko-shun Tiez's collective of young lyricists has developed under Homiez Productions. The group won four African Nova Scotian Music Awards. Add to that a recent East Coast Music Award nomination, a coveted spot in the ECMA showcase, and a new album set to drop in a few months. "We've (opened) for Redman in front of thousands of people," says Syco. "But (performing at the East Coast Music Awards) is like a dream for me. It's just all fallin' in place - gettin' music awards, sellin' records ... and I ain't even got the streets on my mind no more." "I feel like my dream is comin' true," adds group member Jerica Simmons (a.k.a. Benz). "I always wanted to be famous. I wasn't sure if it was gonna be with basketball or rap, but right now it's definitely lookin' like rap for me. And I go to Saint Mary's (University), so I'm holdin' it down in class, too. I just feel like I'm climbin' up a ladder. And after we do the ECMAs, hopefully, we can get this record deal and be on our way." Benz will be the first to admit it's especially hard for MCs to get noticed in Halifax. Even still, she and Syco say their group's originality will take them far. "Everyone down here (is) tryin' to sound like everybody across the border," says Syco. "But we got our own sound - gangsta hip hop, like some real serious gangsta hip hop. You gettin' street music and some dance music all in one, plus a little bit of R&B up in there." http://www.umac.ca/newsletter/vol2.5.html On Saturday, November 12 at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the African Nova Scotian Music Association hosted its 8th annual music awards show. The big winner of the night was Sko-Shun Tiez, who took home four awards (Best Hip Hop Artist/Group, Best Album, Galaxie Rising Star Award, and Artist/Group of the Year). Performance highlights included stirring performances by Tiyaila Cain-Grant (who also won the Best Gospel Artist Award), and R&B nominee Shane C.


halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/pdfs/resource_lists/best_of_music_2005.pdf - By Shauntay Grant The Daily News


Discography

www.myspace.com/skoshuntiez

ALBUM TRACKS
Intro skit (SKO SHUN TIEZ)
SKO SHUN TIEZ © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan
copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED @: A C Bassment
Studios. MIXED @: A C Bassment Studios
GHETTO DAEZ © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan
copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED @: A C
Bassment Studios MIXED @: A C Bassment Studios,
UM LUVIN IT © published by Homiez Productions Music/
Socan copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice) , RECORDED @ AC
Bassment Studios
PHAT BACK © published by Homiez Productions Music/
Socan copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED @ A C
Bassment Studios
STING © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan
copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED at: A C
Bassment Studios MIXED :@ A C Bassment Studios
Mad Dreams © published by Homiez Pro Music/ Socan copyrights
Produced by: A Bundy (Bass Z), Paul Smith (P-Nice), RECORDED @ AC Bassment Studios
FUCTED UP INTRO © BET's comic view (Movie Barbshop 1 & 2)
FUCTED UP © published by Homiez Productions Music/
Socan copyrights PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice) . RECORDED @ AC
Bassment Studios
Alleyhoops © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan copyrights
PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice), RECORDED @ AC Bassment Studios
THE 902 © published by Homiez Pro Music/ Socan copyrights
Produced by: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice), RECORDED @ AC Bassment Studios
MY LIFE © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan copyrights
PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED @ A C Bassment Studios
Gon tell yah Friendz © published by Homiez Productions Music/
Socan copyrights Produced by: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice), RECORDED @ AC
Bassment Studios
SACKTOWN (Skit) ©
SACKTOWN © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan copyrights
PRODUCED BY: A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith(P-Nice). RECORDED @ A C Bassment Studios
MY BLOCK © published by Homiez Productions Music/ Socan
copyrights PRODUCED BY: A(Bass Z) Bundy,Paul (P-Nice)Smith. RECORDED
@ A C Bassment Studios
THOSE WHO LIKE IT © published by Homiez
Productions Music/ Socan copyrights PRODUCED BY:A(Bass Z) Bundy, Paul (P-Nice)Smith
RECORDED @ AC Bassment Studios
BEAT BOX'N (Skit) ©
VIBIN, RIDIN & SLIDIN © (Kaleb Simmonds)published by Homiez Productions Music/
Socan PRODUCED by Kaleb $immmonds, A Bundy (Bass Z),Paul Smith (P-Nice), RECORDED
@ AC Bassment Studios.

Our songs are streamed on New Muisc Canada, among other online radiostations throughtout the U.S.A. particularly California and surrounding areas

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

www.myspace.com/skoshuntiez

Music that one can dance to, relate to in various situations depending on individual circumstances, our music is one that is driven by culture in the Atlantic provinces and how it can be perceived to many with and artistic twist to demonstrate to our listeners. We are the only hiphop group in the area to have female rappers in a group with a male dominated industry and be able to pull it off convincingly for the masses. This alone sets the tone for the talents these artists possess, with one of Canada's greatest female freestyle competitors that have put many male competitors below her on numerous freestyle ciphers in front of hundreds of onlookers throughout the maritimes,

SKO-SHUN TIEZ (Scotian Ties) 2 of the hottest FEMALE MC's in Canada's rap game join the Sko-shun group with the Sko-shun G (Syco) to form the 2005 East Coast Music awards nominee for African Canadian recording of the year, also performed the national live showcase on CBC's telecast for the 2006 East Coast Music Awards in Prince Edward Island, Juno's 2006 no-case showcase held in Halifax. Winners of the 2005 ANSMA awards for (Best hiphop/Best album/Best group & the CBC Galaxy Rising Star award). They were nominated in 2003 ECMA group consists of Tandra, Benz, SYCO and DJ Unik. The group has been nominated at the 2003 MIANS awards show. Sko-shun Tiez opened for Def Jam recording artist "Redman" at the Halifax Forum, along with many opening showcase performances throughout the Atlantic provinces in different venues. Some of SST showcases consists of all ages events, to festivals alike, Sko-Sun Tiez performed in Sydney, NS at the 2005 ECMAs no showcase event proving to be one of NS hottest hip hop acts. Sko-Shun Tiez has performed and toured along with Kaleb Simmonds and R&B singer Shane C who all respectively have album releases this year 2005. The Sko-Shun Tiez has released their new 2005 commercial CD release Those who like it with bonus track from the top 7, 2004 Canadian Idol finalist Kaleb Simmonds. Sko-shun Tiez has recently performed at the 2005 Multicultural Festival, Northern Lights festival 2005, Pub Fest 2005 and Hemp Fest 2005. Sko-Shun Tiez has recently finished filming 2 short film projects for the Nova Scotia film festival namely KONA and DWB . The group have been quoted as being the next hip hop dynasty of home grown talent that is destined to bring attention to Atlantic area. Sko-Shun Tiez name was founded as a result of each artist having roots to Nova Scotias history and its uniqueness by way of urban culture, musical sound, and talents. The Sko-Shun Tiez most recent project Those who like it has been released in CD Plus retailers in Atlantic Canada region and the group would like to take this time to thank you for you continued support as they continue there careers.

check us at this link
www.myspace.com/skoshuntiez