Published Jun 04, 2012Toronto by way of Saskatoon beatsmith/MC Muneshine (real name Rob Bakker) is probably more known for producing for the likes of artists such as D-Sisive and Shad than being in front of the mic. This is changing, as seen with his release There Is Only Today, a project that sees Muneshine offer up a better than average level of lyricism and delivery. With beats that owe a debt to his love of soulful music (and a healthy respect for producers like Dilla and 9th Wonder), There is Only Today sees Muneshine serve up boom bap synths coupled with polished production. Prepped off of guest rap spots on other people's album, Muneshine is showing a growing level of confidence on the mic; soulful tracks like "Home Sweet Home," "There Is Only Today" and "Cry Baby" give him the room to progressively refine his flow. The project especially shines when the many guest appearances arrive to lend a hand; "Starter Jacket" (featuring D-Sisive), "No Days Off" (featuring Ghettosocks) and the standout "Back To The Future" (featuring ELMNT & Kydd). Whether he's delivering the beats or serving up vocals, Muneshine is a passionate entity on the Canadian hip-hop scene.
Why opt to release a solo project?
I've been focused on production for such as the majority of D-Sisive's stuff and I do a lot of work with Ghettosocks as well. And that was the priority for the last year or two. But I've been collecting songs for this record for the last year or two. So when we wrapped up a bunch of work last fall, that was an opportunity to finish a lot of the writing that I had to do. It just felt like now was the right time to drop it.
What's the difference between Muneshine the producer versus Muneshine the MC?
In the beginning it was a lot more of a defined split. [Before] I would never use my own tracks for my own songs; I would find a lot more inspiration for writing for other people's tracks than my own. The lines have blurred in the last while. You have your different avenues that you like to explore and as a writer I'm approaching the music differently obviously than as a producer. As a writer you're sort of the star of the show compared to a producer where you're supplying the background. So the lines have blurred.
So are you more comfortable doing one over the other? Is it fair to even look at things in that way?
It used to be. I mean, I used to consider myself a producer first, MC second. But in the last couple of years, because of the collaborative work I've done with people like Ghettosocks and D-Sisive, I wouldn't say that I'm more comfortable with one over the other now. It's really split and I'm getting a good response from both so I'm giving both a push.
You definitely have a soulful feel on production, evoking a Pete Rock or 9th Wonder. How would you describe your sound?
It's definitely inspired by guys like that. I came up on music by Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Dilla. All those guys were among my favourite producers growing up. And it's an honour to have any of those guys shine through in my own music as that's the music that I gravitate to. As far as the writing, I'm always trying to have a direction in my music. I'm really bored with rappers who rap about rapping. I'm really about approaching my songwriting a little bit more seriously and conceptually. I take inspiration from the beats that I'm writing to. As a producer, I'll just start throwing on records and take whatever inspires me ― there is a lot of jazz and soul stuff. And again as a writer, it's more of a conceptual thing.
What's the meaning behind the album title?
I got the theme when I was reading a book by Henry Miller and this line really jumped out at me. And this was like before I decided to focus on the record. From there, I decided to write songs that fit this one common idea. It's about approaching the moment that you're in and making the most of that.
There are a lot of guest spots on the album. How did this all some together?
It was more of an organic thing. I wanted to make sure that it wasn't too strategic. I know a lot of MCs are really driven by that sort of thing in terms of being strategic in who's on their record but I've done that. I've worked with some pretty heavy hitters in the past so this time I wanted to work with people in my circle that I'm comfortable with and stuff that I felt fit with the overall sound of the album.
What separates you from other producer/MCs out there?
I don't know man. It's tough to say. The music that I make is representative of where I'm at in my life. It's hard to pinpoint what that is. All I can really say is that I'm being myself ― I'm taking my experiences out there in a way that I can express it.
Why do people need to check out this album?
If you're tired of the same old thing that seems to be everywhere, you'll like this album. I'm hoping to use this as a launching pad. I'd like this to be considered an introduction to me as an artist as opposed to a producer. It's something that I hope people will feel, with relatable concepts and a soulful type of production.
So what's next?
I'm working on getting some videos put together for the singles. I'm looking to drop those within the next month or two. Touring is definitely going to happen. And I'm already working on new projects. I'm working on the Wolves record, that has myself, D-Sisive, Ghettosocks and Timbuktu. It's just all about content right now. We're trying not to sit back and wait for something to stick. We're just going to keep on throwing darts at that wall, and have fun.