Thesis Sahib Wartime Theme Songs for the Modern Ego

Thesis Sahib Wartime Theme Songs for the Modern Ego
His first solo since The Adventures of Thesis Sahib & Friends may be missing the harmonising vocal layering that he and Selfhelp perfected for their Bending Mouth project, but Thesis sounds so confident with his rapid, staccato raps and sing-song flow that he demands attention. Lyrically, Thesis presents character sketches of outsiders, questioning the dichotomy between the hero and the loser. With "Theo Sasquatch,” he makes a hero of a loser who was "scorned for writing what’s right,” while geeks are made sympathetic heroes on "He,” and an awkward, unstylish fop proves what he can do with rap and a pair of "Tin Men’s Shoes.” He points out the silver lining while never ignoring the grey clouds. The beats on Wartime Theme Songs are also some of his best choices yet. Sure, he can brag that he’s got three beats from Anticon’s Alias and one from Joey Beats of Non-Prophets, but Thesis most often sounds best over the beats from those who know him best — his Backburner crew members Kilgour, Dexterdoolittle, Fester, and Timbuktu. The album’s only guests — Wordburglar and Toolshed’s Timbuktu and Choke — appear on "Summer of S.A.R.S.,” named for their tour last summer, but Thesis proves with Wartime Themes Songs that he doesn’t really need any help (although a little Selfhelp never hurts).

Where does the name Thesis Sahib come from? The Sahib part came first. I used to hang out with these Muslim kids in early high school. I got the word from them. It seemed a pretty cool word for a tag. The Thesis part was also given to me by a friend, a graff writer named Rebos. It was originally intended only for train graff but then I started tagging it around town more than my Sahib tag.

How does graffiti relate to your work as a rapper? I got into them both because I was into the idea of hip-hop as a four element culture thing, which sounds really lame. They have both grown apart from the idea of traditional hip-hop in a similar manner; I’m happy that it's going that way. They are growing together, influencing each other. Experiences in both affect both and they are working together nicely. Also, in most cases I’ll go to different towns, do a show and I end up painting a whole bunch, or I go to a place to meet up with graff heads and end up recording with some people from the area.

What tools do you like to use for your artwork? A lot of found object stuff, wood and metal, industrial oil bars, house paint, spray paint and I scratch a lot with rocks, nails and more recently razors.

What do you consider your influences as a writer/rapper? Dr. Who, GI Joe comics, Anticon, Afterlife, AC/DC, my parents, my Backburner crewmates, and most of all life.

Are your works with Bending Mouth and Les Swashbuckling Napoleons only side projects? They are both way more than side projects. Every time I record I try and do my best and make the track my best so there are no real side projects. With Bending Mouth, Selfhelp was living in Toronto and I was living in Halifax, so we'd record and write when we could be together. It's the same thing with Les Swashbuckling Napoleons. I write best when I’m on the road — touring, hitchhiking or sitting in a jungle. (Cease and Desist)