The incredibly talented Juno Award winning rapper, Madchild, from the well-known hip-hop group Swollen Members, recently relocated to Los Angeles from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia. His new solo album, Silver Tongue Devil, debuted at number three on the album charts in Canada and also hit the Billboard charts here in the U.S. The album was released via Madchild’s newly re-launched Battle Axe Records, and in support of the occasion, the masterful artist played to a packed house at the world famous Viper Room, where the audience went wild.
AXS.com was there to see the show and speak with Madchild to find out more about his unique outlook and long musical career. Madchild told AXS that as a kid he was really into hardcore punk rock. When his friend introduced him to artists like LL Cool J, Ice-T and Doug E. Fresh, Madchild knew, “As soon as I heard that music I found myself.” He began freestyling, which led him to writing and eventually his pursuit brought him to San Francisco at a time when the hip-hop culture was still new. He began working at the X-Large store on Haight Street (which is known for its affiliation with the Beastie Boys) and was inevitably discovered by the Oakland hip-hop artist, Del the Funky Homosapien. Mad’s first 45 was done with the help of professional skateboarder Tommy Guerrero, and his second song with the legendary DJ QBert.
From there, Madchild moved back to Vancouver where he teamed up with another Canadian MC named Prevail, and together the duo formed the group, Swollen Members. They began to tour and found amazing success playing with artists such as the Rock Steady Crew and Funkdoobiest. From Japan to the U.K., Swollen Members took the world by storm, eventually linking up with the group Dilated Peoples, and going from an underground Canadian backpack rap group to worldwide musical sensations. Swollen Members later added Rob the Viking into the mix and to this day are considered to be the biggest rap group to ever come out of Canada.
Throughout the years, Madchild’s struggle has been as much a part of his story as his success. The rapper ended up falling on hard times after losing everything to a drug addiction and then turned things around to build a brand new life. He speaks about his journey through his own creative process, “When I got sober, I would talk about it in my music.” He discussed with AXS the moment that changed it all, “I remember looking in the rearview mirror and a tear rolling out of my eye and I knew I was going to die really soon or I was going to save my own life”. Madchild’s strength, his wonderful character and genuine authenticity is a true testament to not only his artistry, but also his message.
His incredible, resilient spirit and the inspiration he embodies, resonates with so many who listen to his music. There’s an entire movement of Battle Axe Warriors out there – a collective of music fans, tattoo artists and lovers of hip-hop culture which consists of over 5,000 registered card carrying members across the globe.
Madchild’s next album, The Darkest Hour, will be dropping later this year. Produced by Evidence from Dilated Peoples, this piece of work is bound to give true hip-hop fans something to come home to. Mad discussed his friendship with famed music video director Jason Goldwatch, rapper The Alchemist (who is also featured on this album along with other surprise guests) and of course coming full-circle with Evidence. “Evidence is a genius in what he does. Working with him, he always kind of gets the best out of me. It’s very organic. For people who are hip-hop connoisseurs, this will be an album for them”. He added, “Haters are just gonna have to sit this one out”.
Madchild keeps evolving in his work and in life. “Be whatever you want to be”, he said. “If you don’t love what you’re doing in life you should go do something else”. Mad is beyond grateful for the community that he has surrounding him and emphasized, “Without you and without them I would be just a guy rapping.”