With new hit single “She’ It,” Canadian rapper Crossword has been shocking the north with his witty lyrics and bomb punch lines time and time over and is here to share a little about himself with his listeners. He is more than just a rapper and is passionate about his wordplay and message he sends out to hip-hop fans today. Crossword truly sets himself a part by being a genuine artist and giving people something to really listen to touching on subjects, such as politics, swag, sports and more that will have you pressing replay over and over again.
Why the name Crossword?
Crossword: So the name Crossword is really just reflective of my style lyrically, my writing style. I’m really a big fan of double entendres, wordplay, puns, and really kind of making a listener dig a little bit; think while they’re listening. Not just nodding off to the beat ,which is totally fine if they want to do that. But at the same time I feel like I got the mic, I wrote these words I want them to have some content and subtext. That’s why the name Crossword because it’s not always the most literal stuff, but its definitely got a lot of depth to it.
Have you made any major turns in your music career like and if so what were they? Or something that’s changed you or your style?
Crossword: While listening to music, I feel like every big moment has been an affirmation of what I’m doing or an eye opening moment. I think really and eye opening moment to make turns is from being on the road. Being inspired. That’s stuff that really will get you to shift perspective. A lot of the times I was on the road. I toured Canada; it’s a big country, I ended up in Yukon close to Alaska. Eye opening moments like that, Like I just came back from Atlanta for “AC3” festival and that was a huge eye opening moment. It was just being around so many people who want to put in work, who wanna come to Canada, and who wanna return the favor wherever they are at in the world. That was really cool.
You know what it was way before I started pursuing music the turn in my life was when I was 13; I am Middle Eastern. I am Persian. I had a pretty traumatic moment when I was thirteen. It was after 9/11 and I was arrested for what the police called ‘threatening death’.
I was an emotional thirteen-year old Middle Eastern kid dealing with the reality that 9/11 just happened and quite literally eyes were turned to the region that my parents are from and my family still lives, my grandparents still live, and I was being looked at as a potential war target. So you know I said some things that obviously in hindsight, I regret but those words were turned against me and it just really showed me the reality of the society that we live in. It really showed me the limitations of free speech, what is free speech? That’s really the first major bitch slap from reality. To be like you know what you may be born here, you may be living in this society where you speak English, you eat Lunchables and cheese strings and all that shit, but you’re not the same.
That really like changed me, not only as a person but as an artist too because I was writing before then. I was always making music but I stopped kind of joking around and I started being really serious with everything I wrote. I used to write kinda jokey stuff you know like a stupid kid just playing around, we would take Backstreet Boys songs and make them funny you know stuff like that or take Offspring songs and make funny versions of them and I stopped doing all that together. I didn’t write another funny song until after I started taking music seriously; I just didn’t have time for it. I still like, love to turn up I love to have fun, but I also have this real appreciation for real music and real lyricism especially. That was a turning point for me.
Who would you say you compare yourself too? I can hear a little bit of R&B mixed with Hip-Hop in your music it sounds pretty dope.
Crossword: What I’m trying do is I want to change the world and have fun doing it. I don’t want to be a mono-cultural, I don’t want to be a mono style person, so some artists that are doing that are your Kendrick Lamars [or] your J.Coles, those types of artists like Vick Mensa for sure. I’m not saying that I would necessarily compare myself stylistically to them, but as far as the message goes, yeah. Stylistically I love to be influenced by a whole wide range of stuff. My R&B repertoire really isn’t that insane or that amazing. I do love some really good R&B like John Legend. Some of my favorite artists are Stevie Wonder, Miguel, Alicia Keys. It goes on, but I pretty much stopped picking from like R&B classics from all over. I grew up listening a lot more to Rock than to R&B, so I don’t know if the Deftones’ System Of A Down have an influence on my music, but I definitely do try to sing a little bit where I can and that’s probably where I get it from.
Who would you like to collab with right now if you had the choice? And who are you listening to?
Crossword: For a rapper, I would say Danny Brown. Producer wise, I would definitely love to collaborate with Kaytranada. Recently I heard some new beats from the lead singer Dave Sitek from TV on the Radio and man I would love to work with him. Even not on like a rapping tip, I think if I were to get in the studio with somebody like him, I would try to make something more in his vein. Then you would really hear me singing, I’d just be composing you know what I’m saying. I wouldn’t even be rapping on that. Other than that some artists I would like to collaborate with are Kanye West, of course, cause he’s a god. For some reason my white girl Crush is PJ Harvey, for some reason I’ve always liked her style, her sound so if I could collaborate with PJ Harvey on a track, that’d be dope. Radio Head too would be a sick collaboration.
What would you like your listeners or those of who are just hearing about you to know about you that they may already not know?
Crossword: I am huge basketball fan, Raptors Fan. They might kind of get a hint if they listen to my music because I’ve got a song called the “DeMar DeRozan” about the Raptors basketball player and I’ve got a song called “Zach Randolph” about the basketball player. I’m a huge fan, but I can’t play if my life depended on it. I do run ball sometimes, but I’m no good [laughs]. I’m Persian, that’s one thing you might not know by looking at me [laughs]. Oh and I love coffee, if you were to take one drink away from me, like choose between coffee and beer, I’ll take coffee. Even if it was coffee and water… I’ll still take coffee [laughs].”
What do you have coming up in the future? Do you have any event projects or performances we can look forward to seeing here in the US?
Crossword: Yeah, in the immediate future, I have a brand new video coming out soon for the track “Loonies” I dropped earlier this year. So we dropped “Loonies” actually as a b-side single to the song ‘She’ It”. I was in New Orleans on tour and we just decided hey we’ll shoot a music video out here and it was the song that we needed to shoot a video for at the time so yea we dropped it as a b-side, but actually going to put a video out for it. Other than that its almost winter time, we don’t live in igloos, but it’s cold in Canada, so I’m going to be hibernating a little bit. I’m going to be working on the next two singles. I’m not sure if I’m going to put out a full album or EP next time, because I put out a full album last time and obviously it’s a lot of work, a lot of energy. I kind of want to keep people posted with fresh music, but maybe not put out a full album so I can focus on touring. Next year you might see an EP, six to eight songs and then catch me on tour like if you want to see me in your city let me know I will travel and I grind like that. That’s all I want to do in 2016 is traveling, more touring and new music, you’re gonna hear it.
To learn more check him and his new music out on www.crosswordmc.com