featured interview

Can-U Steppin' up in the game Can-U hails from Tacoma, Seattle and just released his debut album 'The Stepping Stone', independently...

Wassup Can-U? Congratulations on the album, it's dope! First of all: where can people buy it?

You can purchase the album at can-u.net and also at mumbleshiphop.com.

Will the CD be available in retail stores someday?

I'm working on it. As you know, this is my first release and it's a hustle to just get on your feet locally. I feel like I'm working two jobs. When I have days off, I'm driving to stores in Seattle and doing consignment deals with them.

How's the search for distributors goin?

Just like the retail stores question, it's a hustle in itself when you're doing this all yourself. So far the internet hasn't been close to as profitable as selling it on the streets and at shows.

Years ago, you tried to get a deal with DayByDay Ent?

When Day by Day was still in its original form, releasing albums from Lightheaded and Ayentee, I thought I would be a good fit within that system since I am close friends with the mentioned artists and we have a similar approach and aesthetic. I never had any discussions with DJ Fisher or Grimm but it was an avenue I ultimately wanted to pursue. As you may know, both of those parties split ways and I feel like the time may have passed to catch that train.

You're down with Fice, he also features on the album, tell us more about him...

Fice and I have come up together. We've known each other since high school and since like four years ago we have owned our studio The Thrift Shop. I wouldn't be the same emcee today if I didn't know Fice and the same is true if he didn't know me. It is a constant energy of building and competition where we learn off one another. He got started out in the Tacoma scene a few years before me. He'd won a few local battles and had a good momentum and reputation.

When is his album due to drop?

Since the day I met him people have been asking about his album. A lot of times he's tried to set a date for the album but in reality it was better for him to grow as an emcee and put out a polished project. But now, as you ask this, I can honestly tell you that his album is nearing completion and that it is DOPE. It should be out by the end of the year.

How are you affiliated with the Lightheaded crew?

It's funny how life plays out and you connect with others in life that seem pre-written. I knew Muneshine off of the internet and I knew who Braille was just off the strength of his name. Muneshine posted some beats up on a message board a while back and Braille said something about the beats and I told Mune. I was excited for Mune to get some shine and have a somewhat-known emcee compliment his beats. Long story short, Braille and Muneshine originally planned to record a 6 or 7 song-EP together but it evolved into the Lightheaded project. Lightheaded flew Muneshine down to Portland and Fice and I drove down there and were there for a lot of the recording process. It was one of the defining weekends for me and the vibe was something special. Since then we've all been good friends and I'll make my way to Portland on occasion or I'll hang out with them when they come to Tacoma.

Producer Muneshine (Lightheaded) did some tracks on your CD, he's from Canada right? Tell us some more about that co-operation. What do you like about his style?

I've known Muneshine forever and yes he is from Canada. He even says "eh" a lot. Muneshine is one of my favorite producers out. Not because he's my friend but because he's got such a signature traditional crisp sound. Also his beats have so much movement, the way he programs his drums leaves a lot of room for me to change my flow.

When did you start emceeing?

I first started writing about 8 years ago. But the turning point was when The Thrift Shop came about. I knew then that I would have to start taking things more serious.

What recordings have you released so far?

Before 'A Stepping Stone', I was featured on 'The Moth: Chapter One Evolution', 'Unauthordox presents the madstattic' mixtape, 'DJ KO and Oracle present Elementality'.

When did you start listening to hip-hop?

Second grade. I started listening to my brother's Public Enemy tape. I didn't catch the message but I think could hear the conviction in Chucks delivery and also the beats just struck a chord inside of me.

Are you a collector, do you buy vinyl or CD's?

I haven't met anyone who owns more underground hip-hop CD's then myself. So many emcees I deal with act like they hate everything that comes out. But I thirst for new releases from good artists. As far as records, I buy vinyl here and there but that's something I want to pursue more in the future.

What albums have you bought lately?

