Naya Ali Is on a Mission to Bring Montreal to the World | Northern Clutch

Last year the rapper dropped her debut album 'Godspeed: Baptisim' and now she's back with 'Godspeed: Elevated' which showcases her Ethiopian heritage.

Montreal-based Ethiopian rapper Naya Ali has been undergoing a bit of an evolution. Last year she released her debut, Godspeed: Baptism, then earlier this year, she became one of the inaugural winners of the SOCAN Foundation’s SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards. Now she’s back with her sophomore release, Godspeed: Elevated, and it explores everything that’s happened throughout this time as she’s honed in on who she is, living her life with purpose and chasing her goal of adding light to the universe.

She opens up about her Ethiopian heritage while also honouring the different cultures of Montreal that have shaped her, and where her art fits in with her community. Above all, she cares about repping her NDG roots as she continues to grow. “I had to take the chance on myself and see what happens,” she explains of immersing herself in her music. “When you do find your purpose, that’s when the gates open up, and to do that, you have to pursue your greatest excitement.”

It’s been a journey, leaving a corporate job to chase a career in music, but it’s something that Ali doesn’t shy away from being candid about. Leaning into her dreams is what has propelled her forward, out of the so-called trenches and into a place where she feels supported by those around her: “In the blink of an eye, it just [changed] as if the universe opened up, when I opened up my my mind and my heart and I backed it with tangible actions,” she says. It’s also helped to spark the passion that drives her, especially as a Black woman with a vision who knows who she is. “I always had to work 10 times as hard as someone else,” she explains. “So I always had to come with that grit and come with that passion and that fire a little bit. And that just translates naturally within my music.”

For the latest episode of Northern Clutch, Complex met up with Ali in Montreal to talk about her career path, her inspirations, and hip-hop culture in Canada. Check it out, then read the interview, edited for clarity, below. 

So talk to me about the growth in the evolution of going from the Godspeed: Baptism to Godspeed: Evolution. And I know you mentioned as well, it’s definitely not the same album. Like you made a point to [tell me] it’s not the same album.So tell me where the growth comes in and what this album is about. 
It’s even in the title itself, from Baptism to Elevated, right? All of those [are] part of the same chapter. I’ve grown so much in the last year, even since I dropped the first album, as a person, as an artist, as [an] entrepreneur, as you know, everything that relates to artistry and being in this business to just the relationships I made, the relationships I lost, the growth I had within myself. I was pushed to realize that it’s not in the destination, it’s in the journey, and I always knew that. But when you when you’re in it, and you’re experiencing it, you’re just like, “damn,” it’s not about getting to where I want to be, it’s about how this journey is shaping my character, how this journey is shaping me to who I am becoming. You know, so a lot of things are out of our control, and I think we’ve seen that in the last year, right. So it’s like, when you’re faced with situations that you can’t control, the only thing you can control is how you react to them. And you know, what energies are swaying you left or right. So I realize that everything else is a plus. Everything else is like the cherry on top—the accolades or, you know, reaching certain goals. But at the end of the day, I’ve come to realize that I’ve already made it because I get to do what I love every day, I get to do it with the people that I love and we get to build something purposeful. Everything else is just an addition, so the album really speaks to that.

Like Godspeed: Baptism was more like a humble entry into the game, just, you know, being basically baptized into this industry and into this life that I chose, and Godspeed: Elevated it’s kind of like the road swerving and curving, taking me to to paths that I’ve never experienced before or situations that I never experienced before. So it talks a lot about where I’m from, what I’ve been through and where I’m going. I put a lot of thought into showing more of myself. Showing more vulnerability. People know me for fire raps and fire flows, cutthroat and all that. But as humans, we’re complex beings and there’s no black or white. There is definitely a lot of other aspects to myself, and with records like “Toronto’s Gold,” records like “King,” that just shows another facet. It really speaks about the human experience and not just being an artist and not just about bravado, not just about this or that, but the real human experience and my human experience. Born in Ethiopia, growing up in Montreal, NDG and from Montreal [to] hopefully the rest of the world. In a nutshell.

