Local hip hop veteran Sandy MacEachern, aka Mischif, finds himself nominated for an ECMA in the Rap / Hip-Hop Single Track Recording of the Year category for the second year in a row. Last year his song “The Motto” was a runner up to “The Main Event” by Hotbox. In 2010, however, he has doubled his chances of success. In addition to the nomination for his song “C.B. Summer”, his collaborator Mista Mack is nominated in the same category for the song “Gone with the Breeze” which features Mischif and appears on his self-titled album.
“Being on two nominated songs is more than I could ask for. Even though ‘Breeze’ is on my album, I do consider it Mack’s song. It was originally for his album and he worked on the beat and came up with the idea. We ended up putting it on my album as a way of getting it out there sooner since his album wasn’t done in time for the nomination deadline. So If that song wins I’ll feel like a winner too. But even if I wasn’t on that song, I’d like to see him take it if I don’t. I do believe that ‘C.B. Summer’ is the best song in the list though and I think the best song will win.”
Though he may not yet have a regional profile, Mischif feels that the ECMA recognition is deserved. “I work hard at my music. I write, choose the right beats, record myself, edit myself, mix my own music and promote it myself. I just record my thoughts until I have what sounds like an album and release it. Then it’s on to the next one. I think I’ve accomplished a lot compared to a lot of other rappers in Atlantic Canada who have been doing this much longer than me, so I feel I deserve the nominations.”
Mischif has released four albums in as many years. In November 2006, he and members of local Hip Hop crew Sick Kookies released the C.B.L.A. album featuring Mista Mack, Bush, Dj Kid Squid and Rez Villain. He followed up a month later with his debut solo album, Deviant Therapy, featuring many of the same collaborators. September 2008 saw the release of his second solo album The Prixtape, and in October 2009 he dropped his third solo album, Mischif 3, featuring Matt Nokes, Pinky, and Mista Mack.
Like the single, the majority of the tracks on the album have a fun loving vibe. “My main intention was to give this album a summer time feel,” explains Mischif. “You can hear it in the beats and mainly in the album’s single ‘C.B. Summer’”. The song quickly became an anthem for islanders who connected immediately with the track’s celebration of easy living after a long winter. It was played daily last summer on 101.9 The Giant in Sydney. “Not to get too cocky but everyone loves that song. Don’t matter the age or musical preference. The response was just crazy and I have to thank the Giant for all the times they played it over the summer!”
Despite plans to leave Reserve Mines for the University of Fort Kent in Maine to study for a BEd in the fall, island life plays a big role in Mischif’s lyrics and music. “Listen to every album, Cape Breton is mentioned in there. ‘Cape Breton Party’, ‘C.B. Summer’. These are whole songs. Cape Breton might not have much, but I love this place. Well, at least in the spring and summer I do.”
Mischif feels the Cape Breton hip hop scene is nascent but is so filled with talent that larger recognition is not far off. “I think the Cape Breton hip hop scene is still so small and has a long, long way to go, but there’s so much good music here. We’ve had times where the scene was on fire. Shows every weekend to big crowds. Everybody recording, collaborating and just having fun. Then we’ve seen times where nobody’s playing shows for a while, nobody’s released anything for a while, and nobody’s getting together and working on anything. We had a rapper from North Sydney named Bush and this guy was so good. I think if he had stuck with it, and maybe released an album, the scene may have changed for the better. Pinky’s dropping his first album soon. Mista Mack’s been working on his first album. I’ll definitely be working on my fourth solo once I start finding the right beats.”
Mischif believes that the recognition for individual island rappers gained through things like award nominations can have a positive impact on younger artists. “Last year I think I became the first Cape Breton rapper ever nominated for an ECMA. I think that was a good step for this scene. Flash forward to this year and here we are again. Hopefully a win this year will be a really nice sized step for our scene. I think if guys are serious about this and want to be taken serious they need to get albums out there. Not everyone can make it to shows and if you want your music heard you have to make it and put it out.”
We’ll have to wait to see if we’ll catch Mischif on the awards gala stage on Sunday night, but he will definitely be appearing at the Hip Hop Jam at the Pit Lounge Friday, March 5th from 9pm-1am with Sick Kookies collaborator Matt Knokes. Also on the bill are DJ Gary B, DJ Method, Brockway Biggs, Marc CEES, Initial, and fellow nominees Sheist and Mista Mack. Admission is $5.