International Spotlight: Rashid St. James Talks “Hallelujah” & More


Rashid St. James is a lyrical embodiment of the downtown culture driving the current dark but euphoric Toronto sound. His name is an apt indicator of his contrasting personality. If divine inspiration is what you need, Rashid might be the go to afterhours saviour that choses enchanting 808-heavy soundscapes to paint a picture as biblical as it is gutter. Hallelujah is his lastest single but his entire Soundcloud deserves a listen. We talked to Rashid and here’s what he had to say about his lifestyle:

How long have you been making music for?

Actually been making music in a studio for the last three years with Solid Mas and 4:44. Before rap though I was doing poetry and spoken word but rap was always the end goal.

Where are you from and how did it effect your creativity?

Originally from Barbados actually, came to Toronto as kid and grew up in Scarborough with the rest of my family. My parents had a crazy catalog of music they would share with my siblings and I from Bob Marley to ABBA, they weren’t too crazy into rap though my Older brother is actually the one who let me hear my first rap album, Puff Daddy and the Family “No Way Out”. I was an introverted kid, didn’t have much confidence growing up but my mom always pushed and supported my creativity, till this day she refers to me as her artsy child when speaking with her friends. My pops wanted nothing to do with rap but we were never close so his opinion wasn’t shit.

Your song Hallelujah was a big track and so was the video, what was the thought process that went behind that track?

I was faded at work singing random melodies out loud looking like a lunatic then came across that one, filled it in with words then sent a voice note off my iphone to Solid Mas. The voice you hear on the hook of that song is actually the voice note I sent Solid Mas, he spent a day with it and sent me back the beat. (crazy right? i know :) )

The Song is pretty much about just saying “FUCK IT” at the end of the day and enjoying life and all the fun shit god puts in front you, I’ve seen people die young and old and I’m not trying to be that dude with more regrets than accomplishments at the end of the day.

Who are your biggest music inspirations?

Kid Cudi.

Is your fanbase mostly hipsters?

lol, I hope not that would mean as soon as my music really gets out there and everyone and their granny knows my name they would label me a sell out and drop me like last seasons fashion.

What is the youth scene in Toronto like? How would you characterize it?

If you want to lose yourself and all sense of morality come spend a week in the Toronto’s party scene. The youth here are full of creativity and drive but all of us seem to be chasing highs. Whether it be through art, drugs or sex, Toronto is a dark city and you can hear it through the music that comes out of here, We have a real “laugh now, cry later” way of looking at things.

Whats next for you music wise?

“The Nightmare in the Afterhour” drops in spring, my debut mixtape with production from the homies Solid Mas and 4:44. It’s a project describing the Toronto after dark party scene. From the Bar, to you standing in front of the washroom mirror questioning reality all the way to 6am walk of shame.

Do you have any other intrests/passions other than music? if so, could you name a few?

People. people are fascinating they interest me like nothing else, the things you learn from random conversations are dope. It just sucks because of social media nobody really interacts with each other in person as they did before. The amount of people I see liking shit on my instagram but when I see them out in person they act like they have no idea who i am or maybe just to shy to approach. It’s just crazy people nowadays dress up to go to a party and spend the entire night on their phone, everybody just wants to be seen in the scene it seems.

5 goals for 2015:

1: Drop “The Nightmare in the Afterhour”
2: Drop “Viva La Scene”
3: Drop “Queen Street Nights”
4: Get Money
5: Fuck bitches…..:)

Haleema is too busy planning for a glorious summer. Either way follow her on twitter -@LVLPLATINUM


Haleema Khan is a writer from Toronto, ON, who also contributes to RESPECT and ‚Äď A dedicated tastemaker, she also performed a rare DJ set at NXNE 2014 in Toronto at Weldon Park.

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