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Canibus

Following some underground work and cameo appearances, most notably on Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" remix in 1997, hardcore rapper Canibus feuded famously with LL Cool J. The resulting exchanges -- Canibus' "Second Round K.O." and LL's "The Ripper Strikes Back," both spirited battle tracks, garnered significant attention. Expectations were therefore high when Canibus unleashed his Wyclef-produced debut full-length, Can-I-Bus (1998), shortly afterward on Universal. Most critics panned the album, but it sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, earning it gold status. The MC returned two years later with his follow-up for Universal, but it did not fare as well, and Canibus soon found himself without a major-label deal. Through the early 2010s, he retained a cultish following and continued to release albums independently of the majors, occasionally firing off more of the battle raps for which he is most well-known.

Born Germaine Williams in 1974 in Jamaica, Canibus moved to the United States with his mother at a young age. Because his mother's career required constant relocation, the family moved frequently and the soon-to-be rapper found solace within himself. His rhetorical abilities blossomed later, once hip-hop became the guiding force in his life. He began rhyming and in the mid-'90s joined a group called T.H.E.M. (the Heralds of Extreme Metaphors), which also consisted of his partner Webb. Following a fallout with Webb, Canibus pursued a solo career and began infiltrating the mixtape circuit. By 1997, he had approached the brink of the major-label rap game, guesting regularly on high-profile releases: he contributed to "Uni-4-orm," an inclusion on the Rhyme & Reason soundtrack also featuring Heltah Skeltah and Ras Kass; "Love, Peace & Nappiness," an inclusion on the Lost Boyz's Love, Peace & Nappiness also featuring Redman and A+; "Making a Name for Ourselves," an inclusion on Common's One Day It'll All Make Sense; the non-album remix of Wyclef Jean's "Gone Til November," and most famously, "4, 3, 2, 1," an inclusion on LL Cool J's Phenomenon also featuring Redman, DMX, and Method Man.

Of the several guest appearances, "4, 3, 2, 1" certainly meant the most, as it brought together many of New York's preeminent hardcore rappers and thus ushered Canibus into that same elite class. At the same time, however, Canibus lashed out shortly afterward with the Mike Tyson-featuring "Second Round K.O.," where he rhymed, "So I'ma let the world know the truth, you don't want me to shine/You studied my rhyme, then you laid your vocals after mine." In fact, the entirety of the song directed barbed rhymes at LL: "You walk around showin' off your body cause it sells/Plus to avoid the fact that you ain't got skills/Mad at me 'cause I kick that sh*t real n**gaz feel/While 99 percent of your fans wear high heels," and so on. Shortly thereafter, LL sought his revenge, releasing "The Ripper Strikes Back" on the 1998 soundtrack Survival of the Illest soundtrack and thus channeling even more attention toward Canibus. From the track's chorus to practically every line of the verses, LL unleashed a fury of insults and threats. The media elevated the battle to grand heights, and even MTV gave the story headlines. In the aftermath of 2Pac's and Biggie's deaths, such confrontations fascinated the rap community, and Canibus certainly capitalized on his newfound publicity.

As for his 1998 debut full-length, Can-I-Bus, though, the response was mixed. Critics expressed little support, while it sold over half a million copies. Negative reviews targeted Canibus' delivery (more than his lyrics or themes), as well as Wyclef's productions. The momentum that "Second Round K.O." had generated simmered almost immediately, and it didn't help that LL's "Ripper Strikes Back" found substantial acceptance at the time. In the two years following the release of Can-I-Bus, the rapper maintained a low profile in contrast to the regular guest appearances he had made leading up to his debut. As a result, when he finally did return with his 2000 follow-up album, 2000 B.C., he didn't have the same level of mainstream clout, and the album was not promoted heavily; Canibus subsequently returned to the underground after parting ways with Universal.

He continued to record albums and release them on the independent circuit. These discs included 2002's Mic Club (the first release on his own Mic Club Music label), 2003's Rip the Jacker, and 2005's Mind Control. During this period, Canibus also served in the U.S. Army. He was just as productive following his discharge and released several additional sets in the following years. On 2010's Melatonin Magik, his confrontational nature led to swipes at D12 and Eminem, but he was no lone wolf. The 2011 release Lyrical Warfare saw him working beside the likes of Killah Priest, Ras Kass, and Chino XL. Fait Accompli, produced strictly by J.P. Beats, was released in 2014 with a guest verse from Tragedy Khadafi. The following year brought Time Flys, Life Dies...Phoenix Rise, an album-length collaboration with producer/rapper Bronze Nazareth. ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Seismoluminesence (Single) (Explicit)

