By Tiara Jade
Photos by Yvano Antonio
Q: Can you tell me about Celebrity Marauders? What that represents?
A: The Celebrity Marauders is an international DJ crew of DJ’s that are from Canada, America, and the UK. You have Dready, Starting from Scratch, myself and Cipha Sounds and us four are what makes up Celebrity Marauders.
Q: How did that all come together?
A: We just all love music. We all do various things. Starting from Scratch obviously, he’s been on Virgin Radio, played nationally for years and was Usher’s tour DJ and Russell Peters tour DJ. Dready has been a legendary producer out of the UK. He’s produced for 50 Cent, for Lloyd Banks, he worked with everybody from Dr Dre, you name it. Cipha Sounds is a legendary radio guy. He was on Hot 97 for 17 years, he’s signed to Jay Z, etc.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
A: Yeah all the time. We have a song called “Make Me A Winner” that’s coming out in the next month or so. We’re working with a bunch of people but we don’t really want to let the cat out of the bag until it’s ready to drop. We worked with just a lot of different people. We’ve done some stuff with Walshy Fire from Major Lazer the other day for a soundtrack. We’re always doing collabs.
Q: Where are you now in terms of success?
A: I’m successful because the more freedom you have is really a true testament of how much success you have. So I have a national show, the first rapper in this country to have a nationally syndicated show on Virgin Radio that starts the first weekend of October. Celebrity Marauders are touring the world; I have my first group signed to Universal through my executive position there. We’re going to be on tour throughout the world with We Day, and doing all my charity work with my non-profit working with Free the Children as well. I’m also now a Ford ambassador, so there’s several different things I’m working at. Most artists all they have is their music and that’s it, but I’m involved in several different businesses and a lot of different partnerships, so a lot of things.
Q: How do you feel about the music scene in Toronto now?
A: It could be more diverse. A lot of people sound the same, but there are some good ones that are shining through. There’s a couple of cats but I think we need some more variety right now, but I think that’s just urban music in general unfortunately. We’re at a weird place right now where there’s a lot of artists that sound very similar but it’s dope, you got a lot of cats that are doing a lot of dope things from the GTA. Everybody from Tory Lanez, to Alessia Cara, to DVSN, Devonte. There’s a lot of artists doing a lot of dope things but I think we could be doing even more if people just took more risks within their music so that they have a more individual sound.
Q: What do you think makes an artist stand out from others?
A: I don’t know because to me a real star, they have their own thing. There’s not a blueprint for it because what makes me unique is different from what makes Roy Woods unique or what makes ASAP Ferg unique, everybody has their own thing. I think usually with artists you can tell that there’s something different. Those are the people that attract a lot of fans and attract people. It’s an organic thing. Some people it’s the way that they dress, some people don’t care about the way that they dress, it’s their energy on stage, some people are born on stage. It really depends.
Q: You mentioned a lot of organizations, what got you involved in those?
A: I’ve always been that way since I was a kid. I’ve always been involved in community stuff because I came up in the “hood”, I came up in the community and my mom–also to this day–has been somebody who’s been extremely active within the community. It’s a family thing but at the same time, it’s just that’s the neighbourhood I came up in. I want for in my own way, in my own time to be able to give back and give those kids not just opportunities but teach them different ways to think. Even up to last night I was over by Jane and Weston and Urban Arts and I gave a talk to some kids. It’s just what I do but I’ve always done it so it’s not something I really think about doing, you just go do it.