If you’re not aware of the gun violence in Toronto, as a fellow Canadian, you really need to get onboard. It might not affect you personally but it’s only a matter of time before it does and we as a country can no longer sit idly by as our youth and other fellow Canadians are senselessly killed by gun violence. Enough is Enough!
Music has the power to heal, it has the power to move and wake people up. Mostly, it has the power to inspire. The song ‘I Wish I Could’ will inspire everyone to choose peace over violence and to think about the impact that guns have on society. The song was born out of the shooting death of Dub J’s good friend and music manager and executive, Ryan Lorde. He was only 36 yrs. old and it shook Dub J up so much, he knew he had to do something about it.
I felt that with my platform and a broad network, I could speak up on this topic appropriately. We all need to do our part to help combat this issue. I am proud to announce that I have founded a new initiative called ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
Starting today, you’ll start seeing the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH logo appear all over Toronto. We have already connected with numerous clothing stores, sneaker shops and jewellery stores. Also starting today, we are happy to announce that popular Toronto directors like Knemesis, Brown Guy Made This and others have agreed to no longer shoot videos for artists songs that can incite violence. These are all steps in the right direction.” – DUB J
Dub J has managed to bring together 7 amazingly talented Hip Hop artists to collaborate on the track, I Wish I Could. Those artists are JRDN, MAESTRO FRESH WES, JD ERA, BIZZ LOC, TURK, RONEY and JELLEESTONE. The recording was produced by Dub J and it is AMAZING!
Here is the link to this powerful song. https://youtu.be/L-dvDY6LPI8
Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would be talking to such an abundance of talent on one panel but gun violence affects us all and our magazine stands to support good causes that impact our great country. We are all neighbours and these artists have the power to move mountains, so it was an absolute pleasure to join forces to help promote this song and the Enough is Enough campaign. The single is also going to be the Closing Theme Song for the Movie ‘Sons 2 The Grave’ by Canadian Production Company, Have Faith Productions.
Sons 2 the Grave – Basketball phenom, Marcus Jennings was murdered on a footbridge that divides the rich and politically connected from subsidized & neglected Hudson, in a city whose vision is blurred. Power & social status has no race or religion, but it has an address. Sons 2 The Grave divides the responsibility between the have & the have-nots. The answer is not in the blame, but in who’s willing to share it. “We are our brother’s keeper.” The rest is geography.
Without further ado, here is this incredibly rare interview!
HNM “Hello Turk and thank you for talking to us at Hollywood North Magazine. This is an incredible song with a strong message. I’m not sure where everyone else is, so I will begin asking you a few questions until the rest of them arrive.
TURK “All good brother, go ahead.”
HNM “You’re one of the artists that collaborated on this song, so I wanted to know what your part in the chorus meant, what is your message?”
TURK “There’s a lot going on in our city right now and it’s to the point where kids aren’t safe walking around anymore. It’s a no-brainer, that the guys that are in a position to speak to the guys that are listening, should do this. If there was ever a time to do it, it’s right now. That’s the main reason – I felt like the city really needs it desperately right now. With all the different communities coming together and collaborating, it’s something that’s super powerful in a time like this, in a city like this… I’m so honoured to be a part of it. Once I got the call from Biz Loc to send me the beat, I listened to it, and heard JRDN’s hook on it – I knew it was gonna be different and not just a song.”
HNM “Do you think that this project will impact your music/lyrics, going forward?”
TURK “Yes, I think it’s a must. In general, all of these guys that are community leaders, need to consider what’s being said and who’s listening… more importantly. If it was just gangsters or people with strong minds listening to the lyrics but not taking it literally that try to live amongst themselves – that’s a whole different story and it’s just entertainment. But, when it’s people following guys and breaking down the versus word by word and line by line; they wanna live it, they want to live it. Most times, they’re not hearing the part about – if you do this, then this is going to happen to you. They’re not hearing the song that says you’re going to spend a decade of your life in jail. One of the guys (Biz Loc) on the song is going through that right now. He was allegedly caught with a firearm – if he gets found guilty, it could literally destroy his rap career. This guy is one of the most talented guys in the city right now.”
After asking Turk a couple questions, the rest of the music artists had joined me. Entirely my fault because my zooming skills are still at a toddler level. I can only hope that they can forgive me and the pie on my face isn’t too much of a distraction.
HNM “Hello everyone! I’m so terribly sorry for making everyone wait. I feel horrible, so thank you all so much for all your patience.”
One by one, they all begin to come into view, they’re mics are on and everyone introduces themselves – they also reassure me that they’re ok with my lack of zooming skills. I felt welcome amongst greatness. Having the rare moment alone with Turk was exceptional, and now I am in the presence of stardom, legends and pure greatness.
