TORONTO - Hip-hop don't stop — unless a thief steals all your equipment.
That's what happened to Juno-nominated hip-hop production group the Extremities — made up of Toronto's Andrew Kilgour and Halifax's Shaun Ryan — and Buffalo, N.Y., rapper Mad Dukez, real name Mamudu Kargbo, on their tour of the U.S. and Canada in support of Mad Dukez's latest, "Gettin' Gatsby."
Ryan, who performs under the name Uncle Fester, says their carefully packed van was broken into on July 9 outside Montreal's Les Bobards bar in broad daylight while the three were getting lunch. When they returned 45 minutes later, their rental van's passenger side window was smashed, and three MacBook Pro laptops, expensive drum machines, costly sound equipment, passports and more had been stolen, worth nearly $10,000.
As electronic musicians, the first fear was the potential loss of their creative property, but fortunately the pair had backed up most of their tracks.
The three had been on their 15-stop tour since mid-June, and they have two more shows left, in Kingston, Ont., and Toronto.
"With Toronto and Halifax being our two home bases, the Toronto show is kind of a homecoming, and there's no way we want to limp to the finish line like that," says Ryan, over the phone from Ottawa.
They've been scrambling and scrounging for similar DJ rigs at rental places or from friends, and they've been lucky enough to find replacements for their shows in Montreal and Ottawa.
But after seeing too many of their peers have their instruments or laptops stolen, the warning is clear: "I think musicians do have to be very careful," says Ryan. "People can make a lot of money from musicians in just 15 minutes and three bookbags."
After a one-month break, the three have plans to do another tour starting in August, and are hoping this doesn't affect that.
"The long-term goal is to get ready for that big tour in the fall again," says Ryan.
The group has since started an Indiegogo campaign to raise $5,000 in an effort to recoup some of their losses and keep their tour going. In just over 24 hours, they've already raised $1,900.
"To see that there was almost enough to pay for the window repairs even ... that just felt so good. That was really the beginning of our spirits turning around, which sounds cliche, but it's true. I don't think everyone's head was in the game until yesterday."
Ryan and Kilgour were 2011 Juno nominees for rap recording of the year for Ghettosocks's "Treat of the Day" and D-Sisive's "Vaudeville."