“Eh, where you from, Canada? Everybody on the left, everybody on the right! In the front and in the back, let ‘em know where you’re from… I’m from the T dot…Oh!” These familiar lyrics come from one of the biggest songs by one of the biggest artists to explode out of Canada. The song is entitled “The Anthem” by Canada’s hip-hop ambassador, Mr. Kardinal Offishall! His passion for music and his drive to reach new and groundbreaking heights paved the way for other hip-hop artists. From hits like “Ol’ Time Killin’” to “BaKardi Slang”, to showing us his “True Colors”, Kardinal is here to share insight and moments in music.
Kardinal Offishall, a.k.a. Celebrity Face! Your iconic songs have boosted Toronto’s nickname, “T.Dot!” and you’ve paved the way for an artist like Drake by helping to put Toronto on the map. How does it feel to look back at all that you’ve accomplished throughout the years?
I don’t look back too often! I tend to keep looking forward! But when you stop to glance at all the blessings and realize that what you did and still do made an international impact on music culture, it’s an interesting feeling. You don’t really set out to trail blaze; you just do what you do with passion because it’s what you live and love.
You’ve seen the music industry firsthand, and it has gone through many changes. From a business perspective, where would you say the music industry is heading?
From a business perspective, the industry keeps growing; this makes it more and more possible for creative people to monetize their passions. Art and commerce are the worst AND best of friends. Like any relationship, you have to nurture it the right way and constantly work at it.
You were already successful producing hits when you were with the “Circle” and working in the underground music scene. Your part in the 2012 release of “True Colors” really allowed another side of you to shine; I feel you gained even more fans when that track was released. Tell me more about your work with “Artists against Bullying”.
It was an amazing campaign that sold lots of units and raised a lot of awareness. When I was a kid, bullying was solved with your fist or your feet, but things have changed so much with today’s generation of kids. My job on that track was to let kids know that being yourself is embraced around here. All the “cool kids” are the ones who love who they are no matter what.
As well as producing hits, Kardinal, you also produce drinks. The drink Rated Z Punch is a business venture between yourself, Dwayne Wade Senior and founder Zamani Thomas. What is Rated Z Punch, for anyone just discovering it today?
It’s the greatest rum punch mixer that you will ever taste. If you ever want to taste the Caribbean, have a glass of Rated Z and welcome to the islands, all year long.
Rated Z is getting great reviews in Toronto and Miami. Two of my favourite Toronto hotspots, Harlem Restaurant and Lounge and Harlem Underground have Rated Z on the menu. How is the drink doing overall, and what plans do you have for its future?
So far, so good! We are growing the brand organically. We just have plans to let the people champion our product before it goes mainstream.
So many great ideas are never launched! To be able to imagine something and then create it and bring it to life is an accomplishment. For anyone out there who has a great idea but doesn’t have the first idea how to bring it to life, what advice or steps would you suggest they take?
Very often ideas are brought to life accidentally. *Laughs* There isn’t necessarily a right way and a wrong way. YOUR idea or way of working may not work for ANYBODY else, but it may work for you! Never settle, don’t worry about getting “no” as an answer, and keep the faith!!!
What goes great with Rated Z Punch?
Any spirit, rum, vodka, cognac etc.! My favorite is rum or vodka though.
You gave us “BaKardi Slang”. Are there any plans for a “Rated Z” theme song in the works?
Nah. Not yet. If it comes naturally though, I won’t deny the vibe!
This venture seems like just the beginning. Are there any other products you, Dwayne and Zamani are working on that we should look forward to?
For now, we are very focused on bringing the Rated Z brand to the people!
You’re paving a strong path for other artists to follow. What next can we expect from Canada’s hip-hop ambassador, Mr. Kardinal Offishall?
More fire, culture, risks, success and excellence!
FOLLOW KARDINAL OFFISHALL:
ABOUT D’ANISE MARIE, Contributor to Addicted and eBOSS Canada
Media Personality, Show Creator, Host, Writer, Singer and Personal Manager for Studio Talent Management, Carolyn’s Intl. Models and Carolyn’s Model and Talent, D’Anise Marie is one of the leading ladies in the entertainment business. She has mentored rising talent across Canada on “what it takes to make it in the business.” Managing her own career with hard work, knowledge and talent have earned D’Anise her way onto the red carpet. She has conducted interviews with some of the biggest and rising names in the entertainment industry. E-mail D’Anise at [email protected]