"I'm Using My Past Experiences..." Canibus on His New Album 'Kaiju'
By Kiani Shabazz
Bronx legend Canibus has never been one to shy away from a bit of controversy. The Jamaican-born emcee has proved himself to be a hip-hop juggernaut over his prolific career; as he held his own in some of rap’s most iconic beefs with the likes of Wyclef Jean, Eminem, and, of course, LL COOL J. Born Germaine Williams, he's always been known for his battle rap energy and it hasn't diminished over the years.
Today, Canibus returns with his latest solo album, KAIJU, his first full-length solo album since 2015’s Time Flys, Life Dies. Produced by Oxnard, the California producer Bodybag Ben, KAIJU gives us the classic, hardcore, unapologetic East Coast energy Canibus is known for.
Kaiju begins the album with the track “Curmudgeon,” where the emcee flaunts his unmatched lyrical ability with his iconic in-your-face delivery. Canibus explains that he dug into different bags in the album, and “Curmudgeon is just the beginning of the 'step by step ride.'”
“I’m using my past experiences and putting it together to make definitive music,” Canibus explains. He compares himself to action stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, for their ability to transform themselves into superhero-like characters, similar to how he does in his music.
“We can all agree that when you hear [Arnold Schwarzenegger], the first thing you remember is those blockbuster films. And he’s always this poker face guy, mean guy. But, he still went on to become a Governor.”
“I just want to point out that in rap that people like to blend your personal life with your artistic life,” explains Canibus. “You should be able to put your costume on, and jump into character and get your records done. I’m not trying to say disguise who you really are, but this is poetry; it’s entertainment.”
Canibus continues to compare himself to action film super-stars as he explains he feels like Sylvester Stalone, comparing his ability to recruit the best talent to contribute for his albums as Stalone did in films like The Expendables. Kaiju features guest appearances from the likes of Kool Keith, Justin Tyme, as well as fallen stars, the late DMX and MF DOOM.
“The DOOM record was done years ago,” the 47-year old explained. “When the unfortunate news about DOOM came through the wire, I ain’t gonna lie to you, the first thing I thought was ‘Damn, that record probably will never come out.’ I wanted that to be out while he was here. But I think they did it justice. I like how it sounds. Kool Keith is on there too.”
Canibus broke into the game as a fiery no-holds-barred emcee who feared no one. Well known for one of the most iconic diss tanks of all time, with “Second Rond K.O.” directed at his former nemesis LL COOL J.
Canibus intends to leave that era of his career in the past as he makes an effort to promote growth and positivity as an artist.
The hit battle series Verzuz has become a popular showcase for artists to highlight their careers. When asked who he would step into the Verzuz ring with, Canibus said he would love to face off against Queens emcee and Drink Champs host, N.O.R.E. “I feel like N.O.R.E. would be a good candidate because I really like what he’s been doing over the years, man. And he’s still a dude that got busy on the mic for the most part. You know, he had classic albums and a lot of slang that he birthed,” Canibus explained. “There’s a lot of talent to have come out of Queens.”
There is one Queens emcee that Canibus says is off-limits for him. When asked if he would battle his former rival, LL COOL J, he admitted he was no match for the recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.
“Lemme put it to you like this, L, he just got inducted into the Hall of Fame. I wanna congratulate him for that, that’s a gargantuan achievement,” Canibus explained. “You can live a couple of lifetimes and not be able to even get outside the door. I ain’t on L’s level with that.”