Toronto rapper Swagger Rite discusses his EP debut The Swagged Out Pedestrian
For the last couple of years, budding Toronto recording artist Swagger Rite has become a consistent force in the Toronto hip-hop community. An energetic personality mixed in with a deep love for music has helped propel the young MC into the spotlight, and earned him reputation as one of the most promising talents coming out of the city.
Representing the Southside of Weston Road and Jane Street, Swagger has had to overcome various obstacles in order to get to where he could make his music career a priority. And even then, he’s still trying to get to a place where it’s the only thing he needs to worry about. “I’m still in the streets,” he reminded us during a recent sit-down.
Swagger Rite first caught our in attention in late 2015 when he released the track “Six Side” with artist and videographer, RodZilla.
Less than a year later in 2016, with the support from his cousin Sha Hustle, the Toronto rapper pushed his stature to new heights with the release of his official mixtape debut, Product of My Environment (P.O.M.E.), hosted by Charlie B. The project has racked up over 2 million streams to date, and featured some early fan favourites which are now harder to find including “Trap Dreams” and “Swerve On Ya Ends.” P.O.M.E. rightfully created a huge buzz for Swagger, and his social media presence blossomed shortly thereafter.
“I was just happy to know that I could make changes and that I did something positive.” – Swagger Rite
After signing with Sony Music roughly a year ago, Swagger Rite has been working hard towards his official album debut, The Swagged Out Pedestrian, which was officially released on Nov. 22. The project comes equipped with two massive singles including the lead off “Drop Top” (featuring Yella Beezy and Flipp Dinero), and the BlocBoy JB-assisted “In Love with the K.” Since its release back on Sept. 24, the video for “Drop Top” has been viewed over 150K times, with close to 2,500 likes.
I had the opportunity to catch up with the rising Toronto star to speak about The Swagged Out Pedestrian, his love of music, his humble beginnings, and what he has in store for the future.
Check out The Swagged Out Pedestrian, and our exclusive Q&A with Swagger Rite, below. You can find the album on Apple Music, Spotify, and various other digital streaming services.
Q&A: Swagger Rite
HipHopCanada: How did you get your start and what pushed you into hip-hop?
Swagger Rite: My cousin Sha Hustle, he’s an underground legend. He was always doing music. When I was in the streets I always used to watch him. I was always trying to do music but never had time for it, I didn’t really like the music people were doing. I just said, “fuck it, I can do music.” I just started doing it, like it wasn’t always easy because I was still in the streets. I would drop a song then go back to what I was doing but then it got serious so I decided to take it serious.
HipHopCanada: Who pulled you out of the streets and let you know you can really do something with your music?
Swagger Rite: Nobody really did, I’m still in the streets. I just felt like I’m a very marketable person, I’m verified in the streets and I got a blue check on Instagram. It means nothing to me, it doesn’t really mean shit, it just means to keep working. A lot of people get a blue check and feel like they’re Hollywood. If you haven’t made a couple million you shouldn’t feel Hollywood, and even if you made a million you shouldn’t be acting Hollywood, you feel me?
HipHopCanada: Let’s talk about the BlocBoy JB feature. How did that record come about?
Swagger Rite: I had the song recorded and my manager knew his people. He sent it over and he liked it and hopped on it.
HipHopCanada: What has an increase in success been like for you? Like have you seen changes from anyone around you and what has it been like, going from city to city and hearing yourself on the radio?
Swagger Rite: I don’t have any complaints, right? I just got signed and things are more efficient. Everyday of the week anything I do has to do with music. Whether it’ an interview on the phone like you and I right now, or doing some type of show… like I’m going to do a soundcheck after this because I have a show tonight, then I’m doing a hosting, and then I’m going to LA. So I’m really just busy, you know? The come up is real.
HipHopCanada: What experience stoodout the most for you in 2019?
