Madchild performs during Hip Hop for Hunger at the Harbour City Theatre Sunday (Dec. 27).

Madchild performs during Hip Hop for Hunger at the Harbour City Theatre Sunday (Dec. 27).

Dark inspiration

NANAIMO - Madchild performs during Hip Hop for Hunger at the Harbour City Theatre Sunday (Dec. 27).

As the shadow of death crept over him, Madchild lay numb.

Colour drained from his lips until they turned a shade of purple.

His struggle with drug addiction finally brought him to the emergency room, and a choice, to change or continue on the path of destruction.

He chose change. Like the phoenix, he rose up and clawed back to life with fire in his heart.

“I had to kill the old me to let the new me live,” said Madchild, a.k.a. Shane Bunting. “I let light into my heart. I let down the wall that I held up all my life … I let love and light in.”

His force of conviction led to his release of the album Dope Sick, in 2012. It chronicled his journey from addiction to sobriety. Silver Tongue Devil, his latest album, builds on his previous work.

“My goal was to create a brother or sister album to Dope Sick,” he said.

He didn’t emulate it, but amplified themes, including different dynamics.

Madchild said he “created an outlaw persona” through his actions, but at his core that wasn’t who he was. To shed that image he left his social circle behind. There were too many temptations, too many paths that could drag him back to death’s door.

“I had created my own bad memories, a lot of monsters in the closet,” said Madchild. “I had to save my own life.”

For a while, he tried reaching out to other hip hop artists in Vancouver, but after receiving personal attacks, he stopped.

“I wanted to help people and give advice, but it just seemed like everyone I wanted to help they just turned around and kicked me in the face later,” he said.

It was one of the reasons he decided to move to Los Angeles. Another was to be closer to some of his “best friends” who live there, said Madchild.

The dreary Vancouver weather also took its toll.

“It really, really, truly affects me mentally,” he said, adding overall he’s happy.

He still misses his former home.

“Vancouver is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Vancouver is an amazingly beautiful place,” he said. “I love being in Canada.”

Madchild recently competed in the world’s largest rap battle, presented by King of The Dot Entertainment’s Black Out 5, where he competed against Daylyt.

He toured right up to the day of the event. As a result, Madchild said he wasn’t as sharp or quick as he could have been. Yet, the battle sparked a flame of inspiration inside the hip hop artist.

“I came home with so much fire in me,” said Madchild.

He returned home, sat down, and lyrics started pouring out of him. Those lyrics are the arsenal for his next album, he said.

Madchild runs Battle Axe Warriors, a movement of music fans and lovers of hip hop culture. The warriors work to create positive change in their communities through hip hop music.

Madchild said it all happened “organically.” Warriors just started going out and raising money for charities.

“I think it is wonderful,” he said. “This is awesome. Everyone is doing this because they want to do it.”

He performs in Nanaimo during Hip Hop for Hunger with Madchild, presented by Nightlife Entertainment, Sunday (Dec. 27), 6:30-11 p.m. at the Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event features performances by SirReal, Hurt Crew, Switch and Morgan Murray and DJ All Good.

It is an all-ages show and a charity event for the Salvation Army. Tickets are $30, $60 for VIP, which include a signed poster, stickers and photo. Tickets are available in advance at www.nightlifeentertainment.ca.

Donations of non-perishable food are being collected for the Salvation Army. Each bag gets attendees one ticket. The tickets enter participants into a draw. Prizes include pizza gift cards, SirReal merchandise, DJ lessons and more.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com