HNM “I think it’s amazing that Dub J was able to bring everyone together to collaborate on this song. I understand Dub J, that you were moved to take action on gun violence after a music producer and close friend of yours, had been targeted and gunned down?”
DUB J “A friend of mine lost his life to gun violence. Ever since that day, it seemed like it was happening more frequently. The frustrating part for me was travelling back under 100 km from the city and having people here not even realizing that there’s a problem/issue. In talking with industry peers and others, they suggested I speak up and put some people together because I’ve been putting collaborations together on records for years. This isn’t just my story – every man in this room can speak to the fact that they’ve lost somebody, they’ve all been affected by it.”
HNM “I read that your friend Chippie was the one that put you up to the challenge in creating this song. What has his reaction been after listening to it?”
DUB J “his reaction has been through the roof and he’s ecstatic with what’s going on. He was the one that put the challenge on and said we should see it through. He’s also the one that talked me out of retiring from music. I was going to quit the music industry 4-5 months before we made this album.”
HNM “do you also have plans to expand the merchandise for Enough is Enough?”
DUB J “There’s a lot we want to do with that movement. Our first goal was to bring national awareness to the problem in Toronto and the second part was to have everyone on this call right now. Turk can talk to you about the good stuff he’s doing with the Turk Foundation. We really need to bring more awareness to the good things these guys are doing. Biz Loc, who’s not in this interview, but he was promoting his Power to the People movement.”
HNM “My next question is for JD Era. First of all, I’m sorry for making you wait. Has your community inspired your lyrics in your songs in the past?”
JD ERA “Yeah, for me – on a personal level, my entire career has been inspired by my community and surroundings, as many of the other artists in here can attest to. Our music comes from our everyday lives, our struggles and that’s why a record like this is so important. It shows another side to some of these records that might speak on the realities of what goes on behind the scenes but it’s not often that we speak on some of the pain that goes on within the communities and about the victims. We’ve all gone through this on a personal level, so when this idea came about from Dub, I was super inspired and I wanted to see it turned into action. When Dub told me that it was going to expand into a movement outside the song, with “Enough is Enough”, I was onboard right away.”
HNM “What would say is your biggest takeaway in being involved in this project?”
JD ERA “I think my biggest takeaway is that Hip Hop is extremely powerful. You have 8 different guys from 8 different places contributing to a record to say enough is enough and speaking about the issue. That’s unity and very powerful in itself.”
HNM “When you contributed your lyrics to the track, what was the message in your lyrics that you wanted to convey?”
JD ERA “I started out my verse saying ‘we lost a whole generation over politics’ because that’s really what it feels like. There’s so many talented kids that are only a record away from being superstars, it can literally be one song… and seeing them go through that is heartbreaking, from my perspective.”
HNM “Thank you very much for being part of this and congratulations on your Juno nomination for your song, No Handouts.”
The next Hip Hop artist doesn’t really need any introductions because he is the grandmaster of them all. He’s been referred to as the ‘godfather of hip hop’ and his name is Maestro Fresh Wes… which I sorta, kind of messed up in my introduction. I did apologize but I will go one step further and offer him dinner on me if he comes to Vancouver. I have so much respect for this artist and I was truly enamoured with his presence.
HNM “How did you become involved in this record?”
MAESTRO FRESH WES “The reason I’m on this record was because my man Dub J asked me to be part of it. The reason why this record is so important, Darren, is because we have so many different generations and this is the first time we’ve made a collaboration like this. It was an honour to have the opportunity to create a song with social commentary with these younger brothers of mine.”
HNM “You’ve made many hit songs in the past. Where does this song rank in your body of work?”
MAESTRO FRESH WES “This is one of the most meaningful records I’ve ever made. I have a slogan – ‘don’t make records, make history’ and that’s what Dub J did by bringing us altogether. We’ve made history by coming together and saying something that has the potential to save lives. It’s like genocide, what’s happening in Toronto, so it was an honour to be part of this and hopefully these words can impact people to move in a more positive direction.”
HNM “You’ve worked with multiple charities in the past. Will you be continuing to offer your support in the Enough is Enough movement?”
MAESTRO FRESH WES “Yes, as long as they want me to be part of this, we’re going to continue to go forward. This is the first time Dub J and I have worked together and this is the first time we’ve come together like this and I hope that we can all develop a friendship. This is actually the first time I’ve been talking politics with Turk, we got Roney onboard as well. JD Era, Jelleestone and I go back through the years… we’ve made songs together, even JRDN. This is the first time though that I’ve actually collaborated with Biz Loc, Dub J and Roney as well. There’s strength in numbers and I think that’s why this song will have such an impact.”
HNM “It’s an incredible song. Was it you Dub J that had to source out all the beats and the music?”
