Pip Skid
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"Pip Skid - Funny Farm Review"

Pipi Skid
Funny Farm
[Peanuts & Corn; 2004]
7.2 / 10


The Peanuts & Corn collective is best known for the quirky humor and traditional production that made Pip Skid's Friends4Ever and Hip Hop Wieners' All Beef, No Chicken underground favorites. A sophomore effort and the return of the label's vanguard, Pipi Skid's Funny Farm is a slightly darker affair than might've been expected from a traditionally comical group of artists.

First off, Pipi Skid's style of rap is incredibly idiosyncratic. To make a simple comparison, he comes off like The Streets if Mike Skinner was Canadian, grounded in hip-hop traditions (mid-90s sound, emphasis on scratching, references to old-school favorites), and actually focused on his flow. Pipi raps with a gravelly voice, but it doesn't impede his accessibility like it might for Buck 65 or Aesop Rock. And if some rap purists may not take to it, Pipi's decidedly pedestrian subject matter (working at an old folks' home, dependence on alcohol, germ phobia, pawning off his shit for quick cash) is a big part of his charm.

"Pip Skizzy" best exemplifies the styles of both Pipi Skid and producer Mcenroe. The backdrop hits with wavering Spanish guitar and repeating jazz hi-hats, while Pipi justifies murder ("You smell like McDonald's and Wal-Mart/ By killing you, I'm acting globally, doing a small part"), forced impotency ("While you listen to 'Rapture', I'ma rupture your nuts/ Blondie's singing and I'm swinging and you can't have no children"), and presidential assassination ("And now everybody scream/ As I mow down Bush and his security team"). The song sets the album's tone perfectly.

Produced entirely by Mcenroe, Funny Farm is oriented around strings and dusty drum funk. From the looped sequence of tribal drums, orchestral horns, and flutes on the title track to the whimsical bounce, slow-release horn flourish, and gorgeous violin of "Super Dope Producers" to the glitchy double-time drums and wind chimes of "Magnifique", there's ample evidence of Mcenroe's traditional yet incredibly technical style. As is the case with most Peanuts & Corn work, the production stands out over the lyrics without unbalancing the album too much.

In the end, though, the record does present something of a conflict: There are good ideas, excellent beats, and solid rapping all over this album, and Pipi Skid plays a highly likeable everyman character. But Pipi's better at utilizing humor based on his life experiences and the underground hip-hop landscape than tackling Funny Farm's more downtrodden topics. I'd have preferred longer songs, too, as some of the shorter pieces, had they been expounded upon, might have improved the album as a whole. Still, Funny Farm upholds P&C;'s claim to relevance in today's independent hip-hop scene.
- Pitchfork.com


"Exclaim! Magazine Review of Skid Row"

Pip Skid
Skid Row
By Thomas Quinlan

A load-bearing cornerstone of Peanuts & Corn, one of only a few successful indie hip-hop labels in Canada, rapper Pip Skid has a deep discography that spans his beginnings in Brandon, MB as a member of Farm Fresh through collaborations like Fermented Reptile, Hip Hop Wieners and Taking Care of Business, as well as a string of solo stops along the way. His latest is Skid Row, produced by Frek Sho alum DJ Kutdown, whose slamming drums and frequent use of guitars (check the Nirvana riff on "I Never Knew" for just one of many examples) provide Pip with the hardest musical backdrop he has yet to rock. For his part, Pip amps up his usually gruff voice and harsh delivery to match the aggressive nature of the music. Incorporating vocal snippets of improv duo Crumbs adds a little levity to the album, although their two interludes do go on a little too long, while the odd posse cut ("Back Rub Rap" with Yy and Silly Willy, and "O.C.D." with Birdapres and Moka Only) offers a braggadocio break from Pip's humorous, socially conscious lyrics ? the words of a frustrated man in a constant struggle with poverty. Skid Row verges on rap-rock sometimes, sure, but Pip Skid and Kutdown make the merger work, and hopefully Pipi will continue to explore this direction just a little bit longer. (Foultone) - Exclaim!


"11 Questions Interview"

In one of the first 11 questions I conducted for this site, local singer-songwriter powerhouse Greg MacPherson named Pip Skid as one of Winnipeg’s best artists, describing the Western Canadian hip-hop icon as “uncompromising, intelligent, funny, thoughtful, and unpredictable.”

