An immense talent for the art of rapping combined with a seemingly endless well of hustle has helped Toronto-to-Vancouver transplant Immerze establishe himself as one of Canada's most consistent and exciting MCs in a surprisingly short time. A grimy, big-city east-coast feel gives his tracks a reliable bottom end with a defined west-coast lightness and positivity colouring everything, splitting the difference between the two aesthetics. It's getting trickier and trickier for me to bond over hip-hop with younger, burgeoning heads but Immerze gives us a fertile common ground to start from. His trap-heavy beats are tuned for a younger ear, but the positive, family-man-gangsta lyrics are perfect for the uhhh older heads among us. There's an edge, but it's not sinister. It's a delicate balancing act that Immerze pulls off perfectly. I caught him on the phone from home in Vancouver for a smoky, bottom-heavy instalment of 5 Questions with Rags.
Keeping up with that track record of consistency, Immerze just released the new video for new single “2 Cents/Black Bond.” It's dope. Get after it.
1. Do you remember the first album you bought with your own money?
Yep! 5O Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin'. I think I bought like five of those albums. <laughs> Realistically though I bought four or five. If it wasn't in the car I was in, I would buy it just so it was there. That album was religion when it came out.
What's your favourite track on there? You can only pick one..
Oh man...So many... “Many Men,” that one was on repeat heavy. Hmmm, there's so many. That album's a classic. Yeah, we'll stick with “Many Men.”
When's the last time you listened to it?
The album it its entirety? Probably about a year ago.
Do you find you get much time to listen to full albums anymore?
I always try to find time. If a new album comes out and I know I don't have time to listen to it in its entirety, I won't listen to it. Whether it's late at night or early in the morning, I'll find time. It's hard to do. You really gotta be a fan to do that. You're not doing that just skimming through. Albums that came out, like the Anderson .Paak album (Malibu), I knew I wanted to be fully attentive when I listened to that, so I waited until a month or two after it came out. Then I can form my own opinion without the hype. An artist spends time making an album, so when you listen to it, at least give them the respect of listening to it yourself. Especially albums. Albums are usually pieces of a person's life. They're putting their life on wax for you to enjoy. So, to it's just shit while skimming through some tracks, that's real disrespectful.
2. What's your most positive memory of an elementary or high school teacher?
My guidance counsellor. He smoked weed every day. He would call me out of class, make it seem like we had a meeting and he'd tell me some funny-ass stories and he'd be like, “I'm fucking high bro. Don't tell anybody.” He was cool and didn't give a fuck. I though, “If all teachers were like this kids would actually want to come to school.”
3. If you could spend the day with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
My sister who passed away. That'd be dope to spend another day with her.
4. When is the last time you did something for the first time?
I was editing a video and I'd never used After Effects. That was a few weeks ago. One of my videos that's coming out any day now. I've been wanting to learn, never knew how to do it, so I watched a lot of tutorials and I just did it and it worked out.
5. If you had one wish for hip-hop culture for the next year what would it be?
I wish listeners would appreciate talent when it comes their way. Appreciate talent rather than hype. Hype is always good, but it's frustrating when you hear fans say, “Lil Yachty's so trash.” They hate these “mumble rappers” but they give so much energy and time to these guys. But when somebody's good that they know of, that same energy, feeling, enthusiasm isn't there to support. They'd rather spend that energy calling out who they think is trash. So I hope that people really start sharing and enjoying good art while it's here. A lot of artists in Vancouver, a few of us are starting to do that. It's not a competition. One fan can like everybody. It's not like one fan can't like another thing. The more we share each other's shit we think is good, the more beneficial it is for everyone.
6. Guest question comes from the funky homey Stickybuds...What's one law or public policy you disagree with and how would you change it?
Wow, there's so many...I disagree with not being able to smoke cannabis publicly. Tobacco is worse than marijuana by a landslide. The way smoking is regulated, no-smoking areas, obviously you shouldn't be smoking a blunt in front of a hospital or school, have respect for other people. But I definitely don't feel like you shouldn't be able to medicate yourself.