Pat Skene has never shied away from telling it like it is.
The rapper known as Pip Skid has always been up front about his life and views, whether he is talking about personal issues or focusing on broader social topics. There is no subject he won't examine, whether it's the state of his own life or politics. To Skene, who can be honest to a fault, it's all fair game.
He can be self-deprecating and isn't afraid to admit when he's wrong, but he also isn't shy about telling people when they have irritated him. The album title of his latest release seems to sum some of his philosophical views up in a nutshell: People Are the Worst.
It's been a long time coming, but inspiration truly struck Skene one day on a Winnipeg Transit bus while observing the particularly disgusting public eating habits of a fellow rider, he says.
"I was on the 17 bus going to work in the North End and there was a woman eating those six packs of individual pudding. She was eating the puddings using cookies as a spoon, so she had a tray of cookies and a pack of puddings beside her and she kept shovelling the cookies into her mouth until it melted and then she would grab another cookie. I was looking at her and all these things were building up and I thought, 'People are the worst,'" he says.
But Skene isn't a misanthrope. The 37-year-old is a youth mentor who works with children and teenagers, teaching art and music classes at the Graffiti Gallery, the U of W and various community centres and schools across the city.
He believes the human race could be saved if there was a way that people could keep that childlike spirit of imagination and creativity alive throughout their lives.
"You see the wonder in those people; the good nature of human beings that's in there," he says. "A lot of these kids are kids from tough home lives, if you can call them home lives at all, but they are fantastic, caring kids that haven't had the life squeezed out of them yet.
"Then you see adults and think, 'These people are the worst.' And I'm including myself in that," he says.
Skene's lyrics and topics might not always be filled with sunshine and positivity, but his music is anything but a downer. On People are the Worst he has enlisted producers Ricardo Lopez, Kutdown, Gorski, B-Flat, DJ Hunnicutt and Aries to provide the beats, while artists including Cadence Weapon, DJ Bunny, Charlie Fettah, Skratch Bastid, Nestor Wynrush and Birdapres share vocal duties.
The album is available at the Marathon of Dope website on a pay-what-you-want basis.
"The (guest appearance) that means the most to me is the DJ Bunny one. Did you ever catch the Spot Lite show DJ Bunny did on the access channel VPW? Tyler (Sneesby, a.k.a. DJ Hunnicutt) would tape any he could find in Brandon. It was a lifeline to us. Those Spot Lite tapes were inspirations. MC Taco was on it, too. It was a bunch of weirdos playing with audio and video effects and playing rap songs and dancing.
"Bunny had this song, I'm Not a Rapper, I'm a DJ, and they had a video for it and Tyler would play that all the time," Skene says.
Skene, Hunnicutt and DJ Bunny update the song on People Are the Worst and fans can expect to hear it tonight as the CD release party at the Lo Pub (admission is $10). Skene will be backed by his live band, which includes Greg MacPherson, Rob Garidner, DJ Co-op, Cole Wood and Marcie France. Nestor Wynrush and Happy Unfortunate open the show.
BEST OF THE WORST
Here, in Pip Skid's own words, is a list of some people who annoy him on a daily basis:
1. Rob Ford: Every day the Mayor of Toronto steps into a pile of dung that's bigger than the last and keeps plopping along. It's hard to believe that he isn't an actual cartoon character.
2. Jay Leno: This slimeball probably has more secrets than the Vatican. I imagine his breath must smell like the back lanes in the Exchange District during a heat wave.
3. The person who made the smell that comes out of a Subway shop. There is nothing OK about this smell. Justice must be served.
4. Kim Kardashian: What does she do, exactly?
5. Sam Katz: What does he do, exactly?
6. The people who write the Rogers commercials: There are not enough hours in the boxing ring to sweat this toxic filth out of your system. This is what causes sadabetes.
7. Stephen Harper: When the weather warms up in Ottawa he'll get hot and peel his skin off to reveal those robot lizard scales under that bizarre mask he calls a face.