Canibus: Wikis


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Background information
Birth name Germaine Williams
Born December 9, 1974
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Hip hop
Occupations Emcee, Lyricist, Actor
Years active 1993-Present
Labels Archives Music, Babygrande, Gladiator, War Lab Records
Website Official MySpace

Germaine Williams, better known by his stage name Canibus, is an American rapper. He is a part of supergroup The HRSMN. Canibus rose to fame in the early nineties, often being compared to legendary rapper Rakim, and is renowned for his beefs with LL Cool J and Eminem.


Early life

Germaine Williams was born on December 9, 1974 in Kingston, Jamaica.[1][2] His father, Basil Williams, is a former Jamaican cricketer.[3] The family moved frequently, living in The Bronx, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Miami, Buffalo, and Montreal[4] due to his mother's career requiring constant relocation.[1] Canibus stated that he was an introverted child growing up.[5] After completing high school in 1992, he spent a year working for AT&T and another year as a data analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice.[5] His interest in computers and the Internet led him to study computer science at DeKalb College in Atlanta.[4][6]

Music career

Early career (1995–1996)

He began rhyming in the mid-'90s and by 1995 formed a duo called T.H.E.M. (The Heralds of Extreme Metaphors) with Atlanta rapper Webb (now called C.I., also known as Central Intelligence). While he was with Webb, he took part in a legendary cypher with the Wu Tang Clan family in Buffalo, New York, which earned him respect from the rap veterans. In 1996, T.H.E.M. split and Canibus teamed with businessman Charles Suitt.

Debut album, LL Cool J feud and second album (1997–2000)

Canibus' debut album Can-I-Bus came out in September 1998. While "Second Round K.O.", produced by Wyclef Jean, was a success, with the song and video featuring Wyclef and a cameo appearance by boxer Mike Tyson. Despite eventually being certified Gold, critics panned the album, criticizing both Canibus' subject matter and Wyclef's beats, most of which were considered inferior to both "Second Round K.O." and the artists' previous collaborations.

The original album contained a lot of socially concerned material. Some songs talked about the corruption within the U.S. government, AIDS, and the modern-American homicide issues. [7]

Because Wyclef produced the majority of the tracks, Williams blamed him for the general dissatisfaction with Can-I-Bus and cut ties with him, going as far as to diss Wyclef, most notably on the title track of his second album ("You mad at the last album? I apologize for it / Yo, I can't call it, motherfucking Wyclef spoiled it!"). Said album, 2000 B.C., was also released to mixed feelings and reviews – the latter once more focusing on the lack of topical variety and uninspired production – also suffering from very little promotion by Universal Records.

2000 B.C. featured the first collaboration between Canibus and Kurupt, Ras Kass and Killah Priest, a rap supergroup collectively known as The HRSMN (referring to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), on the track "Horsementality". Though following 2000 B.C.'s release it had been announced that the group would be releasing an album, these plans never materialized, with only an EP of outtakes from 2001 entitled The Horsemen Project released by Killah Priest's management in 2003. Since 2000, however, the members of the group have worked together on various songs and rumors of a full-length HRSMN album are rampant to this day and include speculation about collaborations with Pharoahe Monch, Common and Rakim, among others.

Though much bitterness between Canibus and Wyclef Jean remained for a period of time, the two artists finally settled their differences at the end of 2004; they have since worked together on two remixes of the Machel Montano song "Carnival Survivors". In an interview with conducted in November 2005, Williams revealed that he had recorded five songs with Wyclef and Jerry 'Wonder' Duplessis at Platinum Studios in New York for the upcoming Fugees reunion album. Whether or not those recordings will appear on the album hasn't been determined yet.

