Interview:Toronto's CROSSWORD


This right here is about Crossword. Not the type we can never finish, or give up on after scanning through a list of impossible clues and start filling in the blanks with answers we’re hardly sure of because we refuse to accept that we could only solve 6/60.No. Who are these people that finish these pieces of $@!%!!! anyways? *Rips newspaper*

Crossword aka Alborz Mohtashami, is Toronto’s own and grown and he does many things. Emcee, singer, musician, journalist, event planner & promoter... This guy can fix your home appliances and cook dinner on them after. All while holding a baby and free styling into a cordless phone - holding it ear to shoulder.

I first met Crossword about 5 years ago during my days with Ryerson Urban Hip Hop Union (UHHU) at a hip-hop open mic night. The sign-up list for performers was full, but Alborz was quite the memorable individual. He came prepared and was all smiles. You could not help but friend this guy instantly. His energy was real and his dedication and passion for music came through in his performance. If Crossword were an NBA star, Jose Calderon would describe him to a TEE! (or is it tea...I don't know) [soundcloud url="" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Fast forward to now. Crossword blew me away during our interview. This guy freestyles like Tony Hawk at a skate park. Most artists’ freestyles are recycled or rehearsed (yes – we notice), but I gave Crossword key words to make things interesting (lions, ice cream/iscream, and a school bus) and he SET – IT – OFF! He is truly a unique individual who stays true to himself at all times. When discussing the monotonous state of new age hip-hop and music in general, Crossword stressed the importance of being an individual: “I don't want to hold up a mirror to anyone else, I'm only holding it up to myself" [soundcloud url="" params="" width=" 100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Crossword recently released an EP a few months ago in March titled “Different Light”. Need some music to cruise to? There’s a song to take you there. The album is mainly produced by Justunlimited - my favorite track “What U Wanna Do”, is produced by Junia-T of Smash Brovas. Hello Toronto!!

Crossword works well independently and with others. He’s also a member of the band Vibonics that experiments by combining different genres together to make something incredible. Funk, soul, hip-hop, throw it all in there. If Vibonics were a bag of chips, they would be “all dressed”. They’ve been touring all summer and their support is growing like cancer – benign.

From the first time I heard him on the mic, Crossword has brought nothing short of his A-game. He no longer has a comfort zone. Music is his zone. Point.

Can’t put me in a box.