Casper Marcus, is one of Canada’s rising Hip Hop artists. A London staple, he has played some of the biggest shows in the city – from London Music Hall to Start.ca Rock The Park. Signed to From Nothin Entertainment, Casper has no signs of slowing down. He works with young talents and shares his skills with a “Rap Camp” at Western University.
You have had quite a journey so far in your music career, with no signs of stopping. Let’s go back to the beginning. How did it all start for you?
It all started when I was adopted by my uncle here in London at age 11. The next year, I ended up meeting a producer named Mike Tompkins and we did a live rap performance at Western University.
I constantly freestyle battled local rappers and took part in coffee house/open mic nights. Limited in venues I could perform at when I was not legal age, I found a place to sharpen my skills at now defunct yet legendary places like The Embassy, The Drink, The APK and The Wick.
I released many projects and around 2007 I began breaking into the Toronto Hip Hop scene. I started a series of mixtapes called The Marcus Morris Mixtapes and won multiple artist of the year awards for that. I was opening for high profile artists and eventually started touring Europe.
Dropping music videos at a frequent pace and multiple collaborations have made me known as a consistent force in the Canadian Hip Hop scene.
What gives you your creative drive?
My creative drive comes from wanting to be better than my competition. Vengeance is the ultimate alarm clock. I’m in love with the process and the journey. I have recently matched my professionalism with my artistic drive and the results have been blessed. Also weed (laughs).
You have been a key figure in putting not only the London Hip Hop scene on the map, you have also been a key figure with London music as a whole, supporting various genres of music. The diversity in your creativity sees you doing features from country music (Zach McCabe) to pop (Julia Haggarty and Alex Emrich). What is the next genre you might work with?
It’s been awesome to cross genres and I’m honored to have any success within the various musical realms because every genre has its own culture behind it. It’s been a great learning experience. The latest endeavor has been in the world of House Music/ EDM.
My time spent in Europe opened my eyes to the reach of international music and I recently collaborated with the House DJ Team SHAD3Z. We released a record called “DIY”. We filmed a crazy video for the single at Home Depot and have been getting great reception for it. The sky’s the limit.
Congratulations on your recent signing with From Nothin Entertainment. How does it feel to be officially signed with a great team that believes in you so strongly?
It’s been a blessing. I’ve been working with From Nothin Entertainment for almost 10 years indirectly and it feels great to team up with someone like Reezy, who is a London legend in his own right. I believe in our vision and the alliance is strong because of genuine mutual respect. Big things are coming for the squad on the International scene. Between music projects, festivals, podcasts, tours and clothing lines, I am looking forward to what’s in store for From Nothin Entertainment.
You have performed countless shows and events, from London Music Hall to Rock The Park. Of all the big shows you have done, which one is your most memorable performance?
Great question. My most memorable performance was actually a battle. London hosted an event called The Ontario Freestyle Championship in 2009. There were 40 slots and I got one. It was held at The Roxbury and it was the most electric event I’ve been to. The energy was insane. There was a huge cash prize and distribution deal with Ruff Ryders Canada on the line.
I practiced and rehearsed battle lyrics for two months straight, every waking moment, and every single day. After waiting in the line up on the night of the battle I actually couldn’t get into the bar because I had no identification. I was pissed. Another battle rapper couldn’t get in either because he was underage. We ended up helping each other sneak into the bar so that we could participate in the event. It’s crazy because out of 40 rappers and 20 battles, the only two competitors left were me and the kid I snuck in with.
We battled in the final round for almost an hour. Round after round the judges (including Choclair) could not decide a winner. It was 4:00 in the morning and the club owners and promoters legally had to shut down. They decided to end it as a tie and we split the prize money. My opponent was a young Tory Lanez and later when he reached success, we reconnected. I opened for him a few times and we always joke and laugh about that crazy night.
How important is the relationship between a Hip Hop Artist and their DJ, especially while performing?
The relationship on stage between a DJ and Rapper is just as important as the chemistry/flow needed between a band and its lead singer. Your DJ is your hype man and every great Rapper has a great DJ that they trust behind them. Shout outs to DJ Fresh Czz, it’s definitely like a sports team when you can trust everyone on the floor to the point where you can communicate without even talking and it just becomes second nature.
As Hip Hop artist, how do you know the right beat is for you?
Once you hear that beat that makes you say “yo! I NEED THIS ONE” you gotta go with your gut. It’s like your perfect beat will find you. I don’t like when a beat is forced or overproduced. Sometimes less is more. It’s important to be diverse with your best selection if you want to stand out. Also you don’t want to put yourself in a “type of beat” situation, it’s very limiting.
With the COVID pandemic this past year, how important is Social Media for you?
I have definitely had to roll with the punches. I feel like I’ve always been on top of my social media presence but the last few years, I feel like everyone has had to step up their game. When the nonsense first started, I decided to make sure my fans never felt abandoned or worried. I just kept providing content.
Who is your biggest inspiration in music?
Another great question. My biggest inspiration in music is Mary Jane. She co-wrote most of my songs and I’ve never been to the studio without her. Mary gets everyone in the right headspace to be super creative. Shout out to Miss Jane – never change.
Please share with us what Rap Camp is at Western University?
Rap Camp started as a March Break rap camp that included poetry, dance, songwriting, drumming and music production. It culminates with a trip to Toronto that allows the young rappers to record a composition at Metalworks Studio. The camp started locally, but eventually we had almost 100 kids from all over the world in attendance. Shout out to the founder, Karim Rushdy.
You were in Europe a couple years ago representing Canada, how was that and how did it come to be?
The European tours were 100% life changing. The first time I went, I performed five shows in nine days as part of The Amsterdam Dance Event that was funded by a grant I received from Factor Canada.
I fell in love with Europe. I wrote a lot of music while out there because I was super inspired by the culture. I realized that I could learn so much from not just the music scene, but the way that people interacted and had conversations.
The second time I went overseas I actually won a large competition in Toronto to represent Canada. I was going back again when COVID hit and unfortunately we haven’t been able to travel since. As soon as it’s possible I will return and continue to grow my foreign fan base.
If you were in a verzuz battle, who would you want to do one with?
I actually did a verzuz battle in 2020 with Skitso Frenic. It was a crazy entertaining event and at the end we dubbed Young Stitch the winner. In London though, I think a really good verzuz would be me and Kehmak – I think that would be a lot of fun. Shout out to Kehmak #Treespect
When can we expect your next EP to come out?
Respect for asking. I’m pumped about my next release which is with fellow Rapper and BET Freestyle Champion, Young Stitch. It’s called “Foster Brothers”. It’s an EP that we’ve been working on for over a year and is produced by Alja. Every song on the EP has a music video to accompany it, so in a way it’s a visual album.
After that I’m geared up to drop some fire projects with FN/ FNO. My fans might be happy to know that I am bringing back my Marcus Morris Mixtape series with the upcoming release of The Marcus Morris Mixtape Seven, this Summer!
Check out Casper’s youtube channel for his new video that’s dropping June 17th.