The word grimy gets thrown around a lot these days. Well kids, meet the emcee who wrote the book on being grimy. If there’s an International Association of Grime, Baracuda’s the president. With shark teeth, more facial scars than a Sicilian gangster, and known to his tour-mates as the guy who drinks whisky to wake up every morning, this Toronto-based emcee is the epitome of grime. But don’t let this fact mislead you – side by side with the street hustler ethos and rugged flows is a raw intelligence capable of crafting songs that are more poetic and profound than anything any artsy college boy rapper ever spat.
What could explain such a character? Raised in a working-class family of Hungarian extract in Guelph, Ontario, the son of a prison guard who encouraged his childhood love of hip-hop, and a grandfather who kept the gun of dead Nazi he killed in his attic, Baracuda met Ice-T when he was only twelve years old – perhaps a bit of the seminal rapper’s Home Invasion-era essence transferred into the young boy, fusing with his DNA structure. Baracuda began awning his own mic skills at a young age in the drum n’ bass scene, impressing crowds with his phenomenal freestyle skills on stage before he was old enough to drink at the bar. Years later he became a founding member of the Plague Language collective with artists like Noah23 and Kingston of Blue Sky Black Death, one half of rap duo Bourgeois Cyborgs, and in 2000 dropped his debut album, Tetragammoth.
Eight years later Baracuda returned with his new full-length Knucklebone, thirteen tracks of heavyweight street poetry produced by MadAdaM and featuring guest spots from Noah23, Modulok, Galactus and Astral Black of Embassy. Lacking proper promotion and distribution, the currently out-of-print album has become something of a lost gem of underground rap. It reflects the perfection of Baracuda’s unique style – one that is rooted in bare knuckle boom-bap, yet cannot be contained within the narrow confines of orthodoxy, like an alien symbiot emerging from its human host. The result is phenomenal music that is avant-garde yet grimy, spaced-out yet street, abstract yet stuck down on the level of the every-man hustling to get his.
Like other underappreciated Canadian artists, Baracuda relocated to Bern, Switzerland in 2010 to take advantage of his European fanbase. Currently back in Toronto, he is currently working on projects with Leon Murphy, Stereotype, Modulok, Apollo Creed and Bare Beats.