Formally known as Christoper Weins, Edmonton, Alberta-born artist Ironic recently shared with PureGrainAudio his interesting story. Throughout his lifetime, Ironic has been on a roller coaster of events resulting in a truly remarkable journey. His new single “Maybe I Was Wrong” features Junior Reid and is the first single off the forthcoming EP Audiobiography. This song is a personal tale of heartbreak and depression which ultimately led to the artist’s transformation into then hard working man he is today. Check out the single via SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Spotfy, iTunes, Google Play, Apple Music, or Amazon and get to know Ironic today.
In your biography, you state you are from Edmonton, eventually moved to Ottawa, and are the eldest of four children. How much of an influence have you been for your siblings? Do you still speak to them?
Ironic: My parents are from Ottawa and so are my grandparents. Edmonton was crazy cold! We moved back to Ottawa when I was 6. As a teenager I was constantly getting kicked out. My mother had her hands full with 4 kids and my father worked long hours. I was kind of an outcast amongst my siblings, being the oldest I was very protective of them regardless. At 16 I left home, for the next 10 years I distanced myself from my family completely, still I would check in on my sisters and brother. I moved to Toronto at 20 and stayed there for about 5 years.
Eventually I reconnected with my family when I my son was born and I moved back to Ottawa. My siblings were all almost grown lol. Today we are all spread out. One sister is in Ottawa but one is in Michigan and my brother is in California. We see each other on holidays and special occasions and make the most of it when we do see each other. My little sister got married in Ottawa a couple of years ago and to watch my little boy dance with her at the wedding really choked me up.
Watch the music video for “Maybe I Was Wrong” featuring Junior Reid right here.
From the age of 11 you were driven by the Canadian hip-hop movement listening to artists such as Maestro and Michie Mee, and American influences such as KRS One and Big Daddy Kane. Interestingly, from this your focus was on lyrical mechanics, and you went and memorized the Oxford Dictionary. Can you describe, what exactly motivated you to do that? What do you believe is the most key lyrical concept in hip-hop today?
Ironic: The first emcee I was influenced by was Maestro Fresh Wes. I remember being in grade 6 and memorizing all the words to “Let Your Back Bone Slide.” I would play the cassette line by line then rewind and write down the words lol! I was captivated by Big Daddy Kane’s word play and effortless delivery as well. When I was about 15 we opened up for KRS One at the Metropolis in Montreal. KRS brought an emcee by the name of Supernatural to perform along side him. At the time, Supernat had just beaten Mad Skills for North American Freestyle Supremacy at the Jack the Rapper seminar early that year. This was the first time I ever saw someone incorporate their present surroundings into their rhymes flawlessly on the spot!
At one point during the show he brought a dictionary on stage and brought up someone from the crowd. He opened the dictionary and had the person from the crowd pick a page. Then he proceeded to go down the page and rhyme with all the words as punchlines on the spot! Every time he came to a word, the DJ would fade out the beat to accentuate his punchline! From that moment on I was hooked!!! Lol Today, the most widespread concept in hip-hop at the moment is hustling… it is what it is and it can be extremely lyrical. It’s just the entire industry is oversaturated with it. It’s a double edged sword.
Still, if you can describe your hustle and grind as a means of motivation for others to better their own position in life then that’s a good thing. It’s just the glamourization of “trapping” or “choppin” is so commercialized a lot of emcees are just rappin’ about the image and not the blood, sweat, drive and discipline it took to get there. The most key lyrical component in hip-hop today goes hand in hand with the prior. The ability to relate to listeners today through your experiences. Word play, clever quotables and multisyllabic delivery will always be key components for me, but overall it needs to be sincere so people can feel what your sayin’, regardless of what you’re rapping about.
Check out then Halfsize Giants video for the song “Get it Made” here.
In Junior High, you met up with Markland Campbell and Willy Moreno. All three of you began a mix between hip-hop, dancehall, and Latino known Half Size Giants. How did you fuse all of these genre’s together into fruition, given the circumstances, these types of music have a lot of differences? What were some of the best memories with that group in all of your events?
Ironic: Ottawa is extremely multicultural. In Junior High I became friends with a young Mexican kid named Willy Moreno and a Jamaican named Markland Campbell. We were all into hip-hop and reggae and would perform together at local community center functions. Even though our styles were completely different, they still complemented each other. I came up with concept “B.M.W.” (black, Mexican, white) to describe our style. We were all young lil’ guys but our presence on the mic collectively was larger than life. People started describing us as the HalfSizeGiants and the name stuck. One of my most memorable experiences with the group was when we went to New York to record a single for an indie label by the name of CMC. Going to the Apollo Theatre and checking out Dr. Jays in Harlem, not to mention being 14 and recording in Manhattan. I felt at home. Another memory that sticks out is when we went on tour with Snow. We played the Civic Centre in Ottawa and the Metropolis in Montreal with him. That was at the height of his success with “Informer” and the 12 Inches of Snow LP. Playing to a packed arena and concert hall at that age was insane!
Can you describe what happened the first time the group broke up?
Ironic: The first time the group split up, we had all just grown apart and started to work on solo projects. We are also constantly at odds with our manager about our image and how the group was perceived.
You eventually came to Toronto and released your own EP entitled I.R.O.N.I.C produced by Gigz the unknown producer. What was the feeling like when you released it?
