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Fighter Spirit: Steph Dash Nash Battles Terminal Illness While Crafting A Classic

I’ve spoken about this in the past, but as a recognized journalist, I get lots of email and attention from…

I’ve spoken about this in the past, but as a recognized journalist, I get lots of email and attention from artists looking to have some pen game dedicated to their craft. In this daily wave things don’t always stick out to me; It’s impossible for me to listen to everything and respond to everyone, respectfully.

Sometimes, though, you just get a feeling.

That’s what happened when I got a message on Twitter from Steph Dash Nash, a mother, Hip Hop journalist, clothing designer and producer who happened live in my city. She politely asked if she could send me her project, True Grit, which she produced alongside Big Sproxx, a Toronto producer who I knew from his work with the Toronto collective Freedom Writers.

She sent it over, and I was floored by the guest list that included verses from the likes of Masta Ace, Planet Asia, M.O.P., D.I.T.C. Alumnus O.C., Havoc from Mobb Deep, Ras Kass, and even the late Sean Price among a host of others. In fact, there are two verses from Sean on here, so fans should hop all over it.

I was immediately intrigued as to how she was able to amass such a respectable list of artists and decided to sit and chat with Steph. Her story, though, was much more profound than I could have imagined and gives a whole new dimension to the project, which I’m comfortable referring to as a pretty timeless collection of fantastic music from some of the artists I grew up idolizing.

“I’ve always been a lover of music—particularly hip-hop,” Steph tells AAHH. “I grew up in the projects in Toronto after my biological father was killed in a car accident. My family lost everything and had to start over again. And that’s where I grew up like I found the community embraced me … I would just listen to hip-hop all the time.”

Her relationship with producer Big Sproxx began to show her the ropes in the studio, and her production chops began to develop organically. “It just snowballed from there,” she says.
She got heavily involved in the podcasting game after various guest appearances. “People were surprised; people were like ‘wow, this girl knows they’re a hip-hop.’ From there I started,” she says. She began doing interviews on her platform, Supreme Ultra Radio.

“I just wanted to keep the culture alive.” —Steph Dash Nash

“My first interview was with Pete Rock,” she says, “I was nervous as hell, but it came out well. Then I did one with Diamond D; I did one with General Steele, Ken Starr … a lot of underground artists. I made a lot of the connections—it’s (largely) how I was able to be able to bring the artists together for this album.”

 
Three years ago, she was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant to help complete album, which she had begun working on it back in 2014, with the hope of releasing it in 2015. However, that timeline didn’t pan out as But that didn’t pan out as she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, which is the most aggressive form of cancer that affects the brain initially.

“It’s the same cancer that Gord Downie just passed away from,” she says. “It’s also the same cancer that Senator Edward Kennedy passed away from — and the one that Senator John McCain is battling right now as well.”

“I had to hold back a little bit, but I was determined,” she continues. “I was more than halfway complete the album before I was diagnosed. So I had to put it on hold … they only gave me anywhere from six to nine months. But I’m going into my eighteen months now. I’m quite the fighter.”

In recent months, Steph has become an outspoken advocate for Glioblastoma, which is not only the most aggressive, but most underfunded form of cancer. From speaking live to writing multiple letters to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, she’s highlighting the need for allocated funds for research that could save lives of others — like herself — receiving the grim diagnosis.

“It’s [almost] like they feel because the mortality rate is so grim — that you’re going to pass anyway — that they don’t need to expand the necessary resources,” she explains.

“I was [recently] invited out to San Francisco; there are two surgeons that I befriended over the last couple years,” she says. “They’re husband and wife team … they’ve been working on a cure since they were nineteen. They’re not the only ones. There are very brilliant doctors working on this cure.”

“They’re trying to get me into a trial out there,” she continues, “because out here there is no funding.”

With every reason to feel broken, Steph remains a beacon of hope and courage. Though difficult, she pushed to complete True Grit, which served as a motivational factor to help her move forward — as Hip Hop had often done throughout her life.

“I just pushed it out and I mean I wanted to do more,” she says, “I wanted to have some more songs on it, but I had to be wise as well because I don’t know how much time I have — even though I’m very positive. I have to be realistic too, right?”

One of True Grits’ songs was a catalyst for Steph’s fighting spirit, “Strange Fruit” by O.C. — a one-time fav rapper who became a close friend. “Genetics passed down had that domino effect, but I refuse to accept…push to break the cycle even if it takes my life — or a lifetime to rewrite the rules,” he raps over the head nodding boom-bap sample.

“This song has assisted me with fighting this monster that invaded my brain. I guess you could call it my ‘Rocky Anthem’ to continue fighting,” she told writer Mike Cook of Hype Fresh Mag back in September.

Listen to True Grit here, and be sure to follow Steph’s journey on Twitter and Medium.

 

Riley here — father, artist, videographer, professional writer and SERIOUS hip-hop head. I'm a member of the Universal Zulu Nation, and I think everything is better on vinyl. Add me on Twitter! @specialdesigns
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Pressure Dommer Teases His New EP With ”Dopeman” Single/Video

The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

Orlando, Florida, rapper Pressure Dommer is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on his upcoming EP, 8. Set to be his biggest release to date since signing on with No Convo Entertainment — headed by acclaimed record producer Fye Jones — and to wet our appetites, has dropped off a new single and video, Dopeman.

Directed by Brill Adium, the shadowy visual is a cinematic experience, with Pressure on the late night grind; the at times frantic camera motion plays up the almost paranoia-ridden state of being experienced by a trafficker in the trap amid a sea of potential downfalls. The big record is a brilliant look into the crystal ball of what to expect going forward.

