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Wasiu

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“Wasiu is the hip-hop voice of Montreal.” – i-D

“The young Montreal rapper has been working steadily to make a name for himself and it looks like he’s on the right track.” – Pigeons & Planes

“Wasiu is another one to look out for this year.” – Complex

“Many rappers twice his age would be wise to take notes…” – Okayplayer

“Wasiu is pretty much the embodiment of Montreal’s cultural shift.” – Noisey

“Wasiu has exhibited a desire to creatively tackle a variety of topics, and he raps about them in a way that proves he’s a more-than-formidable emcee.” – HYPETRAK

Wasiu never felt like he truly fit in. Born and raised in Montréal, Québec, the 24-year-old has endured marginalization in nearly every aspect of his life—family, race, education, class—that has, in effect, enhanced his ability to interpret the universal themes of the world around him, and infuse them into forward-thinking narratives for the everyday human.

“Where I grew up made it so I’m able to understand things or view things from a lot of different perspectives,” says Wasiu, who raps with the dexterous singsong cadence of Mos Def and the cultural omniscience of Nas. “Anyone or anything that was around me, I took it and made it a part of my personality.”

[wpex click for full bio]

For Wasiu, being a pariah has always been a constant. A child of divorce from a Nigerian Muslim father and Haitian Protestant-Christian mother, he was torn between worlds, seen by both communities as impure, and a “mixed breed”—not entirely Haitian, not quite Nigerian. Even though he’s Québecois (a Québec native), his immigrant parents tainted his claim to the province. Raised by his mother after his father moved to Toronto, he felt obliged to fit in with her side of the family. Resentments towards his father’s beliefs and culture led him to drop his father-given middle name—Wasiu—so that he wouldn’t be teased in his predominantly white school, where he battled black stereotypes by pushing his intellect past expectations.

“I wanted to fit in and didn’t want to feel like a stereotype, so I’d force myself to excel but make it seem like it was no sweat,” he says, “In a sense, I was assimilating myself to white Christian standards, and dropped my middle name to evade humiliation. That same name now is the one I use to represent myself, and it empowers my blackness due to its African origins.”

The challenges reached beyond his personal life. After penning down his own rhymes during the height of the 50 Cent and Eminem era, It wasn’t until he graduated from high school that he took rapping seriously, and soon realized the red tape strung across Québec. As a format, rap radio is almost entirely non-existent, a roadblock for any anglophone-MC, and the province itself is the only one in Canada where the laws and official language are French. “ Drake is on the radio everywhere, except in Montreal” he says, “Unless it’s one of his pop records like ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’- And if rap’s biggest star is barely spun on the two English radio channels that we have, then what are my chances?”

Overcoming adversity and using those lessons as lyrical fuel is Wasiu’s strongest suit. He is preparing his debut album which funnels his life experiences into a culturally defining opus that balances both optimistic and pessimistic perspectives on human themes. “I’m showing what people view as both the good and the bad,” he says, “and how without the bad, you can’t have the good, and so you start to appreciate the bad… for the good.”

[/wpex]

Press Releases

Wasiu Is Montreal’s Renaissance Man in the Symbolic Video for “Odyssey,” Premiered by ELEVATOR
MTL Rhymer Wasiu Taps Kaytranada, High Klassified, & Other Hometown Heroes For MTLiens 2
MTL Rhymer Wasiu Speaks Truth to Power on the Politically-Charged “Angry Black Man” Single
Montreal’s Wasiu Shines a Spotlight on His City’s Bustling Beat Scene on “ArtBeat Cypher”
Montreal’s Wasiu Pays Tribute to His City, Shares Rider’s Anthem “Cigarettes and Poutine”
Montreal’s Wasiu Demonstrates His Lyrical Mastery in the Clip for “44:4 (44 Four’s),” a Mass Appeal-Premiered Update of Jay-Z’s “22 Two’s”
MTL’s Wasiu Doubles Up JAY-Z’s “22 Twos” on the Icy, Wavy “44:4 (44 Four’s),” Premiered by 2DopeBoyz” Video
Straight Outta the Land of Ice, Wasiu Spins Outsider’s Tales with Snow Mexican EP and Epic, One-Take “No Jumper” Video
Colder Than a Polar Bear’s Toenails, Wasiu Embraces Life as an Outcast on “MTLien,” premiered by Mass Appeal
When Making It Rain Goes Wrong: MTLien Wasiu Drops “Daddy Issues”
Montreal’s Wasiu is Coming Over the Border to Take Over The Rap Game
MTL’s Wasiu Shares His Thoughts on Race Relations, His Hometown, and Leadership, Releases “P.K. Subban” via The FADER
Montreal’s Wasiu Plans His Global Invasion in New Video for “Outer Space”
The Internet’s “Girl” is Remixed for the Second Single From the Haitian-Canadian Rapper Wasiu’s MTLiens EP, Debuted by GoodMusicAllDay
Haitian-Canadian Wasiu Rapper Takes Vengeance, Dear Lola Produces the First Single “No Chance” From Forthcoming EP, Debuted by HotNewHipHop
Premiered by Complex, Montreal Artists Wasiu, Thomas White, and WYLN Share Dynamic Remix of Drake’s “No Tellin'”
Premiered by HYPETRAK, Montreal Rapper Wasiu Shares Confident Rhymes On Dear Lola Remix of Jay-Z and Kanye’s “What U Need”
With Production From A$AP P, Montreal Rapper Wasiu Explores Hardships and Superficial Smiles on “Picture Imperfect,” Debuted by Exclaim!
Premiered by Noisey, 24 Year-Old Montreal Rapper Wasiu Invades the Underground With His Crew In Intense Visual For “Bout 02 Blow”
Montreal’s Wasiu Releases Inspiring Track With Soulection Producer Da-P dabeatX
In Anticipation of His Debut Album, Wasiu Sets His Sights On Stardom With “Bout 02 Blow”, Debuted by Pigeons & Planes
Following a Series of Single Releases, the 24 Year-Old Wasiu Collaborates with RAW Records Artists to Drop Remix, Debuted via Complex
Premiered by HYPETRAK, 24-Year-Old Montreal Rapper Wasiu Pays Homage To Notorious B.I.G. With His “Gros Lysick” Freestyle
Premiered by Okayplayer, the 24-Year-Old Montreal Rapper Fights the Power On “Blkkkout,” Which Released in Honor of Black History Month
Premiered by Earmilk, Wasiu Spins a Tale of Racism, Rage, and Prejudice on His Latest Single “Stereo Type”
Montreal Rapper Wasiu Enlists Producer Kaytranada on Anti-Cuffing PSA “Physical”

Press Photos

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