New Key of A producer and host Tarik Robinson plans to represent all genres of Alberta's music scene

A new radio host will be taking over Alberta's music show, Key of A and his local roots may be recognizable to those in the music scene.

Robinson is best known as the emcee of longtime Calgary hip hop duo Dragon Fli Empire

CBC Calgary and CBC Edmonton announced that Tarik Robinson has been named as the new producer and host of Key of A. (Phil Crozier)

A new producer and radio host will be taking over Alberta's music show, Key of A and his local roots may be recognizable to those in the music scene.

Tarik Robinson, a Calgary hip hop emcee will become the new voice for the radio show premiering every Saturday from 5 to 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One.

Robinson has lived in Calgary since the age of one and grew up absorbing the sounds of R&B, soul, reggae and gospel his mother would play in the house, which sparked his interest in hip hop.

He's also best known as one half of the hip hop duo "Dragon Fli Empire" and has toured across Canada, the United States and Europe.

Robinson sat down with the Calgary Eyeopener to talk more about his experience and what he plans to bring to the show.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Question: How excited are you to host and produce "The Key of A"?

Answer: So excited, and I'm still pinching myself, to be honest, it's a dream come true for me, for sure. 

Back when I was younger, back when we had things called cassette tapes. I used to make things called mix tapes. And I prided myself on being a really good mix tape curator. So to me, being the host took me back to those times.

There's so much amazing music from so many genres that we have here in Alberta and just kind of curating different episodes with different themes, it was so cool.

Q: What styles of music will you be focusing on?

A: So we're going to be looking back at Alberta's history. We're also going to be looking at new music that has just been released by Alberta musicians, and we're going to look at music from underrepresented communities.

And we're just going to try to also have themes, you know, I'm going to interview local artists and try to see the story behind the music. 

Robinson graduated with a Journalism degree from Mount Royal University and has written for several publications on the hip hop scene, interviewing artists like Del the Funky Homosapien and the late Gift of Gab from Blackalicious. (Phil Crozier)

Q: How would you describe the music scene right now in Alberta? 

A: I think that Alberta is kind of an incubator of talent, you know, we're not as influenced.

We're not in a really big city like Toronto, Vancouver, New York, L.A., and I think that gives us the opportunity to have more uniqueness, to work independent ideas.

And maybe, the artists get successful enough that they move to one of those bigger centres.

But you know, we'll still celebrate all talent that comes from Alberta and we'll be playing those ones that have made it and those ones that are still kind of getting your feet wet.

Q: Now your background is as a hip hop emcee. What transferable skills will you be applying to hosting a radio show? 

A: The word emcee in hip hop we say that it means "move the crowd." It means the mic controller, the master of ceremonies.

So I intend on using creativity in terms of my mic presence and just having some fun on the show.

There won't just be somebody reading boring dialogues between the songs. 

Q: What have you been brainstorming so far?

A: So the first theme is actually going to take a look at my personal music journey. So Albertan music that influenced me growing up.

As a child, my mom would play the Calgary oldie station. And that exposed me to songs like Stampeders with Sweet City Woman and Joni Mitchell with Big Yellow Taxi, and artists with Alberta roots.

I'll also be getting into different artists that I've actually collaborated with and again, they're from different genres.

So The Swiftys, that's a rebel country group from Edmonton we'll be playing them on the show. Tariq, known for Chevrolet Way, we'll give that a spin. 

Kris Demeanour, Calgary's first poet laureate, had some great collaborations and shows with him and the early 2000s

The high sonics were an amazing band from Edmonton, a soul funk group, and so that's the first theme and we'll explore many more.

KEY OF A with Tarik Robinson can be heard Saturday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One and on CBC Listen. The show offers the latest about music, artists and events across Alberta. 


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