We spoke to The People North West about their smooth come-up on the West Coast
Vancouver, BC – The People North West are one of the few rap crews making moves on the West Coast, and they’ve accomplished a lot in a considerably short amount of time. Among their list of notable feats this past year, are a slew of well received tracks, and a set of clean visuals for their lead single “Shameek from 212” which had most of Vancouver comfortably embracing our classic rap roots.
Composed of Creed Taylor, Marleau, Tee Krispil, and Young Budda, the Vancouverites individually contribute their own unique energies to produce nostalgic and lyrically advanced music. Fresh off a live set at the Alexander Gastown just over a week ago, the crew sat down with us to talk about some group dynamics, their new track “Yuh Yeel Me”, and their aims to continue making music which reflects the resilience and luminosity of the people on the West Coast. Check out our conversation and stream the new single below.
Q&A: The People North West
HipHopCanada: Catching up with you all has been long overdue, so thank you for taking the time to speak with us. With the formation of your group and the successful release of the visuals for “Shameek from 212” this past year, how are you feeling about everything you’ve accomplished?
Creed Taylor: I’m really proud of the crew and how quickly we’ve developed our chemistry. Our live shows have killer energy and I’m very optimistic about the future.
Marleau: Thanks for having us. We feel great, we can see how far we have come but we know we still have a lot of work to do. It’s a very rewarding but challenging process of working on ourselves, putting ourselves out there and seeing what works. We are really learning as we go.
Tee: It’s been a really fun year. We’re not here to count laps though, it still feels like we’re just treading the surface. There’s so much we plan to accomplish! The release of Shameek from 212 went really well considering it was our first set of visuals, and we dropped it having only released 1 track previously. I’m excited for the accomplishments that are waiting in the future & grateful for the seamless beginning we’ve had.
Young Budda: Honestly, I think we’ve just begun. Our first video was tight, but we’ve just begun to spread our wings.
HipHopCanada: How has music influenced your lives individually, and how did you form The People North West?
Creed Taylor: Music has always been a massive part of my life. My father was a devout collector of reggae on vinyl and I was constantly exposed to super fly shit that he was bumping around the house. The People North West was originally formed by Mikey J Blige and E Buddha in 2013. Mike and I have know each other since we were maybe like 6 years old or something. We did a song together called “The Jump” and it was the single off their first EP. Then I just naturally assimilated. Tee came into the picture later…. still not fully convinced we need her.
Tee Krispil: lol. Classic. Music has and continues to reshape how I experience and interact with the world around me. And vice versa actually, the world has chosen to interact through me in my music. The formation of TPNW happened smoothly. Mikey got really busy with I M U R and needed another producer to take some of the workload. Marleau and Creed just finished up their project, Evan and Creed had just dropped “The Jump” and it was flames, after that they decided to work together more. And I kind of just happened… Evan asked me to meet up with him to discuss working together. He gave me an address, so I pulled up.. only to realize it was a strip club. I thought that was hilarious and since that night we’ve all been goofing around and making music.
Young Budda: I started rapping in high school so it’s always been a backdrop of my personality. But I mean music is everything man, hip hop was an expression of art where I grew up in Boston, so I’ve been around music—hip hop especially, for as long as I can remember. The people north west was formed by myself and mikey j Blige originally. Mikey formed another group called IMUR and didn’t have enough time to put into both projects which left me blowing in the wind for a bit. But creed, Marleau and I started making music, and we began to talk about forming a group. Then we met Tee and it was a wrap. She was exactly what the group needed. And she really made us a family.
Marleau: Music has been huge in my life. I’ve always been super geeky about music and my parents played a lot of great music when I was growing up. But I only mustered up the confidence to start making and releasing music a few years ago. I went to school with Creed’s cousin “H-A-Y-D-E-N” aka Yung H-A-Y aka Moses the Mac and he introduced us and we started working together. Released Green & Gold last year, and we had been friends with Buddah and Tee. Buddah had formed TPNW with Mikey J Blige but Mikey had to focus on his work with I M U R so Buddah hit us all up and that was that. We hit it off.
HipHopCanada: For some, this will be their first introduction to you. How do you personally view/classify your music, and is your sound close to your individual styles?
Creed Taylor: I try and come at this whole thing from a different perspective. I rap because I’m obsessed with it. Hip hop is honestly my life. I don’t do this just to say I do this. I wanna pay homage to the originators and put some new flavour with it. I feel like TPNW does exactly that. Classic formats with modern references.