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I love that. There’s so many good so many good soundbites and points that you made in there. I want to ask you in regards to Godspeed, so what’s the significance of Godspeed for you—you titled both of your albums Godspeed. What’s the significance there for you?
Godspeed is sort of this, not mantra, but it’s really close. How do I explain this? It’s that at some point in my life, I realized that, you know, when you try to achieve certain things or get better at certain places and you’re in it, you’re in the trenches, it just feels like an eternity, right? It just feels like you’re in it and you can see the light, or you can see like the island and the ocean, but one day it’s like things can change in a blink of an eye. And that’s Godspeed. It can feel like an eternity, but it can also feel like the speed of light. And that’s kind of like a testament to my life, right. Starting off three years ago, basically leaving everything that I built before going to school, having the the safe job and all that, listening to my calling and and blindly going into that—diving into the ocean, basically without seeing the island. But then in the blink of an eye, it just [changed] as if the universe opened up, when I opened up my my mind and my heart and I backed it with tangible actions. That’s Godspeed.

That’s awesome. You bring up an interesting point: you’re relatively new on the music scene and you’re already making quite a big impact. There’s a buzz around your name. There’s a buzz around your music. And I think, people don’t necessarily think about the bravery or what it takes sometimes to take the plunge. And that’s something you mentioned now. I didn’t know that about you. Like you had the safe job, and then you left that all behind. Can you talk to me about what kind of state of mind you were in to make that decision and what it took for you to take that plunge?
Definitely. So it was kind of a life or death situation, like do or die, because I felt myself dying every day. When you live without purpose, your soul chips like micro-chips. And over time, you just lose yourself and it was foresight, like I saw that coming. I couldn’t… I was like, what’s the purpose if I don’t try, if I don’t give myself the opportunity to try and build something out of my own hands from my mind to the world, then what’s the purpose? What’s the purpose of all that? I had to take the chance on myself and see what happens.

Yeah, that’s I think that’s a courage that a lot of people wish they had, because I feel like a lot of people, unfortunately, are stuck in jobs or in situations that they might not be satisfied in or might not be happy in. What kind of advice would you give to to somebody like that?
I mean, the first thing is that on my journey, what I realized and the people around me as well, is it starts within. It’s not like you just wake up one day and you’re just like, “Alright, cool. I’m just going to change my life and things are just going to work out.” I think the first step is to self-realization is taking the time to be alone with yourself, and to kind of walk that inner journey first. And when you’re doing that, you find certain keys within yourself. It’s kind of vague, but that’s what it is. Once you open certain doors, you get closer and closer to your purpose, right? And when you do find your purpose, that’s when the gates open up, and to do that, you have to pursue your greatest excitement. Now, and if it excites you, then you know that feeling when it just feels great in your heart, pursue it. You don’t have to let go of everything, right? Just do more of it. And then naturally, it’s just going to sway you, and it’s going to sway your life and it’s going to sway who you are. And then you’ll become the person that you need to be to change your life.

“My goal is to just be who I am meant to be, and be who I am, and create the best music, the best that I possibly can.”

It’s interesting, when I hear you speak, you have this confidence to you, an assertiveness [that] you found yourself. You found a good place, a good pocket where you want to be. And the reason for me, I take that away when I’m hearing you speak is because, again, you’re a relatively new artist. So you haven’t had the decades of failures and experiences, but you sound like you have. So I guess what’s interesting to me is, I talk to artists all the time and artists are very interesting people because they make a living off of other people’s opinions. That’s essentially, you know, anyone, whether you’re a painter, whether you’re a musician. It’s about numbers. It’s about metrics. It’s about how much people are listening to it. If you’re trying to make it on a commercial level, I would say, how do you process that and how do you not lose yourself in others’ opinions as an artist?
That’s a great question. I think the first step is to do it for yourself. If you do it for yourself, and you do the best that you can, do [it] at a level of excellence. Then somewhere, someone in the world is going to support you. I mean, if you focus on, right away on the external, you’re just going to… I feel for me, going to go down a spiral. It’s just like looking at a mountain and looking at it from afar. I’d be like, “I can never claim it.” But if you take it day by day, step by step, brick by brick, surround yourself with the right people and move with purpose, then like I said, certain doors will open, certain keys will be found, and it will just organically grow for itself. 

