Music

Hip hop artist Baseline launches ‘reintroduction’ album

Baseline performing at the 3rd annual “Rapping for Gifts” charity event in December.   Robert (Baseline) Fenyvesi.

Self-proclaimed “East Coast Emcee” Robert (Baseline) Fenyvesi’s first album, Est. Since 902, was released Tuesday.

Est. Since 902 is like a reintroduction of myself within the music scene,” says Fenyvesi, 28, who has been active in the industry for 11 years.

His album is largely homemade — down to the DIY packaging for the hard copies. It is self-mixed and mastered except for the first two tracks, which were produced by Halifax producers Petey Punch and 75 Crates.

Fenyvesi says the album showcases a variety of styles in order to expand his niche in the hip hop scene and provide his listeners with more than “just rapping.” It features fellow Halifax artist Thrillah Kane and melodies sung by Dartmouth native Bucky Blanks, who is currently working on an album of his own.

“He’s not a typical artist or rapper,” Blanks says about Fenyvesi. “He talks about a lot of life issues that go on within himself and he’s true to his own music. He doesn’t talk about stuff he doesn’t live.”

Fenyvesi describes Est. Since 902 as a reflection of his dissatisfaction with the local music industry and with himself at this point in his career. For example, the track “Cheap Thrills” deals with the theme of appreciating your own work so you don’t get discouraged and taking accountability for your own problems.

Both Fenyvesi and Blanks agree that it can be hard to find shows and get recognition in a small city like Halifax, but maintain that this doesn’t signify a lack of talent.

“I personally think that Halifax has the best artists compared to any other city because we’re very unique,” says Blanks.

‘Love where I’m from’

Despite the struggle, Fenyvesi stays in Nova Scotia because it’s home.

“For the most part, I just love where I’m from,” he says. “I know there’s still lots of work to do down here for the scene and I feel like I want to be one of those people who helps make that change.”

Fenyvesi got his start at 17 in a battle rap league called The Elements League. He says this was one of the first leagues anywhere to let rappers battle with pre-written material and has served as a starting point for some successful artists. Pat Stay, for example, started off in The Elements League ring and has since become internationally known for his music.

Fenyvesi contributed to the local music scene over the years by doing shows in Halifax. In 2013, he founded 902mixtapes, a website that features local hip hop artists. He’s also released mixtapes of his own and his soundcloud account serves as a timeline for his more recent music.

For Fenyvesi, rapping has never been a full-time occupation. He runs a kitchen as his day job and has a house with his fiancée. He says that dropping everything and moving to Toronto or Montreal in hopes of drumming up enough success would be too much of a risk.

As for the future, he wants to do a tour of the Atlantic provinces to establish himself in markets outside of Nova Scotia. Eventually, he hopes to expand west to the rest of Canada.

Est. Since 902 is available on Baseline’s website for free on a pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth basis.