Swagger Rite: Going to ATL and performing. The reason for that is because I’ve never been to Atlanta. My favourite artist Gucci Mane is from Atlanta. These are things I told myself as a kid that I was going to do and I’m doing it now, so me being there made me realize how much potential I have in the game right now. With me just planning something and getting it, plus I met a lot of people I didn’t know while I was there. I didn’t know that I had as many fans as I do in Atlanta, like people were coming up to me saying, “So you’re Swagger Rite?” and it threw me off like, “Woah! I knew it was worldwide but I didn’t know that people bumped me like that.” So it was just a great experience. Plus, me having the blessings of being able to go to Tyler Perry Studios… it was just a whole lot.
HipHopCanada: Is there any Gucci Mane songs that still give you inspiration?
Swagger Rite: I still listen to Gucci Mane… “Kick a Door” or “First Day Out,” or “Burn One,” or “Chicken Talk.” I still listen to a lot of the old music, not just one record. I honestly couldn’t tell you my favourite record, I feel like all of Gucci Mane’s old records are my favorite records.
HipHopCanada: One of my most important questions to you is what’s your favourite part about interacting with your growing fanbase?
Swagger Rite: My favourite part of that is my engagement with my fans and me changing lives through the music. I don’t get to message everybody back who messages me on Instagram but I do message as many people back as I can.
Just a little story to tell you, there was this one kid who was going through a lot and I told him I was going through a lot. He told me how much he listens to me, I asked him what he likes doing. He told me he likes selling things, so I told him to try selling houses. There’s a lot out there. A couple months after, he hits me up and told me, “Honestly Swagger, you changed my life, I want to give back to you, within a few months I talked to you, I earned two properties now, I have a business and I want you to be a part of it, I want to give you a part of it.”
I had to tell him, that him giving me a part of his business isn’t really doing anything for me but what he did for me right then about him having two businesses after telling me he was down and had no place to go at one point, was enough for me. I was just happy to know that I could make changes and that I did something positive. That means more to me than being part of his business, but yeah, just me changing lives that’s a big thing to me. It’s what I do it for, I want to show kids that it doesn’t matter what you were doing in life, there’s still time to change it around. I never had the best life growing up but I made something of it, you know? Just me having a voice and being able to use it for the right thing.
HipHopCanada: Everyone has been talking about the record with Flipp Dinero. I’m hearing it everywhere. So how did that record come to be?
Swagger Rite: My boy said he was going to send me something. The track, it wasn’t really done but as soon as I heard it I freestyled the chorus, and because it was so dope I decided to write the rest. I sent it out to Flipp and he didn’t really want to take anymore for it because he thought it was so dope. My manager is from Memphis, so he knows a few people out there that he reached out to and was able to get Beezy on the record too. The record got premiered on HBO, so its a big thing you know?
HipHopCanada: That’s dope, who are two different artists in the industry that you want to work with one day?
Swagger Rite: I have three. The Weeknd, Drake and Gucci Mane.
HipHopCanada: What can your fans and the hip-hop community here in Canada expect from Swagger Rite in the near future?
Swagger Rite: Just expect me to be bigger and greater. The sky’s the limit when it comes to me, regardless if I’m ever at my biggest peak in life. I’ll always feel that way, I gotta be better, I gotta be bigger. Music is always changing, I have to adapt to changes and stay relevant. There’s a lot of one hit wonders and I don’t want to be one of those people, so just keep expecting great music and positive energy.
HipHopCanada: Is there any shout outs you want to get out?
Swagger Rite: I want to shout out my neighbourhood, my management. I want to shout out Sha Hustle, he’s been a big inspiration throughout my whole career. He’s actually my cousin who is OVO affiliated. He’s the one I’ve really seen do the music and never lost interest because of him. He’s always guiding me and showing me new music and making sure I was up to date so I can perfect my own sound. So yeah, shout out to Sha Hustle, Dilla, Mo, all the Reps Up guys, Sean from Sony Music, my mother, and dad, for motivating me and sticking with me while I chase my dreams.
You can follow @SwaggerRite on Instagram.
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