When completing my own project on the development of hip-hop in Canada, two of the people I reached out too individually for interviews were LOGS and Peter Lo (Both originally from Unsatisfied Poets but now rocking the name Crabstyle). These guys are a Saskatoon outfit and just released one of my favourite projects of 2019 so far.
I understand the blog is more dedicated toward historical documentation of Canadian rap, but when the opportunity arose to shine some light on one of my favourite new projects, I took it. Shout outs to Aron (Peter Lo) for taking the time out to organize the group together to get these questions answered.
Enjoy the read, and check out the new Crabstyle album when you get a chance!
Crabstyle consists of:
Anthony Law (MPC1000)
Peter Lo (DJ/Studio Wiz)
LOGS (MC) Ibonic (MC)
Marry Max (MC)
RR: First off, congratulations on the new album Bucket Soup! Honestly one of my favourite things right now. Just been going through it since I got my hands on the project. When did you guys start working on the project?
Anthony Law: Thanks, glad you’re enjoying it. The project had been in the works for a few years. A couple line-up changes and an addition [of additional MC, Marry Max] were made before the album started to take shape but it all came together.
Peter Lo: Thanks! I think we started to work on Bucket Soup in the latter half of 2017, with most of the recording being done early-mid 2018. I spent the last few months of 2018 mixing and mastering the album. We recorded everything in my living room, which has become our impromptu recording studio for crab sessions.
LOGS: Thank you! I had a few of the tracks conceptualized early 2017 (Heist, Rock Under Bridges, Limblifters) but the project entered full swing in the second half of the year. I would say when we started recording it in 2018 was when the title and most of the tracks were solidly established.
Marry: Man, that’s great to hear! I wrote that Heist verse on that beat way back in 2017 while working/living in Ottawa. Eli had been sending me beats here and there and I would send back rough recordings. Had no idea I would later move back to Saskatoon to rock with and make an album with CS. What a dream. This was around the same time I heard LOGS do Ninja Steez on a different Eli beat. Blew my wig back instantly. Fuck, those boys are talented.
Ibonic: Feels like we’ve been working on it since the first EP came out. Took us a while to actually have the full squad in Saskatoon, and I feel like once I moved back from Vancouver, the project really started coming together. After doing a few shows with all 6 of us, we were inspired and grinding. It’s been a joy witnessing it all come together.
Eli: I made most of those beats in 2016/17. Living in City Park. Mary Max would rap to them on Facetime from Ottawa. LOGS and Ibonics were in town here eating beats up. When Mary came back to town in 2017 or 18, he joined the squad and we started building. These years tend to blur together.
RR: The album release party at Amigos, how did that go over?
Anthony Law: The album release was outstanding, we had brought Virtual Flannel back for this one, he was there for our EP release in 2015. We also had former CS member King Ramses join us for the evening and we were happy to have Filth The Enabler and Trill Munroe join us as well. I was pretty happy with the way the night went, everyone was great on stage and the crowd had amazing energy.
Peter Lo: We had pretty much a whole different show planned but we had to change the date at the last moment, so it was a bit stressful securing new opening acts on such short notice. With that being said, once everything was in place, the show went better than we could’ve ever imagined! The crowd was hype and the openers were all straight up amazing! Amigos is a staple of the Saskatoon music scene and it’s always a pleasure to play there!
LOGS: The release show was dope AF! After a bit of rescheduling, it all worked out very well. All the openers killed it, especially our homie King Ramses who was my personal favorite. 🔥🔥🔥
Marry: Pretty rough for me. Smackdab in my workweek. Got great feedback though. Had to nap in my car before our set. Logs called/woke me up early like “Hey man…It would be really really great if you could come to the show”. Caught some of Filth The Enabler. Fuck that boy is talented.
Ibonic: I felt like the release was a real success, for us and everyone we rocked with. It just made me really happy to see a hip-hop audience getting hype for hours in S’toon. There’s some wicked talent in this city, and it’s rewarding to play for an audience that embraces that.
Eli – The release was fun. A lot better than our first release. I always love playing Amigos, and the openers did not disappoint. It was a solid team effort and paid off in the end.
The only feature on the album is JBM on Shootin’ Down a Bird. Easily one of my favourite tracks. Where the rest of the album is dusty and jazzy with energy, this is just energetic fun shit. Who is JBM, and what was the idea behind that song specifically?
Anthony Law: Basically, the song was originally a spooky breakbeat I was working on to give to my buddy Jordan to make a breakdancing video with. He’s a super ill b-boy. Anyways, once I had finished it up all I could think of were crazy double-time raps so I emailed it to the crew and Ibonic came back with a fire verse real quick. It all just came together after that and we got JBM to hop on it because it just suited his style really well. Conceptually, you’d have to ask Ibonic about the idea behind the song. I just make beats and let the boys run with it in whatever direction they want for the most part but I specifically asked for double-time madness on that one.
Peter Lo: JBM is an old friend of ours… Anthony Law, LOGS and I used to be in a group called Unsatisfied Poets and JBM was also in the crew. I’ve known the dude for over 15 years. We wanted to have a few features on the album but this is the only one that really panned out. I remember Anthony Law had this faster-paced beat that we were all kind of into. I think we did a version with just the 3 CRABSTYLE rappers but it didn’t sound finished or something. We instantly thought to get JBM on the track. He always gravitated towards fast beats and he was good at rapping on them! It would’ve been nice to feature a few more of our friends on the album, but I’m glad this one worked out! As far as what the track is actually about, you’d have to ask Ibonic.