Oh his latest release, Skid Row, the veteran hip-hop artist is easily all those adjectives. And more. Featuring skillful production by DJ Kutdown, Skid Row sees Pip unleash his intense energy, cogent delivery, and, at times, uncomfortably honest take on the world. It’s highly accessible material yet incisive and challenging...and all about the “hard beats.” Catch Pip Skid and his potent live show around town when you can.

I recently threw 11 Questions Pip Skid’s way and he fired back with some great answers. Some topics discussed: strange occurrences on the #17 bus, the provocative cover art of Ice-T’s 1988 release Power, and Pip’s take on the Lo Pub and the Pyramid.

1. Where are you right now?
I'm in Winnipeg smelling my roommate's old bong water. It's gross & I thought you shouldn't have to smell those things after you leave your 20's.

Let’s talk Winnipeg…


2. Who is the most underrated Winnipeg-based band?
Greg MacPherson Band, Skingerbreadman & Frek Sho

3. What is your favourite local venue?
To play....The LoPub....To see a show....The Pyramid when there's actually a sound person.

4. Where do you shop for music?
The internet & Birdapres' bizarre mind.

5. Where is the best place to catch a bite?
La Fiesta when it was on Ellice. Now you need a passport to get there.

6. What is the worst bus route?
I've been on the 17 a lot this winter. It's a janky route & I've seen a grip of gross things. The other day a woman eating chocolate pudding with a cookie. She'd slurp it off her cookie spoon & dip the wet cookie back in. It took her about 3 seconds to repeat that motion until finished. People shouldn’t eat anything more complicated than an apple on the bus. I've also see a large number of grownups eat their own snot on a busy 17.

And some hodgepodge…


7. What is one piece of equipment absolutely essential to your live show?
Hard rap beats....after that's going I’m good.

8. What are your top-five, all-time, desert-island records?
This would change everyday. I have enough trouble packing. In no sensible order....
1. Big Daddy Kane - Long Live The Kane
2. EPMD - Unfinished Business
3. Eric B & Rakim - Follow The Leader
4. Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You
5.Max Romeo - War Ina Babylon

9. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?


Ice-T Power (as a kid it was not only a powerful image but you could wack off to it too)


10. What book(s) are you currently reading?
Just started Clockers & i can always read 100 Years of Solitude

11. And finally, a toughie…who is your favourite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, or Raphael)?
Go Ninja Go Ninja Go! - Painting Over Silence blog


"Pip Skid - Peace Magazine"

You hear the word all the time in write-ups: transcendence. It’s almost become kitch. But finally, an artist who delivers on the promise. Pip Skid, a longstanding legend of Canadian hip-hop presents Skid Row, an electrifying and energetic blast of socially conscious hip-hop that only solidifies Pip Skid’s position as a force to be reckoned with. His unique brand of hip-hop hits listeners not only on a visceral but cerebral level too.

But why would you expect any less from Pip Skid? Here’s the harsh truth, for those who (unfortunately) might not be familiar with his raging yet thought-provoking brand of hip-hop. Utilizing a range of genres, including driving guitars that elevate his MC skills, Pip Skid has been making music for 17 years and shows no signs of letting up. His live show is renowned for it’s intensity, as the normally reclusive artist sheds his skin and provides a powerful show, leaving audiences clamoring for more.

And Pip Skid does his part to deliver as much of his art as possible to his fans. Starting out with the seminal group Farm Fresh from his native Brandon, Manitoba, Pip held his own at the forefront of a burgeoning hip-hop scene in central Canada in the early 1990’s. He is a cornerstone of the success of indie label Peanuts & Corns Records and has featured on many of their 40 releases. And by day, Pip Skid delivers hip-hop to the youth around him, participating in his “Make Rap Happen� program, which is in high demand with schools and cultural groups. “Make Rap Happen� focuses on the history of hip-hop and teaches children to express themselves through deejaying, performing and recording.

