“This goes out to all my next of kin dressed in Timbs and lettermans, who never settle livin’ cheque to cheque again,” raps the local hip-hop artist F.Printz in his music video All Get Right, filmed in an Ottawa laundry room.
He raps these lyrics several times in his custom made white and black Cold Capitvl hoodie, praising and encouraging members of the black community to keep making their money.
His real name is Keegan Pierre but to his fans and fellow members of the Cold Capitvl Collective, he goes by the name Freddy Printz or F.Printz. Pierre is part of the Cold Capitvl Collective. The group is made up of three hip-hop artists: David Notes, Keegan Pierre, Anthony Isaac and one graphic designer Artful Ritch. As a group their goal is to bridge the gap between art and sound.
With the help of the collective, Pierre is releasing a new album in April 2015 titled Cold Capitvl II. The album is about life in Ottawa and the journey for people in the capital to find their way somewhere in-between a small city and a metropolitan.
Canadians mostly rely the US to provide entertainment, especially in music. Drake, Shad and PartyNextDoor seem to be the only recognized Canadian hip-hop artists at the moment. Pierre and his supporters hope Cold Capitvl II will open a lot of eyes in Canada to the talent that our nation is capable of.
Pierre’s previous album the Cold Capitvl Project was released in 2013.
“The first one was more of a declaration of what Cold Capitvl is,” says Pierre.
While the second album, “is a journey of everyone in Ottawa, to bigger aspirations and what’s on the other side.”
Pierre recognizes that Ottawa isn’t an entertainment city. He says the underrepresentation of Ottawa artists is due to the lack of platforms for people to display their work. But with Ottawa’s expansion and developments, such as the LRT and the Ottawa Convention Centre, the capital is pushing towards being a bigger city with more opportunities.
“All those small details are attributing to a bigger city and a bigger atmosphere,” says Pierre.
Although he was born in Montreal, Pierre, 25, has lived in the Ottawa area for most of his life. He attended St. Matthew Catholic High School in Orleans and played football. But he also excelled at English, creative writing and the arts.
After high school, Pierre studied criminology at the University of Ottawa for two years before realizing it wasn’t for him. In his previous album, the Cold Capitvl Project, Pierre talks about the difficulties of being a student on his track, C.R.E.A.M. ‘13. In the song Pierre alters the famous Wu-Tang Clan lyric, “cash rules everything around me,” to, “cash ruins everything around me.”
When asked about the alteration, Pierre says that as a student it’s difficult to maintain a living while paying tuition and finding yourself. All these factors have the ability to deviate you from the straight path.
“It’s hard to stay righteous with so much going on,” says Pierre.
“A lot of people are money driven but it can ruin you at the same time.”
Regardless of Pierre’s pessimistic view of student life, he is known by his friends and family as someone who doesn’t hold on to negativity. This quality can be best described by his cousin, Anthony Isaac, who is also part of the Cold Capitvl Collective under the artist name The Unkwn.
“I’ve known Freddy since I was born,” says Isaac.
“He doesn’t let things get to him. He’s really good at not feeding negative energy.”
Pierre is also known for being a perfectionist.
“He’s constantly re-evaluating his content,” says Isaac.
“He won’t put it out until it’s right. He’s one of his toughest critics.”
The Cold Capitvl Collective started four years ago, says Isaac. Pierre’s first gig after the group came together was performing at the nightclub Babylon on Bank Street. Since then, Pierre has opened for Pusha T and been noticed by his favourite sound engineer Young Guru, who’s mixed 10 of Jay-Z’s albums.
Justin Asare, 21, who is a student at Algonquin, didn’t see Pierre open when Pusha T came to Ottawa, but did see him perform at the Ottawa Convention Centre in August for the local artist showcase Breathe.
“It was really dope,” says Asare.
“He’s definitely one of the three best Ottawa rappers. I think he’s the best.”
For Pierre, his younger brother is a huge source of inspiration. With his music he can send his brother and the younger generations of people in Ottawa empowering messages.
“From the ninth grade up until last year university is the age group reaching out,” says Pierre.
Dereshean Jarrett, who falls under this age group, is mastering Cold Capitvl II in Toronto. Jarrett, 20, is an aspiring sound engineer. He approached Pierre in the summer after noticing his music. Jarrett felt Pierre really stood out as an artist and after the two communicated over social media for some time Pierre offered Jarrett the opportunity.
“It’s my first time working on an album,” says Jarrett.
“He’s willing to trust me with part of his work and I’m grateful.”
Jarrett’s heard the whole album and says it has great quality as well as having all the perfect elements a good album needs.
“Sonically, physically, it’s something for people to look forward to,” says Jarrett.
The album includes eight songs, which Jarrett says is the perfect amount because it gives time for people to sit down and listen to it. Five or six of the songs he can see on Canadian radio stations.
Jarrett says that Canadians are more inclined to follow American artists, when there’s a lot of good Canadian artists like F.Printz that people need to pay attention to.
“Canadians listen to Americans, we have the fan base, but we need to support each other,” says Jarrett.
To support his music as well as his lifestyle, Pierre works pat-time at Bell in customer service. With more funding, whether from the government or local support, Canadian artists like Pierre would be able to devote all of their time to their music.
When Pierre and his crew aren’t working at their part-time jobs they can be found doing late night studio sessions at BODB Studio in Orleans.
Pierre finished recording all of the music on his new album Nov. 10 at BODB Studio. Now the album needs to be mixed and mastered to sound good on all platforms for the album’s release April 2015.
Pierre’s favourite song off his new album is The Forever Outro. Outro is slang for conclusion or the opposite of introduction.
“It resonates the most with me because of its elements,” says Pierre.
“Everyone has their own path to follow. You need to stay on your path but don’t forget about anyone else’s.”
Pierre is talking about his path as well as his friend’s paths. The collective will have to split up eventually to achieve their separate goals, but will come back to each other one day as more complete people.
Outside of his music, Pierre is interested in basketball and is a hard core fan of the New York Knicks. He also likes to keep updated on world news. He says he tries to follow news sources outside of Canada, such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and RT.
Pierre comes across humble when describing how he views his rapping versus what other people tell him.
“I think I sound like me,” says Pierre in a low voice while looking at the floor.
“People say I sound like Nas. People say I sound like Joey Badass, J. Cole, Jay-Z.”
Pierre has performed his music in Toronto, London and Ottawa, but hopes his music will allow him to see more of the globe.
“I haven’t travelled all that much. My music is going to help,” says Pierre.
“I aspire to be a citizen of the world.”