Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Rubix has been creating crowd moving music and freestyle deeply rooted within the hip-hop culture. YYC Music Awards nominee Rubix is making a name for himself. I got the chance to ask questions and find out more about him as an artist. Here’s what we talked about:
Tell me about you, where you grew up and how you got into hip-hop?
I was born and raised in Calgary, AB. Grew up in a predominantly white school and was a very average academic student. Never had a music background or anything but my parents were (and still are) very passionate about music. However, it was my older sister that introduced me to this rebel music called “Hip Hop”. From grades 7-12, I would meet a new circle of friends who turned out to be a bunch of B-boys. I started getting down with them and hanging out doing hood things.
I wasn’t really too crazy of a breaker but I knew that this vibe and culture was home to me. My sister took me to watch 2pac: Ressurection in the theatres and that movie changed my whole perspective on music and rap. In grade 11, after experiencing the adrenaline rush of being on stage, I decide my career choice: Hip Hop Arts. Specifically being a rapper. I started freestyling, I started writing more poetry and low key writing a lot of angry raps. This was when I started studying Hip Hop music.
I kind of fell backwards into the vortex of Hip Hop (exploring older rappers but the music was brand new to me). I recorded my first song that year in my home studio and never stopped since. Also, important to note that during the time I chose into Hip Hop, I was in a very emotionally abusive relationship and rap gave me a vehicle to let that stress off. Then in 2013, I got mentored in the field of being a Hip Hop arts teacher and I have been teaching Rap skills to youth since then. Being an active rapper and seeing youth write and perform their own original raps has solidified my love for this culture and movement and I feel I will forever be contributing to it.
Can you tell me about the biggest obstacles of your hip-hop career and how did you master them or trying to master them?
I would say the biggest obstacles of my Hip Hop career is: Self-doubt, procrastination and learning how to mix my own music (I still suck at it haha). The first two I still struggle with daily. So many times have I had to face my fears about being judged or not being good enough. And 9/10 times those thoughts were all self-generated. But they say that your biggest strength will come from walking through your biggest fears. The way that I work on mastering those obstacles is by learning where they stem from in me.
Those thoughts are linked to a deep self-belief that is linked to the environment I was raised in that is also linked to the colonization psychology of my Filipino family. After learning about how my own emotions work in conjunction with how society perceives the idea of “emotions”, and then deciding that I do not want to be a slave to that anymore, it helped me with working on those flaws. So I would say, one must understand who they are first and why they are the way they are in order to get a good grip on mastering those human insecurities.
As for the mixing part…….. I’ll just pay someone to mix my music real talk LOL.
Is there a philosophy behind your music, if so, what is it about?
The philosophy behind my music all comes down to facing oneself so that they can better and improve themselves. I talk a lot about rising up over struggles and different mentalities/approaches to that. Honestly, sometimes I view my music as advice, insight, or reminders to my future self about my own life mission. And that mission is to empower my listeners to feel courage in their lives so they can rise up and meet their struggles and successes.
I also really enjoy learning and talking about different spiritual text. I am not religious by any means, but I feel I am connected to the universe in a very spiritual way. Basically I take elements from spirituality (new age and old), personal development, street knowledge, Philippines culture, truth and community building and try to implement all that into my message.
What is the one Rubix music a first-time listener should listen to and why?
I think Flatline could be a good first listen because it is an easier to process type song with understandable and relatable lyrics, a catchy hook is sung by the most amazing Kayla River (ANOTHER REASON TO LISTEN TO THE SONG!) and has a high-quality mix on it.
Plus the video is epic. And the song also got nominated for Rap Recording Of The Year in YYC Music Awards 2020.
Share with me something about you as a hip hop artist that you’re working on improving, and how you think it will be better once you’ve accomplished your goal.
One thing I am currently working on improving is handling the business side of my music. Such as having SOCAN properly set up or knowing where to submit for playlists, having my website set up with proper links, having a solid marketing process, having a registered company name that I can release my music, merch and other services through. Once I get all these lined up, it will improve my artistry because now I will be completely legit and professional.
Share with me your vision of your hip-hop career
I want to go on tour in Asia with other solid asian Hip Hop artists. I want my music to reach Filipinos around the world that can relate to my journey. I want my music to be heard at music festivals around the world, whether that is my Hip hop music, remixes of my music or even a new style that I have yet to fully develop.
I want my music to bring in income (not trying to be a mainstream artist) but more so, I want my music to allow me to travel around the world and perform. I want my music to be timeless and I want the message in my music to be felt by all generations and future ones too. I want my music to help change the trajectory of my family life for the better. My music will help shift the consciousness of generations.
How can people reach you?
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Raphael Tigno is the Founder and Creative Director of the magazine website vibeant.com. VIBEANT is an online magazine bridging global culture in fashion, art, music, culinary, subcultures, and lifestyles across the world. Pronounced as "VIBE" + "ANT", a literal translation of "ANTS ENERGY" a reference to "BAYANIHAN" virtue of Filipinos.