I’m a 19 year old rapper and producer from Waterloo, Canada, I currently live in Ottawa, the countries capital, which is right near Quebec. I have been rapping for 2 years, and have been releasing music throughout these 2 years, some of which has been taken down, but some still remains. From all my released music I have totalled over 25,000 total plays on YouTube, with my more recent tracks consistently reaching a few thousand plays, as well I have done a few collaborations with other artists within North America. My biggest success comes from my music following on Instagram where I have just under 8,000 followers, and recently received a brand deal from Halifornia Apparel ( haliforniaapparel.com ) where anyone can use the coupon code RILEYD8920 to get 20% off of their order.
Why Hip hop?
I am not only a rapper, but also a huge hip-hop fan; I love the great reliance on drums. As Travis Scott even said, “you need to have the drums done right or else the song won’t sound good”. The drum aspect gives me a great vibe, added with whatever melodies are played over top. On top of that, I have always been a poetry fan, and rap/hip-hop is just evolved poetry. For example Kendrick Lamar has won a poetry award for his music. This all lead me to fall in love with hip-hop, and I chose to make hip-hop so that I could make more of what I love, and to give back to hip-hop in a way. As well, I love to write.
What is the motive behind your writings? (Especially your latest track)
My latest track, which has been one of my most successful, being a remix of Lil Pump’s Gucci Gang, was inspired by Joyner Lucas’ remix of Gucci Gang. The lyrics behind the whole track were partially motivated by another rapper who had taken shots at me earlier this year, with the lines “hating on my tracks cause you hate peers”, “first I need to kill some haters”, and further in my song I wrote a few shots back. I took some shots not only at this rapper, but also at people who I’ve either cut out of my life or have left my life who come back into my life because they see the success I am starting to have. I do this with the line “want to hit me up with the “how you been?” gained some clout now so where you been?” Throughout the song there are a few other lines that take shots at a few people, but I don’t forget to leave out my friends, my fans and my family, which inspired the hook, which repeats “Riley gang”, which is the people who support me, and the following line “Love all the love that I get mane”, and I even shout out a big fan of mine. Many of my other tracks are equally inspired by life events and by my emotions. I have a few songs where I get into a more emotional vibe, such as my song Ghost in the Machine, which features a very deep lyrical aspect as well as a nice emotional vibe.
Good and Worse thing about Hip hop according to your experience?
Hip-hop is hands down the best genre because it is one of the few genres that have such a competitive aspect to it; everyone wants to be the best. However on the flip side, a lot of mainstream hip-hop in Canada perpetuates a message of intense drug usage, such as lean, molly, and xans which I don’t really agree with. However I do agree with lighter usage, such as weed, alcohol, etc. which you can hear in some of my music.
Is there any difference between Canadian Hip hop and other countries hip hop?
Canadian hip-hop is in a very interesting state right now with the likes of Drake, The Weeknd, Tory Lanez, and Nav all being at the forefront of the industry in Canada. There is a large emphasis on the mood that is created by the song as opposed to the lyrics. For example a sad song would make you feel sad as opposed to convey a message of sadness. However that doesn’t represent all of Canadian hip-hop as there are many other famous artists who focus on the lyrical aspect. This definitely differs from many styles of hip-hop in the USA, where lyrics are the most important thing.
Do you listen to South African hip hop? If yes, who do you think runs South African hip hop?
I do listen to some South African artists such as Cassper Nyovest, and I love the style of hip-hop that comes from South Africa, especially the strong usage of drums. However, I don’t think I know enough of the South African hip-hop scene to know who runs it.
What makes Riley different from other hip hop artists?
What makes me different from many other hip-hop artists is the depth of my lyrics, many of which have even been used as quotes on Instagram, and I am only improving lyrically as I progress. I also believe I am so different from other artists because I do everything on my own. I write my own lyrics, I make beats, I mix, I master, and I do it all. I have even done photo shoots and music videos entirely on my own. Stay tuned for the photo-shoot pictures to come out.
Who are the Amazing people or organizations have you worked with in this hip hop game?
I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with Halifornia Apparel as I have mentioned (haliforniaapparel.com) where anyone can use the coupon code RILEYD8920 to get 20% off of their order. As well everyone in my life who has supported me, and I make sure to give thanks to them in the description of all my YouTube videos. From an artist aspect, I have been lucky to work with Laibah, where she featured on my song fine. And I have worked with SideShow the King, Rob Wyze and Prince Dame, having featured on songs of their whether released yet or not.
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Who intimidates you around your area when it comes to dropping lines?
No one intimidates me in my area when it comes to dropping lines, because I know I can come back with better bars, and I plan to show this at the 5 vs 5 rap battles scheduled to happen in September at the Bourbon room.
Surely there’s someone out there who wishes to be like Riley, how can you motivate them?
I have had a few fans tell me that they could be like me, or asked me how to get to where I have gotten so far. And all I can say is work your hardest, work to get better before you plan to get big. Last summer I dropped a song every week in an effort to improve, and now I am only dropping the best of my music and this combination has been doing great for me.
Who do you want to send your shout outs to?
I would love to give a shout out to my girl Kelia my amazing friends, Danielle, Valentina, Sarah, Cedric, Warren, Brianna, Marvin, Sam, Micah, Ceelena, and Shontel, as well as my phenomenal family that I have been blessed to have. Thank you to everyone who supports me.