Emerging Montreal hip-hop artist has something to say
When hip hop artist Drake connected with industry heavyweight Lil Wayne, Drake’s career took off and helped put Toronto’s hip hop scene on the international map.
There hasn’t been a similar catalyst for the Montreal hip hop scene, but one aspiring rapper believes he’ll be the one to do it.
Rommell Morrison moved to Montreal from Pickering, Ont., six years ago with his family. Originally from Philadelphia, basketball was his passion for most of his life. When he was 18, he went to a show where he heard people rapping on stage and thought to himself, “This is something I could do.”
He started getting into it, and as people started to take notice of what he could do, he realized he’d have to make a choice – music, or basketball. He decided to take a leap of faith and pursue his newest passion.
“I felt like there was a bigger calling toward the music, I don’t know what it was,” says the now-20-year-old.
He credits basketball for teaching him lessons he says also apply to music, and to life.
“You can’t play timid because the other team will take advantage of that. When you’re rapping or performing you have to be fearless. You can’t care about what someone might say. That’s the only way to thrive.”
About a year after he started performing, he came up with his stage name. His father was talking about viceroys, individuals who were entrusted to spread a king’s message, and did so with authority.
Morrison identified with that task, believing his job as a rapper is to spread a message and do so with conviction, and so Viceroy the artist was born.
Like most artists, his songs touch on various subjects but the overarching theme is inspiring people to reach their potential.
His Facebook page is full of messages that almost seem wise beyond his 20 years:
“People be like I can’t wait till my life ‘really starts.’ Life has different seasons to it. We just gotta be the best we can in each one,” he writes.
In another, he sends a shout out to all the world’s visionaries. “You are all capable of making something of yourselves. I don’t care what anyone says, I have faith in you all.”
Coming from a spiritual family (his father is a pastor), it’s no wonder he gravitated toward more uplifting messages.
He talks about the overarching theme in those messages: “change and growth encouraging each person to become better in their own way.”
Though he counts icons such as Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur and Jay-Z as inspirations, he says it’s the technical aspects of their music and their drive and ambition that he draws from.
So far, with appearances on Global Television and CKUT 9.3 FM, Montrealers have had a taste of his music and his message, which he has been fine-tuning with the assistance of his producers together with top level studio technicians and talented musicians.
Now his breakout EP “Coming of Age” is just about ready for release, Viceroy proclaims that he’s ready to have his say.
So listen up.
You can reach him @