His album shows his creative sounds. His single “Slow Wine” is contagious
Rosie Awori – LJI REPORTER
Montreal knows him as M-city SOLO (born Khalyil Rouse Bakel) has been on the local music scene for a little more than a decade before taking a brief hiatus.
Now he says he is ready taken a deep dive back into the music industry, a place where his underlying passion lies.
And he is coming back with some lifestyle changes. He says fatherhood has changed him and has refined his vision of the world and is the inspiration for his new body of work.
M-city SOLO recently dropped an album titled M-city To The World, and says although he primarily identifies as a hip-hop artist, fans can expect conscious and positive vibes life-lessons as well as a fusion of sounds when listening to his new body of work.
“There’s bunch of different sounds including some straight hardcore hip-hop. I have a song with an artist from Guatemala called Billy the Diamond where he is singing in Spanish and I do my thing in English.” SOLO explains animatedly, “I have the song with Mical Taja from Trinidad and Kali Pop from Montréal which is doing really well. The song talks about the healing that we need to do as a community and it’s my apology to the women that deserve it.”
His latest single “Slow Wine” has been putting Montrealers in a party mood and lifting the spirits of all who hear it, as if it’s an anthem for the times. He says the timing of it all wasn’t planned.
“I had the project lined up from last year we had a release party in December and I got a lot of feedback from the release party so I started reworking the album. I had it finished by January.
We went to Trinidad to shoot the music video and as we are coming back at the airport, they (the immigration officers) asked me ‘did you go to China?’ They said something was happening there… shortly after that the world shuts down.”
SOLO said: “I had everything lined up, but it (the global shutdown) killed my mood and I didn’t want to put it out.”
But because the world started getting crazier and crazier and I realized people need to hear something other than the tragedies that are happening right now. And so, I dropped the song (Slow Wine) and the video and people have gone crazy. And it’s really inspired me to keep going.”
The west island rapper is no stranger to the local hip-hop scene he first started by helping his brother, community activist Pharaoh Freeman, pen rhymes. Then 12 years ago, together they started a cross province Music With Meaning tour, visiting high schools and elementary schools and performing to students and staff.
It was then that he saw the power of music and decided to tailor his work to give it a more positive and conscious tone.
“Touring made me realize the impact that music could have and the message I can get out with it. That’s when I actually started fixing up the messages in my music but before that I would just rap about pretty much anything that that came to mind anything or anything that that got people interested. I would just say it for the shock value because my favorite rappers Eminem at the time would do it too. But once I started realizing the impact that music really did have, I decided to change the message,” he told the CONTACT in a telephone interview.
She changed the message the expectations of the industry soon begun to overwhelm him. And that’s when he decided to take a small hiatus.
“Everyone was expecting a certain style for me and it just kind of drained me musically and I didn’t really feel like making music anymore and I took a break from that and I had a kid now I am back with even more focus.”
These days M-city SOLO reckons that the music industry has changed and unlike before where artists needed labels to progress the Internet has made everything simple and less complicated. Though he says it’s hard for Black Canadian Anglophones to get to mainstream status in Montreal because there’s so little diversity on mainstream radio here.
“There’s no space for certain sounds on mainstream radio stations in Montreal,” he says.
Regardless, M-city SOLO sees artists like Drake who achieved international success and he knows that he can get there as well. Until then his foot remains on the gas and he keeps on keeping on.
His album can be found online at: https://fanlink.to/MCTW?fbclid=IwAR1BQ-X9EkmwsYOCFNGrlQ1HLaxt-PT87YaTGnYEbUKfi4p_LNqXOmp0U_o