Terell Safadi Talks Champagne and Hockey [Interview]
Vancouver, B.C. – Fresh off the success of his hugely popular Canuck anthem, Terell Safadi is ready for national recognition. With his debut album dropping at the beginning of July, he’s preparing to take Vancouver and Canada by storm. With Champagne Dreams in sight, Terell talks dream collaborations, his planned takeover, and his take on the hockey riots.
HipHopCanada: Which artists inspired you and influenced you?
Terell Safadi: I would have to say I was a big fan of a lot of West Coast stuff. When I first started listening to rap, I did my homework. I was listening to NWA and a lot of gangster rap. But of course I listened to other hip-hop as well. I listened to Big L and Biggie, stuff like that. Those were my earliest influences. Also Tupac as well.
HipHopCanada: So Tupac was your favorite gangster rapper?
Terell Safadi: Oh definitely, 100%, we’re both Geminis.
HipHopCanada: What do you think it will take for a Vancouver artist, like yourself or one of your peers, to make it on a grand scale, like Drake did for Toronto?
Terell Safadi: Basically I think everybody needs to be his or her own brand. We need to be creative and think outside of the box. We need to get away from what other people are doing in the scene and that’s what I’m trying to do. From what I’ve been told and the feedback I’ve received, I’m a lot different than a lot of the rappers out here, and I make a different style of music. Being myself is my image. I’m not trying to do any gangster music or anything like that; I’m just trying to do what’s me. That’s what will separate people from other artists in the city and be able to make it big.
HipHopCanada: Who are your favorite Vancouver artists?
Terell Safadi: Honestly, Tre Nyce is my favorite Vancouver artist.
HipHopCanada: How come Tre Nyce?
Terell Safadi: He’s versatile, he can sing as well as rap. His raps are good and his flows are good as well. He’s very versatile and he knows what he’s doing. I like his music definitely.
HipHopCanada: Which artist, dead or alive, would be your dream collaboration?
Terell Safadi: I’m about making music that suits my style, although I’d love to make a track with Tupac. Even though I don’t think it would suit my style, that would be sick. But I think Drake and I would make a good collaboration. It would be cool because we’re both Canadian. He’s from the east and I’m from the west, it would be cool. That would be the dream collaboration for sure.
HipHopCanada: How about a Vancouver artist?
Terell Safadi: I’ve collaborated with Caspian and Tre Nyce. They’re two of my favorites. I haven’t done anything with SonReal yet; I want to do something with him soon.
HipHopCanada: Describe the progression you’ve gone through as an artist from your last mixtape, Vancouver Sun, to now.
Terell Safadi: The mixtape Vancouver Sun was full of decent tracks, but it didn’t have a unified theme. That’s what Champagne Dreams is about. It’s where I’m at as an artist right now. It’s different from the mixtape because every track relates to the overall theme of the album. It’s a lot more thought out and planned. The music on this album is overall is where I’m at in my life, right now, today.
HipHopCanada: What can we expect to hear on the album Champagne Dreams?
Terell Safadi: You can expect a lot of upbeat music. The whole idea of Champagne Dreams is living my dreams prematurely. I’m almost there. I’m getting to my dreams, and I’m starting to live it. You can definitely expect to hear some motivational music, especially if you’re an independent person who’s out there dreaming of one day making it big, at whatever you’re doing. There’s a track on the album called “One Day”, which is more down to earth, and it’s about the struggle. I’ve also got this track called “Ring Around the Rozay”, that’s an upbeat track with Tre Nyce. It’s a very versatile album. There’s some upbeat stuff, some down to earth stuff, and some smooth riding stuff
HipHopCanada: So “Black Red Yellow” was huge for you and the Canucks. You got more than 300,000 views on YouTube, a ton of press and tons of media coverage from that video. But there were also a lot of haters saying things like “rappers shouldn’t be rapping about hockey”, etc. What do you want to say to the “Black Red Yellow” haters out there?
Terell Safadi: All I want to say is, I hope you saw me on your TV screen. I hope you saw me on the Canucks website and the Globe and Mail. In the very beginning, I kind of did care what people were saying about it. People were saying, “We need a rock song instead of a hip-hop song”. But a lot of young people accepted it and thought it was cool and that’s why it took off. It’s a rap song about hockey in Vancouver, young people shared it.
HipHopCanada: Any idea for more remixes for next year?
Terell Safadi: I’ve thought about it. I was planning to do a victory track, obviously that didn’t happen. Maybe something might spark me next year to do it again. Hopefully the Canucks make some small adjustments and those changes might inspire a new remix, but I’m not thinking about any Canuck songs. Not right away anyways.
HipHopCanada: How did it feel for you as a Vancouver artist to see your city in pure mayhem after game 7? What was your take on the rioting?
Terell Safadi: My first initial thought was that it was something interesting to see. It was definitely a sight to see; I’ve never really seen anything like that. But after putting it into perspective, I’m not down with that. It’s going to cost the taxpayers. I didn’t like seeing my city literally on fire. It was exciting to watch, but it is definitely not cool at all.
HipHopCanada: Where were you watching it go down?
Terell Safadi: I was watching it on the news at my friend Duane’s house.
HipHopCanada: It definitely was something to see. So tell us a little bit about your upcoming plans, and what the Terell Safadi fans can look forward to this summer.
Terell Safadi: Champagne Dreams is going to be my life for the next little bit. I want to bring a lot of visuals from the project for my fans and everyone to see. I’m excited to get it out there. I’m shooting a video for a track called “It’s On Me” and there will be a video for “Ring Around the Rozay” featuring Tre Nyce. You can expect a few more videos as well from the album. The album will be in stores July 2nd and I’m doing an in store release the day of at HMV on Robson. I’ll be doing an in store performance and meet and greet as well. It’s going to be dope, I can’t wait.
Interview conducted by Christina Parihar for HipHopCanada
Photography by Blake McRitchie