Artist to artist: Hellnback talks Indian Summer with Drezus [Interview]
Winnipeg, MB – With the buzz surrounding First Nations artists now hitting higher levels in the music game, Hellnback recently took the opportunity to sit down with fellow emcee and Team Rezofficial brother Drezus.
Hot off the heels of an amazing run at last year’s APCMAs, Drezus manages to maintain a level of professionalism and balance that could drive the average man crazy. Not to mention his grind in the studio or on the road while maintaining a solid father figure role to his two growing sons.
Hellnback recently caught up with Drezus to talk about his new album Indian Summer, his work ethic and what motivates him in this competitive game. Check it out below.
Interview conducted by Hellnback for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: Who are you? Explain yourself to the readers who don’t know.
Drezus: My name is Drezus pronounced (Dree-zus). I am Cree and Saulteaux, First Nations. I was born in Saskatoon but rep the Prairies as a whole. Self-proclaimed Native Nomad, I can’t keep still. I like to experience new things and places, up is the only way to go for me and I encourage all my people out there to adopt the same type of thinking. I feel as I’ve grown I came to realize that some of the things keeping me alive were apart of my culture and within myself. So I now embrace that to the fullest and carry that whole vibe into my rhymes and songwriting.
HipHopCanada: Most rappers nowadays lack a clear message. What’s your message? Being that music has always been the voice of struggle, where do you see your album Indian Summer going?
Drezus: I think one of my main messages is to be proud of who you are, no matter where you came from or what you’ve been though. I feel I speak directly to my First Nations people when I’m writing certain songs about us and certain issues we happen to be dealing with at the time. My message to them is that anybody can make it out here with the right drive, vision and work ethic, even a Native kid from Saskatoon.
This album speaks to my own struggle as well as the struggle of my people, but not only that, I also speak on the good times as well. My album is a true story of Native struggle and love, as well as the good stuff that has recently came along with that struggle. I’ve got fans from Saskatoon to Los Angeles to New York to Australia – i’m gonna ride for all of them. No joke.
HipHopCanada: Do you see yourself becoming a role model?
Drezus: Naw, I’ve always been a kid at heart and have had to make some adjustments in my life to stay on the up and up. If being a role model means kids can learn better from my own story and growth ,then why not? I’m cool with that but I don’t claim to be saint either. There is a time and a place for everything.
HipHopCanada: What’s your most memorable moment in the years of touring and being involved in music?
Drezus: I’ve got tons of dope memories with Team Rezofficial, man but I think my most recent one is winning the APCMA for best hip-hop album and getting to perform at the MTS Center the same day. That was huge for me and made me even more hungry to look into those rafters and see championship jerseys hung up above me. Big.
HipHopCanada: How many projects do have under your belt now?
Drezus: As a solo artist this is technically my third record. With Fastlife being first in 2004 under my alias DRO. Two solo mixtapes as well, Drezus Walks and Big Baby Dreez.
HipHopCanada: Your project Red Winter won best hip-hop album of the year at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards. Is there any pressure with this project to achieve the same success?
Drezus: This record is alot bigger and better and has a bigger team behind it. This one’s a monster is all I can say. I’m not worried about any awards, I’m just focused on giving the fans the best product possible.
HipHopCanada: Your work ethic is one to be reckoned with – what’s your motivation?
Drezus: My sons Tyson and Shako are my motivation. My mother is my motivation. My brother is my motivation. My family is my motivation. My people are my motivation. In that order. Now lets get back to work.
HipHopCanada: Any messages to the fan and artists who listen to your music and anticipate your newest project?
Drezus: I know the wait has been crazy long and has been put off numerous times but trust me, this is all for good reason. The team is building fast and more minds behind the music mean bigger things. Be patient y’all this one’s a monster.
HipHopCanada: Indian Summer is your new project – what’s the meaning behind it?
Drezus: It’s a metaphor, meaning like, this is OUR summer as Native people. I used the term Indian Summer because it is a globally known term for a late, hot summer. The main reason behind the name is that we are now at the forefront and this is our time. Everybody knows what indian summers about and im here to bring the heat. This is a very enjoyable album from start to finish, trust me. haha.
HipHopCanada: When does it drop?
Drezus: We’re reaching Detox status pretty soon, I can tell you that much. Fresh developments keep the work improving at a fast rate. Let’s say it will be out this summer. I could mean regular summer or Indian summer, who knows though.
HipHopCanada: Who does it feature?
Drezus: Aww man, I’m just gonna run them off. So, so many dope artists. Merkules, Joey Stylez, 2oolman (1/3 of A Tribe Called Red), Sese, Inez Jasper, You (Hellnback) and Slim, my man Goodz from Toronto, K – Riz, Young Kidd and more.
HipHopCanada: Last words?
Drezus: You can expect big things this year. New merch, new music, new shows, new everything. Thank you for rockin’ with me and I promise I will hold you down if you are family. Protect your fam at all costs and educate yourself so you’re not blinded by the snakes out there. Always remember who you are and stay true to that practicing respect and hard work. Be easy!