Canibus is a Jamaican born rapper that moved to New York when he was 13 years old. He began his music career with a group called T.H.E.M and began making guest appearances with Wyclef Jean and Ras Kass in 1996. In 1998, Bis released his debut album through Universal Records, titled 'Canibus'. The project was hyped by the rap press but did relatively poorly in terms of sales and was widely considered a flop. Around the time of the LP, Canibus and LL Cool J had a high profile beef which spanned across several tracks including 'Second Round K.O', still considered by most to be the key Canibus track of his career.
The beef eventually fizzled out and Canibus put his album's flop down to Wyclef's involvement with it's production. He stated this loud and clear on the follow up LP '2000 B.C' which was as much a flop as Bis's previous efforts, but which included one of the earliest collaborations between Canibus, Kurupt, Rass Kass and Killa Priest. These guys would eventually become a super rap group for a while named The Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse.
2001 saw the release of 'C True Hollywood Stories', the third Canibus album release. Now dropped from a major label, Bis released this independently with Archives Music and included numerous references to the Eminem created character of 'Stan'. Ever since, there's been internet forum speculation into the relationship between Canibus and Eminem. Both arrived in hiphop on a serious level at around a similar time, and comparisons have always been made. It's been clear from subliminal lyrics and press interviews that there's bad blood, Eminem's leaked 'Canibitch' confirming this, but there's never been a public beef with any sense of clarity.
Many considered Canibus's third LP to be his weakest, namely down to the involvement of Pak-man and various low key producers, which lead to many believing Canibus to be the poorest decision maker in hiphop. Predictably upon a listen of the material, the album didn't make much noise and it was on to 2002's 'Mic Club; The Curriculum'. Released through Canibus's own label, this was considered by fans as one of the artist's better efforts, as was 2003's 'Rip The Jacker'. Rip The Jacker's one of many characters Canibus has recorded as and was much aided by Jedi Mind Tricks producer Stoupe's input on production. Within hiphop circles the album was rated extremely highly, notably for the track 'Poet Laureate II'.
Between the releases of 'Mic Club; The Curriculum' and 'Rip The Jacker', Canibus enrolled into the US army, meaning the 'Jacker' album was created in an unorthodox method where by the lyrics were written and recorded before the beats existed. The internet went mad with rumours that Bis had only enrolled in response to the Eminem track 'Soldier' to prove that he could literally be a solider, and although the rumour's far fetched, its as enjoyable to think about as any of the vague reasoning's Bis has offered in rare interviews. 'Mind Control' in 2005 and 'Hiphop For Sale' in the later half of the same year were both panned, although slightly unfairly as much of the vocals were recorded years prior, but used due to contractual obligations to fullfill contracts.
Through all the up's and down's of his much analysed career so far, one thing has remained true about Canibus. Regardless of business decisions and choices of producers and their beats, the man's skill has remained untouched by all others. The rate at which this guy drops intricate rhymes for his listeners is incredible. He constantly maintains an intense style of delivery and the audience has never been short of storylines and subliminals to analyse and dissect to the Nth degree. You can have your MF Doom's and Kool Keith's, but one thing is certain. If you're going in for that weird, complicated, 'I need to wikipedia this guy' rapper, you need look no further than this man.
Uncharacteristically, nothing much was heard of Bis for most of 2006, and it hasn't been until now that he's showed his face, or rather, opened his rhyme books once more. Now as to be expected, Bis has returned to the mic in quite the original fashion. Rather than put out a mix CD or new album, he's launched Poet Laureate Infinity.
A play around with this site's interactive mixing board, and you'll be listening to one of the most complicated and in-depth rap records to ever be recorded. It's 11 minutes long but with numerous tracks to fade in and out, each with a 200 bar verse. In theory, you'll hear something different every time you mix it, making the track truly on a next level.
This concept is said to continue with the next Canibus album, 'Rip The Jacker II'. That's on it's way along with 'Def Con V2.0', an official 4 Horseman album, and 'For Whom The Beat Tolls'! Have yourself a lay down for five minutes and then check out Bis's music and the links below. Love it or hate it, you'll listen to all other rap music in a slightly different way.