Published Apr 21, 2009Toronto MC D-Sisive built a burgeoning rep as a comedic battle rapper on the back of an EP and some compilation appearances before "laziness and ego" derailed his path. Further attempts to write were often punctuated by thoughts of quitting, then he got sidetracked altogether by his father's illness. That could have been the end, until it became grist for the creative mill.
Inspired to write autobiographically, D-Sisive found a new, more honest voice; he dropped several EPs including The Book last summer and on May 5, his debut full-length Let the Children Die drops on Urbnet. "I remember play my brother 'Kneecaps' for the first time," he recalls. "The song ended and there was silence. He told me he liked it. I asked him what he thought mom and dad would think and he said 'It's the truth.' Those three words helped a lot in continuing down that path."
Last year's The Book EP was the first sign of this newfound dark approach; D-Sisve fears he traumatized at least one fan when he spotted a woman buying it for her son for Christmas. "It reminded me of the Christmas I got DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince," he says. "Listened to it all day. I hope that young man didn't listen to 'Laundry Room' all Christmas," he laughs. "If you're out there, please email me and let me know you're okay."
Let the Children Die seems even darker. "It's not the prettiest title, and will not be a parent favourite come Christmas," warns D-Sisive, who argues there's hope amongst the shadows. "The darkness can also have some light. 'Mr. Daydream' - that's a happy song to me. I enjoyed revisiting those moments. Just like I enjoyed writing [the second verse of] 'Father,' a verse from his perspective.
"The sad songs on The Book were fucking sad," he continues. "LTCD is a little different. A tad lighter." Still filled with honest, detailed lyrics, there's not nearly as much despair, and even a few fun collaborations, like Buck 65's touch of sunshine on suicide note "The Superbowl Is Over" or Guilty Simpson joining D-Sisive for his biggest hit yet, "Like This." "I almost fainted when I found out DJ Premier played it on his show," he says of the career-defining event. "Hearing him mispronounce my name was a fucking trip. Next thing I knew, it was being added to play lists around the world."
The approval of a legend is monumental, but D-Sisive has different goals.
"I'd like to be respected as a songwriter rather than just a rapper. To me, [Let The Children Die is] more than a rap album. I want my name mentioned [alongside] Rufus Wainwright, Ron Sexsmith, Bruce Cockburn. It'll definitely take more than this album," he admits, "but it's a step. I want to be on The Hour. I want to instruct Jian Ghomeshi on what not to ask me. I want Alan Cross to talk about me for an hour. Now those are accomplishments." Time to add songwriter to D-Sisive's rapper-producer hyphenate.