by Scott Roos
Brett Rybinski, known to some as the hip hop artist Young Corduroy, pulls up in a dilapidated, vintage Chevy van. A broad grin across his face, he steps out confidently and offers a firm handshake. We’re in front of the R.M. office on Main Street in Kinistino. It’s closing in on four pm and there is a bit of late afternoon hustle and bustle, but the streets are far from crowded.
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” comments Rybinski, “Do I smile in these photos? I smile a lot.”
Having grown up in Kinistino, a town of about 750 people, wedged in between Birch Hills and Melfort, Rybinski exudes small town charm. He’s affable, congenial, humble, generally good natured, and, more importantly, a creative soul - all qualities that he comes by honestly.
Rybinski is here to do a photo shoot with me for the zine and also chat about his music. He’s just released his debut hip hop EP which he’s jokingly titled I don’t Have Time To Write an Album EP. It’s something he describes as “just messing around” and “doing it for fun”. He references recent SCMA winner Jake Vaadeland as the “guy who sounds like Johnny Cash” and talks about how Vaadeland has “real talent”. And although I wouldn’t disagree with the assessment on Vaadeland, Rybinski, over the years living in Kinistino, has slowly but surely carved out something special as well. There’s raw talent in his words and he has an uncanny knack for choosing beats that perfectly suit them. He writes about what he knows - the small town life. It’s idealism and a tip of the cap to Kinistino but that’s what’s so intriguing about his overall vibe. Instead of maybe stereotypically turning to country music, he’s chosen hip hop to describe the town he loves and the life he leads.
“I cherish the simplicity of growing up in a small town. We didn't have to spend a lot of money or do extravagant things to make good memories and have fun. It's special that way,” recounts Rybinski of his formative days in Kinistino.
Born the youngest of eight children, Rybinski comes from a very musical family. Music was encouraged in the home with each of the Rybinski children taking piano lessons, participating in school band, and a few learning guitar. Sister Erika, who is a band director in Humboldt, even went on to get her masters degree on the trombone. For Brett, though, it was a love for hip hop music inherited from two of his older brothers, as well as a few friends in middle school, that set the stage for his later work as Young Corduroy.
"I remember hearing songs as a really young guy in elementary school that my older brothers Justin and David were listening to. They would make these Christmas videos for the family to watch at our gatherings and there was often hip hop in there and there were guys like Pitbull and Little John, Snoop Dogg and I thought it sounded cool back then,” explains Rybinski.
“My friend Tyler Spencer got me listening to some stuff when we were in middle school. I ended up getting in the rhymes of guys like Kendrick Lamar, Asap Rocky, Asap Ferg, Pusha T, and then we got into some of the 90's rap as well. But I would say my friend Tyler was a big influence as far as hip hop goes and he was always showing us new songs and he got us into underground hip hop too," continues Rybinski.
Naturally, the love of the genre led to Rybinski wanting to write his own rhymes and create his own beats. Not really knowing what they were doing, or even where to start, Rybinski and his friends experimented with several beat making apps before eventually discovering the BeatStars website.
“My friends and I were trying to write rap music and at that time we would download beat making apps and make just terrible beats and write some lyrics over them. Eventually we found out that you could find websites that had Kendrick Lamar sounding beats and find producers who had made beats and you could get them for a really good price. I've been listening to beats for a long time. With this (recent) I don’t Have Time To Write an Album ep I just found them on BeatStars. I found the beats that I wanted, bought some leases for them, and that's the way I found those. The real champions of hip hop are the producers who are making the beats," says Rybinski.
In terms of the words he writes, inspiration can often hit at random times. Rybinski tries not to rush the process or the muse when it appears. Some of the lines he’s written on the I don’t Have Time To Write an Album ep go back to his high school days.
“Often I will have an idea. I'll come up with a few lines and then I would write them down in my phone notes so I don't forget them and they would sit there for a long time and I would never finish a song (laughs). I would get half a verse written. I would always struggle with hooks or choruses but I wouldn't say I'm writing all the time. I'll be walking around or driving or something and I'll think of some lines and I'll make sure I write them down. If I'm actually finishing something I need to sit down and think about it and it takes a long time so I don't often do that,” says Rybinski.
At the end of the day, Rybinski or Young Corduroy as he is called in local hip hop circles, writes about what he knows. His music is catchy, and exudes the quiet confidence of life in a small town. It’s about a life well lived that will continue to be well lived in the solitude of Kinistino. We finish the photo shoot and chat for a few more minutes as Rybinski pauses every now and again to wave at people he knows, often referencing them by name to me. He seems to be a respected member of the community and that speaks volumes. There’s been a lot of positive feedback about his music from the good folks of Kinistino and he’s definitely earned every good word not only through his talent, but also because a over and above all that he's a good dude.
Young Corduroy in his own words:
A Track by track breakdown of the songs on the
I don’t Have Time To Write an Album ep
“Special Fried Rice”
It's a dish from Ken's (a popular eating establishment in Kinistino) and the boys and I would eat there three times a week back in high school. Most guys got chow mein and rice but I thought 'Nobody eats chow mein AND rice. That's too many carbs' so I switched it to special fried rice. Maybe that song could be about Ken's and The Swen (another popular eating establishment in town) and just Kinistino in general. 'under bright pink street lights' is like when the street lights in Kinistino first come on for the evening, They're kind of a pinkish colour. The song features these feelings I get from Kinistino that I wanna portray. I wrote most of the words for this one back in high school and that's where the inspiration came from.
The word nice doesn't really mean anything in this song. I started writing it in high school and it was just like a party song. So in the lyrics you'll hear past tense stuff because I wrote it in high school but I released it now but I don't do any of that stuff anymore. It's all about partying and acting stupid (laughs).
My faith is what's most important to me. I had all these lines written that were definitely influenced by my Catholicism. Some people might not appreciate that but I don't really care what they think. I wanted to put it on my ep and so I did.
"Pull up in a Chevy"
Right now, Cummins is pretty big in Kinistino. Everybody wants to have a Cummins. Maybe that's the most popular but I don't know. I'll rep Chevy because I love Chevy. I've got a Chevy van. It's 77 G20 so the whole first verse is about that van. And then the second verse is about my C10, my 65 that I bought when I was 15. We used to cruise around in that a little bit. Right now it's not in any condition to be cruising around in but that's what that's about.