Local rapper Nick Fitzgerald (AKA Enmity) has a lot to be angry about, but he’s hesitant to compare himself to similarly aggressive hip hop acts.
“I’ve got a lot of anger built up in me. I use it in my music, for sure. But I wouldn’t say I’m a angry person in general. I mean, I don’t live in the hood. I don’t shoot guns and stuff.”
The local star has been invited to participate in Mission Underground Los Angeles this weekend, where he will have the chance to work with and perform for some of the biggest names in independent hip hop. He’s already received encouraging feedback from industry insiders, and has a potential collaboration coming up with an established American rapper.
“It’s going to be dope,” he said.
He has a new album coming, which is written and ready to be recorded upon his return. An earlier album titled The Name is Enmity was completed in 2012, but Fitzgerald wasn’t pleased with the final product. He considers himself a perfectionist and believes he’s capable of better. He said he’s eager to prove it with his latest project.
“I’m going to lay the album down the minute I get back from LA,” he said. “It’s like a big demo, 11 or 12 songs. We’re getting CDs and I will personally deliver anywhere in the Kootenays. Like even the middle of nowhere. I want my music out there, man.”
Fitzgerald, now 21, first started rapping around age 13, but said he didn’t take it seriously until about four years ago. He raps about growing up in Nelson, and says his music often cycles back to the same themes: bullying, racism and the legalization of marijuana.
“I was always in trouble growing up, fighting. I got kicked out of the school district,” Fitzgerald said.
He is especially incensed by the teasing his younger brother Jason, who has special needs, has endured. He said Jason’s schoolmates were often cruel, and he was forced to intervene multiple times.
“It was hard, you know? Lots of people bugging him. Had to knock a lot of teeth out and look over him. Parents can’t go punch someone out, but I can. I love him with all my heart.”
Fitzgerald has also witnessed racism and prejudice while growing up in Nelson, and he hopes to battle hate through his music.
“Me and my buddy Dre, and my buddy Foil, Dre’s half-native and Foil’s Muslim, we were at this party a couple weeks ago and some guys were saying some racist stuff, all yelling out and everything. So we got into a fight and we had to leave.
“Most of my buddies are Muslim,” he said. “I don’t care what colour you are, if you give me respect then I’ll give you respect, you know?”
Fitzgerald is also passionate about marijuana, and credits much of his creativity and success to his habitual use of the controversial plant.
“Took my first puff at 11, maybe 12, then I started smoking real heavy around 17 and I’m not ashamed of it. I think it should be legal. You give me a big bag of weed and a pair of headphones, I could sit down and write an album in one night.”
Fitzgerald’s friend Cole Thompson, known by the stage name Smoky Cush, said he admires Fitzgerald’s music and aspires to emulate it.
“I think he’s got the potential to be one of Canada’s greatest ever. His stuff is from the heart. Not what most rappers are these days, all fictitious. Nick’s been through stuff.”
When asked about future subjects he may address with his music, Fitzgerald mentioned his girlfriend Savi. He said he may write a song about her.
“First time I saw her, I knew I wanted to be with her. If I wrote something it wouldn’t be foul or kinky at all. It would be about love and intimacy and all that, you know?”
Fitzgerald will be performing with Thompson at Finley’s in the near future, during hip hop Thursdays. “It will be a joint performance,” said Thompson.
“No pun intended,” added Fitzgerald.