A “swashbuckler” was “one who makes a noise by striking his own or his opponent’s shield with his sword … a swaggering bravo or ruffian.” Picture a cool stud of the late 15th or early 16th century wearing a sword and buckler (small shield often with a spike in the middle) on his belt and clanking the two together as he swaggers around town: “Clankity-clank; I’m a tough guy.”
Forged in the steel fires of an Ontario/Florida rap-workman’s union, Thesis Sahib and bleubird met by chance in 1990 on a Caribbean cruise rewarded to them and their families when they each became regional Nintendo Power Glove champions. It was during this cruise that the two fourteen years old drunks were thrown together randomly to perform Kris Kross’s “Jump Jump” at a youth karaoke contest. The two quickly formed a bond on stage when they began rapping KRS ONE and TOO Short lyrics over the hot Kris Kross beat. They spent the rest of the tom cruise together making frequent visits to the all you can eat ice cream bar, getting kicked out of the casino, club, and captain’s lodge, and free-styling mutiny on the open seas. It was over ten years later when the two met by chance once again in Halifax in 2001. By this time they had each developed into conquerors of musical and artistic barriers in their own right. Nomadic travelers on the constant move, they set out to make an album in 2003, doing some recordings in Orlando, Toronto, and Michigan – whenever they happened to be in the same place at the same time. Their efforts met with tragedy when, oddly, all hard drives they used crashed. The two song 7” (2003) and the bonus song on bleubird’s “Sloppy Doctor” release were all that survived.
To break the curse they decided the only way to complete a full album was to come together on neutral ground and write and record an entire new album in one shot. Their spirits bolstered by the newly appointed beat-mason Edison of Paper Vehicle, they came to the Grimm Image studio at the Inland Empire and completed the entire album in seven days. Once again the old curse struck! All the vocal files were mysteriously erased weeks after their completion. “FUCK!” they thought, “we must break the cycle!“ A month later, determined not to be beaten, they dropped everything to fly back out again and re-record. “FUCK!” was completed again, this time better and more cohesive, backed up in triplets and transported home safely in a metal case handcuffed to bird’s wrist.
The culmination of all this energetic, thoughtful, thematic and often humorous word play, along with imaginative production by Edison, is a short jaunt through the fast-paced ever-changing colorful world of Les Swashbuckling Napoleons. The final product was mixed by Vid Cousins, the mad scientist engineer of Monkey Puzzle Sound Studios, and mastered by commander masterer J. Lapointe for your pure sonic enjoyment. Clankity-clank.
- ” Seeing James in Hammer pants was like dancing with a magic Canadian rap beaver ” – bluebird
” Jacques reminded me of Bif from Back to the Future but with a stupider haircut” – Thesis Sahib