Growing up in a smallish Prairie city didn’t stop young Dallas Wallner from heavily identifying with the urban hip-hop lyrics flowing out of his older brother’s CD player.
The song was C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), from a Wu Tang Clan recording from 1993.
While Red Deer is a long way from the mean streets of Detroit or Staten Island, Wallner remembers the rap tune’s sentiments resonating deeply within his teenage mind, which was already noticing societal disparities.
“If things are supposed to be fair, why doesn’t everyone have a home?” he questioned. And if technology is supposed to be helping us, why is it putting so many people out of jobs?
“The need for money is limiting us. It’s taking over . . . . The government doesn’t do anything it says it’s going to do. This society is sick,” concluded Wallner, who began making his own rap music to speak his thoughts — in the hope someone would listen.
Seven years ago, the now 24-year-old formed the identity of local hip-hop artist Capitole D, who’s part of the local rap collective Alberta Murderaz.
As “Cap D,” Wallner has since become a staple of the city’s underground hip-hop scene, which attracts sizable crowds at monthly shows around the city. He next performs on Friday, Nov. 29, at Wild Bill’s Sports Bar with Midwest Mindset, Relyks and Phillip Solo.
The hip-hop artist, who prefers to rap to the “old school, boom-bah beat,” has also busted rhymes in Calgary and Edmonton and travelled to New York City, where he performed with hip-hop heavyweight Block McCloud from Army of the Pharaohs.
Last month, Capitole D toured Europe, sharing stages in Denmark, Germany and Austria with Bronx rapper Kool Keith and producer Kutmasta Kurt.
Wallner was promoting his debut album, Capitole Collabs, with contributions from veteran rappers, including Madchild from Swollen Members, Block McCloud, Wrekognize, Celph Titled, and Snak the Ripper.
He sent artists he admired a link to a beat, and either his idea for the lyrics or his actual lyrics. If they felt so inspired, the rappers would add their original contributions to the tune — for a fee. “If they don’t like your idea, they don’t have to send you anything,” said Wallner, but he’s glad, in his case, that so many did respond.
The CD, Capitole Collabs, also contains riffs from local hip-hop artist Danny Epic, Travis Omen (with whom Wallner started the local Tru Ability record label), Relyks, Chanita, Ali Baba, and Crookedg+enius (Wallner’s cousin from Innisfail).
The album aims to prod listeners out of their complacency and make them question things many of us take for granted, said Wallner.
For instance, the song R.I.P, featuring McCloud, is about “recreating myself . . . I am no longer Dallas, a slave to the monetary system. I am finding a way to reinvent myself, as opposed to being what they want me to be, or thinking what they want me to think.”
In the video for R.I.P., Capitole D stages his own funeral to enact a reawakening. He wears a cut-off rope noose around his neck to symbolize his escape from the “slavery” of conformity, as imposed by the “corrupt” establishment.
“This music is underground,” said Wallner.
Going Crazy (featuring Madchild, Crookedg+enius and D40oz), is about the perils of “wanting to help people with your music (but realizing) getting famous really doesn’t help anyone.”
Wallner wrapped the album with Best Days (featuring Merkules and Esoteric) because he wanted to end on a positive note.
Although he believes local radio stations could do a lot more to promote local hip-hop artists, Wallner is buoyed by public reaction to his album, which has been so good he’s already planning to put out a solo album next year, followed by another collaborative one.
He believes the key to influencing listeners through music is to do so subliminally. “You put it through with a catchy tune. You don’t shove it down their throats.”
For more information about the show, call Wild Bill’s 403-343-8800.