Canada is known for their Hockey, bacon, syrup, an ideal healthcare system and legendary comedians, but a flourishing Hip-Hop scene? Well, as of late Canada, Toronto in particular, has been producing some of the best rappers and producers the game has to offer. Drake and Boi-1da have led the surge on the mainstream circuit and Rich Kidd and Saukrates have been holding the underground, but one dude that has bubbling behind the scenes and set to explode is 4th Pyramid.
The DJ/producer/rapper has worked with a host of artists and is now set to make his own mark on the game with his New York-infused hustle. The Planet caught up with Hip-Hop visionary to chop it up about everything Canada, living in New York, Drake, his new label situation, political upheaval in Egypt, and much more. Get into it.
Planet Ill: For the people that don’t know, let them know who you are, where you from and what you do?
4th Pyramid: I’m 4th Pyramid. I’m a DJ, producer, emcee and I rep Toronto. [I’ve] been doing this music shit for like since I was 16. So I’m still having fun even after like 10 years of doing it.
Planet Ill: Who were some of your influence,s producer and rapper-wise?
4th Pyramid: Man, as far as producers, I would say people like RZA and DJ Premier and as I got older, I was checking the sounds of The Neptunes, Timbaland, J. Dilla. I like so many producers. I listen to everything from the underground to mainstream and everything in between and I also listen to everything outside of Hip-Hop. As far as rappers, my favorite rapper is Nas and I like Mobb Deep. Overall, I am heavily influenced by the East Coast, especially early on. Now I listen to all everyone from Drake to Action Bronson to Danny Brown, so I like the new crop of dudes doing it. The state of Hip-Hop is good right now.
Planet Ill: What is it about the city of Toronto that they produce some of the most talented Hip-Hop talents?
4th Pyramid: To be honest, I don’t know. I was born in Toronto, but I lived in New York for mad long and the last couple years I seen that Toronto is giving places like New York a run for their money in terms of talent. I just think that we’re the underdogs. We’ve always had rappers and we even had rappers that had some type of name in the states, but now people are just checking for talent coming from Toronto. Drake kind of really set it off and he’s like our Eminem. When Em’ popped off in Detroit, it kind of opened up the mainstream and underground scene. Canada is general is realy talented, because we bump everyone. You go to New York and they bump New York shit and if you go to Cali they bump their own shit, but Canada bumps everyone’s shit. So we’re influenced by so many different styles and sounds. So it’s that we’ve been slept on and we have a melting pot of talent.
Planet Ill: You have been doing behind the scene work for years, why the sudden leap into the limelight?
4th Pyramid: I wasn’t behind the scenes by choice. I was on a label and they went out of business and I put out singles in the past that probably didn’t catch on, but there were definitely factors. I’m not only a rapper, but I produce, I engineer records and that was the work that was really getting attention. I believe timing is everything and I never really had the machine behind me. Now that I’m signed with Universal [Records], I am just getting my feet wet. I am not getting the huge push there yet, but at the same time, but they understand the plan and they know it’s a building process in making me a stay in Hip-Hop, rather than a dude that puts out two albums and never hear from him again.
Planet Ill: What’s the origin of your name?
4th Pyramid: I’m Egyptian man, so the name kind of pays homage to my home. I’m cocky as well, so by the time I’m done with this Hip-Hop shit, they going to build me a pyramid. I wanted to choose a name and build a name that really reflects my culture, but at the same time, I’m not rapping over a bunch of Arab beats.
Planet Ill: You are proud of being Egyptian and your heritage. How do feel about the political turmoil out there?
4th Pyramid: I still have family out there, but it is what it is. Me, personally I’m neither Christian nor Muslim, but I am Coptic, which the religious view most closely tied to the Pharaohs. I never been out there [Egypt] and I have family that comes to visit us and they tell us the situation and it’s messy, but it has always been messy. It was dictatorship and I’m kind of happy of what’s happening, because we kind of ignited the fire and made everyone fight for their freedom. It takes a lot of balls and our generation is kind of lazy and we’d probably never do that. Even though the media is not giving the attention it first did, it is still a problem. It is a great change for the future, but bad for the short-term.
Planet Ill: You lived in the Bronx for a hot minute. How has living in the birth place of Hip-Hop helped you grow as an artist?
4th Pyramid: First off the Bronx is the shit. It was rough living, but it made me an amazing rapper. It made me step up my game and become more aware of where this Rap shit came from. I tell Toronto rappers all the time that it’s cool to stay up here, but sometimes you got to get out and do your homework. New York in general has really helped me mature as an artist. I went out to New York when I was 16 and went back to Toronto for college and now I’m in New York all the time, and the grind of everyone is incredible and it kind of rubs off. There is nothing like that New York hustle and it’s infectious man.
Planet Ill: The Pyramid Scheme is about to drop. What can the fans expect conceptually, guest appearances and rhymes on the new album?
4th Pyramid: Yeah man, March 13th, everyone should go and get that. I made this album and I’m extremely proud on how it turned out, because it’s a real rap record. I got Greg Nice [Nice & Smooth] I got Cosmo Baker from our group Sheen Bros, I got the legendary Canadian rapper Saukrates, Rich Kidd, Marco Polo and he’s signed to Duck Down [Records.] The thing is, I don’t collab with anyone. All these guys are friends that I’ve known for years and the chemistry is there with these guys. I am not the type of person to call someone for the sake of collaborating. I tried to keep it close to home and the label was kind of opposed to that, because they wanted me to work with more mainstream artists and that’s cool, but on this album I tried to keep it within the family and make this one the base I branch out from.
Planet Ill: That’s what’s up. That’s a good look for Canada as whole.
4th Pyramid: Yeah man, and that’s what I wanted to do, because I’m always in the states and doing work with American artists, so I figure this album is a good way to give back, but at the end of the day, I still got American artists on the album. I’m not biased though. I work wherever the music is good at.
Planet Ill: You are one-half of the group The Sheen Bros alongside Cosmo Baker, is there a different process producing and emceeing when you are doing a solo project versus a group effort?
4th Pyramid: Yeah definitely. On a Sheen Bros project I’m more of a DJ/Producer and Cosmo is the emcee. I might lay a verse or two on there, but he is the main dude rapping. We have an EP that you can download for free on my website 4thpyramid.com. The EP is a dance record and mad dance producers have remixed some tracks. After my solo album drops in March, I am going to drop the Sheen Bros album on my imprint through Universal.
Planet Ill: Silk Ivory is the label you launched and you mentioned that you’re releasing your solo project and the Sheen Bros record, but ultimately where do you see the future of you label?
4th Pyramid: I’ve been talking to Rich Kidd to release an EP, where I rhyme over his production and vice-versa. Right now I am not trying to sign anyone outside the core group of dudes I fuck with, because the label is truly a vehicle to get my music out. After two or three years after I’m successful, I might bring other artists in. I can’t really do anything at Universal if my shit isn’t popping off, so I’m not in the position to help anyone until I’m successful. The plan is to release my album, then the Sheen project in the summer and then a bigger solo project. Once I solidify my name and brand, then I’ll go out and get other artists and build, but right now we’re just getting started so it’s all about me.
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