Rise Sovereign – Toronto’s Hybrid Swordsman
Today we are chilling with a new up and coming rapper named Rise Sovereign. Rise is a mixture of different musical and cultural backgrounds. His production style is visual, soulful and atmospheric.
His rhyme style ranges from aggressive rapid fire wordplay to introspective and poetic. He blends both mediums into a signature sound. He is repping Toronto, Canada and making a lot of noise on the internet as of late. On a warm summer day in August we got to chop it up with the homie and it went something like this..
HipHopLead- For starts we heard you got a new track with Young Noble from the Outlawz. What was it like collabing with Noble and how did that song come about?
Rise Sovereign- Peace. I’ve been a fan of the Outlawz since the Pac days. I grew up listening to the Outlawz and always wanted to collaborate. I reached out to him and sent him some production, he came up with the concept of staring at yourself in the mirror, trying to reach a goal and striving towards it. He dropped a cold 16 and I came thru with the rest, and that was that.
HipHopLead- How did you come up with your stage name?
Rise Sovereign- I believe in controlling your destiny, fuck outside influences, be sovereign. I control all angles of my music, from production to lyricism, and stay true to my inner voice. I strive for perfection so I stay rising
HipHopLead- Do you feel that coming from Toronto and being an emcee helps or hurts you geographically?
Rise Sovereign- Toronto has its mix of different cultures, it’s a melting pot with some New York influence. Most of my favorite MC’s and producers came from the East Coast, and there’s a lot of fresh new talent out here. I feel that Toronto is still finding its own sound, so I try to perfect my own and not worry about geographic restrictions.
HipHopLead- Are you a fan of Drake?
Rise Sovereign- I respect his hustle, but don’t fuck with his music. His songs have a club appeal, which is fine, but I get moved more by dope lyricism.
HipHopLead- Do you think with Drake being signed it helped more artists from your region to be looked upon more?
Rise Sovereign- I feel that Drake is overshadowing a lot of up and coming artists in Toronto that still haven’t reached their full potential. Some of the veterans in the game like Raekwon have been showin us love and have been reaching out, he just set up his Icewater North label here in Toronto and think it’s dope.
HipHopLead- Alot of media outlets have featured your music. Canadian, United States… how does it feel to have a such a global impact with your music, as an indy artist?
Rise Sovereign- Independent artists get a lot of flexibility through the internet. I enjoy the creative control I have over how I market myself. I try to craft a sound that cuts through borders, both geographic and cultural wise.
HipHopLead- What made you come up with the title of your new EP, “The Lost Pages”?
Rise Sovereign- The last couple years taught me a great deal, I visualized the album as a notebook, writing shit down that you learn along the way. If you pick it up a couple years later you’ll reflect on what you’ve learned and how far you’ve come since then, I feel like I’m writing my own story and this is just the beginning, the prologue.
HipHopLead- How would you describe this EP overall?
Rise Sovereign- The whole album has an atmospheric, 90’s kind of hip hop feel. I sampled a lot of different artists but still feel that I managed to give a theme that stayed true to my vision. Every track is a separate story with a different feel, whether it’s about grinding through obstacles or just having a conversation with yourself. I try to make my production as visual as possible.
HipHopLead- One of the songs that caught our ear was the soulful, “Where Can U Go”. It has such a late 90′s, early 2k vibe to it. Like something Just Blaze or Kanye would craft. For starts how did that track come about?
Rise Sovereign- I produced that joint a while back. I was digging through records and caught that sample. I loaded it up into the MP and started chopping. The drums fell into place and I could tell it was headed in a 90’s era direction. I added the cuts in later. Swerve & SYG were looking for some production for their project and they spit over that one. I thought the finished product was dope so I included it in this album.
Hear song here — http://risesovereign.bandcamp.com/track/swerve-syg-where-can-u-go
HipHopLead- Any plans for a video for that song?
Rise Sovereign- Not at the moment.
HipHopLead- Any new music videos coming out from you at all?
Rise Sovereign- I would like to cut a video for Hybrid Swordsman. I feel that track introduces me as an artist, producer and an MC.
HipHopLead- Is your goal to be an indy artist or getting signed to a major label?
Rise Sovereign- I plan to stay independent as much as possible, I enjoy the creative control I have over what I do.
HipHopLead- Which music scene intrigues you more … U.S. or Canada?
Rise Sovereign- Most of my influences came from the states, but hip hop is unique in that it’s almost universal. I feel too many people limit themselves because of their geography, but there’s talent all over. I feel that there’s a lot of echoes but not enough original voices, that goes for both regions.
HipHopLead- Who were your personal influences to get into music?
Rise Sovereign- Growing up, being of mixed ancestry, I never really felt part of one culture or another, even in a city like Toronto. I was always trying to find my own sound and I heard it in the form of hip hop at a young age.