But on March 30th, with the release of Skid Row, Pip Skid will do some weighty self-expression of his own. Tracks like “I Never Knew� presents an infectious, jangly groove with Skid’s trademark socially-frustrated lyrics elevating the track to something, well, transcendent. And the powerful title track echoes some of Cypress Hill’s best work, combining furious guitar solos and fist-in-the-air MC’ing that will no doubt grip audiences with its immediacy. Skid shifts things up on “Ten Dollars� which pays homage to classic, 80’s-influenced hip-hop that will have purists salivating.

There’s no shortage of hip-hop out there today. But Pip Skid presents something different; his brutally honest take on the world around him puts him in a class of his own. And for that, everyone around him is better off.

See Pip Skid live March 13th at the West End Cultural Centre in his hometown of Winnipeg backed by a live band featuring Nestor Wynrush, DJ Kutdown and members of Annihilator, Nova and Banned From Atlantis.

Three free tracks for the taking here: http://www.foultone.com/PipSkid.zip - www.blog.peacemagazine.com


"Pip Skid - Street Cred"

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Street cred
On new album Skid Row, Winnipeg rapper writes what he knows.


On new album Skid Row, Winnipeg rapper writes what he knows.

Pat Skene knows a thing or two about living in the dumpms.

"I spent the majority of my years in Winnipeg living in West Broadway in an apartment on Furby. I didn't have a screen on my window for years, the stove didn't work for five months, there was a bat living in my apartment for a while and flies were landing on my lips at six in the morning," says the rapper known as Pip Skid about his former home.

Skene's music has always been brutally honest, whether he's describing his living conditions, personal struggles, poverty, social issues, relationships or political views, his main musical subjects. His latest album, Skid Row, is no exception, as the rapper holds nothing back, rhyming about the recent events in his life over the beats of Michael Arnone (DJ Kutdown) and Rob Crooks (Grubbs).

"It always originally starts with me. I sometimes add fiction to make it more interesting, like when (Charles) Bukowski would write; it's stuff he's going through, but obviously it's embellished," he says. "Sometimes my life is so weird and I don't need to embellish. Skid Row is my life with a bit of embellishment. Some are pure sad songs that are just me at the time."

The new album is actually his second attempt. The first was written last year, after a relationship ended and Skene, 35, took a trip to Halifax for three months to visit some friends and recharge his batteries. When he returned and read what he had written, he changed his focus.

"The album was originally coming out of a severely depressed version of me," Skene says. "When I went away to Halifax, I was the saddest human on the planet. The record was originally 35 minutes of depressing suicide songs, but I revamped all that when I came back to the record and kind of flipped that.

SDLqSkid Row to me didn't mean Sebastian Bach and hair metal; more like the Bukowski version of skid row. I say in the song, 'This is where I live, but you come to visit,' which is a paraphrase from the movie Barton Fink."

Ironically, Skid Row was recorded during the last two months in a modern recording studio in the Exchange District.

"I got pretty spoiled having an endless amount of hours in a high-end studio, as opposed to standing one foot in the tub and one foot in the kitty litter," says.

"It's not like things have changed much. Maybe my living conditions are a tiny bit better, but I'm still broke and sometimes I eat one meal a day in order to live the way I want to live; to go to Europe once a year. It's a sacrifice. I don't regret it."

Although Skene might not have a lot of experience in professional studios, he's no stranger to recording, with nearly 20 albums to his name and numerous guest appearances on other artists' albums.

He got his start in hip-hop in 1991 as a founding member of Farm Fresh in Brandon with DJ Hunnicutt (Tyler Sneesby) and mcenroe (Rod Bailey). Since then he's been a part of Fermented Reptile, Hip-Hop Wieners, the Break Bread Crew and released three solo albums and three EPs.

He recently co-founded a digital-only record label -- Marathon of Dope -- with Tom De Geeter from Belgium. The pair releases albums online using the "pay what you want" format.

"It pays for itself, basically. As of late we've been getting an enormous amount of traffic and we've had to up the gigs we pay for," he says. "No one wants to buy CDs anymore. I think that's the state right now: pay what you think it's worth. I think that's the best look right now, especially for someone in my position."

But Skid Row will not be released on his own label -- it's being put out on Arnone's label, Foultone Records.

