With his latest project, Toronto’s k-os didn’t want to have to choose from among the 20 tracks he has waiting to release — he wanted it all out there while it was still fresh and relevant.
The result is a double album, BLack on BLonde, which combines hip hop songs with some that have more of a rock sound.
The collaborations with Emily Haines of Metric, Sam Roberts, Sebastien Grainger of Death from Above 1979, Black Thought from the Roots, Travie McCoy from Gym Class Heroes and '80s star Corey Hart are an indication of the eclectic mix.
K-os, who emerged on the music scene with 2002’s Exit, had to push back the release of his new album to Jan. 29 because of sample clearance issues.
With a title like BLack on BLonde, the Toronto rapper is ready for questions about civil rights and race relations.
But he’s reflecting on a time he hopes is coming when race won't matter at all.
"If you can embody the music and think of another culture to the point where people of another culture will appreciate it, I think that the most biggest eraser of racial lines ever," he said in an interview with the CBC's Laura Thompson.
When he thinks back on hip hop, he remembers how alien Eminem seemed at first because he was a white rapper and he admits he’s revised his definitions lately of what rap is and where it is going.
"To be able to serve someone's culture and respect it and spit it back at them in a form… that's what I’m proud of in this record," he said.
K-os agrees there is now an emotional edge to his music — sometimes called "emo rap" — and says it’s about time men acknowledged their feelings in the way women do.
"I dated somebody and she was a pimp and she messed me up and I was left with stained egos on the ceiling and I was like nooo!" he said.
"I wrote songs about it and so for the first time of my life I was like, this is really real, this pain is real and I'm gonna write about it and that's what it's about."