Interview with Audible Intelligence

by The Lotus Queen

Lyrical double dutch makes us all want to start breakin..and dishing, namedropping, beat popping…

Steppin’ In. In a way it all started with that track. A disparate group of guys dusted themselves off, realized they had bonafide talents and were all in one way or another, sometimes unwittingly connected. Because of this, the umbrella known as Audible Intelligence was formed. Some people can cook a meal by adding things into the pot, no recipe. Others are even more blessed to be able to make music that way. I managed to get one faction of AI together for a friendly photo-romp in the playground and some brunch. Together they are known as ERM….as in EQ, Ricca and the Mantrakid; by day they go by Scotty Lee, Nate Schmold, and Jonathan Stoddard. After running out of napkins to scribble on, I let the boys tell it like it is.

How did Audible Intelligence come together?

Nate ?Mantrakid? Schmold says ?EQ approached mantrakid for some beats, at the time he was purchasing them off me. He did this one track called “Steppin’ In”, which featured Planit, Soleo, EQ, DJ Side, DJ Kato, Iron Lion, King Lou, and Ricca Razor Sharp. This track when completed was essentially the first crew track.

Audible Intelligence 1

Scotty “Eqazn” Lee sums it up, ?I brought every emcee i knew into the song – everyone who accepted the invite essentially was part of the crew. t wasn’t till about 5-6 months AFTER this song was completed did we decide to do the crew thing… it was sort of me and Nate sitting together and saying we need to be a FORCE to be reckoned with.?

Jonathan “Ricca Razor Sharp” Stoddard adds, “I have been involved in the music scene in Calgary since 1999, but mostly on the rock scene. I would occasionally go to hip hop shows but never really knew too many people, but then after meeting Scott and Nate, my circle of connections drastically expanded. Meeting Scott was a blessing because it was somebody who shared my love of freestyle, and I could practice with. Meeting Nate was also a blessing because in a lot of ways we are like minded, musically and philosophically. Also, I really, really like his beats. I can?t believe meeting somebody who blends the old school and new so well. I love tearing into one of his beats, they are so MC friendly, yet not at all boring or sterile.”

So who’s everyone?

EQ Ricca Mantrakid, Iron Lion, Soleo, King Lou, Stilz, Cadillak Kid, Altar 1, Plan It, DJ Side, MC Fan, Cinister Cee, Lotus Queen

What’s AI’s mandate?

“The AI Mandate is mainly strength in numbers – to establish a uniquely creative musical force of the utmost in quality so as to become an identifiable and respected representative of the calgary hiphop culture,” says Mantrakid.

“Destroy all!” adds Equazn.

What are you all doing now that you didn’t think you could even do 2 years ago?

Equazn: “Doing our own shows… being recognized as a sick faction… example: at the DMC?s this summer – our website was put on the flyer and we didn’t even have shit to do with it!”

Mantrakid: “Personally, I didn’t ever think I could rock a rap on a stage. If someone told me that I?dbe twitching out these spastic raps on a dented microphone, I’d have pantsed them. I feel at home rapping and moreso when I rap with the Audible guys on stage, specifically EQ & Ricca. I also am really pleased with the level my production has grown to. I didn’t think I’d ever be making beats that people shit their pants over, though it’s what I’ve always wanted.”

What’s up with the Calgary Hip Hop scene these days? It’s “impregnated” with talent!

Mantrakid says: ?Calgary’s scene seems to have a LOT of talent in it, but unfortunately is also riddled with Ego, which technically goes hand in hand with hip hop. The ego, however does little to promote unification and growth, and sometimes it seems the scene is more interested in chewing bits off each other’s throats than working together to make something incredible.

There is a LOT of talent in the scene, and I think Audible has formed because of that – we see each other’s styles and abilities and how they compliment each other, we see how powerful we are on stage working together, and foster its growth so as to really make the name prominent. A lot of people are just starting out, including us, and we’re all slowly learning the ropes of what it’s going to take to really make the Audible name along with our individual names and band names take off to a greater exposure. As long as these growing Calgary artists (and i) don?t let ego drive them, I think some truly amazing growth could take place.?

Audible Intelligence 1

RIcca adds, ? People come from the woodwork when there is an out of town performer having a show. The level of support between in town performers is moderate. It could be better, but it could be worse. I?m as guilty as anyone.

Also, there are a lot of people that are basement rappers, or do it with their friends and may even have a few recordings, but can?t really be found on stage, which is their prerogative.

?The first time I met EQ was battling him in the finals of the 2003 Eliminator, and now we?re rhyme partners. Inevitably there will be some thuggish person who takes the stage to battle and he usually doesn?t bring any real skills, and then he gets punked by somebody who doesn?t look as ?badass? as they are, and they are all pissed off, but that is definitely the exception not the rule.?

?Homies best ta step off my nuts fo’real. No seriously, I think its ok… there is a little too much drama for such a small scene but you can’t deny the shit loads of talent,? says Equazn.

The unity and eagerness to define their own styles, express themselves in their own words, and work damn hard at doing what they love, makes ERM, Impirical, INF and the rest of the Audible crew the hottest new things in local hip hop. So come on out of the woodwork and check out something we can be proud to call our own.

Some tunes are available for download at Tune in to Remote Emissions (10:30-midnight,, Friday October 21st on CJSW 90.9 Fm. ERM will be stopping by to lend their freestylings to help hype up the annual CJSW funding drive.

  • Interview with Audible Intelligence
  • by The Lotus Queen
  • Published on October 1st, 2005
Audible Intelligence

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