The album will be released across Canada on March 30, but Winnipeggers will have a chance to pick it up Saturday when Pip Skid holds his release party at the West End Cultural Centre with the Turtle Island Hip-Hop Dance Crew and Rebel Yell. For his set, he will be backed by Greg MacPherson's band. Admission to the all-ages show is $10, which includes a copy of Skid Row.

The 15-track-disc features guest appearances by rappers Yy, Silly Willy, Moka Only and Birdapres. Improv comedy group Crumbs throws in a couple of skits, while MacPherson sings on two tracks and John Vogan (Red Blanket/Rebel Yell) plays guitar on three.

"I just wanted to make some really heavy songs, so I brought in John Vogan to play guitar. The title track is sort of a metal-rock song. I've been trying to experiment lately with singing, so this is an album I thought I could go out on a limb and do that," Skene says.

"I've been interested in trying out some singing for a while, and in my head I've been writing that way, but vocally, I can't really hit much of that stuff... At home I sounded great, then I hit the studio and it was horrible."

To help with the vocals, he recruited indie-rocker MacPherson, with whom he shares a musical vision.

"Greg and I are, musically, in very similar positions," Skene says. "We struggle with the same things. Our songs are somewhat similar. We make different music, but we're on a similar path. To me, Greg is the most underrated singer in Manitoba."

MacPherson tried his hand at rapping during the sessions and Skene is planning to release that down the line as part of the extra material that was written and recorded for Skid Row.

He will be organizing that material for a followup release after shooting some videos for at least three songs with Toronto director Jason Lapeyre -- who directed his last clip, Pip's Kid -- and Winnipeg's Mike Maryniuk, who has worked with the likes of the D. Rangers, American Flamewhip and Electro Quarterstaff.

He is also working on a video for a song he wrote about Winnipeg, focusing on the city's seedier elements. The song isn't on Skid Row because of sample clearances, but he has already shot some footage with the Turtle Island Hip-Hop Dance Crew, who he met while working at his day job teaching art and music classes for kids at the Graffiti Gallery, and by extension, community centres and high schools across the city.

"Hanging out with kids and accessing the creative part of their brain is hilarious," he says, adding that it's the perfect job for him since he's a "terminal teenager."

"I'm getting paid to make the world better, and you see the direct result of your job immediately: in hours a kid will go from not being able to say their name to being on a microphone, rapping and talking about who they are. Kids haven't been destroyed by this horrible world yet; they have all the energy and excitement that's been drained out of us long ago.

"I'm a giant man-boy. It's the best job ever, only better. It's always amazing." - www.winnipegfreepress.com


"Pip Skid has arrived"

Pip Skid has arrived
The veteran local rapper gets set to release Skid Row - his finest solo album yet

Jen Zoratti

Pip Skid has arrived
As far as Canada's independent rap scene is concerned, Pip Skid is a pioneer.

Born Patrick Skene in Brandon, Man., the 35-year-old Winnipeg-based rapper got his start back in 1991, when he formed the influential hip hop group Farm Fresh with fellow Brandonites mcenroe and DJ Hunnicutt (who later co-founded acclaimed hip hop label Peanuts & Corn in 1994). After releasing two albums with Farm Fresh, Pip teamed up with Gruf the Druid of rap collective Frek Sho to form Fermented Reptile, a more aggressive, politically driven project. Since then, he's collaborated with practically everyone on P&C's roster, from Birdapres to John Smith.

It's his unflinchingly honest and unapologetically outspoken solo work, however, that has particularly resonated with fans - and his latest solo effort, the gritty, grimy Skid Row, is easily his most affecting yet.

Pip will unveil Skid Row at an all-ages CD-release gig at the West End Cultural Centre on March 13, backed by a live band featuring Nestor Wynrush, DJ Kutdown as well as members of Annihilator, Nova and Banned from Atlantis. Uptown called up the veteran wordsmith to get more details about his new record - and his trail-blazing career.

Uptown: First off, tell me about Skid Row. Are you happy with how it turned out?

Pip: It's rare that I feel really good about a record - which, in retrospect, I guess is kind of weird. But I'm really happy with it - it's the best record I've ever made. It feels like I've developed or fine-tuned a lot of skills. Often with albums, depending on who you're working with, you're not as involved (in the production). This one was like making a Peanuts & Corn record, which was great.

What was you vision for this record?

