Don’t miss this train of thought

Hip hop from coast to coast comes to Victoria by Rail

  • Nov. 30, 2011 1:00 p.m.

Jeff Spec, Timbuktu, Muneshine and Ghettosocks embarked VIA Rail in Halifax in early November. They'll be playing the Upstairs Cabaret, Sunday, Dec. 4. Doors at 10 p.m. Tickets $8.

VIA Rail’s Train of Thought Tour left the station a month ago, departing Halifax with four Canadian hip hop artists on board.

Juno-nominated Ghettosocks along with SOCAN award winner Muneshine, Ontario hip hop veteran Timbuktu, and West Coast recording artist Jeff Spec embarked on a cross-Canada tour with the help of the national passenger rail company, which is covering the cost of transportation from one coast to the other in exchange for promotion.

The tour features at least 23 shows in cities and towns along the rails and others, including one in Victoria after they disembark in Vancouver.

“We’ll have to rent a car in Vancouver to get to a few shows,” says Jeff Spec, who was born and raised in Victoria. “It’s sort of like trains, planes and automobiles.”

Spec met Muneshine after he moved to Toronto last year to pursue his music. The two heads discovered a common perspective on life and quickly became friends. It wasn’t long before he and other artists like Timbuktu and Ghettosocks, who was introduced to a VIA rep at a Juno party, started talking about doing a national tour.

“VIA Rail is a really great supporter of Canadian music,” says Spec.

VIA is a sponsor of the Junos and they have the musician-on-board program that offers musicians transport in exchange for performing on the train.

Less than six months later, the four MCs had an agreement with VIA for free transportation in exchange for promotion opportunities on the tour.

“It’s a good door that’s open now, and it should be open to other artists,” says Spec.

“I have friends touring Europe and it’s cheaper to fly there than it is to take a bus in Canada,” says Spec. “I’ve always wanted to tour the whole country. I’ve toured the West so much, it’s great to finally get the chance to tour the rest of the country.”

All four MCs will take the stage for the entire show. “We’re all backing each other up. We’re all on stage the whole time,” says Spec, who just released his latest album, Specnology before they left on tour. The other artists are all touting new material as well.

“The benefit of the tour is that we’re all from different regions. Socks is from Halifax, Mune is from Saskatchewan, and Timbuktu is from Ontario. We have love all across the country, and it’s fun to play in each others hometowns,” says Spec. “We put heads together. No one is trying to be the star.”

Ghettosocks created a free one-hour downloadable mixtape featuring guest collaborations with D-Sisive, PH, Chokeules, Dminor, Shuanise, and Saidah C., with production by Bix, Fresh Kils, Vinyl Frontiers, Jorun Bombay, M-Phazes, Impossible Nothing, Rich Kidd, and The Extremities. It is available on the tour’s facebook page at http://on.fb.me/tVhObs. M

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