Tee Krispil: I would say our music just is what it is. We’re lyricist, writers, poets before anything. We’re not trying to hop on any waves, we’re not even TRYING to make waves of our own. We’re just making shit we love, with people we love, and it speaks for itself. In my solo stuff I try tapping into universal and personal truths and then attempt relaying them in clever, catchy manners. With The People North West, I literally don’t give a fuck if people understand the complexity of my bars. Those who get it… get it. I’m free to just go off because the focus of our music is lyricism, real hip-hop tings.
Young Budda: Our styles are completely different. Like polar opposites. But it works because it gives everyone a taste of something different. You know when you go out to eat with bae and you want the whole menu but you know that’s pretty trife and outlandish to order so you order a few things and split to get a taste of everything? That’s us, the best of both worlds.
Marleau: As a producer my sound is a bit different from what’s really popular these days. I still listen to a lot of golden era stuff so that’s what really inspires me. I would describe my music as a bit raw, dirty, funky and soulful. We all definitely differ stylistically but I think that’s why it works so well. We bring different perspectives to the table and we hash it out and decide what will work and what we should not do. But overall the focus is on dope beats and dope rhymes. We all push each other to bring our best shit.
HipHopCanada: What were some things that you collectively wanted to say with your music and releases this year?
Creed Taylor: Most of the things I write about are a reflection of my environment and my experiences. It’s not often that I try to craft specific messages. I just do my thing and hope that there’s people that relate.
Tee Krispil: WE, as in not just us but also our listeners are The People North West. WE make this place we live in. WE don’t exist without YOU. We have the choice to be culture creators, mind shapers and vibe conductors. Let’s use our privilege and be the best we can be. Let’s show the world what it means to be young driven people living in The North West.
Young Budda: We just want y’all to have fun. We’re not here to change the world we just want our fans to have a good time and feel good listening to our stuff.
Marleau: Fuck with us if you like lyrics and dope beats. We wile out, we have fun. If you come out to one of our shows, you’re gonna have a great time. We rep the V hard.
HipHopCanada: Something that stood out for me on “Shameek from 212” was how easily you balanced your individual styles for the greater sound of the track. Is that something that you’re considering when you’re creating, and how do you approach song-writing as a group?
Tee Krispil: We balance each other out in real life so it translates easily in the music. It’s never really been conscious on my part! We knew we all had our own styles… Creeds like the pimp daddy, Evans like the smooth operator, Marleau’s like the calm conductor and I’m the lil’ hippy siss. Also the one who has to deal with all their BS – (it’s love!)
HipHopCanada: There really aren’t many rap crews who are actively making moves on the West Coast the same way you guys are right now. How has the overall experience been for you, and what are some things that you’ve learned about each other, or yourselves, throughout?
Creed Taylor: Smooth… rapid progression is key for us. At the moment I think it’s just important to remain consistent. One thing I’ve learned is that you accomplish a substantial amount in a short period if you remain focused and put in work on the ground level. My team hustles to make shit happen. We ain’t sitting around waiting for opportunities.
Tee Krispil: It’s fun. Like a lot of fun. These guys keep me on my toes for sure. I’ve learned that making music collectively requires you to be really present with the people involved. It requires patients but also genuine bond. What we have is something you can’t fabricate, it just happens. And when it does it’s fucking awesome. I’m a family person, and I have none of that out here in Van, so I’m happy to have my brothers.
Young Budda: I’ve learned that with the support and confidence boosts from others your music improves drastically. This shit is hard to do solo man, you constantly doubt yourself and you want to give up some Days. Having a family of brothers and sisters that you love and trust is the healthiest thing for an artist. And we wanna convey that shit too, we’re a family and we want our fans to feel that way.
Marleau: We learned that the ladies really love Tee. Like really love her a lot.
HipHopCanada: There are a lot of different opinions on being artists from/in Vancouver. How do you feel about coming up on the West Coast, as well as being part of the greater music community here?
Creed Taylor: I love my city. I love everything about it. A lot of people talk shit about the Vancouver music situation and I just can’t relate to that. If you show love then you receive love. If you’re a good person out here doing good things people will notice and show support. You get what you give in Vancouver.
Tee Krispil: It’s dope. The community is bomb, and for the most part really supportive. The demand for hip hop shows is increasing, things are moving. Nothing worth anything will happen over night, but I see a wealth of dedicated and talented musicians and writers who are committed to making this shit pop on the west coast. My only hope is that it doesn’t turn into one massive competition with no respect given where it’s due. I think our most significant proposition on the west is our diversity and originality. So when people start fighting for this “spot” it’s really just evaporating our cloud’s drops. You know?