I was recording my last album in (DJ) Kutdown's closet and we'd come up with this idea to make a record called Skid Row that would have hard-rock themes on it - not rap rock, but a heavy rap record.

I moved back to Halifax (in January 2009) for a few months and I wasn't feeling well. I had the record almost done and fuck, it was just 12 songs about depression. I revisited it a year later after I came back to Winnipeg. I scrapped a lot of songs and started with a fresh batch of beats.

Speaking of DJ Kutdown, you collaborated with him on this record.

It was great. It was also Rob Crooks - they're kind of a production team, but Kutdown makes the original beats. It's nice to work with different ears.

Greg MacPherson appears on Skid Row, too, which is interesting.

Greg and I have been friends for a long time. I've been writing more musical stuff lately that I can envision but can't always execute - which is why working with Greg is awesome. His voice is so - I've always called him the Bruce Springsteen of Manitoba, but now Bruce Springsteen sucks so much I don't want to cut Greg down.

Compare Skid Row to your other solo albums. How is it different?

There's stuff I experimented with, but overall, it just sounds better. There's always surprises when you start writing - but, I don't know, I've listened to it so many times I don't know what it sounds like. Sometimes I'll find it in my iTunes and think, 'Oh, I wrote that. That's interesting.'

You've had a long career in music, stretching back to the early '90s. When did you start rapping?

Remember Bundy's Late Night Revue? (For those who don't, it was a TV show hosted by Kevin 'Bundy' Dunn that aired on MTN in the late '80s/early '90s). I wrote a really bad rap about rednecks and how Hogan's Heroes was racist, and I called up Bundy's and kicked that rap on the phone (laughs). Being into rap at that time in Brandon, I was a total outcast.

Tyler (Sneesby, aka DJ Hunnicutt) and I became friends and started writing songs. We had a band before Farm Fresh called Post Office. We did Joy Division covers and shit like that. We didn't have a drummer so we just got a guy to hit a snare drum. We played two gigs, I think. We'd also get punk bands in Brandon to play a bass line, and I'd just rap over that. Somehow, Farm Fresh came out of that.

What happened to Farm Fresh?

We all kind of grew apart. I mean, we're all still friends and make music, but I wanted to make more political stuff. I went to B.C. for a while and, when I came back, Frek Sho had split up. So Gruf from Frek Sho and I formed Fermented Reptile. I think it was cathartic for us. I think we were both feeling confined in our old groups. And that catapulted Peanuts & Corn. That was when the Internet was getting awesome, probably around 1999. It was hard to hear rap in the '90s in places like Brandon. The Internet opened a lot of doors, and that gave Peanuts & Corn some fuel. We started putting out a record every couple months and chasing a hopeless dream.

Life is funny that way. It took 30-some years for my life to make sense, and now it's finally making sense. I went through a really depressing divorce with the dream I could make music for my whole life. Then teaching came along.

Yes, I wanted to ask you about your teaching endeavours. What has working with kids been like?

They're teaching me all the time. I'm just a weird kid - a big stupid man-boy that can't grow up. I don't work within the public school system, so I've been able to build my own programs, which is nice. I teach art classes at Graffiti Gallery, and I designed and run a program called Free Style out of U of W, for teenagers and U of W students and little kids. It's phenomenal working with them. It gets better all the time.

How about when you were a kid - when did you actively get into music?

I've always liked music. I remember hearing Van Halen's Jump and losing my shit, but nothing really resonated with me.
I had a life-size poster of Huey Lewis in my room. There were these magazines you could buy - fan magazines, I guess - and they always had a life-size pull-out poster in the back. I can see why I was hanging onto that before I found rap - it's crappy, white-guy blues, but blues is so much like hip hop that it makes sense.

Anyway, I was in a hockey dressing room, and this kid who always went to the States put in an LL Cool J tape. He's a total shit stain now, but back then he was phenomenal. I heard it and the world stopped. I had to get more tapes. I remember picking raspberries in a snake-infested garden - they were just garter snakes, but still, they're not my favourite things. It was, like, plus 40 and I made $14 for 12 hours of work. I went straight to the record store to get a tape. I remember telling my mom, 'that's what I want to do when I grow up.' And she said, 'Yeah, well, you better think of something else.'