C True Hollywood Stories (2001)

In 2001, Canibus released his third album, C True Hollywood Stories, the title and some of the content deriving from the television show E! True Hollywood Story. It was released on Archives Music, an independent label owned by Williams' future business partner, Louis Lombard III. It was a controversial release due to the album's overall concept, which to this day remains quite unclear to some. Many listeners interpreted it as Canibus' botched attempt at becoming a commercial and mainstream artist and wrote him off as a one-hit wonder, while others have called it a concept album in which the rapper satirized the mainstream hip-hop scene. Most explanations since the album's release seem to lean towards the latter; when Canibus' new official website,, appeared online towards the end of 2002, the summary of C True Hollywood Stories in the "Merchandise" section called it "an introspective look into the ultimate fan "Stan's" take on the current state of hip hop".

In an interview conducted in 2005, Williams' former promoter, Pak-Man, who worked on over half of the album with the rapper, spoke on the record, with his explanation leaning toward the album being intended as satire: "At that time Canibus was in the studio recording a lot of songs and [I] mean a lot, but he didn't want to make the fans wait no more so he did C True Hollywood Stories and he wanted to have fun wit, so thats what we did we had fun wit". In an interview on posted on April 8, 2005, Williams was asked what direction he was trying to take with that album; in his response, he stated "That album depicts the state of affairs in my life at the time - nothing more, nothing less".

Mic Club: The Curriculum and Rip the Jacker (2002–2003)

After the critical failure of C True Hollywood Stories, Canibus was subject to criticism and ridicule from the rap industry until the release of Mic Club: The Curriculum, his fourth full-length album, towards the end of 2002. Although the production was handled almost entirely by little-known producers, some of them from Europe, the record proved to be a greater critical success than the previous year's release. Mic Club also saw Canibus return to a more scientific and complex rapping style, with a number of concept tracks and few songs with a chorus. The album was released on Mic Club Music, Canibus' own label, but failed to chart, selling relatively few copies.

Following the release of Mic Club: The Curriculum, it was announced that Williams decided to join the United States Army. Before commencing his work with the military, however, he recorded a number of tracks which he intended to be released on his next album, entitled Rip the Jacker. Stoupe the Enemy of Mankind was given the task of producing the entire record, equipped solely with Canibus' pre-recorded vocals. Due to his military obligations, Canibus himself only managed to review the album after having acquired a copy.

Upon release, Rip the Jacker received rave reviews from the majority of critics, who noted that Williams' largely scientific lyrics and distinctive, rough delivery was finally matched by equally fine production, as Canibus had a history of working with badly selected producers. Unlike Mic Club, Rip the Jacker charted on both Billboard's R&B/hip-hop charts and the Billboard 200, peaking at #34 and #197, respectively, although commercially, it retained the tendency to sell few copies.

Critics highlighted various aspects of Rip the Jacker's originality, both in terms of beats and lyrics; Stoupe had employed a large number of samples from often obscure compositions, while Canibus himself undertook a variety of topics from various perspectives. Of note was the inclusion of "Poet Laureate II", a song exceeding seven minutes in length and lacking a chorus, with several changes of beat throughout; the track was frequently singled out as one of the strongest in Canibus' career and the album as a whole convinced listeners and the industry alike that the rapper hadn't lost his potential.

Mind Control, Cloak n Dagga and Hip-Hop for Sale (2005–2006)

Following Rip the Jacker and Canibus' subsequent discharge from the army, an album entitled Mind Control (2005) was released to negative reviews. Canibus had never planned for it to be compiled as a separate record, but agreed to release it through the independent Gladiator Music label as part of a contractual agreement; most of the vocals for Mind Control had been recorded prior to the release of C True Hollywood Stories. A collection of previously recorded material (with only three of the songs being unreleased) produced entirely by Mark Sparks, the album failed to chart and is rarely considered an official Canibus release by the rapper's fans.

Also in 2005, a collaboration between Williams and underground rapper Phoenix Orion, who had also been known for scientific lyrics, yielded the album Def Con Zero, released on the independent Head Trauma Records label, owned by K-1 boxer Dewey Cooper. The record featured guest appearances from Kool G Rap, K-Solo, and former 106 & Park host Free, among others. As Cloak N Dagga, the duo briefly toured the United States promoting the release.