Today, we’re going to see a bit of you in the studio, you guys are going to capture, or try to at least capture the essence and the energy of what it’s like for you to be in the studio. Can you talk to me about your process when you’re in the studio? What is that like? What’s the first thing that you do? Do you write? Do you listen to beats, what is that process like for you? 
Oh, yeah, I mean, it’s sort of like walking into the studio with a blank canvas, maybe a feeling that I have maybe a vibe that I’m in. It starts off with a conversation with me and my producer, stuff about life. It’s all about feeling subtle, about what is the picture we want to paint. And then from that we create a universe together, just a demo of a beat. And then I just go on the mic and I just freestyle, just let it roll. It’s kind of like the consciousness coming out. I don’t try to think about it. And from there we find pockets and then we just structure to the record and then I plug in my lyrics. That’s how we do it.

When you’re we’re in the process of creating a song, how do you know when a song is finished? 
Hmmm, you know, I’ve never asked myself that question. I was never like, “Is this song done?” It’s more like a feeling. You know, you do a record and you’re like, oh, that day, that moment in the studio. It can feel like it’s done. But I’ve learned, especially with this last album, when you let records sit and simmer and you go back to them, then you can see what’s missing or what’s not missing and if you want to change the vibe a little bit. But it’s more like a feeling. It’s not like a definite thing like, “This record is not finished.”

I was listening to this really interesting podcast, and it was about artistry and how artists can continue to make art or continue to work on a specific piece of art forever, because there is no actual way to finalize art. It’s really about abandoning the art. So it’s about knowing when to leave that art alone because you can work on it forever. So I guess that’s what I was trying to get to, is, how do you know when to abandon that piece of art? How do you know when to release it into the world?
You just got to. It’s like your baby, it’s like your child, you have to let it out into the world at one point and let it do what it needs to do, because you’re absolutely right, as an artist, you can work on a record forever. But at a certain point, you have to have this certain detachment and be decisive. I just let it go, let it out. I can still work on this album forever, right? But again, it comes down to the feeling, when it feels arduous and like work and it’s not organic anymore. That’s when you have to let it go—when you start nit picking that, you have to let it go.

Yeah, for sure. What do you hope people take away from this album?
It’s a great question. I hope… first of all, I worked on this record half in Montreal, half in Toronto. I think what I hope that people take away from it is, I hope to to give some sort of light, even for a moment, to change your life, to change your mind, maybe to add nuggets, add keys that you can trace within yourself, but at the same time put you in a heightened state and realize we’re all living this whole human experience together. And it’s always about elevation. It’s about moving on to the next level within yourself. And if I can do that with my music, which is something that I hope for and I aspire to and that’s that’s a plus and that’s a goal for sure.

Let’s say you meet somebody and they’re not familiar with your music, and you had to explain to them what your music is like, [and] what it sounds like—how would you describe it?
Great question. Man… That’s the proverbial question to ask artists: “How would you describe your art?” And I don’t know, I just make it. But I’d describe it as a hard-hitting. It can be gritty. A lot of different people influenced me. I love to create universes. Kanye inspires me. The Weeknd [inspires me] in the creation of the universe within the track, and not just [an] A.B.C. kind of record. [I have] hard hitting raps, [but] at the same time I feel I can tap into emotions to write and not just be in a hype state, like for me to either be like taking you from A to Z with swerves, ups and downs, a lot of push and pull, and a lot of nuggets. For me, that’s one of my purposes, to add light to the universe. And if I can do that with my music and add little nuggets while you’re bouncing your head and even listening to the lyrics, then it just seeps into you subconsciously. That’s a great takeaway from what I do.

