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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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World Premiere: Hunnid Runs A Heist In New “Money Up” Video

Hunnid, officially drops a visual treatment for his recently released single, “Money Up.”

Award-winning Chicago MC and founder of founder of C.C.G (Committed to Comradery and Growth), Hunnid, officially drops a visual treatment for his recently released single, “Money Up.” An anthem about hard work, endurance, and dedication — which are all staples of his career thus far, the song is the first taste of what we can expect from his upcoming project.

Hunnid, if you’re not familiar, is fiercely independent. He’s been quoted in the past as preferring the ‘do-it-yourself’ approach, mixing and mastering all the music himself, running his marketing campaigns, and doing his finances and bookings. “I’d rather be 100% responsible for any successes or failures than let my fate be in somebody else’s hands,” he says. His one-man squad method has won him numerous [regional] awards and nominations.

The new visual has a complex heist treatment, which lends itself to an engaging watch–check it out, above.

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World Premiere: Bhadwaiz Drops New Single “My Wave”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in.”

Ohio-based rapper Bhadwaiz likens himself as someone who brings hope to those around him; a shining example that following your dreams can pay off. “All I really wanna do is ride my wave,” he says confidently. Having generated some buzz on the Ohio scene for a minute, his first release of 2018, “My Wave,” is poised to take him to the next level.

“Straight to the point, I want this song to be the anthem for people who want to do their own thing, their way—and without any doubt,” he says. “This song is a mixture of contemporary and traditional hip-hop. When I say that, I mean the production is similar to what you hear today, but the lyrics are what makes the track stand out.”

“When people hear this for the first time, I want them to take notice of what I’m trying to do and what lane I’m in,” he continues. “I want people to appreciate this track in all aspects, and I know they will. I’m very confident if done right; it will be my breakout track, and I can’t wait for what’s in store after this.“

“My Wave” by Bhadwaiz will be available for purchase through iTunes — or whatever streaming network floats your boat. Check out the exclusive premiere, below.

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Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape ‘Brat Mail’

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases…

Detroit native Kash Doll has decided to surprise her fans with a special delivery on her birthday. The rapper releases new mixtape, Brat Mail.

Kash started taking music seriously while working in the strip club as an exotic dancer. “I never really danced, Kash Doll tells The Fader. “I used to walk across the stage rapping songs, and they used to just throw me all the money.” She started gaining a buzz from her well-received single covering AV’s “Run Me My Money” and her 2015 mixtape, Keisha vs. Kash Doll. The next year, Drake slid in her DM to ask if she would like to perform at his Detroit stop on his Summer Sixteen tour. And Of course, she said yes. Her 2017 smash hit, “For Everybody” is one of my favorite tracks by the rapper. Inspired by Hype Williams’ film, Belly, Kash raps from a side chick and wife’s point of view which racked up over 10 million views via Youtube.

Kash Doll Drops New Mixtape 'Brat Mail'

The nine-track project features guest appearances from Natasha Mosley and Scrilla. Known for making boss moves and flaunting it in her lyrics, Kash reminds us why she’s up next up in the game. “My neck froze, it’s all ice/Put a ring on it, and name it Mr. Nice/His credit score 800, call him Mr. Right,” she raps on “Dancin.”

Her fans, which she calls “Bratz” couldn’t be more thrilled about new music by Kash.

“Today is not only special because of my birthday, but it’s the day my father passed,” says Kash Doll. “Brat Mail is a collection of songs I’ve teased on my socials that my Bratz have been waiting for.

Listen to Brat Mail below.

“For Everybody” video.

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Manny P Makes Debut With Single/Video “Facts” [Interview]

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts.”

Rapper Manny P regards himself as molded by the culture of the world, having lived in Los Angeles, New Jersey, Vermont, London, and currently, the Mecca, New York City. “Music has always been apart of my life … since before I was born,” the Mexican rapper tells AAHH. “My mom did a lot of musical theatre back then, so [I] was backstage immersed in all that while still in the womb.

Currently working on his debut album, Manny has been recording music since High School. “My sound kinda goes anywhere from really abstract, highly personal, to turn up raps,” he says. “I don’t stick to one type of beat/sound. One minute I’m on a dark ass lofi beat rapping the whole shit in a real monotone voice, and the next I’m loud and expressive over something more up-tempo.”

“Different beats give me different energies … they put me in different places in my head,” he continues. “All the pieces come together [though] to make up the full picture.”

Manny cites Pro Era head honcho Joey Bada$$ as the reason He started rapping seriously. “I was chilling with some homies real late one school night, and one of them had thrown on ‘Suspect’ from his first mixtape 1999,” he notes. “I penned my first shit to that beat. The verse still sits at the top of my google doc … like 50 pages ago. Through him I learned about pro era, then beast coast, and all that spiritual third eye indigo shit – I used to be on that.”

He recently dropped his official debut single on all streaming services and doesn’t plan on slowing his pace going forward. “I’m working on a lot of music, getting a live set together so I can start doing some more shows, and eventually I’ll have an album,” he says.

Manny P is an artist to put on your watchlist for the coming months. In the meantime, check out his latest visual, “Facts,” a colourfully trippy, and engaging visual feast to accompany the must-bump single. Manny has a clear delivery, and some surprisingly focused bars for new artist. The instrumental has a soulful undertone, dripping with a late 90s southern tinge that seems to get more infectious with each listen.

Add this joint to your playlists!


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