Just call him the hip hop hoser.
Vancouver rapper Evil Ebenezer took no issues with throwing on a plaid shirt, toque and channeling his inner Bob and Doug Mackenzie when his friends at a B.C. brewing company asked him to pose in an advertisement with fellow hip hopper Merkules.
“It’s cool, we get it and it is something I grew up on. Merk not so much, but his dad schooled him on it,” said the rapper, who will be performing in Penticton on June 28 at Opal Nite Club with Merkules.
It’s that sense of pride (and good humour) that Canadians are associated with that Ebenezer thrives on. While hip hop artists north of the 48 may have not had the same rocketing success as their American counterparts, Ebenezer said it just pushes him to work harder because he knows his fans also have to dig deeper to find the music. It’s a challenge and a bonus in itself.
“I think there is a bit of both. It’s a good thing because the internet allows me to reach my fans that much more directly, where 10 or 15 years ago that didn’t happen. At the end of the day, the good music and stuff that matters gets out there regardless. I think music fans like to dig. People need to dig to find the music because only the mainstream stuff gets pushed and if you want to look beyond that, well then that’s dope. If you don’t you are stuck with whatever the radio decides to play.”
Ebenezer said he doesn’t have the big music “machine” behind him so you won’t find him on the radio, but it’s not necessarily that he wants that either.
“That is my choice. I make the type of music that I want. I can only do me and do what I do and if people like it I keep doing it. If a record company was like, we are going to get you out there; and I can still make the music I want then yeah, but they aren’t going to do that. They are in it to make money and sell you. That is just the way it is.”
Fresh off an invite to NXNE (North By Northeast), a massive music and arts festival in Toronto, Ebenezer continues to gain fans and exposure. He is finishing up his latest album, expected for release in late August or early September, called Howl. Taking on the theme of a Batman villain for his well received last EP, Penguin, he is back to his roots.
“This Howl album is something I have been working on for nine months. This is my personality and a very emotional record. I went through a bad breakup and wrote lots of songs about dealing with the music industry and it is a more personal record for sure,” he said. “I am the most confident as an artist and writer as I have ever felt and I am curious to see what the reaction will be because it is the best stuff I have done so far. I have been improving my singing and stepping outside my comfort zone.”
While he wasn’t ready to release too many details of the album (Edmonton’s Cadence Weapon is featured on one song), Ebenezer said he is expecting the first single to be out in July and those at the show in Penticton might get a sneak peak of it.
“This new album is going to be the same Evil Ebenezer, the same guy just a bit more refined,” he said. “It is just life experience that I have grown from and all the shit I have gone through. I’m really proud of these songs and I think people are really going to like them.”
Tickets are $10 to the June 28 show that also features Merkules and special guests MC Bodhi, Immaculate and guest DJs from Mad Melody Records.