Inspired by the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Ottawa hip hop artist Black Iri$h is driven to become an established name in music. He knows what it takes—Iri$h has pushed himself to become more than just a rapper, but a face of hip hop in Ottawa.
“If I said I was just a rapper, that would put me in a box. I’m very versatile as an individual and an artist. I can rap, but I can also sing. I’m learning the piano and I’m making beats and instrumentals. Being just a rapper today is almost impossible.”
Born in France, and having lived in Ottawa since he was 5, Iri$h knows the city’s music scene inside and out. His take? Ottawa is up next. >>>
When did you first start making music?
It wasn’t until after high school that started I making music. But I’ve been doing it in one way or another my whole life.
Who was your biggest inspiration growing up?
It wasn’t just one person—I’m inspired by the many different things that people bring to this world. If I had to choose, I would say Jay Z, Michael Jackson, Elon Musk and Malcom X, to name a few.
What does it mean to be a musician from Ottawa?
The [music] scene and everything in this city is on the come up. I’ve had chances to move to other places but I’m really proud to be from this city, and I believe we up next.
What is the Ottawa music scene like?
Like I said, everything in Ottawa is on the come up. Even so, I’d say it’s still pretty raw compared to the hip hop and music community in Toronto and Montreal. At the end of the day, Ottawa is a government town and I think that shadows a lot of the entrepreneurial spirit here. That is a huge reason why a lot of artists bring their music to those bigger cities. On another note, I’m excited to see how fast the city moves once the LRT is done. It could change the way we view the city completely.
How about Ottawa hip hop?
We’ve got some really dope artists making a name for the city right now: Belly, Night Lovell.
Describe your style, and your signature look.
I don’t think I have a specific style just yet—I want each person who listens to my music and who sees me as an artist to build their own perception of who I am. But, you don’t catch me on stage without a pair of shades.
Describe your sound?
I make music for people to get hyped to and have a good time and to feel good about themselves. It’s hard to describe my sound because I’m the one creating it—I don’t hear it the same way someone who is listening to it would.
What are some tips for aspiring rappers who want to start making music?
I would tell any aspiring rapper to find what they love about music, not just rap. Because to me, it’s bigger than just that. When you see any famous rapper today, there are so many things that go into their music and career—rapping, singing, producing, event promotion, mixing—so many aspects that you can’t ignore if you want to make it.
What was the inspiration behind your new song 24 Bands?
The song is really about hustling, about being a go getter. When I see the luxury in the way that some people live it inspires me—a 24-thousand-dollar watch is pretty crazy, but not having to sell your soul or sell out to find financial success is key. With hard work and determination anything is possible.
How do you define success?
Success to me is being able to do what you love and provide for your family.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.
What does the world need more of? Less of?
The world needs people to do more of what they love, and less of what they don’t love just for money.
Social Media—love or hate?
Without social media, there is no Black Iri$h. The same is true for many musicians and livelihoods today. We are so blessed that we live in an era where with one click of a button, we can connect and talk to people from all walks of life and corners of the world. I use it to connect and share with people from all over the world. Instagram and Twitter are the two I use most.
What are your goals for your music?
I want to tour the world and change as many lives as possible while doing that—whether it be just my family’s lives or the lives of the people I am surrounded by.
What is one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in your career so far?
Trust no one. Even yourself sometimes.