Montreal born rapper Patrik seems to have Toronto on his mind with his latest EP, Spadina. It’s a title that doubles nicely, referencing the street that intersects the city’s Queen West and Chinatown neighbourhoods while also paying homage to his youth.
Having grown up in-and-around Ontario’s capital, Patrik’s music is unquestionably rooted in his environment. Exploring themes of family, faith, materialism and city pride, it comes as no surprise that myriad landmarks are referenced everywhere on Spadina, highlighting Toronto’s sprawling culture, vivid atmosphere, and unforgettable memories.
The EP is also a product of artistic versatility, with Patrik employing everything from auto-tune to minimalistic beats, duets to his bilingual prowess of both English and French.
Holding his Spadina listening party on November 9th, I had the opportunity to chat with Patrik about his latest project as well Canada’s current place in hip-hop.
What led you to creating the Spadina?
It’s a musical statement of me leaving pinpoints of where I am heading. I thought the best place to start is where I grew up, which is Spadina Ave and Queen St. I want to give a body of work to Toronto. With this EP I’m trying to bring back all the emotions, the experiences from the inside to those on the outside. That’s why I did this EP. It’s the transitioning and the history of where I come from.
You’re currently living in Montreal now. Why the move?
I left Toronto to get inspired by different music and artists. I find Toronto has that generic sound that has been building up for ourselves. I wanted to differentiate myself. I thought looking for creativity somewhere else would be perfect.
My favourite track on the EP is Speaker’s Corner. Historically speaking, it was one of the first forays into reality TV, and it happened right here in Toronto. What’s your connection to it?
Speaker’s Corner was my way of paying homage to my childhood. I used to stay up late watching it. However, with this track, I wanted to make a difference. I recorded friends on this, getting them to say certain lines in the song as if it was the documented on Speaker’s Corner. I felt I needed to give Queen St. its justice. Just for the fact that, growing up at Spadina and Queen St. was where I spent a lot of my time. Walking to work, going to school. I had to pay my respect.
How does your previous work compare to Spadina?
It’s different in the sense that I tried a lot of things. For example, it’s the first time I truly incorporated autotune (Dear Momma II). Funny, but it’s something I always used to give artists a hard time about. I learned how to use it without having to take away from what I do. I’m learning how to try different things, different effects. Working on different beats and not comparing my sound to different artists. Whatever comes to your heart. Whatever beat comes into your soul, go do it. Be proud of it.
Where is hip-hop headed in Canada?
I feel hip-hop is taking a small turn towards trap-related content. With me, I’m not too focused on the state of hip-hop. I’m more focused on the state of society and how music can affect that. I definitely want to put myself out there as one of the leaders to shift hip-hop into a new place. However, I’m waiting for more people to join me. I want to see more female hip-hop artists out there, too.
Patrik, in this life, what do you know for sure?
I know that God is real. God is good. And that faith, persistence and effort never, ever dismisses success.