Photo by Rashad416
If you know Toronto rap, you know about Teddy Fantum and G Milla, prime exporters of the churning heaviness that's put the city on the map of hip-hop connoisseurs. Their new collab "On Me" soars like a romantic R&B jam but bears little of that tenderness at its core, instead letting saintfall's narcotized beat and Fantum and Milla's sighing vocals congeal into a haze. The song is something of a calling card for DSTRY, the collective that both rappers claim, and is a taster for their respective projects (Help Me for Teddy Fantum and LFDY for G Milla). We grabbed Teddy Fantum over email to discuss DSTRY and what's to be expected from Help Me. Stream "On Me" below and read on for our interview with Fantum.
Noisey: Tell me a bit about DSTRY. What's the mission with the collective?
Teddy Fantum: Issa gang. In all seriousness the way we operate is like some kind of art gang. We're deeply rooted in the Toronto underground. We know everybody, we've done everything. I guess the original mission revolved around my music and since then it's evolved way beyond that. Kid. Studio, for example, is its own entity but every one of the mandem are original gang members. We linked up doing a couple videos for my songs and it spawned off into videos for The Weeknd, Majid Jordan, and others. Almost all of us come from immigrant parents and grew up in wild parts of the city. We all share the same demons and our main objective is to help elevate each other… we're mad blessed to have that. There's really so much more to it but I'll save that for another story.
Your upcoming album's called Help Me. What do you often find yourself needing assistance with in your everyday life and how does that inform the album, if at all?
2016 has been the year from Hell for me. All kinds of losses. Heartbreak, death, mental breakdowns, substance abuse, blah blah blah. Help Me spawned from this hell. The title was actually kind of a joke at first but as the album developed, it became both a parody and a serious self analysis. I'm done pretending like my life is a blast. I don't really need "assistance" per se because the help I'm looking for lies somewhere in myself, so I guess I'm asking me for help? Fuck.
What is G Milla's role in "On Me"'s artistic vision? How do you see the chemistry between you two ideally ?
Me and G work out of the same studio so there's a been a few times where our sessions overlap and I'd just invade his track and vice versa. Only time will tell how our collaborations will develop but we've been talking about doing a project together. He's a good yute, still. Shout out to saintfall for the production and mix.
What kind of album is Help Me going to be?
I want Help Me to be the album that gives people who are really going through it the courage to talk about it because I'm really putting myself out there with this one. Kind of like a "lead by example" thing I guess. My single "Fake Love" premiered on Fader earlier this summer, before another Toronto rapper decided to do it, and it's really the best example for how this album will sound. "On Me" is the last little teaser before you get the whole project.
Phil is a Noisey Canada staff writer. He's on Twitter.