cinqque5tion with Choclair (by: Jovin Tardif)

This should probably answer Clue 13 on the #jovin40bdayhunt on Instagram.  ‘Where you went to school and met your friends. (French to English school)  The answer is  Etienne Brule & York Mills Collegiate.  Hmmm…this brings back a memory about my guest today Choclair.  I’m at the basketball court shooting hoops, when a friend of mine with a group of other friends drove up in his car with the windows down. They got out of the car. Okay, relax. They were there to play basketball. We practiced our drills, picked our teams and played some ‘ball.  My friends were more of the inside players dropping layups and/or dunks. My focus was on defense, setting picks, dropping threes or working on my foul shots.  I always enjoyed sports either watching or playing. I still do today. Before we left, my friend went back to his car to turn on some music while we drink water to cool down.  I always found that athletics always pairs well with the music. This is probably why you constantly hear music when you watch an NBA game.  After the game, I asked my friend if I can get a ride home. He said absolutely. We got in the car and he said: “but first, you have to hear this new CD.”  The music started: “When the man wanted to ride, what did he do?  Swing down sweet chariot.”. We listened to the whole song and I asked: “Wow that was awesome. Who was that?”. He replied: “Choclair”. When I got home, my brother seemed to know about Choclair too.  Who knew years later that I would have the opportunity to have a conversation with him. The first person I texted was my brother to get some feedback on possible questions that I could ask. After our conversation, I felt relieved and prepared for this sensational opportunity.

1. Choclair, can you describe the process of creating your hit song “Let’s Ride”?

When I first got the beat for Let’s Ride I was in Saukrates’ car and “The Circle” and I was hanging out in a parking lot or something like that. We were listening to beats from Kardi on Sox’s radio and I remember the beat came on, I told him that I liked the beat but he would joke that the beat was to fast for me, so he asked Sox to come in the studio with me when I recorded it to make sure there wasn’t any voice over work done and then I would pretend that I did it. So me and Sox went into the studio when I was recording it and that is why he is at the beginning of the song. It was like an inside joke thing but it came out amazing!

John Snow x Choclair – “Looking Like Money”

2. Northern Touch with Rascalz, Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall and Thrust changed the game and was a very important song in the history of Canadian hip hop. Hip hop song “Northern Touch” received two Juno Awards and a MuchMusic Video Award. Choclair, can you tell us how this group got together to create this song?

We all knew each other at the time as artists, myself and Kardi would work a lot together at the time the only person I wasn’t familiar with was Checkmate.

I was working as a daycare teacher at the time and I got a call from Sol Guy (at work), he said that the Rascalz were working on a project and would like to get me on it. They said they would mail the 2-inch tape from Vancouver to Toronto and that they asked Thrust to be on the track also and we would all go in the studio to record our parts. When the day of the studio came the Rascalz and Checkmate’s verse was already on the song already in the order that it is so Thrust and I did rock paper scissors to see who would go last…I lost. Once our verses were down we all started thinking of the hook and Kardi came up with a great hook and there became history.

Taiyamo Denku – Keep Moving on Feat. Choclair

3. The Toronto Raptors have used your music at monumental moments especially in the NBA playoffs. You have also performed on special occasions such as the ’95 Rewind Raptors Night. Can you describe your relationship with our champions the Toronto Raptors?

I’ve had a great relationship with the raptors although I knew more of the past time players like Mo Pete and Vince Carter and others. It was amazing to be a part of the ’95 Rewind night I always enjoy doing events with them and watching the team succeed, been a fan since year one.

Choclair Blake, of Jamaican descent, was born in Scarborough, Ontario, in east Toronto. Starting at the age of 11, he followed in his older brother's footsteps, and decided to become a rapper. Blake attended St. John Paul II Catholic Secondary School, which is when he first started performing under the name "Choclair". In 1995, he released his debut single, "Twenty One Years", on his own independent label, Knee Deep Records. In 1997, he released the EP, What It Takes, which was accompanied by a music video featuring Jully Black. By 1998 Choclair had released eleven records, including the first international releases for Saukrates, Kardinal Offishall, Jully Black, Solitair, Marvel, and Tara Chase from Toronto's music scene. Choclair, with the Rascalz, contributed to the hip hop song "Northern Touch", which received two Juno Awards and a MuchMusic Video Award, and achieved lasting popularity among Canadian hip hop fans and has been labelled by critics as a "hiphop anthem".[1] Choclair then expanded his team and joined Virgin Music Canada in 1998. In 1999, he signed with Priority Records, and released his debut album Ice Cold, produced by Saukrates.[2][3] The album was certified gold in Canada (50,000 copies)[4][5] and spawned the hit single "Let's Ride", produced by Kardinal Offishall. Let's Ride reached #38 on the Canadian RPM Singles Chart.[6] That year Choclair performed at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto, opening for American singer Lauryn Hill.[7] In early 2000, Choclair performed at the Wave Night Club in London in support of the album.[5] Later that year, "Let's Ride" won a SOCAN award and a MuchMusic award.[8] Ice Cold won a Juno award for Best Rap Recording in 2000.[9] He was presented with a 2001 Urban Music award from SOCAN.[10] Also in 2001 he opened the Music Without Borders concert at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.[11] On March 5, 2002 Choclair release his next album, Memoirs of Blake Savage, which included a lot of drug-related lyrics.[12] He released the single "Skunk" from that album, which featured Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound. After parting ways with Virgin Music, Choclair started his own independent label Greenhouse Music in partnership with Sextant Records/EMI Music Canada. On June 17, 2003, he released the album Flagrant, which won a Juno Award as best rap recording in 2004.[13] He also released other Canadian hip hop albums in conjunction with Sextant Records and EMI. Greenhouse followed that with the release of My Demo, a collection of Choclair's early underground recordings. In 2006, Choclair released the album, Flagship. He was also featured on Karl Wolf's single, "Desensitize". In 2018, Choclair and other members of the team who recorded "Northern Touch" performed the song at the 2018 Juno Awards ceremony.[14] Also in 2018 Choclair joined Classified and Maestro Fresh-Wes on the "Canadian Classic Tour"

Choclair at ’95 Rewind

4. You were featured in a Karl Wolf single called “Desensitize”. Choclair, how did you two meet?

We were on the same record label back in the day (Sextent) and when we found that out we talked and decided to do that track. It was great because we shot the video in Cuba (My first time) and it came out successfully and we’ve stayed friends ever since and have done two other tracks also (“Weekend” and “All Night Long” feat. Classified).

Classified & Choclair – Hurt Everybody

5. Just for fun. Do you have any fun stories about your time in 2018 with Classified and Maestro Fresh-Wes on the “Canadian Classic Tour”?

Way too many great stories to share about that tour to be able to pick just one, but what I can say is that we were all friends and have worked before that tour and by the time it was done our bond became tighter. All to the point that Classified and I have completed an ep produced by him with the first single being “Hurt Everybody” and the full ep to come out this spring. I believe the tour was a history-making event and it was great to bring our music to the nation in that fashion.

About the Author
Jovin Tardif
Press/Media What On What’s Good
StorytellerConversation Starter,
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