DUB J “I made the beats, it was originally 3 beats and Maestro actually has an interesting story about that, since he was the selector of the beat that we put up on the record. He chose the winning beat and I was wrong (laughing).”
HNM “I knew as soon as I started listening to this song that it was capable of surpassing gold. Are there other tracks that will be added to the project?”
DUB J “No, there’s no other songs on this topic right now. This was the mission.”
HNM “Hello Roney, it’s a nice surprise to see you on this call. Can you tell me about the lyrics/verse that you had contributed to the project?”
RONEY “It meant a lot and I tried to make it as real as possible. I started saying ‘the old G’s that are speaking, have forgotten crime’ because this is stuff that I see. I’m straight from it and I tried to make that come through in the lyrics to convey that as much as possible. I wanted to keep it real and authentic.”
HNM “As a successful Hip Hop artist, do you feel any added pressure to give your fans a positive impact through your music?”
RONEY “I wouldn’t say there’s a pressure, but I feel like I have a duty to do it. It really hurts me to see what’s happening and there’s plans and other ways that we can do it but everyone has to come together to get on the same page. All of us contributing to a song to reach out to people is just a start. This is the right way to do this and because we come from that, people will believe in this. You have to hear it from the horse’s mouth versus someone that doesn’t come from that life.”
HNM “Do you feel like this collaboration will impact your lyrics on new music?”
RONEY “I think so… I always try to put one heartfelt song out there. I might put out party songs, songs for the hood but I always try to put out one for girls or something different. Once I heard the idea of it, I immediately went into it, closed my eyes and got into the realm.”
HNM “I’ve got a couple more questions for Dub J before we wrap this up. With all the money being raised from this track, how will it be used within the community?”
DUB J “There’s a lot of stuff that we’ve been talking about. A lot of the guys on this record have a lot going on in terms of helping the community. Turk can tell you about his foundation and fill you in on what he’s doing.”
TURK “It’s a foundation battling what’s going on in the city right now. It’s exactly what the record is about and why we’re all here talking about this right now. There’s a lot of gun violence in the city, so that’s what this foundation is focused on. I’m from Region, Roney’s from Region, so we’ve come from the same place and he’s my brother, I’ve watched him grow up. Having watched these guys’ minds evolve from where we grew up to where we are now is growth that most people can’t understand. The people on this album such as Biz Loc, Jelleestone and especially Maestro – this is someone that, if he didn’t make music… there’s a good chance I wouldn’t be making music. This is the foundation of the city, so when you see the growth and you see these guys stand up to say Enough is Enough – the power in that is incomprehensible and its priceless. Even people like Biz Loc; even though he might not be physically here right now, his brain is way ahead of his time. When I was his age I was running around the city like a maniac and nobody could tell me nothing and for him to be involved in this at his age – the power is real. While he’s gone, anything my foundation does, his foundation will be a part of it.”
DUB J “We have to put the funds into young guys like this, who are in the community. If we can help, we’re gonna help out wherever we can to spread awareness. I’ve got shipments of these stickers and window decals to go into the businesses. We’re going to have Zoom meetings like this with members of the community. I want to hear directly from them – let’s get a panel of 50 people from the community to hear what they need, so we can put money toward it. We can’t wait for the government or the city to do it, we need to do it ourselves.”
HNM “Is there more that can be done in addition to creating songs with a powerful message?”
RONEY “It’s the least we can do right now.”
MAESTRO FRESH WES “Roney’s right, sorry to jump in brother. This is the least we can do – we’re just a catalyst here. There’s strength in numbers and you’re from Vancouver and I know you’re not too familiar with us but it took a Vancouver journalist to bring these brothers together from Toronto. This is the first time I’ve been doing an interview together with Turk and Roney (laughing). On top of that, Dub J isn’t even from Toronto; he’s from Kitchener/Waterloo area. Toronto has so much politics within itself, that it takes help from outside to bring us all together and we commend you for having us. You’re from the west coast and this is a Toronto issue… but you saw that it was important to bring us together to have this discussion. At the end of the day, we commend you for that. In Toronto, there’s so much division, there’s so much politics where people won’t like anyone’s music because of ego or insecurities. God willing, this song will inspire more people to continue to go forward.”
Considering there was so much incredible talent on this panel, they all made me feel so comfortable and all were so warm and welcoming. Music is powerful and it can change the world. I Wish I Could should be on everyone’s stereo, headphones and mind, so that we can all take in 8 messages of hope, peace and brotherhood.
Donations for this song will be distributed right back into the communities directly impacted by gun violence. You can learn more about this campaign by visiting
enoughisenoughto.com or follow the campaign on Instagram @enoughisenoughTO