Young Stitch talks signing with Stealth Bomb Records, travelling out West & plans for 2021

Back in the summer of 2019, I directed a music video for a rapper from the Durham Region in Ontario that goes by the name of Zaze. “Game On” featured a few other emcees, one of them being the Canadian freestyle legend, Young Stitch. This was my second time meeting Stitch in person, and my first time working with the east GTA emcee on a music video.

One thing that stood out to me about Stitch was the pure and consistent style of his bars, whether you’re listening to him perform from his vast catalogue, or checking out his previous rap battles. Prior to the global pandemic, Stitch really accelerated his growth on the scene by doing shows across Ontario, and joining the Lunch Room Poetz rap group. On top of that, he’s been paid to do countless features for artists across Canada, which has largely been fueled by his impressive 2018 BET Freestyle Championship win. Among a gang of fierce competitors, Stitch came out holding the title and instantly boosted his name recognition internationally.

And even when the world fell under the pandemic—which is almost one year ago now—Young Stitch continued to make headlines when he made one of his biggest moves to date, signing with Snak the Ripper and his west coast label Stealth Bomb Records. In his own words, Young Stitch is ecstatic to be on the same team with the likes of Snak the Ripper—the West Coast rap legend that has a worldwide fan base—and Stitch is looking forward to soaking up all the additional eyes from the Vancity rap scene that this will undoubtedly bring.

Stealth Bomb Records

Also having a familiar face in his friend and labelmate Junk makes the process a lot more enjoyable for him, particularly when he travels across the country from Toronto to Vancouver. A rapper like Young Stitch doesn’t come along very often, with his exceptional lyrical ability, hard hitting bars and a delivery that has been compared to a young Eminem.

Combine all that with the fact that he has already got to have taste of life in Los Angles, Young Stitch knows exactly what is on the line, and what is left for him to accomplish.

Most recently, Stitch and Stealth Bomb labelmate Junk have announced a collaborative project, Lions Eat Goats, expected on Feb. 26. The pair just recently dropped their new Snak-assisted video for “3 Kings,” to officially kick off the campaign.

We recently sat down with Young Stitch to shed some light on the new project, as well as other recent events surrounding one of Canada’s biggest up and coming hip-hop acts. Check out the full Q&A below!

Q&A: Young Stitch

HipHopCanada: Hi, Young Stitch! Thanks for sitting down to chat with us today and Happy New Year. How has 2021 been so far?

Young Stitch: It has started out decent, so far. We’re hitting the ground running this year. I got a lot on the plate and a lot of stuff I’m ready to pull the trigger on. 2020 was a shit show but we are about to set it off in 2021. Starting off, got the Snak the Ripper and Junk video dropping in a month and wrapping up a solo album soon, so lots of stuff!

HipHopCanada: I heard you went out to B.C. on a hip-hop late last year. What did you get up to out there?

YS: Out in Vancouver, we got a lot of sessions in but most importantly, we wrapped the Lions Eat Goats album with Junk, and I got to meet most of my new teammates on the new label. We shot some visuals for the album as sending footage back and forth across the country just wouldn’t have done it justice.

So, it was stuff that needed to get done in person. Snak the Ripper flew me out there and I got to meet him for the first time. Did a lot of work and some partying, but it was equally balanced.

HipHopCanada: Can you provide some details on the new deal you have signed with Stealth Bomb Records and what it might mean for your career?

YS: So basically, right now I am signed with them for the new album Lions Eat Goats, and without getting into the fine details it doesn’t limit me from doing anything on my own independently. It’s something where I rep the name and they rep mine. I’m rocking with the team and the new album Lions Eat Goats with Junk will be my first official release on Stealth Bomb Records. Where I am at in my career right now, it wouldn’t make sense to lock myself up into something that would affect anything else then that particular situation as I do a lot of collaborative work with other artists, book my own shows and do a lot of my own business. They are all the way on the Westside of Canada and I am all the way over here in Toronto. So, I wouldn’t be signing something that didn’t make sense and this one really made sense as it helps me out and Snak gets his investment back so it’s a win-win. I also get the platform and I get to tour with all these guys once shows come back… and also getting to use the Stealth Bomb name which is a prestigious name in the Canadian hip-hop scene. So, I’ve been fortunate.