Ironic: When I moved to Toronto a good friend of mine Daryll Dennis came up a year before me and put together a small studio in his apartment over on Eglington West. We put together my first EP I.R.O.N.I.C When I pressed the first 500 copies and saw it for the first time I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. It was the first time I had put out something on my own since I was 11 and Tom Green released my first solo track on CKCU (he had a radio station with Organized Rhyme back then) about a year before the group got together.
Also, during your time in Toronto, you took part in many rap battles, what is your favourite part of battling?
Ironic: My favorite part of battling was the crowd reaction for the most part. Comin’ up with a sick rebuttle on the spot is ill too.
This is the track “FUNERAL” from So Sick Social Club which features Ironic & Slaine.
The group reconnected while you were here. Hit song “Get It Made” went viral around the country. The album Life Moves Fast was never released. Then you connected with your high school sweetheart, had a son, and then she left one month after. It says in your bio you almost gave up on music completely and went down a path of heavy drinking. Can you describe the anger that you felt at this present time, and the relationship with your son?
Ironic: When I was about 23 the group reunited for a short period. We managed to get another grant from Factor and released a video for a new single “Get it Made”. We were on rotation on 89.9 in Ottawa, the Beat in Vancouver, and 93.5 Flow at the time in Toronto. We did release a follow-up single “Life Moves Fast” on 89.9. This was the title to our album to released also. Unfortunately there was too many creative differences amongst us combined with raising funds to finish the album. My son was born around that time and I began to feel the financial pressures every young father to be goes through. His mother and I argued over money constantly. She eventually left took him to Toronto to be with her family and didn’t come back. I couldn’t find her, I had no money for a lawyer and my world seemed to be falling apart. She remarried and gave my son his step dad’s last name. I fell into a deep depression and buried myself at the bottom of a bottle. My passion for my craft started to diminish as well. I used to stare at pictures of my son for hours, shoot whisky and wonder where he was, it was pretty much self torture… I was bitter at the whole world. I was drinking myself to death.
You met a horror core rap metal group called So Sick Social Social Club. You performed with them and this revitalized your music career. What makes your previous struggles and the way you present them, different from other artists in hip-hop?
Ironic: Eventually I snapped out of it and got my self together I was still drinking, but I managed to find a union job and a friend of mine had put together a horror group So Sick Social Club. He asked me if I was interested in doing some collabos. He told me the was a track with Slaine available on the album. I was a huge fan of La Coka Nostra and the movie The Town had just come out (he’s the driver) so I jumped on it. I wrote a heavy verse, the track was called “Funeral” and I put every ounce of anger I had in me into it. It came out amazing. I did another collab with Necro on the So Sick album and later one with Ill Bill which we did a video for. It was these tracks that allowed me to get my anger and resentment out in the sound booth. It was cheaper than a shrink lol.
The fire was reignited. What makes my previous struggles and the way I present them different from other artists is the fact that I use my vulnerabilities as strengths. I put my pain and character defects under the spotlight instead of hiding them from it. As a result I was able to use my passion for my craft to get me out of the mental grave I had dug for myself. Eventually, I wanted to do a collabo on my own and So Sick’s label Reel Wolf paired me up with Kool G Rap and Swifty from D12. We recorded “Gods and Gladiators”. SnowGoons produced the beat and DJ Eclipse from Non Phixon did the cuts on the hook. I had been sober for 9 months at that point. My drive was on fire, this track exemplifies that to the core. I was back 100%!!!
Watch Ironic’s music video for the single “Resurrection” here.
Now you are sober and healthy. You quit smoking, drinking and marijuana. You have exercised and lost the fat and replaced it with muscle. How has that changed your outlook on how you view things now moving forward with you life?
Ironic: Nowadays this all seems like a distant bad dream. Today I own a demolition company. Also very therapeutic. I’m no longer a fat little bastard lol. My daily routine is gym, my company and my music business along with other ventures. My dreams and aspirations have once again transformed into goals and my goals are slowly but surely becoming my reality. Today my son’s mother and I have a great relationship and my son and I write music together, we’ve never been closer. I actually took him to the studio a little while back to record his first track. If you look on my youtube channel there’s a video of him learning to use turntables for the first time. His mom is actually getting a divorce and moving back to Ottawa this year. My son is also changing his last name to mine this spring. It’s all slowly coming together.
Your new track “Maybe I Was Wrong” is a reflection of the past, but negative thoughts aside, what are you trying to show people with this single?
Ironic: Yes my current single “Maybe I Was Wrong” is a reflection of my past and the dark place I was in at the time. Overall, without getting too biblical, I want this track to show people God will grant you an opportunity for redemption when you least expect it, the rest is up to you. Instead of letting my pain and anger consume me (and trust me, it almost did) I was able to harness that negative energy and use it as fuel to push me in a positive direction. If nothing else, this is single is metaphor for change, all you have to do is wake up! I will never forget that point in my life and this single is a blatant reminder to never go backwards. God willing, May 23rd I will have 5 years clean and sober.
To end this on a positive note, can you tell us some things people might not know about you? For example: You eat chocolate before a song, or drink egg-nog in the morning as a meal.
Ironic: Y’all gonna howl, but this is true. 6 days a week, no bread, no cheese, no sugar, just spinach, chicken breasts, avocados, etc. But midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday is cheat day. I go hard in the paint lol. Half a dozen doughnuts for breakfast, medium pizza for lunch, bucket of chicken for dinner, and mad snacks in between. Then Monday morning it’s back to the gym and I hit the treadmill for 45 minutes on an empty and back to business. Ironically, enough on Monday morning when I wake up I feel hung the fuck over! Dry mouth, dazed etc lol.