Heavy Halloween 

swollen_members.jpg

West Coast hip-hop crew reveals alter egos on fourth album

Who: Swollen Members with Fourth World Occupants

Where: Garfinkel’s

When: Friday, Oct. 31; doors at 9 p.m.

Tickets : $22

With the village enveloped in darkness on all Hallow’s Eve the Wizard, the Ninja, the Viking and the Battle Axe Warrior appear underground before a worshipping throng.

In non-comic book speak this means West Coast Canadian hip-hop crew Swollen Members will be playing a Halloween night show at Garfinkel’s.

The aforementioned alter egos of vocalist Moka Only, MC Prevail, producer Rob the Viking, and MC Mad Child are a reference to the cover of their newly released fourth album Heavy . And if they sound like a league of comic book characters, it’s understandable. The source is none other than superstar comic book artist and ex-pat Calgarian Todd McFarlane of Spawn fame.

The group’s association with McFarlane, says Prevail, is a result of a phone call made out of collective admiration and has since progressed into a friendship as well as a working association. McFarlane directed the MuchMusic award-winning video for Breath, the widely played track from third album Monsters in the Closet that featured the vocal stylings of fellow West Coaster Nelly Furtado. And he was the natural choice for the cover of Heavy . The resulting dead-on characterizations prove the artist knows the Members better than anyone.

"We’d been spending some time hanging out with Todd, and these are the ways he portrayed us in his own mind," confirms Prev, as he’s known by his fans and friends alike. "I think it’s very fitting. Rob as the Viking, he’s a direct descendent of Eric the Red. Moka really brings that magic to the group so it’s very fitting for him to be the Wizard. Mad Child being the businessman and a vocalist, he’s kind of the lead man, so that character really represents his strength. And for me, being the ninja comes into the freestyle aspect. It kind of sneaks up on people and I bring that element of surprise. So it’s very fitting, all four characters."

Together these characters have won Canada several times over with hit tracks like Fuel Injected, Stepping Through, and Bring it Home. But even though they are one of only three rap groups to be affiliated with hip-hop’s legendary Rock Steady Crew after Mad Child’s participation in an MC battle at a 1996 B-Boy summit in San Diego, they have yet to win the same level of success south of the 49 th .

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