Naya Ali

So I had a really interesting conversation with Haviah Mighty. We had we had a really great conversation because she said to me, “You know, when I think of female representation in hip-hop, I don’t necessarily think that I fit into what is currently represented for females in hip-hop. When you think of Cardi B… there’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s just very over-sexualized at times. It’s just one lane.” But there’s so many other lanes for hip-hop. What do you think about female representation in hip-hop and where do you think you fall into that into that world?
Oh, I think she’s absolutely right. You know, it’s very kind of monolithic in a way, this one area of female artistry within hip-hop, but just via I don’t feel like I fit in to that either. Right. And I think there’s a beauty to that. I think this just like a testament to how women are opening up more and being themselves and and being kind of unapologetic about it and showing this vast human experience. There is nobody like Cardi B because that’s Cardi B. There’s nobody like me because I am me. And that’s the beauty of it, when you have artists like Kendrick to all the way to Travis, all the way to Chet, you know, we have a lot of variation. But I think now is kind of the renaissance [of] female artists in hip-hop, because there’s a lot of artists that are being themselves as well, and bringing a new, fresh element too. And I think within that as well, because I’m just me and I don’t I don’t follow that path, and I think there’s a beauty in that as well. 

Are there are there any female MCs or hip-hop artists that you think have paved the way or somebody that you admire?
Yeah, definitely, I mean, I feel for me growing up, it was Lauryn Hill. When you thought of Lauryn Hill, you didn’t think about a female rapper, you just thought that’s Lauryn Hill. And that’s kind of what I aspired to be as well. Like, that’s Naya. That’s not like this or that. And so she’s definitely an artist that inspired me in that way. Even Eve to a certain extent. And Missy Elliott too. That’s Missy, that’s Eve and just the same way, at the end of the day, we’re all artists, right? Male, female, whatever, the art we bring into this world is always going to be different because it’s connected to who we are. Hopefully it is.

“That’s what I feel that Montreal has done for me, just the diversity of it, the beauty of the languages, the beauty of French, the beauty of English, the beauty of switching up every two seconds here. I mean, it just adds to it. I feel very versatile.”

I love that, that was a great answer. I agree with you when you think of, you know, an iconic MC, it doesn’t matter if they’re a man or woman, like Missy Elliott is just a classic hip-hop artist. So I like that you said that. I like that a lot. Let’s talk about Montreal. Tell me about what it was like growing up in Montreal and what is the Montreal hip-hop culture like?
Oh, man. Growing up in Montreal, I don’t know where to start. I mean, it’s a great city, I love it. It’s my hometown. Very diverse. You’ve got the French, the English to give you the opportunity, to most kids, speak three languages, four languages.We have our own dialect. You know, it’s like a French and English mashup. And then you got the Haitian influence and you got the Creole in there. So there’s a lot of like the same way that I feel like [Toronto’s] culture is really influenced by Caribbean culture as well on our side as well, but more on the Haitian side. So there’s a lot of influence from where I grew up. I grew up in an area called NDG and it’s mostly English. So that’s why I’m mostly English and what I listen to is mostly American stuff. The culture here in Montreal right now within hip-hop is a lot of—which is something to be proud of too—is mostly French. It’s called rap québ. You know, [they’ve] had to have their own culture, their own ways of speaking their own, by a certain extent, their own swagger that’s on the French side. And it’s like this, the same way that [you] associate an ear sound with an area that’s actually budding here in Montreal.

