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Bubba B the MC: Canadian Hip-Hop Artist Profile

Updated on October 6, 2017
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Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!

MC Bubba B
MC Bubba B

Bubba B the MC grew up with music permeating his life. He was the third of four children and the youngest by some margin. Ever since his earliest days, his ears had been filled with music and words. He points out, “I was in a unique situation because my mother used to sing to me as an infant. Later on, I learned that, prior to being a housewife, she was an author, a poet, and a singer.”

His siblings and his father also helped shape his musical landscape. B says, “I had two older siblings, considerably older than I was. By the time I had awareness and comprehension, they were already playing instruments. My dad also played rhythm guitar in a soca/calypso band, so that’s where the rhythm came from for me.”

B's father was a pipe fitter and a welder who helped to build Northern Alberta’s oil infrastructure ‘weld by weld’ so he was away for much of B’s childhood. When he came home on weekends, especially on Saturdays, he’d play music. He adds, “Saturdays were his decompression time. He would play a bunch of records. He had a world-class home audio system and he played all of the good stuff. He played Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, and the Miracles. He played soul, R & B and the music of the Civil Rights movement.”

While all of this was going on, B’s older brother got into early hip hop and rap music. He’d teach him new dance moves and B would spend hours practicing all of the different locks and breaks. He continues, “A few teachers at school wanted me to teach the younger kids dance moves at lunch hour, so I started getting into choreography and teaching kids different moves and how to link them all together.”

There is one event that helped shape his identity as a hip hop artist. He was in the car with his father and his sister, after a family outing. B says. “My little sister was in the back seat, my dad was driving and I was in the front seat next to my dad. He was playing Whodini’s song Freaks Come Out at Night. It had this groove that was so tight. I looked at my normally strait-laced father and he was tapping his hands and getting into it. I looked back my sister who is five years younger than I am and she’s in the back seat nodding her head. I realized that there were three generations all with different mindsets all under one groove. Hip hop had the power to do that!”

B has worked in all levels of the music industry from DJing to radio to writing rhymes. Initially he started out as a party MC. He explains, “I was the guy that people would call when the party sucked and they needed to kick it up to the next level. It was great and I loved it. I loved the power, the control and appreciation for my art form to be used in that way.”

When he moved into radio, a trend that bothered him came to his attention. B says, “I was getting lots of requests and I started to feel that a lot of our listeners were not adults, they were young people. I realized that a lot of the music that was coming out didn’t really have a positive message. Throughout my career, I would say that 98.9 percent of my music has been positive or had some kind of inspirational message to it. I wasn’t talking about ‘big booty girls’. My music actually had substance and texture.”

He adds, “I was getting kids calling and requesting songs that were completely inappropriate for them. I wanted to provide kids with songs to turn to that would help them feel some kind of positivity. My music was also for the parents of these children. I wanted to create something that will be influential to them as well.”

Writing rhymes starts with an observation or an experience for him. B says, “I’ll think about what I’d say to my child as a parent about that topic or how I’d explain to a group of kids. After that, I start from scratch. I’ll have the idea for the melody or the bass line or the drums and then I’ll build a chorus, build verses, refine it and then bring it to the studio and lay it down.”

One of the challenges that B cites in his career is the influence of America on Canada’s music industry. He says, “Pound for pound, dollar for dollar Canada is punching way above our weight. The biggest selling country artist of all time is Canadian, one of the biggest adult contemporary artists of all time is from Canada. We should invest in the industry we have here, we shouldn’t export our artists and our art works to the U.S. just to get some kind of recognition or affirmation here on our home front.”

A broader challenge has been establishing a homegrown hip hop scene in Canada. B explains, “I was called upon by the CRTC to speak on behalf of the artists in Calgary and the hip hop community. I was part of the reason why Standard Radio was handed the first hip hop radio station license in Canada. I believed that we had a strong enough community in Canada to have a brand of radio stations that catered to local hip hop/R & B music that focused on the creation of a national identity and a national vibe.”

Unfortunately, B points out, Canada still doesn’t have a 24/7 hip hop/R&B/urban radio station. He says, “It’s sad because we have all these incredible artists working their butts off and selling records but we have no homegrown station to support us.”

The future is “wide open and sky high” for him at the moment. B says, “I’m carving out my own lane. My brand is expanding. I’m thinking about ways to get the positivity, my songs and my inclusive imagery in front of as many eyes as possible by doing live performances, workshops and by touring. I want to provide a beacon of light for people who are disassociated and disenfranchised.”

B is in a creative space right now, so he isn’t listening to a lot of other artists who might influence him. He finds creative recharge in other areas. He explains, “I do a lot of deep water running for breathing and cardio, I rest, I meditate, I read, I listen to stuff that I’ve done in the past to see how I can retool and rework it.”

Mostly he likes to connect with the demographic his music and artwork tend to inspire and influence; families, kids and parents. He explains it like this, “Now that I'm a father of an amazing ‘hyper-aware of their surroundings’ little person, I've become even more focused on the goal and especially the best message and example for the next generation of musicians and artists coming up as possible.”

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