WHO: Swollen Members
WHEN: Monday, June 25
Considering his solitary start to stardom, Swollen Members Mad Child finds himself surrounded by a wealth of families these days: the blood he was born into, the career that he chose and the business he created. From sleeping on pizza boxes to winning Junos, Mad Childs dreams have been realized through his lone determination and circles of people hes embraced along the way.
So youre growing up in North Vancouver with ambitions of being a hip hop musician. Do you: a) Chip away at Vancouvers fledgling hip hop scene, or; b) Leave the security of family for the streets of San Francisco where you have no contacts, job or roof over your head?
"B! B!" you scream? Most of us wouldnt dare. But Mad Child did just that about six years ago, daring to leave behind everything familiar, which apparently includes his birth name, to move closer to a community he longed to be a part of.
"It seemed like the thing to do. I knew San Francisco, LA and New York were the three biggest spots for the type of hip hop I was into at the time, and San Francisco was the first stop cause it was the closest," he explains.
"To be honest, the reason for the move was a mixture of a couple of things. I was kinda getting into trouble back then and I knew I wanted my music, what Im doing now, to be my main focus. So it was kind of a combination of me wanting to go somewhere where I could focus on my music and getting my name out there and also getting away from the trouble I was getting in to. It was a nice break from that."
A nice break? Homeless, delivering pizza for less than minimum wage with no work visa?
"Work visa? (long laughter) No. No one knew I was working down there!"
Mad Child did manage to land a job at The Bomb Hip Hop Shop and there he found the beginnings of his musical family. Mad Child spent his spare evenings getting his MC name out in the Bay area. Through his Bomb Shop connections, his track, Pregnant, appeared on a Bomb Records compilation and shortly after he released a 7" single featuring production by pro skater Tommy Guarerro. Mad Child was a buzz name in the underground.
The most important addition in this family came during a short visit home to Vancouver. Mad Child met Prevail, an MC with a talent for delivering some of the deadliest freestyle rhymes. A brothership was formed and Swollen Members was born.