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A dream is a series of events or images that happen in your mind when you are sleeping. Now maybe we can throw sounds into that definition too, as Sheffield’s Caneva has been conjuring up some wild audio to mark his first contribution to the UK’s hip-hop scene – ‘The Dreamside’. I was quick to reach out to this silk-covered conductor to try and learn more about his mysterious manners.  

Who is Caneva and what has he been dreaming about of late? 

Caneva: It’s an alter ego. A spectre conjured through dreams, to speak what’s on the mind of the dreamer. I guess Caneva hasn’t been dreaming of anything since he is the dream, the imagination of someone just trying to make the illest sounding artistry possible. But then again, can dreams have dreams? 

How long has this project been underway, and what has made you drop it now? 

Caneva: I’ve been working on it for over a year now. It’s been through a lot of stages, a lot of tracks added and deleted. It was just a process of hearing samples, making a beat here and there, writing verses, been inspired and uninspired, then it was done. I finished it during the second lockdown, so December 1st just seemed like a good time to drop it, just as we were leaving lockdown.

You are both producer and lyricist, which came first, and which would you say is more important?

Caneva: I started rapping way before producing. I wrote my first verse when I was like six, and I just kept doing it, I found it fun. Hearing Wu-tang ‘Triumph’ and the Stretch & Bobbito Big L freestyle was it for me.

I got into producing through music in school around Year 9, then downloaded Ableton on my computer and just started from there. It’s rare to find someone who can make beats that fit the exact sound you want so been able to produce is mad useful. But being able to rap is more of either you have it, or you don’t, kinda thing. You can learn how to produce but learning how to rap usually makes it seem forced, from what I’ve heard anyway. I feel as though you need that initial thing, and then you can build on it from there. They’re both just as crucial for sure, whack beats and raw bars or ill beats with whack bars are as bad as each other in my opinion. 

Can you talk us through a typical day in the life of Caneva? 

Caneva: Shit, right now everything’s all dead due to Covid so at the minute just music all the time, whether that’s producing, writing or listening, I’m just doing constant music shit. Been linking with some ill producers recently so look out for more shit on the way for sure.

This isn’t your standard hip hop. I can honestly say I have never heard anything like this. Caneva’s friendship with Figment, whom you may recognise from early Trellion and Sniff stuff, is distinguishable. Both artists have a unique rawness which is as much cultivated by brilliant lyricism as it is hidden from public view. If reality is not cutting it for you, take a trip to ‘The Dreamside’.  

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