It was like a crossroads where every culture blended into one rhythm; I knew that was my sound. I always had a way with words and started rhyming early. I got into production a couple years later and started to experiment with different styles.
HipHopLead- What do you feel has been the highlight of your career thus far on your journey to being one of Rap’s elite?
Rise Sovereign- I always stay elevating, but getting to work with Young Noble was incredible. The homie is a legend in the game and is mad humble. I respect his work ethic, his grind and his attitude and he definitely influenced my angle towards how I approach my music.
HipHopLead- One of your songs that really stood out to us was “Hybrid Swordsman”. It had that hardcore soul sound to it again. What inspired you to create such a soulful lyrical gem like that?
Rise Sovereign- The Wu influence runs deep in my lyricism and in my production style. I crafted that beat and just started attacking it. I felt like I was telling my story as a hybrid swordsman, a sharp lyricist. I wanted heads to feel like they were listening to an old Wu record, so I feel that came across in my delivery and my flow.
HipHopLead- Here’s a hypothetical question. Lets say a major label wants to sign you but one demand would be that you change your image and dumb down your lyrics to sound like the current corporate landscape of the music industry. What would your answer be?
Rise Sovereign- I’ll tell em to look up ‘sovereign’ in the dictionary.
HipHopLead- What new projects are coming out? Any features with mentioning?
Rise Sovereign- I have two new projects in the works. First is “Days In Exile Volume 2″, which is a continuation of my first instrumental album I dropped last year, hopefully it’ll be done by December. I plan on dropping a full fledged album immediately after.
HipHopLead- Hit me with 8 of your favorite bars you ever spit…
‘Breathe heaven’s breath and step, so peep the stamina/
Water into wine like my hands was from Nazareth/
Handle it, focus my thoughts and then I drop a jewel/
The ways of man is crooked so I seek another avenue/
Another planet, to elevate, erase the damage/
Tomorrow’s never promised so I write my name in granite,/
Enhance it, written in stone rocks and minerals/
So I can keep my presence even once I lose my physical’
HipHopLead- Do you think Hip Hop has gotten soft and watered down like many claim or do you think it’s evolving?
Rise Sovereign- It became soft when it turned from a culture into an image. Image lacks substance, now it’s turned into a gimmick. Hip hop will die when people run out of things to talk about. Every real MC out there who’s reading this will feel me on that. A lot of the veterans in the game like Raekwon who I mentioned earlier are reaching out to new talents, and given that the independent artist has a lot more control than they once used to, I think hip hop can become a movement again.
HipHopLead- Who does Toronto lean towards for more inspiration … the Nas and Jay z’s, the Snoops and Dre’s or the Bun B’s and Scarfaces?
Rise Sovereign- The NYC roots run deep in Toronto; Jay and Nas get a lot of love out here, it’s like they’re in tune with Toronto’s rhythm being from the same coast. The West and the South are have their appeal, but the east coast has that concentrated energy that I feel Toronto as a city has.
Here at HipHopLead.com we like to ask our features some questions that really are out of the norm. We do this because it gives the fans a broader outlook on you. So lets get it cracking ….
HipHopLead- Best commercial album of 2013 so far… J Cole, Kanye or Jay?
Rise Sovereign- “Born Sinner” was dope,liked the concept.
HipHopLead- Other then music what do you do with your time?
Rise Sovereign- Working out, reading, keeping mind and body sharp, keeping my mind open and learning about the world. I try to stay as active as possible.
HipHopLead- Tell us a hidden talent Rise Sovereign has?
Rise Sovereign- Used to bboy back in the day. Nothing crazy but we were all young once.
HipHopLead- In your opinion do you think George Zimmerman is being unfairly accused by the media of being a racist?
Rise Sovereign- The whole incident proves that America has been founded on and continues to operate on a double standard.
HipHopLead- If you were stuck on a desert island and you can choose one of these woman to be on there with you .. who would it be, Rosa Acosta, Beyonce or Halle Berry?
Rise Sovereign- Halle
Back To The Norm…….
HipHopLead- Name 1 song you’ve done that will have the HipHopLead.com viewers hooked!?
Rise Sovereign- Hybrid Swordsman. The whole concept is raw and lyrical, and I try to bring that same energy into every track.
HipHopLead- Thanks for hollering at us and in closing give any shoutouts….links to your sites….F.U.’S or whatevers clever
Rise Sovereign- Appreciate it family. I want to say peace to Advo and HipHopLead.com and Ballerstatus.com. Shout outs to my Toronto fam. Check me out on the Digital Dynasty series, featuring some of the joints off the Lost Pages. You can hear the full EP at http://risesovereign.bandcamp.com/
Peace and stay tuned for “Days In Exile (Volume 2)”.