It’s time to stop, collaborate and listen–respectively

By Markus Anderson

“It’s all about promotion,” says Scott Lee, perhaps better known as hip hop emcee and producer The EquAzn. “We’re here to promote positivity in the hip hop scene.”

With over a dozen artists–ranging from emcees, producers, and DJs all with backgrounds as diverse as rapping, beatboxing, electronica, turntablism and club music–hip hop collective Audible Intelligence is a gathering of talents who want to further the hip hop scene in Calgary. Audible Intelligence is not only a group that performs together, but a collective with the common goal of growing Calgary’s hip hop community.

“People are starting to know our names individually,” remarks Nate Schmold a.k.a. Mantrakid, a producer and emcee with a background in electronica whose second record is in final production. “If one of us gets attention, that’s good for everyone.”

The eventual goal is to make hip hop viable as a full-time occupation in Calgary and to have the music reach critical mass where “[The artists] don’t need to spend money on marketing, where the music sells itself,” says Mantrakid.

“I’d rather be broke and make good music, than have lots of money but be in a shitty job,” says PlanIt, whose second album will drop shortly. “It definitely comes before work. If [artists] can make like $30,000 a year, and that’s enough to survive on, then they can [be full time musicians].

“People want to support music from Canada. That’s why we want to make sure we have good promotion.”

They all agree marketing is key for the growth of the community.

“We need to keep promoting each other,” notes Schmold. “If someone does a show, they need to let people know about someone else’s show.”

Because of the diversity of the collective, they can draw inspiration from many sources.

“We have lots of influences,” says DJ Side, who got started with scratching and is now moving into club and dance music. “For me, its DJ Pump and Pete Rock.”

“Wu Tang is a big one for me” remarks Soleo, also an emcee and producer.

A compilation CD by members of Audible Intelligence is in the works. In the meantime, they continue to perform at live events and make music as they have always done.

“Music is a part of my life. I’ve been rapping since I was thirteen,” notes PlanIt, prompting nods from the others. “I’ve always loved music and I always will.”

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