Hip Hop Vibe Staff Writer
Hip hop has expanded out of the United States, this has been a common fact for years. With the recent rise of Drake, it is evident other areas can produce international stars.
Hailing from Toronto, Ontario is TeeJay. At the age of eighteen, he is pushing his music. We first came in contact with TeeJay last week. After checking him out, we quickly decided to interview him.
Read the entire interview below:
What inspired you to become a rapper?
That's real hard to say actually. Its not really a case of "getting inspired". The sparks been there for a mad long time. Ages even. But I think what developed it into a flame was the fact that I just couldn't contain that shit no more. I feel like I got no choice now, I love this hip-hop shit way too much.
Explain the impact rap music has had on your life?
It's a culture, it's a lifestyle, it's pretty much the dopest form of rebellion. It really made me realize that it's okay to just say what the fuck you feel. Freedom of speech. It's the most creative example of the First Amendment. Lincoln probably invented this shit, why else y'all niggas think he freed the slaves?
Who were your favorite rappers growing up?
Growing up, I always knew how to spot the dopest shit. I'd fuck with 'Pac, Big L, Kanye, Diplomats, Em, Wu-Tang, Redman, Black Star, Lupe, just a lot of the rappers that are known as legends rights now. And I never just stuck to one side of hip-hop, I touched all corners of the genres. Oh and of course that cold-ass underground Canadian shit. Classified, Sweatshop Union, K-os, Kardi, Bishop Brigante, my city got bars yo.
How do you feel about Drake's current movement?
Drake's really dope and he's doing a lot for Canadian hip hop. I pay him a lot of respect. He got a lot of weight on his back, but he knows what he's doing. I'm proud to say I'm from the same city as him.
Is your style different from Drake's, how?
Even though we both from T-dot, my style's mad different from his cause I'd say I'm a lot more brave when it comes to going against the grain. Also, I feel like he has a style that fits him perfectly and no one's touching that shit. But yeah, he's a little more 'safe' than I am. I'm more ready to say shit a lot of people - rappers included - don't want to say. But, whatever, I'm happy to fill the void.
Do you believe your music is trend-setting?
For sure, especially since trends aren't hard to start these days. But I say fuck the trends. The only trend I want to see is people realizing that they should only respect skill and effort. Nothing else. Like, everything else is dope and cool or whatever. But, at the end of the day, all we have is skill and effort. Respect that shit and ain't nobody important gonna be worrying about trends.
After you establish yourself as an artist, will you have more artists?
Yeah, to me, this whole movement of hip hop was based on the act of collaborating. Hip hop's going nowhere if people don't realize that it's grounded on communication and interaction and shit. So, of course I want to see more dope rappers rise up. This music shit is too beautiful to not share it or pass it on to the future.
Are you currently signed to a record label?
Right now I'm working with an independent label, a little bit, but nothing's official...yet.
How do you feel about the current state of hip hop?
Right now, I'm loving hip hop. A lot of people want to call up coroners and claim death. But no, this shit ain't dying for a while. I like how there are enough lyrical new school cats who can still go punch for punch with the OGs. I respect skill and there's a lot of it in the game right now so I got love for it for sure.