Cee left fakery & thuggery behind to shine

Yesterday, the Melbourne-born, Montreal-based MC released his album, This Is All I Know. It was also his birthday, and as a gift from his fans, digital sales are soaring.

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From Down Under to Toronto and then over to Montreal, Craig Thorn, aka rapper Cee, says he’s never going back.

“The Australian scene was basically started by white, skinhead graff dudes,” Cee explains, breaking down some of the history between private and public radio and how it’s nearly impossible to break the Australian charts.

“All of those guys are so thuggish, and so staunch about, ‘You fuckin’ rap how you talk or you’re fake!’—and I’m not joking, you don’t understand the shit we went through because of the way we rap!”

“On the flipside,” he continues, “people will put on an Aussie accent to sound more ‘real.’ To me, that’s the definition of fake, and talk about nothing but beer and barbecue and all that bullshit. I don’t relate to that. I’m not gonna sacrifice my art to sound the way you want me to.”

The 32-year-old Melbourne-born MC has called Montreal home since the fall of 2012, but has had a musical relationship to TO and other parts of the continent in an on-again, off-again fashion since 2004.

His brother Notion still lives in TO and maintains his end of their crew, the Movement Fam, a collaborative made of folks back home and friends all over. All told, they’ve been responsible for 23 mixtapes, including a jawn with Mick Boogie, via blogger Kevin Nottingham’s label. In short, Cee and his people hustle.

“In Toronto, every cunt thinks they’re better than you, and they all rap! Erry’one fuckin’ raps. So there’s so much competition, so much noise and bullshit, and cocky fuckin’ staunch cunts,” Cee says.

“Now in Montreal, we get that, but on much smaller scale. Add that to the lifestyle of drinking-in-the-park, nobody- works type shit. So it’s so much easier to try to rise up and be ‘that guy’ from Montreal.”

In 18 months since arriving, Cee has released a college- charting collabo EP with Alaiz producer Dr.MaD, and just yesterday (April 10, his birthday) he dropped his official debut solo LP, This Is All I Know, on iTunes. A man with a plan, to be sure, in a city whose hip hop scene is known for taking its sweet time.

“That doesn’t mean all I wanna do is stay in Montreal. I wanna rep for this city because it’s the only place that’s shown me enough love to let me do things I’ve never done anywhere else. But I’ll also be able to expand outside and rep the scene and yet get somewhere significantly faster than if I was in Toronto.”

You can take the man outta Aus, but you can’t take all the Aus outta the man, either. Cee stands for a coupla things, among them “craft beers” and “cunts.”

His Beer & Other Shit blog pays daily tribute to the art of the sud, giving a pass/fail review to micros from all over. (“I don’t give a fuck, interview or not,” Cee says when we meet over drinks. “I will leave if I see you with a Coors in your hand.”) And if Cee likes you, you’re a “sick cunt.”

“I’m trying to take the poison outta the word!” he exclaims, allowing that while it tends to get a reaction here, it is typical slang where he’s from.

“We’ve been playing on the ‘cunt’ thing a lot. In London (ON) they loved it, they fucking lost their shit! There were douchebags, yeah, goin’ ‘Yeah, cunt!’ ‘Sick cunt!’ and to me it was so funny that they were like, getting off on it.

“So I was like, ‘Do I wanna be that dude?’ Well, if it’s working, what do you do?” ■

Cee’s This Is All I Know is out now