The rap scene is really hopping in Williams Lake.
Not only do we have quite a few rap artists who write their own material, but we have an independent label called Homegrownhiphop.
In recent months, the two Homegrownhiphop founders have now found a new groove opening for big name Canadian rap groups.
Justin Case-Grindley, stage name Just-n-Case, 18, has been teaming up with Bryan Delaronde, 22, stage name Bioson, for the performances.
In recent months they have opened several shows in Prince George for the groups Eminem’s D12; Juno Award winner Belly; and Canadian hip-hop pioneers Swollen Members.
They have also opened for Scale Breakers of Vancouver when they played in Williams Lake and for Evil Ebenezer in Kamloops.
The have also opened for Snak the Ripper from Stomp Down at the Babalon Night Club in Vancouver.
Bryan and Justin will be touring with Scale Breakers and 7Side, for two weeks April 5 to 25 and then will open for Tech 9 in Prince George, on May 21.
Bryan has also been gaining a solid reputation as a solo artist in the world of battle rap — a kind of fight challenge of rap insults exchanged between competing parties that was originally popularized by Eminem.
“It’s starting to blow up now all over on YouTube and MTV,” Bryan says.
Bryan won his first K.O.T.D. battle in Vancouver in November and went back to the big city to win his second rap battle on March 5. His first battle was a one-on-one competition. For the second event he teamed up in a two-on-two competition with Kryptic from Chilliwack. So far he says he is the only battle rapper outside of Vancouver to make it into the Vancouver competition which should be available on YouTube and MTV in about three weeks.
Bryan was able to propel himself and Justin into the rap music circuit after meeting Chelcie Grobins of Where Its At Entertaining in Vancouver. He says Grobins heard their songs, liked them, and started booking gigs for them.
When it comes to recording, Homegrownhiphop operates out of Justin’s home-based digital recording studio, with Justin handling technical recording and Bryan serving as manager.
Justin, who is in Grade 12 at Columneetza, is self-taught on piano, guitar and drums and lays down the “flips,” or the recorded music for his own songs, and for songs written by other artists.
He says he does all the mixing using professional programs to get a professional sound.
Justin says he and the late Matt Armstrong started the recording studio together in 2006 and he is carrying on Matt’s legacy with fellow rappers Bryan, Chris Janzen, and Jeremy Nicolson.
He says they have about 17 young artists recording on the Homegrownhiphop label who, like themselves, want to remain independent.
“We all write our own lyrics,” Justin says. “We write about what we’ve been through. We are not out there to impress people, we do what we love.”
Jeremy, 17, and also in Grade 12 at Columneetza, released his first album on the label last December and has sold 250 copies on his own so far. Jeremy has also given live performances.
He says he writes about his own experiences and two of his songs are in memory of their late friend Matt.
Jeremy spent spring break learning more fundamentals about recording at the Digital Boot Camp Centre for Arts and Technology in Kelowna.
In July Bryan will be touring B.C. with songs from his new album Project Fire.
Bryan started writing songs when he was 15 and now has about 250 songs to his credit. Bryan says he also collaborated on two songs with Moka Only from Swollen Members.
Justin hasn’t put together his own solo album yet because he has been too busy producing and creating the music for their songs and recording music for other young artists.
Bryan and Justin say the songs they write and record can be musical, fast, slow, danceable — they would even like to record some country music.
“We don’t want to get stuck in one genre,” Justin says.
Homegrownhiphop has also started their own clothing branding with the Homegrownhiphop logo on jerseys, T-shirts, sweaters, tank tops, hats, towels and the like.
Bryan says he and Justin also open for big name hip-hop groups they bring in from Vancouver periodically to perform at the Comer Station Pub, for which Sight and Sound provides the technical support.
“We would like to thank Sight and Sound and the Comer Station Pub for helping us when we put on events,” Bryan says.