Chokeules Goes Solo, But Toolshed Remains Intact

Chokeules is probably best known for his role in the London (Ontario) rap trio, Toolshed, but now he's ready to make a name for himself as a solo-artist. After working and performing in the Canadian underground hip-hop scene for over a decade, he's found a new home base in Toronto and is about to unveil his solo debut -- Hypergraphia.

With his official CD release party scheduled for Friday, December 4th at College Street's Rancho Relaxo I checked in with Chokeules to discuss all of the above and what the future holds for Toolshed.

Toolshed, which was founded and fronted by Timbuktu, Psybo and Chokeules, has been around for awhile (approximately 10 years). After the release of their last studio album the three emcees decided that it was time to change it up a bit.

"After our last album, we decided we needed to get out of London. I actually went to Montreal for a year, Psybo went out West, and Tim[buktu] came to Toronto. We were still working long distance, but things started popping off in Toronto so I got my ass back here as soon as possible. Ever since, Tim and I have been going hard and staying really busy."

I asked why it took him so long to relocate from London.

"Growing up in London it just never seemed very far from Toronto, so it never felt like we were out of the scene, but from the moment I got here it's just been a hell of a lot more productive. You just get pushed; when there's so much work going on around you, there's good pressure. It's been great for Toolshed, and it's been great for me working on my solo album."

It was the relocation of the members to other spots in the country that gave each of the members the opportunity to try something on their own, especially because they were still supported by the group's other members.

"Initially the idea came from the fact that Toolshed kind of split up (for a red hot minute). We just decided that we each wanted to do a solo project, because after so many years of working together we had some stuff of our own, and since we were all living in different towns and such, it was a good time to do it. Our idea is that we will each put out a solo album consecutively and then follow them up with the mother of all Toolshed albums."

To clarify, Toolshed is not broken up. Geographically... maybe for a bit. But they remain intact.

"We're each dropping a solo album, but by no means is anyone going solo. They are prequels to a huge Toolshed album. Toolshed will always be three emcees, even with Psybo in B.C right now."

Chokeules spoke to me about the added pressure of living in Toronto as a hip-hop artist and what impact it has on his work ethic.

"Now that we're in a bigger city where there's so many other people that we know just hustlin' and pushing all the time, there are so many other artists that are coming through, and we're seeing what kind of work they're putting into it. It just takes so much more than just wanting to make tracks on the weekend. Especially for as long as we've been doing it, there's so much work to be done on the sidelines. At this point we're learning faster than ever before, just because we're in the thick of it now. Because there's so much going on, you've got to swim extra hard just to stay afloat."

So I'll be watching Chokeules working hard this Friday at Rancho Relaxo, because if there's any time for him to be truckin' it it'll be at his CD release party.

Photo courtesy of Chokeules.

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