He began his early music career being the "best rapper on the block" on the east side of Toronto in Scarborough. By the end of the 90's with the success of his single "21 years" and the Canadian Urban market leader hit "The Northern Touch" (a collaboration with Vancouver rappers Rascalz and then industry newbies Checkmate, Kardinal Offishall, and Thrust). Choclair was the first Canadian rapper to be signed to a major American label, Virgin's Priority Records, bringing a taste of Canadian hip hop to new horizons. With several Juno Awards/Nominations, Much Music Awards/Nominations, and an Artist of the year award from the Urban Music Association of Canada - there in demands admiration. He cannot be denied the respect he deserves for encouraging evolution for future Canadian Hip-Hop/R&B musicians. With maturity and learned lessons, in the music industry, he is now giving back to upcoming urban musicians with his own record label and an urban music station out of Winnipeg.
"Before I started doing music I used to work at all sorts of jobs; The Ex Grandstand serving hot dogs at an N.K.O.T.B (for those who don't know: N.K.O.T.B. = New Kids on the Block) or Midnight Oil Concerts." With that he added that he actually enjoyed the N.K.O.T.B. performance. All kidding aside "I was a day care teacher, I worked at McDonalds, but all those jobs were paying for studio time so that I could be where I'm at right now and to keep climbing." All the years of difficult tasks and the one love for hip hop music kept his ambitions top priority. "You have to want it that bad to get to where you want to go, wherever that is. If you give it a half a** attempt then what you'll receive is a half a** career, and make half a** music."
"One of the best experiences I have had is going gold in 35 days off my album and doing live shows. That is actually the fun part about being an artist - performing in front of people." Choclair a.k.a. Kareem explains that there are three words that describe the emotion of fronting the stage: "Explosive, Elated and Energized." With that being said he also has his preference with whom he likes to share the floor - Toronto based Solitair. He brings a certain energy and vibe that cannot be compared. Solitair is a producer/MC who has written tracks for Jully Black, Sugar Jones, and Baby Blue Sound Crew. When asked who he was in awe of while playing alongside? "Snoop Dogg, has a great show and he's just down to earth. I respect people like that. Those who are Mega stars and still invite you to their house to hangout."
In having the best, there is always the worst. "The worst experience with the music industry I have had is in having promoters not pay you (luckily that isn't often) or promoters trying to get you to do shows for less than you're worth."
Kareem's most vivid early memory of music was "Meeting Maestro Fresh Wes at Cut Creator (a barbershop in Scarborough in 1989). I use to live right by there and I remember walking down the street and seeing all these guys come out of Jeeps with orange jackets on. On the back of the jackets it read: Dope State. That was his thing at the time so I went over and said YO! He won't remember me from that though, but that was mad cool. We talked for a minute, but I was a young'n back then."
A friend asked Kareem if he would lend his support to the first urban radio station out of Winnipeg (Flavour 103.5). "A friend of mine was kicking it off and asked if I would lend support. I immediately got involved. I did that because I started noticing that a lot of the urban stations in Canada were switching from being completely Hip Hop and R&B. Canada could use another outlet for all of our growing Hip Hop stars. Winnipeg is a great city so to put something like that there; the community would really appreciate it and not take it for granted."
What's up for the next five years? "In 5 years I will be still in the game doing my thing, putting out records, having the studio going hard, and have the number 1 station for Hip Hop/R & B (BIG UP FLOW!!!!), and sitting on DOLLAS. "
Check www.Greenhousemusic.ca for all the info on Chox. If you are looking for Studio time, Greenhouse music studios has just opened its doors to the public and they have the best studio time rates in the city for what we can do and we even have student rates. This includes high school, college, and universities. Finally, the Brand New Choclair Album "Flagship" is coming this summer. Look for it On Sauve Dawg Entertainment.
Writer: Penny Hayward