Why is Kardinal Offishal named Kardinal Offishal? Does he really love birds? Or serving the pope? Were there other Kardinals out there and he wanted to make sure that people knew he was the "offishal" one? Nobody know for sure, but that hasn't stopped Kardinal Offishal from being the fucking man. It's fine if you disagree, but just know that you've now outed yourself as suspicious in the eyes of most Torontonians. For a period of time in the early aughts, as the world was experiencing a hangover from the reggae-lite stylings of Shaggy but before Sean Paul came dutty wining through the zeitgeist, Kardinal Offishal owned the "Jamaican Superstar" lane. He had numerous hits and he was able to both carry his own in his solo effort, as well as stand out when placed into a group. "Northern Touch" was a classic Canadiana deep-cut, "Bakardi Slang" remains one of the greatest songs to ever represent Toronto (outside of maybe "The Anthem"), and his Not 4 Sale album was criminally slept on, despite the fact that it featured the likes of Rihanna and The Clipse. Point being, again, Kardinal is the fucking man.
His latest video, titled "Tattoo (Rudebwoy)," was directed by Mr. Offishal himself. At first glance, the distorted sonics and the snarled delivery give the whole thing a menacing feel, but as the song goes on the message gets overwhelmingly positive. In fact, the second verse is all about why the police aren't really that bad! Very rare messaging.
There are throw-backs to old Kardi through the video, most notably the fuzzy Kangol hat, but that's not where the Canadiana ends. The entire video is made to look like Kardinal Offishal is delivering bags full of illegal substances somewhere, until at the end it's revealed that he's actually dropping off school supplies for children! That's a very big part of being Canadian: charity, and pretending you have weapons when you really don't.
The only beef I have with this video is that in spite of the fact that Kardinal is wearing a Drake-inspired t-shirt throughout, the word "behavior" is still spelled without the "u" which is a slap in the face to the English language and both people in the world who still care about it. But hey, he is Mr. International.
Slava Pastuk is waving a white terrycloth towel in the air - @SlavaP
Like Toronto rap? Check out the druggy Dillan Ponders video and our interview with him.
Want something weirder? Sean Leon is here to help.
Oh how far Jamaican rappers in Toronto have come. Point in case, Redway.