“Never Back Down” Toronto Rapper Ekelle On Staying In The Rap Game

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Oozing confidence with lyrical content so honest it hurts. Emerging rapper Ekelle hails from Toronto. Ekelle is a multi-genre artist and songwriter who rhymes about relationships and money. Ekelle highlights women’s issues and brings to light how women are often treated in today’s society. She’s an all around badass who has made a stunning entrance into the hip hop scene with her latest single ‘Dark Skin & Tattoos’. 

We sit down with Ekelle and chat about how she first got into rapping, why body confidence is part of her story and the pressure women face everyday.  

What made you first get into rapping?

I’ve always been interested in music. When I was in elementary school I even had a ‘band,’ we didn’t play instruments or anything like that, but we did practice our acapella songs at lunch and perform. I couldn’t shake music my whole life, I have a favourite song for every emotion I feel. One day I was in my kitchen rapping Nicki Minaj and I thought if I could memorise so many songs from her and other artists why not make my own?

Who are you influences?

The funny things is that a lot of influences aren’t rappers aside from Eminem, Nicki Minaj and Missy Elliot. I also find Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey and Shakira to be super inspiring because they didn’t fit the typical mould. I also loved Britney Spears growing up, she was always so confident and sexy.

You just released a new single, which is about a man lying, this is a true story right?

Unfortunately it is true. This person was one of the worst liars I ever met and so very misleading. I could have said a lot more in Dark Skin & Tattoos but I chose to keep it vague. Maybe I’ll touch on it more in the future. 

What message as an artist do you want to bring to your audiences?

I think the most important message I can bring is to never back down. If there’s something you want in this world you just need to take it, it doesn’t matter what anybody says or what anybody thinks. Practice hard and do your very best because it’s you who will ultimately bring yourself to success. I just want to show my point of view, it’s just as important as anyone else’s.

You're a body positive artist, could you tell us about how you go about self-care and self-love? 

I think there’s a lot of pressure on us, especially as women to be the right thing, do the right thing and make everyone happy, essentially to take care of them. I say f*ck it, what about you? What about your needs? You have a right to be happy in this life, we only get one shot at it and it’s definitely not easy so you need to find the calm in the storm and do what’s good for you. What we’ve come to know as the dominant society was just made up by someone so why not dismiss that and create a space where you’re just as good. The more you love and take of yourself, the happier you will be. I work really hard on trying to put myself out there so there are times when I just need to be alone to recharge, relax and think of my next move. I do like to go to the gym and be healthy that way, but there’s no way I’m gonna deny myself a plate of nachos if it makes me happy - balance is important. Also mani-pedis don’t hurt.

What stimulates your soul?

Definitely life, I’m a really deep thinker. Getting to tell my own stories in my own way with music and being in charge of my actions is stimulating. I oddly love working - I love to go out to events, sending out emails, shooting music videos, shopping for clothes, networking, editing photos. Music is a great feeling but I also feel good doing all of the non-music related things in my journey. I really love to see the fruits of my labour, the little signs that I’m getting closer to my goals make me really happy. 

Margaret TraEkelle, Rap, Hip hop