Reviving a dying genre – the hip-hop industry in P.E.I.

By Chris Gregory
Feb. 26, 2015

When Island rapper, Ryan “Cavy” Cavanagh, released his album The Country Roads, it sparked a lot of interest in the ailing hip-hop industry in P.E.I.
The hip-hop community in the Maritimes and on P.E.I. has come and gone, but it has never had a real presence. Cavy and others hope to change that.
“Halifax and Toronto are the places to be for hip hop, but now people are starting to throw decent shows here. It’s definitely neat to see.”
The hip-hop community has been on the decline in recent years and it boils down to the artists, Cavy said.
“When I started doing it, there were way more relevant rappers. Now it seems everyone wants to do it, but they pick it up for a minute and stop.”
Cavy is looking to set an example and start a new era in P.E.I. hip-hop.
Jay Forbes is a rapper based out of Moncton, N.B. and he’s noticed the turnaround in the Island’s support.
Forbes says it doesn’t compare to the likes of Moncton.
“The rap community in my area is pretty miniscule to be honest. Not a whole lot happens for shows or events. The Island has a lot more support in my opinion from the artists themselves and the fans.”
The community is in a position to make a huge turnaround, but everyone will have to work together, including the fans, he said.
“I think more people need to step up and help work on the scene. A lot of people have tried to do this but it’s hard work when no one wants to work together.
“Change needs to happen, and if you do the same thing over and over again you’ll get the same results.”
John Dunn, Cavy’s producer and engineer, says the scene was very minimal when he started in hip-hop.
“When we started, there really wasn’t a scene. People really weren’t accepting hip-hop in the start.”
New rappers need to buckle down and work hard in order for this scene to continue growing, otherwise it’s going to stay right where it is, Dunn said.
“People need to do the research and find people that are going to benefit and influence them the most.”
From a financial perspective, Jordan Ward, manager of Transpire Music Management, says it’s all about recognition and exposure.
“Anything you can do on the Internet, like a status on Facebook or like a page, or retweet or favourite something. That’s all good, because it’s recognition and that’s very important.”
That said, if there’s no financial support, than the artists and the community can’t thrive.
“When it comes to actually supporting the artist by purchasing their products, buying their merch or going to their shows and buying a ticket, I feel like a lot of people are hesitant about that.”
“If you really care about the genre and you really care about the artist, you need to support them because at the end of the day, financially is how any industry strives,” he said.
Another Island rapper, Greg MacDonald said the keys to growing are having more performances and shows and hopefully grabbing the attention of local radio stations.
“I truly think it will keep inclining as time unfolds.”
MacDonald also thinks working together is the best way to grow and expand the scene and in the end, that’s what’s going to make the difference.
“I believe if we were able to work together and get more youth performing, we could really evolve our culture because I believe we have the talent out there, I really do.”