Unfortunately, on the English side, that’s yet to be present or to develop, but I feel like more and more artists are are seeing that it is possible to to be an English artist from Montreal and to break out, and to create that community. That’s one of the things that I’m conscious of as as an English artist from Montreal, my presence and what I’m doing and how important it is to the city and to other artists, to realize that it is possible to to create that vibe and be like, “Oh, that’s a Montreal sound.” I feel like that’s coming. But it’s taking time. But I try not to focus on it as it being my mission in life, but more so as like a kind of repercussion of what I’m doing, [and] what other artists like me are doing.

You mentioned earlier, that in Montreal, a lot of a lot of kids grow up speaking different languages, multiple languages, sometimes two, three, four languages. How many languages do you speak?

You speak four languages. What language do you think in? 
Oh, English.

Have you ever explored making music in other languages?
thought about it, but no, it’s just more natural to to do it in English. And because I speak in English, I think in English, I express myself in English. And, you know, I speak French, I speak Amharic, which is [an] Ethiopian language, and speak Spanish. Try to speak Spanish [laughs]. When you create, it’s like when you translate something; it doesn’t translate necessarily well into another language. So English is just the organic way for me to express myself.

For sure. When I’m thinking about hip-hop culture in Montreal, I think of—and also just in Quebec in general—I think of the the cinema scene in Quebec, I think of a lot of support amongst filmmakers. The Quebecois film scene is very tight knit. That’s also why there’s a lot of success. How would you describe the Montreal or the Quebec hip-hop scene?
On the French side, very tight-knit. Same thing. I was like the film industry a bit, because like I said earlier, there’s this culture that formed within itself [with] rap québ, it’s French with a bit of English and like the whole vibe. So there’s a community there. There’s a community rallying behind it. Once you feel that people are proud of where they come from and their music, that’s when you have a culture that forms. On the French side, definitely when you say québ, you think right away [it’s] obviously from Quebec and you know the sounds.

How do you feel growing up and being part of the Montreal hip-hop culture, but not necessarily on the French side? Because I’m assuming, like you said, there’s way more support locally for French artists than there is for English artists. What’s your takeaway there? And how do you feel about it?
I mean, it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. It’s it’s cool… I don’t want to say it’s cool, but it’s an opportunity in one way because no one has done it before and you haven’t seen this before, so it’s like, “Oh damn, this might be possible.” And then on the other side, there is a really a set community or whatever behind it. But again, like I try not to focus on it. It’s not like that’s my life’s mission or anything like that. Like my goal is to just be who I am meant to be, and be who I am, and create the best music, the best that I possibly can. Like I said, once people rally behind something as if they’re connected to it, you know, personally connected to it and creating a movement, then it’s going to grow within itself and expand. And I’m super, super confident about that. It takes time, it’s like brick by brick.

I remember in Toronto when, if you were a hip-hop artist, you felt like you had to leave and you had to go to [the U.S.]. And then now, there’s infrastructure that’s starting to grow in Toronto. So I see what you’re saying in terms of Montreal getting there, little by little. And I think that’s great. I think Canada as a whole has always had lots of talent. But unfortunately, we’ve always had to export talent rather than nurture talent, and it’s slowly starting to change. Can you speak on that from a Canadian standpoint overall? Not necessarily just from Montreal, but do you do you agree? Do you feel like there’s an infrastructure growing in Canada? What are your thoughts around that?
Absolutely. I think Toronto is a great example of that. And I mean, 15 years ago, this wasn’t the case. But once people associated pride from their city in their music, then people like rallied behind it. Canadian-wise, I think that’s also budding and coming as well, because I think it’s the fourth wave, right? [It] tarted with East Coast, West Coast, the south. Now, the north, I feel like that’s the new wave is the north. You go down to the [U.S.] and it’s like, “Oh, you’re Canadian, that’s cool.” Now, ten years ago, that wasn’t the case. Right now they think that’s cool and say it’s a different sound; it’s obviously a different sound from the states. And people are like, “Oh, you’re from Montreal and that’s so cool. You speak French. Oh, that’s so cool.” We have such value to to bring to the culture. I feel like it starting with Toronto, was a great example of it. And other cities like Montreal [are] going to catch on, and Vancouver and like. So [the] north wave is going to come and add to [the] hip-hop culture. I’m proud to be part of that wave and I’m excited for it to take over a little bit.