If anyone is interested to check out more of JBM’s music, here’s an album he and I made together in 2009: https://unsatisfiedpoets2099.bandcamp.com/album/sounds-good-feels-good
LOGS: Props to Anthony Law on that dope ass beat! Jason Beam aka J Beam aka JBM is our homie from Unsatisfied Poets aka U.P. era. I met him in 2012 after being inducted into that crew. I feel we all knew we wanted to do a CRABSTYLE song with him and I’m psyched with the outcome. He usually likes faster tempo production so it was easy to hear him on this one.
Marry: OMG Jason Beam. Fuck that boy is talented… Met him back in the Unsatisfied Poets days 10+ years ago. That’s his sound. Fast and articulate with extremely clever wordplay. Deeply poetic and extremely rhythmic. We all thought of him. He was down. Shooting down a bird starving out a bee. Basically, in both cases, you are killing something, so I just tried to kill it on that track. Ibon later explained that he was referring to environmental and wildlife devastation when he wrote that hook. This is why we named the album Bucket Soup. It’s like a rap mosaic. We all threw in a little something.
Ibonic: when Kris sent this out and was like “I want some nasty double time,” I guess I just kinda sunk my teeth in. Had no idea what concept I was running with at the time, but as I got deeper into writing the verse, it felt like it spoke to living violently without regard for the consequences. So like deadly and ill, but ominous. So instead of the birds and bees, you got the anti-fertility of shooting them down and starving ‘em out. We seem to be living in that kind of world.
Eli – Jason Beam is in the house. Beam is my hero in real life, and the imaginary.
RR: The first project you guys put out; that self titled (2017) cassette… You’re selling it for 1,000 dollars on Bandcamp limited edition of 50. I imagine not, but has anyone pulled the trigger on that? And why price it as such?
Anthony Law: It’s just a gag because we are out of tapes and someone was being a funny guy. I dig it though, I like to laugh.
Peter Lo: Haha! We’ve had a couple inquiries about the $1000 cassette tape but no takers yet 😉 Originally, the tape was like $10 and we made 50 or 100 of them, I can’t remember how many. Either way, they sold out super fast. We thought about doing a repress but by then Marry Max was rapping in the group too and we weren’t sure if there would be enough interest in the old stuff to justify making more copies of the first tape. The price tag is just a joke. We don’t actually have any of those tapes left. We just kind of figured if someone wants to pay $1000 then we’ll make more copies.
LOGS: Putting it up for a G instead of sold out is funny af to us haha. I think we would repress if there was interest in the future, but as of now, it’s on the backburner.
Marry: We might make more with some edits done. That tape is sick. Backyard Party bangs. Crabstylistics is my favorite.
Eli – One day
RR: What do you guys all have coming up? Are you guys working on solo material outside of Crabstyle at all?
Anthony Law: My MPC is pretty rugged and in need of a tune-up so I haven’t been doing anything other than a minuscule amount of sample digging. Have some things I want to do once it’s fixed up. I also play in another band as well to keep me busy musically.
Peter Lo: I’ve been working with LOGS trying to help him produce his debut solo EP. We’ve got a few songs in the works. Look out for that one later this year. I also play in a few other bands and produce my own music, so that takes up most of my time. Occasionally I’ll record my friends’ bands or take on mastering jobs or DJ gigs for extra dough. I’m always doing music.
LOGS: Peter Lo and I have been working on my solo release: LOGS – Fall In The Forest EP. The concept is a psychedelic hike in the woods but the rest is pretty much top secret haha. I’m scripting a couple videos right now as well as writing the songs and Pete Lo is my production Sensei 🙌
Marry: Ive got a battle thing in PA [Prince Alberta, Saskatchewan] coming up. Really looking to start making some dark drum’n’bass. Need to save cash for gear. Peter Lo is gonna show me some shit. Fuck that boy is talented.
Ibonic: I’m always writing with various projects on the go, but the more CRABSTYLE music the better.
Eli – I gave up solo material for now. Winters bare a different story. We will see when the time comes.
RR: Do you have any additional stories regarding either the recording of the project or the release of it?
Anthony Law: I just make beats, send ‘em off to the crab clan and wait for the other guys to bless ‘em with ill verses. Some were made when we were all together getting ready for shows. Limblifters was thrown together randomly at a jam. Just had an ambient sound and started messing around and out came the Limblifters beat. The emcees caught the wave and started writing to it instantly. Organic situations like that are my absolute favorite.
Peter Lo: I was too drunk and stoned to remember much of anything, haha… Although I do remember that it was pleasant spending nice afternoons drinking and smoking in my living room, recording these dope rappers, catching the vibe.
LOGS: Hmm pretty routine process as far as my experience goes.. link up with the squad, keep the blunts lit and record boiii.
Marry: It’s been an amazing experience. Being pulled into this blazin’ crew. Getting back up on stage/mic after so long and getting to rock with some of SK’s most talented. I’ve just been trying to keep up. Watching the creative process happen in a six-person hip hop group. Riding the highs and fighting the lows. Observing and being a part of this team dynamic in such a dynamic little scene. Making this album with CRABSTYLE was seriously like one of the best things ever. Being a part of this is rocking my world.
Ibonic – I think the coolest thing for me is that I’ve been writing raps for about two decades now. Could never quite find a fit for what I was doing in the earlier days, so I pursued a career as a spoken word artist, which has been a huge source of growth and experience for me. To have the pendulum swing back to making hip hop with 5 other guys that I love as brothers and admire as artists, that just keeps me grateful and driven.
Eli: I like the fact that Unagi’s first verse (LOGS) was recorded in 2016 in a basement kitchen (used at the time only for blade hoots and recording rap songs) to be turned into a fully developed song years later, recorded onto the original kitchen sesh.
Peter Lo: Haha, that old kitchen recording gave me so many headaches when I was mixing that song!