Recently, Edan - Beauty and the Beat, Common - Be, Blue Scholars - Re release, Icon the Mic King - Intricate Spectrum, Othello - Elevator Music, Blueprint - 1988, Josh Martinez - Midriff Music, OneBeLo - S.O.N.O.G.R.A.M., Murs & Slug - Felt 2 and I'm sure there's a lot more that I'm forgetting.

Who were your rap heroes?

Growing up it was people like Chuck D, Common Pharcyde, Redman, Wu-Tang, Tribe, Beastie Boys and De La.

Who are your inspirations nowadays?

People like One Man Army, Insight, Edan, Common, Lightheaded, Qwel, Josh Martinez, Raks One and Supastition, Slug, Blueprint, J-Live, Lyrics Born and Gift of Gab.

What producers do you wanna work with in the future?

This is the part where I'm made to look like a herb. I want to work with a lot of people like El-P, Madlib, RJ, Jake One and 9th Wonder. But there's a lot of below the radar artists like T.E.C.K from Educated Consumers, Samix, M-Phazes or this cat named Frequency in LA. As much as I love the producers with names I think that what's more important is the music and not just the rep.

I hear you're also big fan of Maker, any chance for a co-operation soon?

One time I asked my Dad if he had a lot of girlfriends in high school. He said 'I did', but he didn't know if the girls knew they were his girlfriends. That's kinda like this question. I want to say that Maker and I will collab soon. We've spoke about it but I don't know if or when it will happen. But we both respect each others artistry so hopefully something can build.

You're from Tacoma, Seattle, the Northwest of the USA, how's the scene over there?

It's certainly growing. There's a lot of good things happening around the Northwest. I'm proud to be part of the Tacoma scene right now. The energy there is incredible. You can literally feel everyones excitement and anticipation for the future.

Have you finished College already?

I'll get my Associate's Degree next quarter, but then two more years after that. Yipee. I'm taking my time on college. A degree is just a piece of paper. I don't need a piece of paper to tell people that I am a good artist.

What did you study?

I'll have a basic Associates and then I'm going to UW Tacoma to achieve an Arts Degree.

What are your future professional plans?

Music and art. I'd like to get into design, advertisement, movies.

What are your future musical plans?

I have a CD with Tayo that will be out by the end of the year. He did all the beats and they're probably some of the best beats I have ever heard in my life. He is also rhyming on the entire thing with me. Then next year, I'm going to release the official 'album'. It's my opus, man. Some of the songs have took me a year to write. I hate to be the one hyping it myself, but it's going to be something to remember.

Can you give us five hip-hop albums you've listened to a trillion times?

Binary Star - Masters of the Universe
Redman - Muddy Waters
Wu-Tang - 36 Chambers
Common - Like Water For Chocolate
Atmosphere - Lucy Ford

Five non-hip-hop albums you've listened to a trillion times?

Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Beatles - Sgt Peppers
Weezer - Pinkerton
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Beck - Sea Change

Five places to go to when we're in Tacoma?

The Underworld (This huge area that's full of Graff)
The Dale Chahuli glass museum
Any b-boy event being thrown
This one pizza place whose name is failing me at the moment.

Five games you like playing?

God of War
Half Life 2
Tony Hawk
Resident Evil 4

Five TV-shows you stay home for?

Wild Boyz
Ali G
Real World Road Rules Challenge.

Please leave a comment with the following names:


One of the most underrated emcees and producers out. Has 2 beats on my next CD. His next album 'Peasent Symphony' is incredible.

Papa John's Pizza

Corporation that maximizes profits and minimizes respect for employees.

MF Doom

Fresh as can be from an emcee and producer perspective.

Pt. Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Add that to your list of places to hit up in Tacoma too.


I hate TV-shows with laugh tracks


Shouts to platform8470 for helping out in reviewing my CD and taking an interest in the music. Thanks for looking past the politics and supporting. Peace to Dance Broomz, Johnny Beats, Jason Hulen, Fab-5 and all of Tacoma.

Thanks a lot!


POSTED 09|03|2005
conducted by Cpf

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