CVSS which is pronounced Cass, is a veteran rapper who grew up in the streets of Hamilton. Although he currently lives in Toronto, he still represents his roots. Formerly known as Chase Money, he’s been making music for as long as he can remember; way before everyone became a rapper. We had the chance to chop it up with CVSS to talk about his recent album, how the music scene is like in Hamilton and what’s next. Check out our exclusive interview below.
I am originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada – growing up on the wrong side of town, makes me a graduate from the school of hard knocks! I currently reside in Toronto – I love my city and my country. I have been getting a humbling amount of love from my people. I rep Rolling Rich Records proudly, I co-own the label and we have set our sights on the stars.
How would you describe the hip hop scene in Hamilton?
The Hip Hop scene in Hamilton is small but being basically a suburb of Toronto, we benefit from that. Toronto has been put on the map big-time and much respect to artists like Drake for representing and shining a spotlight on us. I feel the hip hop scene growing rapidly and expect several more very serious artists to emerge from here. We have a large pool of untapped talent.
Hamilton is a major city in Ontario, do you feel like it’s not doing as good as it could be?
Hamilton is overshadowed by its big brother Toronto, I feel whatever recognition Toronto gets is good for Hamilton, we are one in the same. Much of what happens on Hamilton is dependent on Toronto’s, whether that’s economics, social issues or even the music scene. Being basically a suburb of Toronto you can’t talk about one without the other. As long is Toronto is skyrocketing, Hamilton will as well. There may be an argument that Hamilton can stand out on its own, but why? There is strength in unification and cross-representation.
Your new album is a banger, how long did it take you to complete it? Tell us how it was like while you’re working on it.
Thanks. I was making this album even before I knew I was making it. I look at my life as a soundtrack to my own personal movie of life. My songs reflect my pain, my struggles, my successes and my life. Every high and every low forms the basis for a song. Growing up on the wrong side of town has its disadvantages, but I would also argue, it also has its advantages. Let’s just say it inspires all sorts of creativity, and creativity is something you need to get ahead in life where I come from. Growing up, I was inspired by a multitude of artists from all different genres and respect all forms of music. There are obvious influences such as Jay-Z and Kanye West, and then there are less obvious influences (as they were before my time) like Public Enemy and the track “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”, Grandmaster Flash and “The Message”. I listen to these tracks and feel like they are talking directly to me. It is because of artists like these that I credit the fact that I feel my tracks need to tell a story. They were before my time, yet their music has completely influenced the type of artist I am, and that’s powerful.
Do you have any videos you’re working on that’s off this album?
I have released the video for an extended version of “Fly Away” and am working on a few others. “I Used To” is about to be released on YouTube. Look for video’s for Clean, Rain, Too Close and Love Me to drop in the next few months. I am on the grind 24/7.
Who are your favourite Toronto rappers?
That question is an easy one – I have to show much love to Drake for paving a path for Toronto rappers (and Canadian rappers in general) and for representing Toronto hard. A lot of successful people forget where they come from and its just nice to see. I am also very patriotic and grateful for what my city and country have given me. I have great respect and admiration for Kardinal Offishal, Maestro, P Reign, K’naan and anyone else who has helped lay a path for up and coming artists like myself.
What are your next steps? Anything else coming up?
My next steps are to promote myself and give the LP “Selfish Ways” as much exposure as I can. The team at Rolling Rich Records and myself are like a freight train that can’t be stopped. There will not be a blog, DJ, or radio stations that will have not heard from us. We know we have something great and it just takes a listen and you are hooked. We dropped the LP end of December 2016 and in January alone we had 220,000 streams on Spotify. We are getting local and international exposure and it feels great when your hard work pays off. So my focus is on promoting “Selfish Ways” but I would be lying if I did not say I am also laying down tracks and ideas for my next LP – my creative side never rests.
Any final words or shout outs?
My shout out and love goes to everyone and anyone who has taken the time to listen to one of my tracks, to watch a video or even read an interview. I make my music to share with whoever wants to receive it. Thank you all.