Tre Nyce [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – While Vancouver has contributed more then its fair of share of talent to the world of Canadian hip-hop, there haven’t been that many artists holding it down on an international level for the streets; representing on a worldwide scale for their block –or district, as you’ll loosely hear the hood referred to in the V.
Enter Tre Nyce.
After joining forces with some of the cities most talented gangsta rap artists, Tre Nyce and company launched the Canadian branch of the Cali BlockStars movement, essentially opening a promotional avenue to the American market. Aside from that, it established an important alliance between the city’s biggest street movements which means the artists will be helping each other progress –good news for the Vancouver scene working hard to move forward as one unit. Lastly, this initiative also takes a giant metaphorical crap on the “crabs in a bucket” mentality that often plagues the North, so we applaud the movement for coming together.
The King of the V, as his new mixtape is titled, has been making music since the age of 9 and has established roots to build from in Vancouver, Toronto, Los Angeles and Seattle, just to name a few. You see, Nyce is fully aware of Canada’s history of hip-hop sales woes so it makes sense that he’s already began to put his career into focus on an international scale. Exposure is his goal and with a steady stream of new releases and new performance dates popping up weekly, Tre Nyce is making sure he gets just that.
In fact, he’s already been making labels take notice since his late teens and has turned down several deals including an offer to ghostwrite for a Miami based label. It’s all about the timing for Nyce and, at the present moment, he’s content with pursuing his career independently, as his own boss.
With another one of Vancouver’s hottest emcees, Young Kazh, recently getting released from prison, the Kurruption Camp has been formed between Tre Nyce, Kazh and a few other artists. Kurruption Camp’s Guilty by Association project is almost ready to hit the market and you should be expecting it to be released in time for Christmas shopping. We’ve already received a few e-mails inquiring about its availability –hold on to December people!
As you can see, Tre Nyce has been keeping busy and luckily for his fans, it doesn’t stop there. Check out the transcript below for a full scoop on his upcoming projects and his thoughts on the Canadian scene, amongst other things. Here’s how the interview went down:
HipHopCanada: Tre Nyce, holding it down for Vancouver as always! Welcome to HipHopCanada.com. How’s the summer been treating you?
Tre Nyce: Summer’s been treating me real good. In July, I had a show every second week in Vancouver, from clubs to all ages events. August, we were booked every weekend so I can’t complain, just been seeing a lot of shows this summer.
HipHopCanada: No doubt. Let’s start with some history for the viewers who aren’t familiar with your movement. You spent time in Scarborough’s Tuxedo Court area and other regions. Was there any influence as far as your music goes? How familiar did you get with the local hip-hop scene and when did you make the move to Vancouver?
Tre Nyce: First of all, I’m not from Tuxedo court. I rep Markham and Eglington when I’m in the Dot. I’m more Scarborough then most; I was born in Scarborough General Hospital. The block had a major influence in my music and my life. Every lesson I learned on the block I applied to the mic. I wouldn’t say it influenced my style of rap because I don’t really sound like your everyday T-Dot rapper. I really started with the rap game in Vancouver when I was 9 years old in my Uncle Richie’s basement. Half of my life I’ve been in the V [and] the other half in the Dot, but I still make a trip to the Dot every summer.
HipHopCanada: You mentioned previously that your brother was very supportive in your early days, back in Tuxedo Court. How supportive has he or the rest of your family been in recent years and what type of role do they play, if any?
Tre Nyce: My brother and my uncle Martin introduced me to rap music. The first hip-hop album I ever listened to in my life was Mack 10’s Based on a True Story which my brother B.C bought me. Then my uncle gave me Biggies Ready to Die on cassette and that was my bible for this, here. My brother B.C is also the biggest critic in my life and I respect him for that cause he keeps it real with me. The rest of my family is very supportive. My mom has put up with it and I love her for that.
HipHopCanada: Do you still have ties to Scarborough?
Tre Nyce: Most definitely. I forever hug my block; it’s only love for M&E. I’ve lived everywhere in Scarborough… done school there. I have mad homies there and a lot of family so I would say I still have major ties to Scarborough.
HipHopCanada: So what is the biggest difference between the Vancouver and Toronto hip-hop scenes, from your perspective? How are they similar?
Tre Nyce: The difference between the two are that in the Dot you have many hoods and blocks, and in the V we have one major block… a segregated district were it all goes down, So a Vancouver rapper may not be from a hood but he still does the damn thing in his district whereas in the Dot if you ain’t repping a hood or a block, you might not last out here. The similarities are the struggle because it’s universal… same out here as it is in the Dot, because there is no infrastructure for Canadian hip-hop yet. So, even though you have everyone repping and doing the damn thing, we still ain’t going to get this music money like they do in the States.
HipHopCanada: Content wise, there aren’t many artists in Vancouver that are putting it down for the streets like Tre Nyce. How does that help your situation? How does it hurt it?
Tre Nyce: It helps my situation by making me the realest emcee in the V. And it hurts my situation because a lot of people cannot relate to it… some people can and some people can’t. I don’t give a median… either you do or you don’t, cause Canada is known for what is called “backpack rap” and I’m trying to change that along with a lot of Canadian rappers. Basically, any time you’re real in your lyrical content it’s subject to major criticism. I have no problem with that, because my music speaks for itself.
