“My grandfather told me many gon’ die. Many gon’ lie,” Toronto rapper Jaydahmann spits to the camera during the video shoot for his new single “Conquer”, an emotional and motivational track harnessing what the Toronto emcee calls the “essence” of his true artistry.

Dressed in plaid, complimenting his gold accessories and contrasted by the black and white backdrops, which are soon to be dripping with B-reel footage from Jaydahmann’s esteemed resume, telling his story through Final Cut Pro and After Effects, Jay shares wisdom through his music and casual conversation.

Hidden in the Loft Studio in Toronto’s Liberty Village, the emcee, who hails from the city’s Jungle neighbourhood, escapes the bright lights and cameras for a moment for a one-on-one to talk about his recent return to the Canadian music scene, the vision behind the new single and his new video “Conquer”, set for release on April 28.

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YOU SAID IT’S COMEBACK SEASON FOR YOU, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT? It’s a comeback season, because I’ve been around on the scene for several years now. I tend to disappear a lot. To the naked eye, people that don’t really know the industry, the business has to be on point; the team has to be right. When those things aren’t right, you can run into these brick walls. Two years missing from the scene can happen like that. A lot of life has been happening. Right now, stars are aligned. The team’s right. The music’s right. I took time after my track “Go Crazy”. Now we’re here. This is the first single. It’s called “Conquer”. I think that’s self-explanatory. It’s no holds barred. We’re not afraid of anybody. I’m coming to regain my spot and to really be that voice. A lot of people say they want to be the voice of the streets and whatnot, but what exactly are you echoing? I’ll just let the music speak.

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DO YOU FEEL LIKE SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE THERE HAS BEEN ANYONE THAT HAS HELD THAT SPOT AS THE VOICE OF THE STREETS IN TORONTO? Well, there’s different aspects of the streets. Some people speak street things, but they don’t know anything about the streets. I’m not going to drop any names. But from me being from the streets and me being in the streets, it’s not a pretty place when you’re in poverty. It comes from that affliction, that culture so it’s not a pretty place. Those who really live it and have been through it, they don’t really want to glorify it, deep down. Me knowing it, seeing mothers crying, my bro being locked away forever, it’s not something that we want to glorify so I just try and provide you with retrospection. I will give you a look into the streets, but we’re going to show you how to get out of there. I’m someone who, by the grace of God, has made it to a place where I’m all right right now. I’m basically putting my hands back into the streets and saying, “I’m going to take you guys with me.” We’re going to give the women some value and the dudes some courage and we’re going to take everybody up and move out.

WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE OF WRITING “CONQUER”? I’m at a different place in my life; I’m going to give it another solid run at it for my old fans. I used to think I was not cursed, but I didn’t know what was going on. Why am I not favourable in God’s eyes, but now I’m seeing the favour coming. So I said, if we’re going to do a proper run, for those cats that want me to get back to my essence, let me get back to my zone. For the new cats, they are going to hear my story.

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WHAT WAS THE VISION BEHIND SHOOTING THE VIDEO TODAY? Taking into essence, I always talk about influential people. My grandfather was one of the most influential people in my life. He passed in 2008 and his everlasting words that he bestowed upon me, ever since I was a child has guided me through the streets. I wanted to pay respects to him and just show the world why I’m this way. So in the hook, you hear it, “My grandfather told me that many gon’ die.” He schooled me to the game.

Interview & Photos By. Samantha O’Connor