March 18, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 88  

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MC Prankster earns LMA nom

By Amanda Aitken
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
WHEN MC PRANKSTER’S SPINNING, EXPECT TO PARTY LIKE THIS. Well, OK, maybe not quite like this girl — but you get the idea.

Before meeting MC Prankster, I can hear him. Or rather, hear his radio show, Just Vibz, through the studio walls of CHRW 94.9 FM.

A couple of minutes after the bass stops thumping, Mark Chan, the alter-ego of Western’s best-known MC, walks out to introduce himself. Chan is a Western sociology graduate who left Trinidad at age 17 and came directly to London. “I wanted to go where I didn’t know anybody,” he says.

Growing up in Trinidad, Chan was primarily exposed to soca and reggae music. “There is some hip-hop that’s popular over there, but it’s not as diverse as it is here,” he explains.

Here in London, Chan is the exuberant MC on the mic when the Mix Kings are behind the decks. He is also a DJ in his own right, playing at The Ceeps and other London clubs, manning homecoming floats, and of course, hosting his radio show.

As a result of his efforts on-air, MC Prankster (or MCP, his battling moniker) has been nominated for a London Music Award in the category of Best Live DJ. “I found out I was nominated when I was having lunch with the manager of DV8. I had no idea, and [the nominations] had been out for a little while. I was pretty honoured,” Chan remarks.

Although Chan hasn’t been nominated for an award before, he does have one named after him at Western, commemorating his community involvement when he lived in Delaware Hall as a first-year student. In fact, Delaware was mentioned in Maclean’s magazine’s “What’s Hot at Western” listing for the impromptu hip-hop parties Chan and his friends often held outside of the building.

“Literally, it was out of a movie — those kinds of summer movies where 200 people are outside Delaware, playing music and everyone is throwing Frisbees and cooking hot dogs,” Chan says.

MC Prankster’s positive attitude about London, Western and about music in general is obvious and infectious. He points out, however, an unfortunate reality affecting the hip-hop, reggae and dancehall scene here in London. “Right now in London, a lot of places are trying not to get too ‘ghetto’, so they make sure to play house so that the thugs will leave. But there are a lot of non-thuggy people who like hip-hop.”

Chan says he has “definitely” seen this kind of strategy actively put in place, but the problems extend to Western’s clubs as well. “I think it’s whack that the Caribbean Students’ Organization and the Western Indo-Canadian Students’ Association are automatically required to employ extra security at their events. Basically, they are both stereotyped to be violent or troublesome crowds, although neither has had any violent incidents for over four years.”

Chan says he is focusing more and more on production work as time goes on, adding he wants to further the careers of emerging artists, working behind the scenes. When asked what he thinks he would be doing if he never got involved in music, he replies: “That’s a good question. Because that really changed things for me. I mean, all through school, that’s what I paid with.”

After a long period of contemplation, he announces with a cheeky smile, “If I had never gotten involved in music, I would be writing for The Gazette.”

The London Music Awards will be presented at Club Phoenix on Sunday, Mar. 28. Just Vibz, MC Prankster’s radio show, airs this Saturday, Mar. 20 from 8 to 10 p.m. on CHRW 94.9 FM.



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