HipHopCanada: I wanted to ask you about a deal you were offered last year to ghostwrite for a major label on the condition you didn’t release your own material for 4 years. How did that go down and why did you end up turning down the deal?
Tre Nyce: I was connected with someone who was in the Miami music scene. We started sending MP3s over msn to a major Miami record label and they really liked what they heard. So, 2 weeks later, I’m on a flight to Miami, 17 years old, about to be sitting in a conference room with these major record executives… and yes, they did offer me a 4 year ghostwriting deal which I turned down, due to the fact that I was born to shine. I am that nigga. I mean, how can I move the movement if I ain’t in the public’s eye?
HipHopCanada: Do you have any other deals on the table or have you decided to focus on doing things fully independent?
Tre Nyce: We’ve had a couple of deals since the Miami one, but, I mean, all these deals have come before any release which showed me maybe I should put something out and let them see what I really can do on this Indy grind with FireHouse. I’m not looking for a hand out; I’m looking for a hand up.
HipHopCanada: One of your partners in rhyme, Young Kazh was recently got out of jail and there has been a ton of talk about the collaborative mixtape you guys have together. Can you speak on that?
Tre Nyce: Guilty by Association by Kurruption Camp –it’s a Firehouse Thing. That group is Young Kazh, Jahfus and myself, Tre Nyce. We’re looking to release something by December. Ya’ll need to look out for that one.
HipHopCanada: What about any other mixtapes to look out for?
Tre Nyce: Well of course my first mixtape is dropping King of the V which is crazy got beats from The Chef, Kream and J Nasty. Lots of features: Fara, Young Kazh, Fizal and More… We’ve got the Kurruption Camp’s Guilty By Association in December and then we got the Foreign Exchange mixtape that’s me and my dude from Miami Lil’ Dee hosted by DJ Smallz.
HipHopCanada: When should we expect to see a solo release from you?
Tre Nyce: King of the V, September 2007 –I promise it’s a classic. All the haters will see me on that one.
HipHopCanada: Can you give us an idea of what kind of project you would want to put out there as a debut album? Would there be a specific concept?
Tre Nyce: When I put my album together… to me, the best albums that have been put out have been thematic so that’s what I do. So every song is in pattern, to a theme, ya dig?
HipHopCanada: Tell us about FireHouse Records and how you got down with them.
Tre Nyce: The thing with Ro is he’s like the Arab Dame Dash, ya dig? If you look at the talent behind FireHouse, from The Chef, J Nasty, Fara, Young Kazh, K9 and Kream, I mean everyone is talented. Ro got at me one day through my boy Ill Kid and he said he had beat… and he wanted to see what’s good with Tre Nyce. So Ro comes through, a real ass nigga… we record a few tracks, smoke mad blunts and we were both on the same page. It’s been a rap since. FireHouse is the camp.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about the BlockStars movement. How did you guys get together and what should the masses be looking out for?
Tre Nyce: We got together cause real recognize real. There was a few of us out here rapping and we were all together one night and decided to holla at Staus of the Cali BlockStars. We just basically became Stars that night. It stands for Black Leaders Overcoming Criticism with the Knowledge to Succeed Through All Restrictions. You can expect fire. We’ve got Fizal, “The Street General” and J-Gunna both running with Fam Life Entertainment. And you got me and you’ve got Heatwave killing the game out here too, and Status… all about to or in the process of mixtape releases. So, look out the stars are rising… “StarsUP”.
HipHopCanada: How do you decide if you want to work with someone like an emcee or producer? Aside from good music, what kind of personality is key to building good chemistry and successful outcomes with music projects?
Tre Nyce: If me and my camp are feeling the artist then it’s a go. Having a positive mind set and feeling good about the music we make… like good chemistry in the lab.
HipHopCanada: You’ve spent over a decade working on your craft. What are the most important things you’ve learned that you’d be willing to share with the younger Vancouver emcees stepping into the ring?
Tre Nyce: I would have to say handle your music like a businessman, don’t get dicked around, and always have control of your projects, so you don’t feel like your being pimped. Stay focused and don’t let nothing stand in your way. “Succeed through all restrictions.”
HipHopCanada: [Laughing] Alright, and my last question, and the question I’ve been asking all artists at the end of my interviews recently: What is the go-to meal for the pre-performance warm-up and what is your pre-show routine? Surprisingly, I’ve gotten this question a few times from upcoming artists looking to fight off performance jitters. I figured I would take it right to the source and find out what the experienced artists are doing.
Tre Nyce: Honestly, it’s always fast food and about 15 blunts of that British Columbian Purple Kush!
HipHopCanada: I lied; one more question. Where can people catch a Tre Nyce performance in the near future?
Tre Nyce: I got Sonar [in Vancouver] on the 29th… that’s when you can see me do what I do. Until then, go cop that mixtape!
HipHopCanada: Any last comments? Shout-outs?
Tre Nyce: Shouts-out to my FireHouse Family, my Fam Life niggas, my BlockStars, all my fans, all the D Boyz and every real nigga out there doing there thing… it’s NYCE.
Written by Jesse “Dutchy” Plunkett for HipHopCanada