Sam Hoss was just a regular six year old growing up in Tehran, Iran when his father would make a decision that would ultimately change his life forever.
In a story filled with passion and hard work, Hoss’ journey to becoming an aspiring recording artist would begin on Feb. 10, 2001, when his father submitted an application to immigrate to Canada.
“My dad is a super spontaneous guy,” Hoss explained during a recent Zoom call.
“So, imagine him just driving around coming back from work, like an office or something, and he sees some random sign promoting an opportunity to move to Canada. So him being the spontaneous guy that he is, he just goes and signs up. Next thing you know we’re at the interview, and then we’re being accepted. My mom was a nurse, and my dad was a computer engineer, so they really wanted us in Canada. So, we even came on a plane, instead of a boat (Laughs).”
If you meet Hoss, you’ll likely notice his good-natured spirit and sense of humour, and his generally calm demeanor, despite his insatiable appetite for turning up the party. But it took some time for him to develop into the man he is today. After being approved to move to Canada, Hoss’ family departed for the country on Apr. 22, 2004, while barely being able to speak a word of English. Naturally, the language barrier led to some amusing and frustrating experiences, even as their move was just getting started.
“We were on the plane with my mom, and we didn’t know any English, right?” Sam Recalled.
“So you know how they come and they ask you what kind of meal you want? You know, like veggie or chicken or beef? So me, I’m just watching what other people are saying so I can try and help out. I saw the people in front of us say ‘yes’ for some reason, so I told my mom, ‘when they come and ask you, say yes ok?’ So the lady comes and she says ‘do you want veggie or chicken?’ and we both looked up and said ‘yes!’ She looked at us and laughed and we were just confused. So yeah, (Laughs) just one of those immigrant stories.”
After settling into their new North American digs in the middle of Spring, Hoss would begin learning English with the aid of ESL (English as a Second Language) courses and the influence of 50 Cent. 50’s second studio album The Massacre dropped roughly a year after the move to Canada, and played a huge role in shaping the Kurdish-born rapper into the hip-hop head he is today.
“I fell in love with hip-hop after I moved to Canada and bought my first CD, which was The Massacre. So I just had it in my little CD player, bumping that ‘Candy Shop’ and ‘Outta Control,’ just loving it. So that’s why 50 Cent is such a big inspiration to me. Just fire… I felt it in my heart, you know?”.
His love for the music and culture would fully bloom a couple of years ago when he began writing his own lyrics. In Oct. 2018, he released his first song, “I Don’t Care,” which would also become the track for his first music video. That song has since been wiped from his available catalogue—a move not uncommon for growing artists—but the experience he picked up along the way was priceless. Since then, Hoss has gone on to release several more singles and has also featured on various tracks by other artists. In June 2020, Hoss appeared alongside Maybach Music’s own Rick Ross for the song “Problem” by fellow Kurdish-Canadian rapper Dillin Hoox. The song has been streamed over 244K times on Spotify since June 12.
Just recently, after hours of hard work and dedicating himself to growing as an artist and songwriter, Hoss released his EP debut, Fire Spitta. The 6-song project—powered by Anno Domini and Platinum Circle Beats production—dropped on Sept. 4 with guest appearances by Hoox, Konah Rhymes, Sawlid, NMT Niko, 180dazz, and KnoxC.
This past Friday, Hoss teamed up with Ottawa-based video company 3FIFTYCO to create the visual for the project’s lead track, “Think I’m All That.” It’s expected to drop in the near future and is just the first of several new videos Hoss has in the works, including at least two more in support of the new EP.
Today, a day after Sam Hoss’ 26th birthday, we bring you our exclusive Q&A and encourage you to check out Fire Spitta which is embedded below.
Q&A: Sam Hoss
HipHopCanada: Sam, welcome to HipHopCanada. How have you been holding up during the whole pandemic? What has been the biggest challenge for you as a recording artist?
Sam Hoss: I’ve been holding up ok, making a lot of music and working on my craft. The pandemic has posed some challenges like going out and making connections that can help my music career. Also, I miss doing live events and feeling the energy from the audience.
HipHopCanada: I know 50 Cent was a huge inspiration for you early on. Can you speak on 50 and other influences that helped shape the artist you are today?
SH: I moved to Canada when I was ten years old and the first CD I bought was The Massacre by 50 Cent. I thought that was the hardest shit I ever heard in my life. From then on, I wanted to be like 50. Another influence was Russ and how he uses melody and rap in his music. That’s super inspirational to me.
HipHopCanada: Would you say that music helped you learn English and the Western culture better?
SH: Yeah, for sure it has. It’s hard coming to a new country not knowing the language or culture but music helped me connect with people and have something to talk about. It also helped improve my English and my writing skills.
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about the new EP. After releasing a bunch of singles since your debut in 2018, what made you decide it was time to release a larger project / body of work?
SH: I feel like after dropping some songs I was ready to showcase a larger body of work. I became more confident with each single I released. Basically, I felt that it was time to show my audience that I’m capable and I’m here to stay.
HipHopCanada: Aside from letting people know that you’re bringing that heat, what was the main concept you had in mind when putting the EP together?
SH: I really wanted people to know that I can hit bars and also sing melodies. Being from Ottawa, I wanted to give back to my city, and bring in other Ottawa talent on the tape.
HipHopCanada: Can you talk about the producers you’ve got on board for Fire Spitta?
SH: The two producers I worked with on this project are Anno Domini Beats and Platinum Circle Beats. I’ve always went with them on all my previous work, and it felt right to work with them for my debut.
HipHopCanada: What about the guest appearances? Can you speak on why each artist was in the game plan for the project?
SH: Well if I tell you it’ll ruin the surprise, but let’s just say that I’m working with some of the biggest artists in the city.
HipHopCanada: From what I understand, there’s at least a few videos in the works to support the EP. What can fans expect from the “Think I’m All That” video?
SH: The video is being directed by 3FIFTYCO and he’s done some really good work in the past. This video is going to the first one that I’ve taken an active role in setting it up. I’m going to be working closely with the producers to reach the vision I have, which I didn’t always do in past videos. I guess you could say, you’re going to see a lot of me in the next one.
HipHopCanada: What song in your growing catalogue would you say you are most proud of? What track would you be most likely to play for someone you’re trying to win over as a fan?
SH: “Problem” with Dillin Hoox and Rick Ross. I put all my heart and energy into that song and I feel like fans can connect with that.
HipHopCanada: What kind of response have you received for the track and do you have any other big collaborations planned for the future?
SH: The response was amazing and I’ve been receiving a lot of great feedback. Not to mention that it’s reached over 240K streams (Spotify) in less than a few months. Dillin Hoox and I will be dropping two songs, one with Lil Wayne and the other with Busta Ryhmes. I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working with these established artists.
HipHopCanada: I know you’re a big fan of basketball and the Toronto Raptors. Have you been following the playoff run? What do you think of the team and the rest of the NBA’s response to the Jacob Blake shooting?
SH: I’m a huge Raptors fan and rooting for them to win it all again… which I think they have a really good chance of doing even without Leonard. I love how the NBA is making an effort to show support to the Black community. The Jacob Blake shooting is a tragedy and we need to shine light on the injustices happening in the United States but also in Canada too.
HipHopCanada: Aside from promoting the new EP, what else do you have planned for 2020 and beyond?
SH: I’m going to make more videos for the songs on the EP and start working on my next album, which I’m hoping to release at the beginning of next year. Other than that, I’m planning on staying out of trouble and washing my hands. (Laughs)
You can follow @MrSamHoss on Instagram.
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