What do you think being from Montreal has contributed to your music?
Like I said, it’s very, very diverse. Especially the neighbourhood I grew up in, [it had] a lot a lot of different sounds, a lot of different smells of different cultures and different vibes. It opens it opens you up to expanding your artistry a little bit and not just sticking to one path or one sound. Yeah, what else from Montreal… the people. Montreal is a very artistic city. A lot of artists, being [in] music, cinema, art; it’s a very artsy city. And just growing up around that, growing up to [see] art around you… where I grew up, NDG, there’s a lot of local rappers. Just growing up seeing them and going to the [YMCA] every year, the show… when you’re dipped into an environment, then you have no choice but to… You know, it’s going to inspire you one way or another, or it is going to shape who you are one way or another. Right. And that’s what I feel that Montreal has done for me, just the diversity of it, the beauty of the languages, the beauty of French, the beauty of English, the beauty of switching up every two seconds here. I mean, it just adds to it. I feel very versatile. 

In the email that you sent me, when you sent me the album, which, I love the album by the way. I’m excited for you to release it publicly. But you mentioned in there that there’s also Ethiopian samples that you’ve put in. Can you talk to me about the importance of including part of your heritage and Ethiopian samples into your music?
Definitely, I mean, it’s something that… I always like to sprinkle a little bit without being super blatant about it and super in your face. With my first album, I didn’t integrate any sounds, but [on] the cover, it was kind of the Ethiopian cross mosaic. It’s sort of like, if you know, you know, if you don’t, it just looks cool. I mean, within this album, I wanted to integrate sounds of where I’m from and do it in an organic way as well, and do it in a way that sounds and that feels right to myself. And working with Adrian X—phenomenal producer, phenomenal artist—we found a way to integrate these sounds in a very subtle and a very, if you know, you know, kind of way. This album’s also about where I’m from and that’s that’s part of where I’m from.

When I was a kid, my mom used to play this Ethiopian gospel. It’s a very ancient sound and a very ancient instrument called the begena. And I used to play every Easter and I was just like, “Oh, my God, you’re killing me.” Like every morning, it’s just too much. But I went back to it on this album. I found this sample and it’s just a way for me to integrate my childhood a little bit and where I’m from and who I am and what shaped me, as well as Ethiopian jazz samples, Ethiopian piano, like nuggets and sprinkles, to give sort of an homage but in a way that’s just subtle.

Yeah, that’s I love that. I love hearing when artists are able to incorporate a deeper connection to their roots in their art form. I always think that’s really important. I also think as Canadians, it’s interesting because we’re made up of so many immigrant families, so many refugee families myself, for instance, I was born in El Salvador. My family came to Canada with refugee status [because] there was a war happening there. And I know lots of my Ethiopian friends also have come as refugees to Canada. Can you talk to me about [what] growing up in an immigrant household and what that experience was like and how that translates into your art?
Wow, absolutely, I mean. It’s crazy that you say that, too, because I myself as well as my family, came as political refugees. Coming to Canada and growing up here and being exposed to both universes, being Ethiopian and the Canadian, the whole mash-up, like the other cultural influences on my Ethiopian side, it’s a very spiritual culture. [It’s] based on spirituality, based on humility, respect, respecting your elders, you know. That’s just how I was brought up. [It’s] just being mindful of what you say and how you say it and being very sharing. That’s a huge part of Ethiopian culture, is sharing. Even when you sit down to eat, you have your lunch in Ethiopia, you don’t just sit down and eat your lunch. You say, “Hey, let’s eat.” That’s actually an expression: “Let’s eat.” Anybody just sitting down. You could be like a stranger, whatever, it’s like, let’s eat. So it’s a very sharing culture, and my mom, a very spiritual woman, she really laid the foundations for me to to be in tune with with spirituality and be within myself. And that was just more the foundational work that was put in coming from where I’m from.

