Catch up with one of the QCs rap veterans
Queen City hip-hop star and University of Regina alum Kyriel “Pimpton” Roberts recently caught up with the Carillon to talk about his early days as a rapper, the secret to his success, and his future in music.
Where does the name come from? Simply enough, why “Pimpton?”
I used to do hip-hop dancing when I was a kid and I used to get a lot of female attention, essentially. I taught a hip-hop class from the age of, probably, 10 to 16, and I just used to be the kid that got attention from a lot of young ladies at the time, so I was just kind of dubbed “The Little Pimp,” which turned into Pimpton.
Has anything changed since then?
(Laughs) I mean, just the age.
When you began rapping, was it to have fun or did you envision a career performing? Or was it something in between?
I wouldn’t say I was a troubled youth. But I used to have issues that would cause me to lash out at the world or whatever, and I just got into poetry, which allowed me to express myself and let out my anger or any kind of concerns I had. From there, I just started free-styling. I think that movie 8 Mile came out and everyone around me also started rapping, and I was just naturally good at it, so I started doing it at parties… and it eventually became my No. 1 pastime outside of school and education and hanging out with my friends. At an early age, I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a performer.
What is it about music that has drawn you to this field?
Ultimately, I don’t know if I plan to become a political activist or whatever, but essentially, I just want to be one of the people who makes a big difference in the world. I want to really have an impact that lasts longer than my lifetime. And music is something that everybody engages in, whether they like it or not. It’s a platform that reaches people, and I figure music is a platform that I needed to pursue in order to be able to have the global reach that I intend to have.
Is hip-hop any more or less difficult to break into than any other genres?
It’s hard to really comment on that… It’s super competitive and super saturated. Not that (other genres) aren’t, but especially in my generation, there seems to be a real departure from being a musician in the classical instrument sense to being a musician in the production and being a part of the industry sense. It’s very, very saturated and everyone has access. Not only access, but it takes minor abilities to participate. That being said, you really have to do a lot of work outside of the music itself just to stand out and get the recognition necessary.
What’s been the secret to your success?
Essentially, I’ve just committed myself to being the hardest worker and the smartest worker. Any time I see any advancements, whether it’s from Jay Z or from Johnny-around-the-way in the same city as me, it doesn’t make a difference. I feel like I’m a stallion in a race, you know what I mean? I see a horse approaching my pace, and I immediately force myself to double-up my efforts or triple-up my efforts.
Do you ever miss the days of free-styling at parties?
My end goal isn’t to party; my end goal is to have an impact. The fun is getting there, you know? The fun is that every day I have more views, or every day I have new fans. That’s what’s fun to me – expanding my reach is what’s fun to me. I don’t miss anything, really. I’m loving every minute of it.
Do you view yourself as a role model now?
I guess I do, simply because I know people look up to me, and not only look up to me, but certain people are challenged by me, which forces them to want to be better. I don’t know what being a role model is, other than that. Yeah, I’d say so.
Final question: What does the future hold for Pimpton?
I mean, at the moment, it’s hard to pin down. I have so many projects on the go; I work with so many different artists. It’s really hard to say because every year, I open a new door that opens a million new opportunities for me. For instance, I just played fourty-eight shows with Madchild, which was simply initiated by me reaching out to Madchild’s camp and showing them what I had already done. I jumped on a mini-tour with him, which was only five shows, and continuously built up this relationship. If you asked me if I’d be touring with Madchild two years ago, I would give you the same answer I’m giving you right now – there’s no definite answer as to what the future holds for me. It’s really hard to pin down. But, ultimately, like I said, it’s going to be something that impacts the entire world in a positive way.