Snak The Ripper, Young Stitch & Junk at the “3 Kings” videoshoot

HipHopCanada: Is Junk the member of Stealth Bomb Records that you usually work with the most?

YS: Yes, that is who I am closest with and have worked with the most. He is actually the one who put the ‘Young Stitch’ bug in Snak the Ripper’s ear.

HipHopCanada: Is that how you first got in touch with Snak the Ripper? How long ago was it?

YS: Yes, I don’t think he heard too much of my stuff before. I don’t think I was really on his radar prior but when Junk showed him my song “Ragu,” that is when Snak started hitting me up. He actually gave me a call one day when I was in the car with my boy Riyality and he let me know he was relaunching and rebranding Stealth Bomb Records and he wanted me to rock with them. And I was like, “yup, let’s do it.”

I remember the day when I saw Snak go on a spree of my stuff because there was a series of likes and comments all in a row on Instagram. The very first talks of it happened when Junk filled me in on the whole situation and that was about a year ago. So, December 2019, and that was just Junk calling me and letting me know he put Snak onto some of my music. Then months went by and it wasn’t until May or June when Snak actually reached out to me himself to get the ball rolling on everything.

HipHopCanada: Do you have future plans to work with any other artists from out West?

YS: Yeah, there is a few people like Kryple, he is my dude. Merkules is my bro. I would like to get a few tracks with him going this year as well. There is a few people I’ve been building with from out west that I would like to work with. I really like the scene out there, good vibes and I like that they still value bars and lyricism. Also got some work in with Tao and Justin Case, and did some sessions with Household Record, which is Junk’s label. A bunch of new tracks coming, lots of work man.

HipHopCanada: Now that you have had a taste of the Vancouver hip-hop scene, what would you say is the biggest difference when comparing it to the rap scene in Toronto?

YS: If you think of the big rappers from out west such as Merkules and Snak the Ripper, they have their own unique style of music, and when you look at all the Toronto rappers, excluding the big rappers like Tory Lanes and Drake, they all have their own style of music that is similar to each other in Toronto. I feel like Toronto has its own unique style compared to the rest of Canada, I feel like the rest of Canada still fucks with styles like ‘boom bap style’ of rap.

I like everything, trap, R&B, trap-hop, drill, I’ll do anything and I like all sub genres of hip-hop. But Toronto is brutal when it comes to supporting “true rappers,” and when I say rappers, I’m not talking face tattoo-auto tune-wave rappers, I’m talking about “rapper rappers” you know what I’m saying? Toronto does not put-on rappers. Finding Toronto Rappers the web page was really dope, shout out to them as they put me on the Lyrically Inclined series which also featured other artists that could actually rap which was really cool. I was inspired by seeing all the different talent from Toronto as all that usually gets pushed down our throat is the same style over and over again which tricks people into thinking that is what Toronto rap is. A page like 6ixBuzzTV will only post stuff like that wave style music and its cool, but they should be posting everything as there are other artists from the city that go hard and not just glorifying the same shit. And that’s not cool because we have everything here… so, what I find different in Vancouver is that they support actual rappers more there than they do here.

HipHopCanada: How have you been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic this far? How do you feel it has impacted your life and your career in music?

YS: Just like anyone else but being a musician, it messes with us in different ways in terms of our career. I miss performing, I miss being on the stage in front of people as I am a natural born entertainer. It’s weird not having live shows to go to and not doing that whole aspect of music, but it has also been a blessing in disguise. The silver lining has been that it has given me ample time to sit down and work on my craft, you know what I mean? So, any rapper that has sat around and not really done anything this whole time during this pandemic is lame because this was the perfect time to sit there and work on your craft. The heavens have blessed us with this free time to sit down and work on our pen game so I don’t know what the hell you are doing if you’re a rapper. But yeah man, I definitely miss performing as that is a source of income for a lot of performers like myself which also hinders our ability to move merch. It diminishes our ability to do that whole aspect of the game. It’s brutal, but hopefully it’s over soon.

HipHopCanada: What advantages do you think being signed to a record label gives you? Does it give you more or less freedom as an artist?