Are you glad you didn't take that advice?

Oh yeah. I don't know anything else but music. I remember driving home from the studio when we'd been there until six in the morning, and I couldn't believe how many people were running around looking stressed out and miserable, slipping on ice to catch a bus. Ugh. I've worked my fair share of crappy jobs (see: raspberry picker), and I don't live in luxury by any means, but it's worth it not to have to live like that. I have no regrets. If it all ended today, I'd be happy. I mean, I'd be sad that it ended, but I'd be happy with what happened.

It's still fun - and that's what's important.

PIP SKID CD-RELEASE PARTY
March 13, West End Cultural Centre - www.uptownmag.com


Discography

Selected discography:

1994 - Farm Fresh - Space EP (Cassette, Peanuts & Corn)
1995 - Farm Fresh - Crazy Fiction (Cassette, Peanuts & Corn)
1999 - Farm Fresh - Played Out (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
1999 - Fermented Reptile - Let's Just Call You "Quits" (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
2001 - Pip Skid - Friends4Ever (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
2002 - Pip Skid - Money Matters (7", Peanuts & Corn)
2003 - Hip Hop Weiners - All Beef, No Chicken (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
2005 - Pip Skid - I'm Mean (CDR Mixtape)
2004 - Pip Skid - Funny Farm (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
2005 - mcenroe - disenfranchised 2 / Pip Skid - Funny Farm 2 (12", Peanuts & Corn)
2005 - Taking Care of Business (Pip Skid, John Smith and Skratch Bastid) - Taking Care of Business (CD, First Things First)
2005 - Farm Fresh - Time is Running Out (CD, Peanuts & Corn)
2007 - Pip Skid - Pip Donahue (Digital Download, Marathon of Dope)
2008 - Pip Skid - I Can't Be Stopped (Digital Download, Marathon of Dope)
2010 - Pip Skid - Skid Row (Foultone)

Photos

Bio

Pip Skid is the ugly truth. He is a rap firebrand whose music transcends its humble prairie origins. His unvarnished commentary on political and social issues has earned him pockets of admirers all over the world. His songs are propelled by imagery and messages that provoke people to question, think, and act. Pip Skid can be repulsive, he can be inspiring, but he can never be dull.

Far from a newcomer, Pip Skid has been writing and performing for half his life. Starting out with the seminal group Farm Fresh from his native Brandon, Manitoba, Pip was at the forefront of a burgeoning hip hop scene in central Canada in the early 1990s. He is a cornerstone of the success of indie label Peanuts & Corn Records and has featured on many of their 40 releases.

Beyond Farm Fresh, Pip has recorded six solo projects, the most recent being 2010's Skid Row on Foultone Records. He has also recorded as a member of such high profile groups as Fermented Reptile, Hip Hop Wieners, Taking Care Of Business and Break Bread. Well received by both fans and critics, these recordings have made Pip heavily in demand for guest appearances on more than a 4 dozen other albums.

By day, Pip Skid teaches youth how to make music & art with his "Freestyle" program. In high demand with schools, community centres and cultural groups, the program touches on the history of hip hop music and basic techniques of rapping, art, deejaying, performing and recording. The underlying emphasis however is on self-confidence, self-expression, teamwork and having fun. Knowing what a great emotional outlet music can be, Pip treasures the opportunity to pass the tradition on to kids who may not always have the emotional supports they need.

The Pip Skid live show is legendary. When he takes the stage, the reclusive man becomes the outspoken artist. Funny and frenetic, animated and volatile, but above all, entertaining, Pip is the animal freed from his cage. His performances are a powerful workout for both the audience and the artist - draining and gratifying all at once. Backed by the veteran DJ Co-op (Cadence Weapon), the show is a musical masterpiece. Pip Skid has toured his chaotic live show extensively throughout North America and Europe.

After 19 years of making music, Pip Skid couldn't be relevant if he wasn't sincere.

His method and his sound evolve with each project but the thread that ties them all together is strong. Forces that shape our lives, for better or worse, all come under Pip's microscope - food, politics, violence, love, hate, pop culture, subculture, and social justice - concepts all thinking people can relate to. Pip Skid keeps evolving and rap music stays fresh. That's the ugly truth.