Cross The Border

By the time you’ll read this, your boy YN’s yellow ass will be in Toronto educating and civilizing the folks at the Kuumba Festival. I honestly don’t know much about this event but the homie S Dot told me we was rollin’ so I got my passport. I’m sure whatever it ends up being I’ll make the best out of it. Shit, a free flight, a nice hotel and couple of hundred bucks to talk about how great my friends and I are—fuck New Edition—you can count me in.

Plus if the time permits, I’ll get to break bread (I see you Serch!) and enjoy a cocktail or two with my homegirls, fellow XXL blogger Tara Henley and fellow journalist Celine Wong. I’m sure throughout my visit though the issue of my feelings on international rap and my theories on why no Canadian MC has of yet cracked through to the American audience will be brought up.

I honestly don’t have all the answers. I remember the potential hype behind a couple of artists like Choclair and Kardinal Offishall a few years back. But when it comes to a personal connection to the scene the only brother I ever truly got acquainted with from the world’s second-largest country was a dude named Maestro Fresh Wes.

By the time I met him in 1994, he had dropped the Fresh Wes and was goin’ by simply Maestro. Maestro and I became cool but my memory fails me on how that came to be. I must have written something he liked about him or something. I do remember that even though he was from a “foreign land” he would move through the Rotten Apple like a dude from BK.

That’s right, ole boy had a lil’ NY swag and his 1994 album Naaah, Dis Kid Can’t Be From Canada?!! boasted appearances from underground giant Percee P and production from Showbiz from D.I.T.C. fame. Check out a couple of my picks from the CD below and I hope if the big homie is still livin’ in T Dot that he swings through to shake the hand of the yellow man. Can’t forget about you too, nigga.

This couldn’t have been 13 years ago:

“Pray To Da East” (featuring Percee P)

“Certs Wid Out Da Retsyn”

“Mic Mechanism” (produced by Showbiz)

“Fine Tune Da Mic” (produced by and featuring Showbiz)

“Bring It On (Remix)” (produced by, of course, Showbiz)

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  • Vick


  • arme07nastynorth

    mayhem morearty check him 4 sure

  • alleyeCNtower

    Elliot, I’ll see you there. My name is Adhimu Stewart aka Mindbender, and I’m looking forward to meeting the man, the myth, the mouth, and the mind behind the best American hip hop magazine in the world… oh, and Maestro might not make it, I’m supposed to interview him soon, and the scoop is that he lives in Vancouver now, getting his act on. (You did see him in ’4 Brothers’ with John Singleton, right? Or even ‘Redemption: the Tookie Williams story’ with Jamie Foxx… you know the rap money isn’t that long :)
    anyways, it’s gonna be a great event, and many of us are honored you are taking the time to reach out… believe me, I’m one of the Canadian MCs that is still creepin’ on a come-up, working on becoming one of the first cats to make that international history… someone’s just gotta take a risk, and believe in something new… just like when XXL mag started…

    talk to more in person, today
    nuff respect, from Addi Stewart/Mindbender

  • Rainis

    2nd hey thats a first for me

  • Rainis

    2nd thats a first for me

  • john cochran

    Da baw Cardinal used to be on some rasta rap shit. I remember him from a version of Grindin with the Clipse. Other than that, I never heard of no rapper from Canada. i know that got bad bitches though. Early

  • Cheryl

    hey elliot, it was good meeting you today. the standing room turnout was amazing and hearing what all the panelists had to say gave me a renewed faith in hip hop. i saw the dead prez movie just prior to your session and it was a blessing to see cats so dedicated to the essence of hip hop and not bowing to the system. hope you have a nice stay in Toronto and one day, i hope to see my name in XXL as a contributor. one.

  • Hurricane Game

    LOL This Blog is terrible. Bol ripping you up Elliott

  • arme07nastynorth

    NAsty NORTH GuLlY SHIT,.,.,
    SCREWFACE CAPITOL…….07…T.o.4life

  • Hannah Smith

    Ask him how he feels about exclusively promoting the murdering and crack dealing side of hip-hop. What price the soul, eh?

  • samuel lee

    i just want to say that rick rubin is the man, he helped starting def jam and now has won a grammy with the dixie chicks. i know that he is white, and it’s black history month.. but i thought all of us here at xxl were past that. it’s hip hop it’s our history.

  • Hurricane Game

    OH YEAH LOL @ Date with Tara

  • jacquez
  • EReal

    “Plus if the time permits, I’ll get to break bread (I see you Serch!)”

    Dont lie Elliott, Serch is your white bitch isnt he?

    You get into any bitches up there E?? I heard those Canadian chicks are FREAKS, yo. Like almost as horney as Jew girls, or so I hear…
    Let us know mang, you get any canadian groupie love?
    (Tara-Squad don’t count)

    1 hunned.

  • Roc_Representa

    Dudes, you’re forgetting about K-Os. If you haven’t already download his album ‘Joyful Rebellion’ NOW!

  • Jimmy Jay

    belly is on the come-up. you shouldn’t sleep on him.