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][CanibuS][

:::CAN-I-BUS:::

Germaine ´Canibus´ Williams was the first of two sons, born in 1974 in Jamaica to Basil and Elaine Williams. After separation, Germaine was uprooted and moved to the states with his mother, who held a housing project position requiring constant relocation. This landed them in places like D.C., to Atlanta, to Jersey to London. Unsure as to whether this is to his fortune in the future, or his misfortune as a child, he wasn´t the most popular kid. While children were playing sports, or with toys, Germaine sat in front of video games, or in front of electronics, trying to understand the mechanics of how they worked.

However the price was the lack of developing social skills, becoming reclusive, fighting for being different at some points, and even somewhat of an identity crisis as he hit adolescence. "I used to say to myself, ´You gonna go as a thug this year and see what happens,´" (XXL #5).

Canibus later found himself introduced to hip hop, subsequently making his way into rhyming. Canibus was initially a part of a group called T.H.E.M. (The Heralds of Extreme Metaphors), consisting of Canibus himself and his partner Webb. He and Webb were introduced to one another through Webb´s cousin Pat who was in D.C., the two found each others skill up to par and decided to take on the industry together in 1995. They performed at the 1996 Gavin convention and presented an 18 track demo tape to Charles Suitt, CEO of Group Home and surprised him with quality material, despite the lack of advanced equipment and a span of two and a half to three months total to do it.

The battle with various Wu-Tang members in the parking lot of an Atlanta nightclub attracted attention from people in and outside of the club, trying to figure out who the hell was giving Wu the run for their money. However when Killah Priest rolled up on the scene he blasted the both of them with an impeccable six minute freestyle that left the two defeated, however the Wu and spectators looked at Webb and Canibus in a whole different light and level of respect. The sentiment was more than reciprocated.

The separation between Canibus and Webb is sketchy at best. While Webb states it was over a misunderstanding and a trouble making third party, Canibus wont even discuss why or how it happened, and so we´re left to question what really happened.

For a while, Canibus worked within the business side of the industry, as General Manager at Group Home Records. The reign of appearances and freestyles in the great year of 1997, or as many like to refer to it ´The Canibus Era´, blew peoples minds. Ras Kass, considered one of the greatest lyricists by many, recognized Canibus´ talent and, despite the heat he took from Priority Records, had Canibus drop some bars on ‘Uni-4-orm’ with himself and Heltah Skeltah. The feedback Canibus´ verses received was definitely positive thus paving a more defined path to his career.

Beasts from the East featuring A+, Mr. Cheeks, Redman and Canibus created massive attention. For two and a half minutes he drops the most concentrated witty bars throughout the whole track, shamelessly outshining everyone before him.

Jay-Z was to then introduce the aspiring young artist to Wyclef, warning Canibus to be prepared for what he was about to get into, as Jay-Z knew he´d excel. Wyclef joined with Canibus immediately after meeting and had him drop a verse on the ‘Gone Till November remix,’ and other appearances with artists like Common in ‘Making a Name for Ourselves.´ Canibus continued to gain momentum, appearing on several albums through 1997, however, his role on "As the Rap World Turns", co-starring fellow rapper LL Cool J, seemed to work to his benefit as well. After meeting at L.A.´s Hit Factory, and heading into the studio together to record "4,3,2,1," a song for LL´s Phenomenon LP, the two rappers engaged in a full-on battle of the MCs. The media buzz -- brought on by MTV News and other sources - was a huge boost to Canibus´ career.

After inking a deal with Universal Records, Canibus released his first single, "Second Round K.O.," (which contains remnants of the verbal argument between himself and LL Cool J) in 1998. Can-I-Bus, his full-length debut, appeared later that year.

In his own words:-
"Once people understand that I´m not somebody that you can graph, that I´m not predictable in any form or fashion, once you understand that, then you understand me better. Fuck traps because I can get out of any trap. Any type of means to snare me is useless. Especially if its just a mental trap or something like that.......I´m capable of anything. Anything on the face of this planet I´m capable of. And I know that. Thats the dangerous thing about me, ´cause I know it. And by knowing it, I´ll do it. Just to show that yes, somebody out there got enough balls to do it. And I´m not talking about the LL situation in particular. I´m talking about any situation I´m faced with in life."

"To hate the image of Canibus is to hate the competitive spirit of rap music. My technical approach to rhyming leaves no room for credible criticism therefore anti-Cani people look for an easier target such as beats, hooks, etc. As long as Hip Hop stands then so will the image of Canibus because they are inseparable. In my youth I looked at rap videos and listened to rap songs in awe of something I couldn´t do. I studied and trained to rhyme this way. A Canibus verse is a display of complete lyrical fitness. If it´s so easy to rhyme like Canibus then more people would sound like him than let´s say……Nelly (no disrespect of course). If 50 solid Bars were easier than empty 16´s then I would not be challenged. If nursery rhymes were the ceiling for hip hops´ growing audience then I would have never put pen to paper. From the beginning I aimed to make a statement in rap music as a lyricist. I pushed myself to keep it tight with every line I said. The art will evolve but right now apathy is the easy way out. Outside of the mass media and chart positions, I see the clear poetic value of my contribution to rap music. I am human, a part of humanity, and I write what I feel. If my rhymes aren´t 21st century poetry then I don´t know what is."

"Growing up, man, it wasn´t a walk in the park. I was always fighting, somebody always had something to say, and I wasn´t the type to turn around and walk away from the fight if I was right. I´m human. I make mistakes, and a lot of times, I got what I deserved. On the flipside, if I was right, and I felt in my heart that I was right, I wouldn´t walk away. If you come through, step on my shoes, I´m going to see you about it. Throw eggs on my door, I´m going to see you about it. I´m not the one to turn around and walk away from anything. If I´m provoked, I´ll let people know that. When I wasn´t that way, I got trained to be that way. Otherwise, I´m a sweet, caring, chill-out, laid-back kind of person. If you give me a laptop and an analog line, and you give me some food and leave me in a corner, I´m good. I won´t bother nobody. If you provoke me, I´ll bite you right back. I´ll take a big chunk out of you. I got those great white shark teeth, those teeth that go inward. I got six more rows behind this row. I don´t let it come out, but whenI´m ready, they´ll come out and I´ll take a big chunk out of anything. "


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