|Origin||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada|
|Genres||Canadian hip hop, alternative hip hop, experimental hip hop|
|Labels||Figure IV/ViK./BMG Canada|
|Associated acts||Checkmate, Swollen Members, k-os, Barrington Levy|
The Rascalz are a Canadian hip-hop group from Vancouver, British Columbia, who played a crucial role in the artistic and commercial development of Canadian hip hop. The group consists of emcees Red1 and Misfit, and record producer DJ Kemo. Breakdancers, Zebroc and Dedos were also part of the group.
Formed in 1991, the group released an independent album for Calabash Records in 1992. The album, Really Livin', was recorded under the name of Ragga Muffin Rascals. The re-worked major label recording was released the following year in 1993 by Sony Music Canada. The album was nominated for Best Rap Recording at the 1994 Juno Awards. The group moved to BMG Canada in 1997 to record Cash Crop, followed by Global Warning in 1999 and Reloaded in 2002. In 2007, Red1 released his first solo album, Beg For Nothing.
Juno Award protest
Cash Crop was nominated for Best Rap Recording at the Juno Awards of 1998. Due to Canadian hip hop's limited commercial notability, however, the rap award had never been presented during the main Juno ceremony, instead being relegated to the untelevised technical awards ceremony during the previous evening.
This fact had previously been criticized for creating a barrier to the commercial visibility of Canadian hip hop. Rascalz, however, alleged that racism was a factor in the award's disadvantageous scheduling, and became the first Canadian hip hop group to explicitly decline the award on that basis.
Their move sparked considerable media debate about the state of Canadian hip hop. As a result of the controversy, the Juno Awards moved the rap category to the main ceremony the following year.
Also in 1998, Rascalz wrote a special one-off single called "Northern Touch", which they recorded with guest rappers Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, Thrust and Choclair. The music video was directed by Little X and featured Melyssa Ford. Although not on the original pressing of Cash Crop, the song was released as a single, and was quickly adopted as an anthem for Canadian hip hop's resilience and determination. The song broke the odds to become one of the biggest Canadian hip hop hits ever recorded, and was also added to later pressings of Cash Crop.
At the Juno Awards of 1999, the first time the rap award was presented during the televised ceremony, Rascalz again won the award — this time for "Northern Touch" — and performed the song live at the ceremony.
To date, Rascalz have released two further albums. Each has produced at least one significant hit single: "Priceless" (a collaboration with Esthero) appeared on 1999's Global Warning, and "Crazy World" (featuring Notch and Sazon Diamante) appeared on 2002's Reloaded. They also recorded a song called "Top of the World" from the Global Warning album, and it featured K-os and Barrington Levy.
Red1 released a solo album, Beg For Nothing on March 6, 2007, through his own Killawatt Records.
- Really Livin' (1st Version) (1992), independent album recorded under the name of Ragga Muffin Rascals (Calabash Records)
- Really Livin' (1993) (Calabash Records, national distribution via Epic/Sony Music Canada). Although released as the same title, the album completely differed from the independent release)
- Cash Crop (1997) (ViK. Recordings/BMG Canada) Gold
- Global Warning (1999) (ViK. Recordings/BMG Canada)
- Reloaded (2002) (ViK. Recordings/BMG Canada)
- Beg For Nothing (2007) (Killawatt Records)
- "Kinder, gentler rap, eh? Canadians hip-hop onto centre stage", Ottawa Citizen, March 7, 1999.
- "justalilhype! Vancouver HYPE Magazine Interview with Red1", justalilhype! Vancouver HYPE Magazine, August 31, 2009.
- "Gold Platinum Database: Rascalz". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-07-10.