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JD Vishus Has Some Alleycat Sensibilities


I have a love/hate relationship with spoken word. Done well, it's cool, it's mind-blowing, it's lyrically deft and supremely powerful. Done poorly, it's derivative, corny, faux beatnik and all sound and fury signifying diddly-squat. I'm picky about poetry.

Toronto-based spoken word artist JD Vishus (aka Joseph Daly) has been a fixture in the Toronto spoken word scene for years now. His album Alleycat Sensibilities is a raw debut with a style he terms "Spoken word poetry marinated in Hip-Hop with Jazz and Funk seasoning."

Vishus spins his unique poetic flow over satisfactory beats on the 9-track independent project. The standout track is definitely "Role Reversal," where Vishus cleverly provides insight on the long-term ramifications of a slavery mentality, flipping racial observations and "accepted" norms on its ear.

I emailed JD Vishus some questions and he was gracious enough to hit me back:

1.What's the message you're trying to get across?

Be yourself. Be brave. Be a person. Stand for something.

2. How do you feel about the current state of the Toronto music scene?

Things are starting to heat up. For the longest time we in the urban Toronto music family have been slept on. The talent has always been there but hugely unappreciated and badly represented by the infrastructure. Things are slowly starting to come around now as more artists are receiving recognition at home.

3. What local artists are you checking for right now?


Kardinal Offishall, Brassmunk, Saukrates, Mathematik (his new album is sick!)

4. What's the toughest thing about being a Toronto-based artist?

Recognition is still hard to come by, even if things are changing slowly. People are still caught up with the American mystique. If you don't try to emulate American artists you are less likely to get love. It's almost as if the Toronto crowd has an inferiority complex.


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