Ottawa-based rapper TwoTiime, known for his unique flow and sharp wordplay, is one of few artists from Ottawa bringing their dreams to life. The rapper, who has amassed a following of over 27,000 on instagram, grew up in Ritchie, the very place that he credits for igniting his passion for music and expression through art. TwoTiime began releasing music in 2020 with his debut hit ‘Hood Cry’, and just one year later, received a Young Canadian Songwriters Award. TwoTiime spent the winter in LA, where he continued to hone in on his versatile flow to make new hits like ‘Find My Way’, and meeting local greats like Belly in the studio.
We sat down with TwoTiime to hear his thoughts on his early career, his best advice for aspiring artist, and what’s next.
You grew up in Ottawa, in Ritchie. What was that like?
Growing up in Ritchie was a blessing and a curse. In one sense, we were a tightly knit community that bonded over music, basketball, culture and most of the typical things kids enjoy.
On the other hand, we didn’t have the same luxuries that many kids had, like access to certain facilities or opportunities to reach our maximum potential. That meant we had to grind three times harder to reach exceptional heights.
How did you get into the world of rap? What inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?
I started out participating in activities at the local community center and quickly realized I had a unique ability to captivate people through art, whether it was through dance or music.
I saw two paths for my life. One was going to school and doing the ‘safe’ thing. The other was pursuing my passion, knowing that with the right determination and self confidence I could make anything happen.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences, and how have they impacted your music?
In terms of industry influences my choices have changed and developed over time. Early on, some of my favorite artists were A Boogie, Drake and Metro.
They inspired me because of how versatile they are in terms of lyrics, subject matter, flow and vocal range. They showed me that I could be more than a one dimensional artist and inspired me to experiment with my sound.
In 2021 you won a Young Canadian Songwriters Award. How did you feel after this accomplishment?
I felt truly honoured to be acknowledged, and I thank OMIC for recognizing my work. The award was for some of my early work, so I really felt like it was a fraction of what I’m capable of. Encouraging nonetheless bruv.
What is your creative process when creating new music?
I started out booking one hour sessions at the Cave Recording Studio, since that was all I could afford. Because the window was so short I had to get the recordings done in 30 minutes, and the next 30 minutes were spent mixing and mastering.
Thankfully later on I got connected with my management team (Thrilla & Big Zee) that helped elevate my sound and provided me the freedom, space and time to refine my craft.
You had your hit debut ‘Hood Cry’ in 2020, followed by ‘Keep it Real’. How do you connect with your community, and what do you hope listeners take away from your music?
That’s for me to wonder and them to decide. I just hope they enjoy it, keep on listening and stick with me through this crazy journey.
What is a typical day like for you?
My days are mainly spent writing and recording at the studio. If I’m not there then you can probably find me at a local taco truck or ramen noodle spot here in LA.
What can we expect from you in the future? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?
I have some major announcements to make within the next month, including new music and videos. I know I’ve kept my fans waiting long enough but I can promise it will be worth the wait.
What advice would you give to other aspiring rappers in Ottawa?
First: Truly ask yourself if this is what you want to do, If you had to think about it… then this ain’t for you.
Second: Be yourself. No matter what’s “hot” or trending.. Be authentic and your fans will find you.
Third: Understand that being from Ottawa means you’re starting in last place in terms of music and the industry. I know because I’ve only just got started myself.
Lastly, what do you hope to achieve through your music, and what impact do you want to make on the world?
I will be the biggest artist in the world one day… and in the process I will make sure I put my city, culture and community on the map.