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Comments

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!CAN ! BUS!
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CAN!BUS
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THE BEAST FROM THA EAST!!!
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spwallerstei n
Lyrical Law, no Lyrical Warfare...
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The Encyclopedia Executioner
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Nah, definitely not the GOAT. Good, but Rakim is easily the GOAT.
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Canibus... Jesus Christ. By far the illest lyricist. Non are even close. "I arm wrestle servos. Calculate the distance between planets through wormholes to escape when the earth blows."
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ADGREED SPECIAL ED!
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This dudes a straight up human encyclopedia
Goat 4 ever !!!
Dizaster battle or not
He showed up which is more then I can say for alotta these fake rappers ..
I listen to this mofo n my I.q literally raises with each verse he spits ..
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stephendstum p
A musician is a musician a rapper should be first a musician technically speaking this man puts priority first
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stephendstum p
Maybe he did lose a rap battle, but his musicality is unquestionab l e . Regardless he is a rapper as second in nature but musically inclined foremost
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Yall need to get a life the bull cool n all but comparin um to God your thrown off need to get your head out your a s s I would like to c where he woulda went if he didn't f wit hard
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He's still sick even after that rap battle, obviously bad day where his brain wasn't work right. But 1 rap battle doesn't mean s**t in the big picture.
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Are you guys serious best ever? The ill est? He's was dope, but the fact Uncle L murdered him , I can't say he's the best hell naw!
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Diz killed bis. Check it out on YouTube. Dizaster vs Canibus
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Incredible
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Was he beefing it with Eminem by this time?
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My nikka raw business
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i gotta look up s**t he says in a dictionary or thesaurus .....he is ahead of the game and the best of all time.....gen i u s man ......genius
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Lyrical demon
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damclev7
Amazing. That's it.
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Canibus is the illest ever. If you don't like him, then you don't appreciate real hip hop, period. "9 outta 10 n**gas is frauds/ you know who you /are always talking bout your b**ches and cars/ your jewelry and your girls/ you motherf**ker s really get on my nerves/ I'm beyond yall on some futuristic cyborg s**t." Real spit from a real emcee
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Wow... Canibus was way ahead of his time, He's amazing period.
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Somebody better know that this n**ga is dumb nice
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the realest rappers are under similar artists...
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HE GOT THE RIGHT NAME FOR THIS SONG .... HE WENT IN STR8 LIK DAT
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christianhom
Can't wait til Lyrical Law starts getting added on here.
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THE BEST RAPPER. DIED OR ALIVE. AMOR TO YOU BROTHER..... .
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canibus is living proof that the game is changing for the worse. its all image now. and the real raw lyricists like nas, canibus, immortal technique, etc refuse to conform to this bullshit a** game, they stay real even though they know they wont get what they deserve, and i respect that with a passion, stay real RIP.
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Greatest of all Time
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Check out my new track wit Bis @ youtube.com/ v e g a x t e r r o r !
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this bio covers like 3 years of his career, and ignores his real peak and artistic accomplishme n t s in the last 7 years.
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After reading Pandoras Bio of Canibus, I recall a line he spit, "If they say I'm the best after I've died / dont be surprised." Simple as that...
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Pure genius. Bis is to hip hop as Albert Einstein was to science, greatest to ever represent the craft...
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julianhooker
Way ahead of his time. Smartest MC ever! Not even close!
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dude is ill nuff said
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Brilliant.
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Even my hip hop head friends who don't like Canibus have to admit that Rip the Jacker is a great album. Probably because Canibus was out of the country and DJ Stoupe (Jedi Mind Tricks) did the whole thing on his own. Canibus is an ill lyricist but he has poor choice in art direction, etc. Kind of like the Mike(Mic) Tyson of rap - incredibly gifted and brutal, but been screwed (and let himself be screwed) by the industry.
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All I know, is that I could put together a 60 minute, mix tape of Canibus, illest, that would go toe toe with any other emcee's illest and most of the time, embarrass that emcee. I just wish Bis, Chino XL, and Rass Kass , would unite and shut down the industry.
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i personally agree with melo when he says those things about canibus not getting his proper due...one of the illest spitters in the game...recog n i z e .
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He dont get the respect for his work like he should
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Poet laureate is some of the illest stuff written in my opinion. Man I can't believe people sometimes with their criticisms. "too lyrical" and stuff like that. The beginning of hiphop was just lyrics and people in a circle man. article must be outdated not including rip the jacker.
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ahead of his time. the poet laureate is the still the sickest out there...i hear people criticize cuz they say he rhymes too much and needs better hooks...F*@# em if they can't LISTEN to what is being said.
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Too talented for his own good...
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Not to mention that Canibus' last album, which isn't even mentioned here, sold at least 60,000 hardcopies (according to wikipedia) which is considerably more than a lot of underground cats you listen to. It is also more than his past two albums sold, which means he's getting more popular again.

Also he's got an album dropping with Keith Murray and Pete Rock called the Undergods, which is pretty high-profile for a 'nobody'.
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I agree, the review/artic l e here is overly negative. Mic Club and especially Rip the Jacker are well-regarde d by critics and I think many people in the underground scene consider Rip the Jacker to be his high-point as an artist.
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dude was sick but he didn't follow through.he had some of the illest freestyles especially some old clue tape sh@#.i think it was the cluemanatti from 97 that he ripped the most
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sharleen3360 7
Illest MC EVER!!
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dahniel
Jason Birchmeier provides a review which is arguably too negative. 2000 BC and Rip the Jacker were at least critically acclaimed. The basis for Jason's review cannot be record sales as Canibus's first two albums went gold - better than Redman or Common. Mind Control, Hip Hop for Sale, and C True Stories are weak albums, yet the numerous freestyles on Tony Touch, the Wake Up Show, Hot 97 and others certainly impress and help Canibus remain a relevant lyricist despite his commercial shortcomings .
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"Mr canibus is definitly the most rawest mc to ever clutch a mic, talk about qaulity of a verse? Nobody body puts more thought into a verse, the mans a lyrical savant his style is unique... i mean nobody can copy that style. Last but not least the mans a beast on the freestyle tip, you dont wanna mess with can-i-bus you'd probley rather hop in front of a bus or somethin
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