YS: It depends on the contract, which usually varies, but for myself it’s being able to attach the name to myself which ups my own brand’s value. When it comes to Snak the Ripper, he’s really good at being able to move his product around the world as he sells out shows everywhere like Germany and Amsterdam, and that’s big. I have always wanted to tour the world and to do shows outside of Canada. I want to do all these things–some of which I have done already–but I’d like to go on tour out there and I feel one of the biggest advantages of being on the label with Snak is that we know he can actually do that stuff and I have witnessed it. I’m excited to tour with him just so I can get the eyes of his audience on me.

I’ve always said if I was a native Vancouver rapper, I foresee that I would already have a very large following. Those guys over there just rock with the bars heavier and with my style I just think it would have translated a lot quicker over there, I mean, I get my love here as I am a Toronto mans but on paper, I would have been bigger over there if I started rapping there from the jump. But it’s never too late!

HipHopCanada: Congrats on the progress the Lunch Room Poetz made in 2020. How has your experience been being a member of the group?

YS: I love it man. I have always been a good team player. Anyone that has worked with me knows I always put people on. I have been the face of my label a copious amount of times but with a super group like LRP, everyone is really talented and there is no weak link. You know, if you ask 10 different people on who they like the best in the group then you might get 10 different answers, and I like that. Also, selfishly, I like not having to carry the workload. Back in the day I was on a label where I was the only one doing anything so I had to carry the workload in that situation. It’s cool to a part of a group where everyone is equally hungry and everyone is equally talented with no weak links. LRP has been killing it and I am proud of the boys for sure.

HipHopCanada: There was a lot of bad to remember when it comes to 2020, do you have a favorite moment or accomplishment of the year?

YS: Probably inking the deal and making it official with Stealth Bomb Records, as that was a big move for me as a 30-year-old rapper to be still doing it hard. Everyone in the game has the dream to sign with a label like OVO or XO or like one of the big labels in the game but honestly, Stealth Bomb is a hardworking, reputable name that has a great following.

And Snak the Ripper is the GOAT and one of the great Canadian rappers to ever do it, in my opinion. So as far as accomplishments go, he has done his work. Yeah, really, I’m just super blessed.

HipHopCanada: Do you have any plans for 2021 that you can tell us about?

YS: Just a lot of content to drop. 2020 worked well for me. I got a lot of buzz despite the COVID shit. The last two years since the BET freestyle contest win, I’ve really seen a steady increase in my buzz. For 2021, I plan on going even harder, like I said, I’m hitting the ground running. I’ve got the Junk album, I’ve got my solo album, I’ve got duo EPs going out with each member of the LRP crew. I’ve got an EP coming out with my boy Casper Marcus from London. I’m working a lot this year and I plan on dropping even more content than I did last year… and I dropped a lot of stuff last year. This year, it will be geared towards streaming a lot more. I didn’t have a lot of singles last year as I focused more on collaborative work such as the LRP stuff I previously mentioned, and me and Junk devoted a lot of time to our project… which is super fire, I gotta say.

HipHopCanada: Rumour has it you recently took on a new business venture in the form of a clothing store. How did that come about and what do you expect to do with it all?

YS: Basically, my good friend Harley G who is infamous in the biker culture, started up his own clothing brand called Harley G’s which started out small but he kept building it and over time it got more popular and now the store has become a staple in Oshawa. Anywhere in Durham or the east end of the GTA you can see the stores popping up. Now, they are everywhere. So, they are really making a splash. He started selling franchises and he had one in Pickering which unfortunately didn’t work out with the previous owners.

Not saying that they did anything wrong, it just didn’t really work out. So, he figured he would ask me and he told me it wasn’t too grueling of a schedule and then he blessed me with the store. He said I could run my own store and use my following to help try to make it work. So I thought, you know what, with COVID and how weird everything has been lately, I got this and this is something I can do. And you know, it’s my first time running a store and I’m pretty good at it as I am a quick learner.

HipHopCanada: Thanks for chatting with me today. Any last words for your fans out there reading this?

YS: Yeah, just want to thank everybody for following me and supporting me because without the fans following me, I wouldn’t be in a position to be blessed with the opportunities I was fortunate enough to be blessed with. So, I am super grateful to anyone that checks in on something that says my name on it. It means the world they don’t even know. Appreciate you having me.

You can follow @OfficialYoungStitch on Instagram.

Written by Kyle McNeil for HipHopCanada