Right. Yeah, I want to get into the time that you spent in Toronto. I know you spent some time in Toronto working on the album as well. So it was produced between Montreal and Toronto, is that correct?
Yes, exactly.

Can you talk to me about how each city may have had an influence? Maybe not [just] the city itself, but also the people, the producers, the environment that you were in, how they each played a role in getting the album made?
Definitely, I mean that’s that’s one of the reasons I came down to Toronto, actually, I purposely wanted to be in Toronto for its vibe, for its people, and to put myself in a different environment that’s going to ultimately, affect what I create. And Toronto has a very distinct culture, very distinct sound, a very distinct vibe. And I feel that. It was definitely integrated into into the music, and working with Adrian X and meeting his people and connecting with the people there… the high tempo sounds like less trappy, slow moving vibe. The city is just buzzing and it gave like a little bit of a cold, gritty vibe as well, maybe. Even though I went there in the summer, it gave that vibe and it was just perfect. It was fitting, you know, so yeah. I hope that answered your question.

No, for sure. Yeah, that’s great. I also wanted to to ask you about I guess, when you describe your music, I’ve heard you a couple of times now use the word grit [and] gritty. And I feel like that comes across even in the persona that you portray in your music videos. You have this… I’m going to call it like an almost like an aggressive look, even with your grills and stuff. You look cool. But can you talk to me about [that] because as I’m talking to you now, you’re not necessarily like that. You talk to me about this duality that you have as this more aggressive, hard persona that you created and who you are in actuality.
Well, [were] you expecting [me] to yell in your face? [Laughs]

I didn’t know what to expect. But it’s nice to have this conversation and get to know you.
Absolutely. I mean, it’s not a persona. It’s just a different part of myself that I tap into because it’s kind of what my environment made me to be as well, just being a Black woman, being a Black woman with a vision and a purpose and knowing who I am and knowing where I’m going. I always had to work 10 times as hard as someone else. So I always had to come with that grit and come with that passion and that fire a little bit. And that just translates naturally within my music. But there’s a lot of layers to me, I mean I’m not like gritty 24/7. I mean, I’m just… the whole human experience is a lot of layers to me. Like with this album as well, [it] has a very vulnerable side too. I feel like I’m an onion, and there’s just different layers and different feelings that [are] going to come down over time too. The more I tap into myself, the more I grow as an artist, the more, you know, the centre kind of unfolds a little bit. But also, at the end of the day too, that’s the sport too. Right. That’s rap. That’s hip-hop. You got it. You got to come with it or just don’t come at all a little bit. Right. I gotta come hard. It’s the vibe, it’s the sport. I can’t just be super shy or anything like that. You have to come with it and you have to be confident and you have to stand your ground. But at the same time, you’ve got to show your human side, show your other sides and be vulnerable too. I think that’s important as an artist and as you grow to tend to show different parts of yourself. But the first thing you see I know is it’s more like the hard side, a little bit. But there’s definitely more layers to me and more layers to my music as well.

I just wanted to say congrats on on the new album. Like I said, I heard it. I really enjoyed it. And I guess, what what are the long term aspirations? What do you hope to achieve in your career and what do you hope that you can give back to the hip-hop culture, you know?
Well, what I hope to give back to the hip-hop culture is just to add value to the culture. And the only way that I can do that is to continue to to be myself, and to grow as an artist, and to grow this movement as well, and to add value to people’s lives at the same time while doing what I love and building with the people that I love. I mean, that’s already kind of success for me and everything else is the cherry on top. Yeah, definitely I’d love to expand, break into the states, break into Europe. Those are very possible realities, I don’t doubt that. But at the end of the day, brick by brick, step by step, give value, be purposeful and the rest will just follow.

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