March 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 88  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Bishop: hustlin’ in Scarborough

By Claire Neary
Gazette Writer

Gazette file photo
“YOU WANNA MESS WITH ME, PUNK? I’LL FUCK YOU UP!!” Bishop Brigante puts on his angry face to scare away fellow hustlers.

Bishop Brigante is currently on tour with Busta Rhymes. He discusses his recently released CD single Survival and his love for both women and Canadians.

Bishop Brigante respects women. But don’t worry ladies, he still likes his “down-ass chicks.” In fact, he likes them so much that during every show, Bishop invites a beautiful girl on stage and serenades her with his new song, “Cancun Pics.”

Bishop is currently on a cross-Canada tour with Busta Rhymes. At the end of the tour, one lucky Canadian girl will get to accompany Bishop to the Dominican Republic and appear in his upcoming video.

Bishop grew up on the mean streets of Scarborough, and you can be sure he knows the value of a hustle. Even before he received recognition in the Canadian hip-hop community for winning countless freestyle competitions, Bishop knew he could never see himself working a day job. He spent his youth hustling in the streets of Scarborough, and developing his talent as an accomplished freestyler.

“I’ve always known it,” Bishop says. “The 9 to 5 just isn’t my thing.”

With a new CD single from Section 6 Entertainment called Survival, which includes the songs “About to Change” and “The Love,” as well as a role in the movie Narc and his current tour with Busta Rhymes, 2004 has the potential to be Bishop’s breakthrough year. Last year, his song “That’s The Way (Them Boys Get Down)” received heavy play on Canadian airwaves.

However, Bishop is best known for his title as champion of Toronto’s Eat the Beat freestyle competition.
“It gave me a lot of street credibility,” Bishop says, “which helped people to learn not to step to Bishop in a freestyle battle.”

Growing up, Bishop’s mother was his backbone. She has always been his biggest supporter. “She’s not like regular moms, you know,” he says. “She listens to hip-hop, like Jay-Z, and of course, my stuff.”

Bishop’s mom also taught him to respect women. “I love women,” Bishop proclaims. “But it’s gotta be equal. Women have to respect us guys too.”

Besides his mother, Bishop has always received a great deal of support from his close friends — he and fellow artist Zeke the Chronic Freak have been best friends since they were kids.

“Growing up in Scarborough was cool because all the people I went to grade school with — who were my tight friends — still are now,” he explains. “So the loyalty and trust were always present, except for a couple dudes that fell off due to jealousy.”

Bishop is also passionate about promoting non-violence through his music. Since he still lives in Scarborough, he is disturbed by the ever-growing amount of violence that sometimes hits close to home.

Artistically, Bishop’s greatest inspiration has always been Biggie Smalls (the Notorious B.I.G.) “What he did for the world of hip-hop,” he says, “is created a legacy. I cannot even express how grateful I am for that.”

This year, on March 9 (the anniversary of Biggie’s death), Bishop made sure he took the time to celebrate the memory of his idol by telling his friends, “Happy Biggie Day.”

Besides Biggie, Bishop also draws influences from hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. One day, he even hopes to collaborate with him.

But for now, Busta Rhymes will have to do. Bishop is extremely excited about his current tour across Canada, which recently tore up Club Phoenix here in London.

“I love Canadians because they always welcome me wherever I go and have always been hugely supportive of me. I love it when fans give some high energy and have fun at the shows.”

The Survival single is out in stores now.

 

 

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