Prestege [Prolific Profile]
Toronto, ON – Prestege is a charismatic personality, both around the way and in the booth. Coming from the same part of Toronto as yours truly (Jonathon “Bizz” Brown), he’ll frequently greet me outside a local plaza with a ear to ear grin and a hearty handshake. These positive vibes show through in his music and often create catchy, feel good tracks. With some new material dropping and a respectable track record, Prestege is HipHopCanada’s latest Prolific Profile.
HipHopCanada: How do you define hip-hop, and where do you feel you fit into that definition?
Prestege: I think of hip-hop as a form of urban music that allows individuals to express themselves openly and explain what their going through in life. I also see it as a magnetic force that brings people of all ethnicities together. The reason why I say this is because although many of us come from different backgrounds, beliefs, religions and origins hip-hop has helped to unite us and pulls us closer together. hip-hop is more than just music to me. It’s a part of the life I live and the air I breathe. The places I go and the people I interact with on a daily basis are all a part of hip-hop. I remember growing up as a kid and listening to hip-hop for hours. The music had a lot of meaning and a message that really caught people’s attention. Nowadays I don’t see that as much but I plan to change all that with the music I’m doing. To me hip-hop is supposed to be heartfelt and genuine and that’s exactly what my music is. I talk about everything from growing up in the hood with a single mom to seeing friends die from gun-violence. Sure I got clubtracks and songs for the ladies and fellas too but no matter the topic I keep it real. My purpose is not only to rap hot lines and entertain people but also to fill in the gap that hiphop is currently lacking for authenticity. With the production, lyrics and determination that I have I don’t see anything standing in my way.
HipHopCanada: What drives you to stay in a business that is rarely profitable and highly competitive?
Prestege: One of my main motivation’s for staying in the game is the fact that I love what I do and enjoy providing people with good quality music. Another motivation is that I like competition and it makes me push myself harder to become better. Right now I’d say I’m one of the nicest rappers out here but until I get a deal I’m not getting too comfortable. In most situations this line of work doesn’t bring in a large profit and can be hard for many to achieve financial success but I feel that if you’re talented enough and give yourself the right exposure you can get noticed by top artists and major labels. In my case I’m more than confident I possess what it takes to become successful.
HipHopCanada: Where are you based specifically?
Prestege: Currently I’m based in Toronto(Scarborough) but have been travelling to New York & LA a lot lately. Myself & my manager are talking to a few labels but nothing’s in ink yet. I don’t want to jinx myself so I won’t say too much for now.
HipHopCanada: How has living there influenced your sound?
Prestege: Living in Toronto has influenced my sound in the sense that I rap about the places I’ve been in my city and the things I’ve seen and done there. But if you mean in regards to how I actually sound when rapping it’s very different from a Toronto sound and doesn’t sound Canadian at all.
HipHopCanada: Who is your primary fan base?
Prestege: My primary fanbase is here in Toronto and other parts of Canada but I’m getting a great response out in LA as well and have a decent sized fanbase growing.
HipHopCanada: What tips would you give young artists coming up, or what do you wish someone would have told you when you first started out in the hip-hop industry?
Prestege: The advice I’d give to young artists coming up is record as much material as possible and perform at as many shows as you can. Also make sure you post your material on popular websites where they can be heard and your song plays can be maximized. Try to go to every show involved with music as well because you never know who you could meet there that could open a door for you. All of this will help to increase your buzz. When I first started I did a LOT of shows but I wish someone had told me to go to more networking events and to release more material. It could really make a big difference in how much your music circulates.
HipHopCanada: In which ways do you interact with your community?
Prestege: I perform and partake in several charities and fundraisers that go on within the community. When I’m not busy performing I volunteer and help out at hip-hop shows in Toronto and the GTA. I’m also involved in volunteering as a mentor for a youth outreach centre located in the westend of Toronto.
HipHopCanada: Which artists have you worked with that left an impression on you, and why?
Prestege: I’ve collaborated with several artists from both Canada and America but 2 artists who stood out and left an impression on me were Montell Jordan and Glasses Malone. As we all know Montell Jordan is a worldwide R&B legend and his song, This Is How We Do It, was one of the biggest songs of all time. He achieved a lot in his prime and even though he’s from a different era of music I felt priviledged to work with someone of his caliber. The fact that he’s still doing shows and performing around the globe is an inspiration for me to keep doing my thing and encourages me to stay dedicated to my profession. Another artist I worked with who left an impression on me was G. Malone. He’s a real cool dude once you get to know him. The brother grew up in the hoods of Watts gangbanging with thugs and slanging on the corners but elevated from that lifestyle to do something bigger and better with his life. I ain’t no gangster but I come from the hood too and can honestly say if I wasn’t doing this music thang there ain’t no telling where I’d be. Probably be out on the corner still. But I’m not, and to see what G. Malone’s been able to achieve make’s me more optimistic I can reach my goals if I just keep pursuing them.
HipHopCanada: Which Canadian artist would you most like to collaborate with?
Prestege: At the moment there’s not too many but one Canadian artist I’d like to collaborate with would be Jordan Croucher. Dude’s got some really dope tracks and I’m feeling his production. If I had the opportunity I’d definitely get him on something.
HipHopCanada: Tell us about past and present successes, as well as future projects?
Prestege: Well previously I released my first solo mixtape entitled “Ready From the Start” which got a real good response from listeners but I didn’t promote it as much as I should have so my buzz wasn’t as big as it could have been. Had a song off it called “Fix” that made rotation at FLOW though so that was a plus.
Not too long after that I did a collaborated album called “Road to Stardom” with one of my good friends who’s also a rapper and was named C.H.I.N.X. at the time but now goes by J.Moy. That project didn’t do bad either. Had features from Moka Only, Promise, Lindo P and my boy Nickel-Us F. We did a video for a song on the album called “Summer time” and made a submission to FLOW but it never got played.
After that my father passed away so I took a break from the music scene but was doing tracks for mixtapes here and there. In August of 2010 I started my own label called Key II Life Entertainment and came back hard from a 1 year hiatus and started banging out tracks which led to the recent release of my third project, “A Diamond In the Rough Mixtape” hosted by DJ Bedz of Shadyville Radio.
This new CD is getting great responses and is bringing me a lot of attention. Real talk it’s straight fire and certainly one of the hottest mixtapes to come out this year. Got a great manager and an amazing production team behind me to thank for that. There’s a video for the first single off it called “She Blows My Mind” featuring my homeboy Young Sqweezy which will be dropping soon. Make sure you request that on FLOW or at a local station near you. I’m also going to be doing a video for my second single called “On the Scene” featuring Glasses Malone and Mr. Probz later this year so look out for that as well.
As far as future projects go I got an EP dropping next month called “Now Or Never” and another mixtape titled “Destined For Gr8ness” produced out in Germany dropping at the end of May. Mainly doing local gigs for now but I got a few shows lined up in BC for June and then I’m hitting ATL as we go into July. It’s going to be off the chain!
HipHopCanada: Any last words for the HipHopCanada online community?
Prestege: Yeah. I’d like to give a big shoutout to all the people who support myself, Canadian hip-hop and hip-hop in general. All the artists who keep making real music and all the true heads who keep listening and buying CDs are what keeps the culture alive. Yall already know what it is. Your man Prestege is going to be doing some real big things for 2011 and 2012. If you never knew then you need to check out track #12 off the new mixtape and that’ll put you up to speed. Stay safe and stay blessed! Peace!