When the Toronto native speaks, it’s hard to overlook the mint gold watch that projects shine on his left wrist, the silver chain that adds to that jewelry sheen, the flat rimmed, Montreal branded 59fifty hat that boasts Canadian pride and that uniquely northern tongue that mixes a West Indian flavour with that of the city he’s from. Jaydahmann may appear like a Toronto hip-hop artist through and through on the surface, but it’s his words that separate him in this moment.

“It’s to preserve our world so that your grandchildren can live the way you’re living now,” says the artist, known for his conscious ideals on and away from the mic. “That’s it in a nutshell without getting into the nitty gritty. It’s preservation of the earth so your children’s children can have a decent quality of life.”

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A vocal commitment to living green isn’t a topic of conversation typically expected to have with most hip-hop artists; other interests usually take priority. But as Jaydahmann speaks, while relaxing within the Eaton Chelsea Hotel a few days before his scheduled Live Green Toronto performance, there’s a level of weighted gravity in his voice that differentiates a gimmick from a subject he feels genuinely devoted to.

“In all honesty I have a friend that purchased a home, the first owner out of our circle and he was living green,” says Jaydahmann. “He was composting and all of that. So we sat one day and just started talking about it, sure you learn these things through school, but sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. After having a position at the North York Harvest food bank as the food justice coordinator, my eyes were opened mentally to green living.”

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Having a position at the food bank is just one of the many outlets that helped shape the artist who often carries the conscious rapper label, which he’s not afraid to own up to. He has worked directly with young people through the Nia Centre for the Arts, the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Black Daddies Club and now the Live Green Toronto Festival, which is just another stepping stone towards his maturity as an individual.

The yearly event has always aimed to spread awareness about the importance of living green through the showcasing of environmentally friendly products via venders and has served as an outlet for artists to express their support of the cause. Sponsored this year by the Eaton Chelsea Toronto, the outdoor celebration brought out various talents, which included legendary rapper Maestro Fresh Wes and vocalist Krystle Chance.

“Everything that we do has a cause and effect on yourself and the people around you. So just being socially responsible and knowing that whatever I do here is going to affect somebody else. Just make sure you’re doing something right that’s going to have a positive and lasting effect.” – Krystle Chance

Chance, a naturally talented singer not to be overlooked, remained seated next to her rapper counterpart, just as involved in the exchange. She carries her own brand of raw emotion and musical passion attached to her name and continually provides her own views throughout the discussion. In the same manner that she provides harmonic vocal support during their duet performance, her motivations are akin to his and just as authentic.

“I’ve had a passion for it since university and started taking courses on environmental impact and how our world is going to look in x amount of years if we don’t change the way we basically live,” says Chance. “That’s where it started for me, where I realized how drastic our carbon footprint is, how it’s affecting this world and that we need to do something about it.”

She recognizes that the idea of green living is still an undeveloped idea in much of Toronto’s communities and sees the room for influence among artists like her.

“We’re not living for ourselves, we shouldn’t be just living for ourselves,” says Chance. “Everything that we do has a cause and effect on yourself and the people around you. So just being socially responsible and knowing that whatever I do here is going to affect somebody else. Just make sure you’re doing something right that’s going to have a positive and lasting effect.”

Words By. Noel Ransome + Photos By. Isa Ransome