Rob Sawan, or Kasp, as he is known in the hip hop world, is getting ready to party.
This one is a very special get together, he said, as he is celebrating the release of his new music video, which will air on Much Music in May.
Before that happens, he wants everyone to come down to Fibonacci’s Café in Penticton on May 7 for the first public showing of the video, shot for On A Roll, off his first album, Muskwa.
“The music video got started two months ago and we just figured that it is time to see if we could get it on Much,” said Kasp. “We talked to the right people and it is going to be on Rap City.”
The video, he continued, sets the tone for the next stage of his career.
“My music has grown up a bit,” he said. “The majority of my music has messages, but my next CD is more upbeat. My last CD was about my life and it was a bit sad.”
The songs of Muskwa expressed some of Kasp’s struggles to deal with child abuse, alcoholism and drug abuse. On A Roll, he said, is about the hero in all of us.
“Everybody is a hero in their own mind, whether they are doctors, lawyers, rappers, what ever you may do. Everyday people, we’re all heroes in our own mind,” he said. “I thought that would be a good start.”
Kasp describes On A Roll as his first professional music video, the result of a collaboration with Stuey Kubrick, who has also directed videos for Sweatshop Union, Moka Only and Indelible, who appear with Kasp on the video.
“I’ve been working with one of Canada’s best up and coming music producers – he is just amazing,” said Kasp. “The guys who worked with me on that song, they did a song with him called Gets Me High. The quality was just amazing.”
Kubrick’s work with Moka Only was also a factor for Kasp, who respects the work of the Vancouver-based artist.
“He’s really a go-getter and he is one of the reasons I stay focused, if a guy like him could do what he is doing,” said Kasp. “I want to be an example for youth and people in general to show that I could survive what I came from and still keep putting out good music.”
Filmed on location on the Penticton Indian Band and East Vancouver, the video exemplifies KASP’s different take on hip hop.
Rather than the stereotypical rap images of women, sex and drugs, Kasp and Indelible are interspersed with images of elders and band members from the PIB, even a cameo of Chief Jonathan Kruger.
“They are in our video briefly. The video is cool; it was shot in East Vancouver, but also in Penticton,” he said. Kasp said the response from fellow band members has been good, even from elders.
“They realize it’s all about bringing a message, but we’re on a positive message,” he said. “They respect it if it’s like that, but if it’s showing off girls and doing the stereotype, they’re against it.
“I’m about just doing music people enjoy,” said Kasp. “I am not rapping about disrespecting girls or anything like that.”
It’s also a lot of hard work creating a music video, Kasp found, and he wants to communicate the dedication needed to pursue a career as an artist.
“I want to show that it’s not just having a Facebook account, a Youtube account and jumping in front of your computer, said Kasp, who worries that many of the kids coming along think it is that easy. “It actually takes dedication and you can’t just wake up in the middle of the night and say I am going to be a rapper. They don’t realize that you have to put in work.”
Kasp is planning a more fun and lyrical album for his next effort and he’s already making plans with Kubrick for a second video. But Muskwa is selling well, he said, exceeding his early expectations.
“It’s been just, wow, better than I thought it would be. I’ve sold over 500 already and that is without major commercials and major booking,” he said. “I think it is doing fairly well for itself.”
It’s exclusively in Penticton at Snow Mountain market, on the PIB, right beside Super Save Gas.
“We worked out something with them and they were awesome enough to promote us and help us out,” Kasp said. “They’re actually one of our main sponsors.”
The video screening takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Fibonacci’s Café on Main Street.