The following month, after numerous delays, Canibus' seventh solo album, Hip-Hop for Sale, was released, but was panned by critics, who dismissed it as yet another failed attempt to gain mainstream recognition. Additionally, due to the earlier release of Mind Control and the leaking of most of the material in the form of a mixtape entitled The Vitruvian Man, the release date had been pushed back to November, the original date having been May. The production on Hip-Hop for Sale was handled in part by Virginia-based producer Nottz, with several relatively unknown producers handling the remaining tracks after Nottz had cut ties with Canibus due to the appearance of The Vitruvian Man.The day of Hip-Hop for Sale's release, Mic Club Master Volume One, a separate mixtape, appeared in stores, many of the songs receiving more praise than those present on the full-length album.

For Whom the Beat Tolls (2007)

In January 2007, it was announced that Canibus would release new material in 2007 exclusively on his own imprint, Mic Club Music, in a joint venture with Legion Entertainment and distributed via his former major label, Universal Music Group. A pair of mixtapes, titled Nothing to Prove and Nothing to Lose, were slated for release in March 2007, but were eventually scrapped; instead, Canibus decided to use the best material from each mixtape to create a new full-length album entitled For Whom the Beat Tolls.

When the record was originally announced in March, there was only one confirmed track – the third installment in Canibus' "Poet Laureate" series, "Poet Laureate Infinity". The track has 1,000 bars, in the form of five 200 bar verses, and is layered in such a way that "when you mix it and spread it throughout five channels, [you have the ability] to mix the track differently every time".[8] On April 8, 2007, the track was uploaded, by Canibus himself, to a website where the listener could mix the track differently on a digital mixing board. The website is now down, but the fansite provided a backup.

"For Whom the Beat Tolls" was originally set for release in May 2007, but was pushed back one month, and a released on June 12, 2007 (though it wasn't distributed by Universal as previously reported). The album has 16 tracks and includes contributions from Killah Priest and Vinnie Paz, among others, and featured two personally made mixes of the "Poet Laureate Infinity" track ("Poet Laureate Infinity v003" and "Poet Laureate Infinity v004").

Following the release of "For Whom the Beat Tolls", Canibus went on a sporadic tour in the U.S. to promote the record. In August 2007, Canibus made an announcement on his Myspace page that he had cut ties with his business partner Louis Lombard: "To my friends, family and fans, Just wanted everybody to know I no longer do business with Louis Lombard, III & Mic Club Music.

"Melatonin Magik" (February 2010)

In December 2009, it was announced that Canibus was in the process of releasing his 9th studio album Melatonin Magik.[9] Melatonin Magik was released on February 09, 2010.

Military career

In 2002, Canibus signed up for the United States Army. In a 2005 interview, Canibus stated "I enlisted because I wanted to get away from the music.... I wanted to do something that gave me a separate definition from what I had done all through my teens and twenties. I was 28 when I enlisted". He was then seen smoking marijuana by his superiors and was subsequently discharged. [10]





  • 2000: Bamboozled
  • 2004: Beef 2
  • 2004: The MC: Why We Do It


  1. ^ a b allmusic ((( Canibus > Biography ))). Allmusic. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  2. ^ Parker, Lyndsey (August 7, 2000). Exclusive LAUNCH Artist Chat. Yahoo! Music. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  3. ^ Canibus : Rap, Hip-Hop Interview. Riot Sound. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Millner, Denene (September 18, 1998). The Canndy Canibus Rapper's No Dope, As Rep Goes From Bad To Verser With Release of his First Solo Album. The Daily News. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Johnson Jr, Billy (February 16, 1999). A World Wide Phenomenon. Yahoo! Music. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  6. ^ Strauss, Neil (May 10, 1998). POP/JAZZ; A Rising Rap Star Puts Content Ahead of Style. The New York Times. Accessed February 22, 2008.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Heinzelman, Bill (March 19, 2007). Canibus My Life. XXL magazine. Accessed March 24, 2008.
  9. ^
  10. ^

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