Hip-hop artist Amplify stars on the stage and screen in Unspittable

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Amplify, born Andrew William Cardinal at “the Royal Alex,” is the star of Unspittable, Michael B. MacDonald’s documentary that follows the hip-hop artist from Edmonton’s streets to the stage.

Still a young man — Cardinal turns 22 on October 18 — with plenty of talent and a bright future ahead of him, a request for a cigarette outside the Garneau Theatre prompts an impromptu interview prior to the film’s screening, with vehicles buzzing past along 109 Street.

Q: How long have you been rapping?

A: I’ve been doing it since I was 13 years old. When I was 16 I started going to iHuman (Youth Society), and used to go to Inner City High. I used to go to iHuman every single day, watching my friends and figuring out how it is to be an adult, seeing all the struggles and experiencing things I couldn’t understand as a youth. I’m proud to be here. One day I’m going to show someone who never thought they could do anything that they can evolve, and they can accomplish even more than I have.

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Q: How do you come up with your style and what influences you?

A: All I want to do is forget about yesterday. Tomorrow’s not promised, but I try to think things over and be honest in my rhyme scheme. I want to live in the moment and stop thinking about yesterday. This is the present, this is a gift, and if I’m not here in the moment, right now, how can I be here tomorrow?

Q: How did you start rapping?

A: When I first started rapping it was at Naked Cyber Cafe downtown. The owner Bob was a good guy, and they had an open mic on Thursdays. I apologized to him for being such a douche because I would show up there wasted, but at the time I didn’t really have anything. I met my cousin D.J. there and he said that I sounded nice and should go to iHuman. That really turned things around for me.

Q: What would life have been like without iHuman?

A: I think I still would have done it (pursued rapping) but it would have been a lot harder. If you have a nice setup and a bunch of friends who push you to do it then it gives you that momentum to keep pursuing it.

Q: Who are some of your favourite rappers?

A: One of my favourites is local rapper Self, he’s crazy. This year, as of now, I think Polo G has been killing it, Lil Baby, rappers who are really conscious while they’re rapping.

Q: What would you call your genre of music?

A: Hip-hop. I’m a hip-hopper. It isn’t Native hip-hop or just rap, I’m an MC, I study it and decide which sample goes where. I sample all my own stuff and I’m not afraid to be myself.

Q: What do you think of the film Unspittable, the finished product?

A: I love it. I don’t care what anybody thinks, because I didn’t make it for anybody. I made it for me, and made it to make my mother proud. When she smiles, that’s the only thing I need.



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