“I would describe my sound as reality music,” he tells AAHH, “very influential and soulful … full of jewels.” As he describes it, his grandad and grandma influenced him the most; “seeing them work hard to provide for multiple people — and do it from the bare minimum — [pushes me to strive for the best].

He also tells us that signing with No Convo rests among his most significant achievements. “It’s an opportunity for me to do what I love and be supported by a company that believes in me,” he says.

With his eye on the prize, and the goal of creating a lasting legacy in the music industry, Pressure is one of the hungriest rappers we’ve come across in a minute. “We’re getting this project ready for the masses,” he confidently, pointing toward the near future. It’s about to be a hot summer!

Check out the visual, below. 

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Tee Grizzley’s Highly-Anticipated Debut, ‘Activated’ Has Arrived

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated. Since coming on…

After months of anticipation, Detroit’s breakout star Tee Grizzley has released his much-hyped debut album, properly-titled, Activated.

Since coming on the scene in 2017, he’s been building up to this moment with songs like the platinum hit single, “First Day Out” and critically acclaimed debut mixtape, My Moment. Tee Grizzley tells his story of trials, tribulations, and triumph growing up in the Motor City. The 24-year-old seizes his moment with his signature street mentality and aggressive attitude.

Activated features all-star cast of guest appearances including Jeezy, Chris Brown, Lil Pump, Lil Yachty, YFN Lucci, and many more. Tee Grizzley’s debut album features 18 brand new songs, including hit singles, “2 Vaults”, “Jettski Grizzley”, and “Colors”. Activated is available everywhere exclusively through 300 Entertainment.

Courtesy of Spotify, Stream Tee Grizzley’s debut album, Activated below.

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Playboi Carti’s “Die Lit” Has Arrived

ASAP Rocky-protege Playboi Carti had a huge 2017 thanks to his debut single, “Magnolia” and self-titled debut album. Continuing the…

ASAP Rocky-protege Playboi Carti had a huge 2017 thanks to his debut single, “Magnolia” and self-titled debut album. Continuing the trend, Playboi Carti surprises fans with a brand new sophomore album intriguingly titled, Die Lit.

Known for his influential swagger and bass-driven sound, the Atlanta-native returns with 19 all-new tracks. Reflecting on his skyrocketing success (both good and bad), and reuniting with go-to hit-making producer Pi’erre Bourne (“Magnoila”), Carti collaborates with a lot of heavy hitters this time around, like Nicki Mianj, Travis Scott, Lil Uzi Vert, Young Thug, Skepta, Bryson Tiller, and many more.

Along with the star-studded collaborations, Carti showcases a lot of growth in his sound and establishes himself as a mainstay in the current era of Hip-Hop. Defeating the sophomore myth, Carti’s trendsetting popularity continues to be a must-hear among the wave of new artists.

Playboi Carti developed a cult-like following over the previous years through his selective releasing of music on Soundcloud. Through his affiliations with ASAP Rocky and ASAP Mob, Carti secured a deal with Rocky’s newly developed creative group AWGE and Interscope Records.

Stream Die Lit today, courtesy of AWGE/Interscope.

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Q&A With Rapper Minty Burns

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to…

Toronto-rapper Minty Burns has been around for a while now; in fact, if you live in or have been to Toronto, you’ve likely seen his stickers — or his tag on a white cube van. In 2014 he made waves, collaborating with the likes of Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, and Big Lean. With his ever-growing, loyal fan base in tow, he’s been rolling [pun intended] out his latest effort The Dispensary, which shares the name of his niche cannabis clothing line. To top it off, he’s making a move to LA to embed himself in the west coast stoner culture.

Fresh on the heels of Coachella and the release of his “Green Man” visual, featuring legendary dancehall artist Louie Rankin — of Belly fame — he sat with AAHH for a quick Q&A. Check it out, below.

 
How did you get into the game?
 
I started out freestyling with my friends in high school which led to me doing battle rap for a few years. I won some big battles in Toronto and then started putting out music independently.
 
Who were some of your influences coming up?
 
I use to listen to a lot of Big Pun, Tupac, and Eminem.  Rappers like Fabolous and Jadakiss also inspired my style a lot. Before rap, I listened to a bit of rock too.
 
I hear you’re headed to LA; what are your plans out there?
 

I can’t wait to get back to the lab and work with producers I met while working out there. I also plan on shooting a bunch of new videos and stopping by some radio stations. Check out my last interview and freestyle on dash radio.
 
Let’s chat about your latest video; how did you connect with Louie Rankin?
 
Louie is an OG, and he’s always in Toronto. We got to link up one day, and I played him the song. He started spazzing so when I thought of the concept I knew he would be dope to kick it off.
 
Is there a project in the works?
 
My mixtape is coming out this summer. It got a lot of different sounds and collabs on there. I’m super excited for my fans to hear what I have been cooking up in the past year.
 
Tell me more about The Dispensary.
 
The tape features Zoey Dollaz, Lil Duke, Big Lean, 808 Mafia, Arrabmuzuk and more. I also have a clothing line called the Dispensary which im pushing alongside the tape. Look out for an official release date and release parties in a city near you.
 
Canada is about to legalize weed: thoughts?
 
I think it’s about goddamn time. The movement has been stable for ten plus years now, and I’m happy to see people not having to face charges and worry about going to jail for weed. Hopefully, the government here in Canada can figure out a good system to distribute it and still offer good quality at a reasonable price to the consumer.
 
Any last words?
 
Follow my social @MintyBurns and subscribe to my youtube channel @planetminty. My Official video for Green Man video is out now! Go check that out and burn one. Much Love!
 

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