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Loc Dog hooks up with Aminato from Rooftop Mob & others for Cheddar in the Trap

The Canadian producer is witnessing the evolution of Hip Hop through the eyes of young Taiwanese MCs

LiFTED | Marcus Aurelius | 21 Jul 2021

DJ and producer Loc Dog recently put out Cheddar in the Trap, a 24-minute Hip Hop odyssey 18 years in the making. “I’ve been into Hip Hop since I can remember,” said Loc Dog in an interview with LiFTED. After a brief fetish with the Fresh Prince and MC Hammer, his musical tastes spread to 2Pac and A Tribe Called Quest.

Because Loc Dog is Canadian, his home-country MCs like Kardinal Offishall, Maestro Fresh Wes, and the Rascalz always intrigued him. “Regionally, I got so excited when I knew that the Maritime provinces in Canada had amazing artists like Classified, Jorun, and Groundsquad.”

In 2003, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had a strong and virile scene with DJs like Skratch Bastid, The Goods, Kaleb Simmons, RS Smooth, and J-Bru. Loc Dog joined with other like-minded artists at a weekly open mic started by a dude named DJ Scout. “Slowly the scene built up and we started doing shows and making connections. Eventually, I bought all the tools necessary to start a home studio to create many songs, albums, and memories.”

Loc Dog got a bit burnt out and headed to Taiwan 13 years ago to see the world. “I fell in love with the country. Late-night bottles of Taiwan beer with friends slowly morphed into having a family and raising my own kids here.”

At that time, he was still making beats and trying to link up with local artists, but it just didn’t happen. The Hip Hop scene in Taiwan was fun and there were good shows, but Loc Dog didn’t have the desire to participate so “I felt I’d sort of retired.”

Fast forward to 2018 and a homie Al Boogie wanted to use a Loc Dog beat for his album. “That sort of kicked up the desire again. I’d been listening to a lot of UK Grime, started doing remixes and just got the bug again. When my kids were old enough to go to school, I just seized the moments I wasn’t teaching or parenting and just rocked out as many beats as I could. When I felt I had a good library I went to local Taipei legend DJ Vicar and asked if he could help me find some rappers.”

Vicar suggested Aminato from Rooftop Mob and once they met it just clicked. “He saved my ass and made this album possible. Once we did a song it let me have some street cred! People could hear a song with him and since he’s so respected lyrically amongst the younger Taiwanese MCs it helped me reach out to artists like Proak from Taichung to hop on a beat. Lickone is a Malaysian rapper who lives in Taipei and is also in Rooftop Mob. Hugo is down with Aminato and I was very lucky to have him also bless me with some vocals. These artists took the time to craft detailed songs with lots of care.”

Instead of just throwing a beat that an MC could rhyme on like before, Loc Dog had to now make sure he paid attention to all the details. “Asian Hip Hop is not a new phenomenon but in Taiwan it is exploding. Artists like Aminato and Rooftop Mob truly show how a lot of the Taiwanese MCs seem to see Hip Hop. They are making their own modern music and are not scared to incorporate modern elements like Drill or Trap but they also hold true to the Old School principals. Taiwan used to feel like people were just seeing an American song and doing their take on it but now that has evolved into something that is becoming a true Taiwan style, which is a reverence for the Old School while using modern elements.”

Now that Cheddar in the Trap is done, will Loc Dog re-retire? “I have so many beats and see so many talented artists that I just want to create songs and moments. This album should show that I am capable of a range of styles as a producer and am ready and willing to put work in to create. The future looks bright and I am planning on keeping up the momentum with all of the artists who have already given me new songs and have beat packages waiting for them.”