Pureverb is a Red Deer rapper who’s bringing hard-hitting, intricate lyricism with skillful delivery back into hip-hop.
Although Red Deer has a relatively small population, Pureverb, who’s real name is Craig Pace, has a level of output and business savvy that surpasses many of his big-city counterparts.
He’s been rapping for 16 years, and now has a professional-quality recording studio in his house. He’s also become incredibly adept at navigating the business side of hip-hop, something that he’s had to learn through trial and error along the way.
“I had nobody to show me anything, I honestly didn’t even know what it was to have proper mixing and mastering, proper cover art, there’s different techniques when you’re actually recording the songs, let alone the marketing side of things, I had to learn all that shit myself,” says Pace.
Pace’s interest in rapping was initially sparked by the discovery of Virginia artist DZK, a cult-legend in the world of underground hip-hop.
“It really inspired me, he had a really dynamic voice and a really large vocabulary,” says Pace.
“That’s when I realized you could rap about whatever you wanted, and it just interested me.
“His style started influencing mine, so I started writing poetry, then the poetry turned into full songs, and the full songs turned into trying to recite them, and then that turned into the early stages of my rap my career.”
The execution of difficult, skilful rhyming patterns and vocal delivery methods showcased by DZK, and some of Pace’s other key influences like Eminem and Immortal Technique, has made content the core focus of his music.
“I would hate to box myself in, because then it’s kind of hard to get out of that, but if you were to refer to the kind of music I make I would say it’s more conscious rap,” says Pace.
“There’s a lot of depth in my lyrics, and the style might be aggressive but the content, I really take my time when I’m writing and just try to kill every track that I do.”
For Pace, this stands in stark contrast to many of the artists who are currently at hip-hop’s apex.
“The problem is people in the industry that are high up are letting rappers, I won’t name drop specifically, but people that are doing mumble rap and shit that doesn’t really take a lot of talent, you just gotta be saying a bunch of shit on the microphone,” says Pace.
“If stuff like that goes viral it’s because people in the industry are allowing it to go viral.
“People that are high up, the A&R, the big companies, the record labels, they’re making fast money off of shit like that.
“So they promote it, and every body thinks it’s acceptable because it’s being promoted on a national level, so I think it puts a really, it almost like stains what hip-hop is, and that’s supposed to be realness.”
Staying true to the values and design of hip-hop’s underground is one of the factors that’s given Pace his longevity as an independent artist.
“It’s like letting a surfboard go when it’s a windy day and there’s a lot of waves,” says Pace.
“Just let that surfboard go and it’s eventually going to go in the direction of the waves, think about the music you’re making like that.
“The waves are what people want, so if you create content that people are already searching for, all you have to do is get it in front of a big enough audience and it goes on cruise control.”
While his content undoubtedly satisfies hip-hop fans who desire substance over spectacle, it’s Pace’s feverish release schedule that’s helped him to stay afloat in a city with just over 100,000 inhabitants. This year alone he’s released a full length album, Dark Times, the single “Rabid,” and over a dozen other tracks on YouTube.
His most recent music video, “Message To My Daughter,” amassed over 250 views in the first four days after its release.
According to Pace, this constant flow of material is essential to making it in the world of Canadian hip-hop.
“I find one of the biggest challenges is just consistently getting out there and getting exposure,” says Pace.
“It’s just, you’re a little limited if you don’t have a really strong following already, it’s pretty difficult.
“You’re lucky if you sell a thousand records as an MC in Canada right now unless you’re really really popping you know, but I try to market it effectively.”
Thus far Pace is succeeding in this regard, having appeared alongside names like Madchild, Tech N9ne, and Insane Clown Posse. These names are a sign that what he does is resonating with people.
“You’ve got to have a really strong following to have a really successful show here,” he says.
Pace, along with the artists he features on his tracks, provide a window into an area of Canadian music culture that lies well outside the spotlight of big cities. It’s an area driven by a relentless work ethic, ingenuity, and an unwavering dedication to the rawness of underground hip-hop.
Follow Pureverb on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Pureverb/