Young Budda: I’m from Boston, so I didn’t grow up here, but for the past 8 years I’ve been here and the hip hop scene has matured drastically.
Marleau: There’s a lot of talk that the scene is not strong out here or whatever. I don’t think so. In the past year I’ve met so many dope artists here. We have a long way to go to becoming a LA, NY or T dot but we’re working on it. It is expensive out here so its not easy to be an artist which is why you really gotta commit ya yeel me?
HipHopCanada: What kind of group dynamics does your crew have, and is there one person that takes the lead in energizing, either in sessions or before live shows?
Creed Taylor: One of the best parts of the group is that we receive energy and input from all parties involved. Tee and E are both very talented writers with totally different styles. Marleau is like the puppet master.. pulling MPC strings attached to my pen hand. I feel like the class clown at times. I have a hard time taking things seriously. When the live shows pop off we all feed of each other’s vibes. It’s magical.
Young Budda: oh man. We’re a family. Like meetings every week, dinners. A group thread that buzzes all day. It’s awesome man. Especially when my family’s on the other side of the continent in a different country this is the closest thing I have. Tee’s like my sister, we live a block away from each other. No one takes the lead more than anyone. We really respect each other (for the most part) and make sure we all shine.
Marleau: Tee is the hater of the group. Buddah’s out here kissing girls on stage and shit, being a real casanova. Creed is the hustler of the group, running around organizing a lot of shit. And I’m reserved, don’t say a lot, typical producer type.
Tee Krispil: Lol, fuck you Marleau. We love and hate each other so much. We’re family in that respect. Creed is the crowd energizer but I’d say I take the “out of show mode” energizing role. Evan energized us quite literally with his delicious cooking skills. And Marly mar energizes us with enthusiasm every time he sends a beat. Also, fuck that group thread, I’m out here tryna sleep yah hurrdddd. I get hella bullied in the group, but it’s all jokes. Also, I’m a h8er for the progression & betterment of my squad. But yah, I’m hard on us (and myself).
HipHopCanada: I think it’s awesome that you’ve got Tee who’s doing her thing and representing for women in rap. How has having representation for both genders benefited your crew, and do you feel like it has helped you make better music for your fans?
Creed Taylor: She gets the guys hyped… she gets the girls hyped… she gets me hyped… at our last show she was pouring Whiskey out the bottle into people’s mouths… she is invaluable.
Tee Krispil: Wait … I’m female?? Hahaha, it’s definitely a leg up. I try to make sure all my shit is heavily on point so I’m not just “the sex appeal” (as Evan so kindly calls me in one of his bars.. hahahah). It’s nice though to be able to relate to women. I always try to bring that divine female energy to the sausage fest that is my life.
Young Budda: watching tee get on stage for our first song “fuck boy” is always so dope. The women in the crowd are always captivated when they hear her say “I do this for me, and also for the queens.” There’s not a snowballs chance in hell we could garner that same audience with a couple dudes on stage rapping. She makes our group what it is.
Marleau: Having Tee definitely helps us connect with female fans. But it’s not like she is here strategically because she is a female and we needed that. She’s here because she is fucking ill on the mic … but she’s still a h8er.
HipHopCanada: What are some things that you’re hoping to accomplish in 2017, and what can fans look forward to?
Creed Taylor: Constant music. Relentless releases. Poppin videos. A stupid dope merch line. A EP that slaps. A world tour. Lambos. Private jets. Jet skis. Pool parties. Playboy bunnies…. all that realistic stuff.
Tee Krispil: We’re going to drop our EP this year. Keep releasing visuals and curating hype shows. We love performing but we’re being more selective with what we do in that regard, we kind of blew through our creative fumes by taking too many shows end of last year. There has to be balance, so 2017 will be more of a content year for us rather than back to back show kind of year.
Young Budda: We will publish our EP and drop our music videos. Also we want to tour in the future. Hopefully we can get the city behind us and get some people excited about our movement in the meantime.
Marleau: We want to go 17 times platinum in Finland.
Stream “Yah Yeel Meh?” below.
Interview conducted by Kira Hunston for HipHopCanada
Photography by Kyle James-Patrick
Twitter: @TeeKrispil | @PeopleNorthWest
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