Burd & Keyz are a Toronto hip-hop production duo composed of Andrew ‘Burd’ Liburd and Anthony ‘Durty Keyz’ James. Although the latter passed away in June of 2008, due to a “rare, yet severe bacterial infection called streptococcus”, Burd has kept Keyz both in his name and in our memories, as he dropped the 14-record tribute to his friend, entitled Keyz of Life, earlier this month. Keyz of Life features production almost exclusively by Burd, with collaborations by T-Minus, McCallaman, Kardinal Offishall, Luu Breeze, Rich Kidd, Divine Brown, Shi Wisdom, among others. The project serves as a vivid reflection of Toronto itself, a multicultural hotbed which breeds such diverse sounds as hip-hop, reggae, soul, pop, dance, and R&B, all working in harmony to produce one cohesive flavor.
Download Keyz of Life here, and read the complete interview after the jump.
What does Keyz of Life mean to you?
It’s something [Keyz and I] promised each other a long time ago. One day we were riding in a car together, coming home from work at Enterprise. We worked at the same place. We were talking about our game and we were like, “We got to put out our own project before we go,” because no one knows how talented you are until you put something out, you know? Keyz agreed, but we were too busy making singles for other people, working on other people’s projects, that we couldn’t really focus on our own shit. Now and then we’d stash away a couple beats for our own shit though. Like, “Yo, that was a special one.”
How many downloads are you at now?
Probably 2000 in a week or two weeks.
Is that more or less than you expected?
It’s pretty good, man. I’m flattered. It dropped on Wednesday and I went out downtown [Toronto] on Friday to see Rich Hil and people are coming up to me shaking my hand. Every time I’ve been downtown people have been shaking my hand, like, “Yo, Burd, Keyz of Life,” and then they just walk by. I’m like, “Cool.” People in the States are acting like I’m some sort of Don or something. [laughs] I’m like, “I’m just Burd.”
Any opportunities popping up as a result?
Definitely, people want to sign the kid. Managers want to manage me. But I got a lot more work to do now that this is out. I got to come up with some new bounces.
Are you working right now?
I’m working while they sleep.
You told me the story of “Burdstrumental (Losing My Bestfriend)”…
Yeah, it was Keyz sampling idea. I took it and then he got mad at me for taking his sample idea. I’m like, “Yo, you’re not doing it.” After he passed I took it again, and that’s when I called up his cousin, McCallaman, who’s actually here with me right now. I told McCallaman the vision I wanted, and then we just ran with it and it came out dope.
You said it’s more positive than you intended.
Yeah, I wanted a slow, dark, depressing song, but then I was like, “Fuck this, man. Let’s switch it up on them.”
Doesn’t that sum up the whole project, turning something negative into something positive?
Yeah, exactly. You could either choose to be all sad about it, make songs that put you in that mood- But everyone’s been giving me really positive feedback about that song because they’ve never heard that sound from me, or they haven’t come across McCallaman and he’s really good at that dark shit as well.
He likes the dance beats.
He loves that shit, so that mixed with me chopping up the sample, it’s a tough mix.