Preme may have last been seen partying with Drake at SoFi Stadium, but today he’s not playing around. The Toronto rapper and producer has returned with “Lost Hope,” a new single with a poignant message.
On the track, Preme gives a first-hand glimpse at the systemic racism Black men face on the daily. “At times it feel like we lost hope/I turn on the news and they just keep on killing Black folk/I’m ducking, dodging police,” he sings, expressing his disillusionment with the justice system.
The accompanying music video depicts a young Black man living in constant fear of a deranged police officer in clown makeup—a harrowing alternate reality that feels all to similar to our present one.
“I grew up listening to rappers who told stories and had a message,” Preme tells Complex. “I always hated corny music; my favorites were guys like Pac and Nas for that reason. That’s what inspired me to become an artist, so I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I didn’t hold myself to the same standard. Music has become super diluted, so I truly believe now, more than ever, it’s important to put out music like ‘Lost Hope.’”
The new single follows Link Up, his EP with OVO Sound dancehall king Popcaan, which cracked Complex Canada’s list of the Best Canadian Albums of 2020 and signified the start of his label Reps Up Records’ partnership with EMPIRE. With “Lost Hope,” Preme is also announcing his new joint label deal with Columbia, as well as a joint publishing deal with Sony/ATV. The Columbia partnership will see him scout standout artists for the new label, while his Sony/ATV deal will see him work with CEO Jon Platt to sign writers and producers in an effort to fill representation gaps in the music industry.
“I basically live in the studio. It’s what I love to do and I don’t see myself slowing up anytime soon,” Preme says in a statement. “My favourite part of creating music is collaborating with other dope creatives and throughout my journey I’ve always met dope producers and songwriters that I felt were special and felt like, ‘Man, people need to know how great you really are.’ Sometimes talent isn’t enough and you just need that extra push to get your light in front of the world, and that’s why I started this pub company, to do just that.”
A longtime OVO affiliate, Preme previously played an A&R role on Drake’s 2018 album Scorpion, helping select beats and reach out to producers for the project.