Straight from Montreal and raised in Toronto. As contrasting as that statement can be, luckily Patrik isn’t a serious hockey fan. He loves basketball and played for Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke, Quebec while studying Sociology. He was an entrepreneur as well, catering to student’s needs and challenging them to create their own methods of approaching the big four letter word. He is a man of many interests along with music. He reads the bible, watches anime and documentaries, full of his sense of style, and not to mention a passion for sneakers. PureGrainAudio gives you Patrik.
Patrick Kabongo Mbale was the first rapper to perform and to win at the Jim Bean Make History Talent Search in Toronto. Something, huh!? It gets better… when his EP Clockwork Orange (based on the classic film) was released in 2015, it questioned how making choices defines us as people while focusing on spiritual versus scientific change. With all of this description, maybe even Patrik didn’t think a sociology degree would benefit his rap career in such a positive light.
His new EP, Spadina (order/steam here), dropped on November 9th of this year. This album focuses on materialism, family, faith, choices and personal growth. If you haven’t guessed by now, yes, the album title is influenced by Spadina Avenue, a major downtown street in Toronto, Ontario. To learn more about Patrik, we spoke to one of the latest up-and-coming Toronto artists.
Have a listen to the title track from Patrik’s new release Spadina.
Being born in Montreal and growing up in Toronto, you were exposed to multiple styles of music…You’re even bilingual! How does your upbringing and exposure to different styles of music influence and shape your personal sound?
Patrik: It’s done a lot for sure. I fell in love with music listening to Congolese musicians growing up and it helped me identify instruments and sounds at a young age. It’s a sort of reminder to always be more concerned with making music that expresses who am I, what I am and in that way people can relate or try to identify what they can relate to as well, so it definitely plays a huge role in developing various sounds. Music is a universal language.
It is no secret that the Toronto music scene is absolutely booming right. It is so crazy how Toronto has created its own lane and style of hip-hop music. What is your take on the Toronto wave and who are some of your favorite artists coming out of the city?
Patrik: Toronto has definitely developed a lane for itself that’s undeniable. But in all honesty, I don’t listen to music as much as I used to. It’s easy to be influenced by something you like or that sounds great, so I’m careful to keep my ear sober at lengthy time frames. If I could choose someone, I’d say my favorite artist in the city right now is Lex Leosis from The Sorority. All these young guys are coming up and really establishing themselves as familiar faces to the sound so it’s dope to see a female artist consistently work whether it’s on solo tracks or grouped bodies of work. It’s a beautiful thing.
Listening to your music, I personally hear influences of Jazz Cartier and Joey Bada$$. What do you think of these comparisons? Who are some of your personal influences and what is your dream music collaboration?
Patrik: I think it’s really cool. It’s all subjective, right? Jazz has built a great reputation for himself and BadMon has consistently brought hip-hop’s based essence through the various channels of this ever-changing evolved rap genre. So, I love it. I’d say, 2010 Wiz Khalifa, Lupe Fiasco and K-OS are some of my most notable influences. My dream collaboration would be working on a, or, multiple records with Kaytranada, Adele, Masego and Micheal Buble. I’ll throw Kid Cudi in there as well.
I think that is great that you are dedicated to a religion and read the Bible. How does your faith help you navigate your career and life in general?
Patrik: Finding Christ has been a huge help navigating my life. It’s been a source of creativity when writing music, when performing, connecting with fans, and just being a human being on the daily. It’s given me a purpose and a profound sense of appreciation for the little things, like this interview.
You are so into fashion and huge sneakerhead; you are even endorsed by G Star Raw! What is like to be a part of the fashion industry? If you had to choose one sneaker in the world, what shoe would you choose?
Patrik: Being in the fashion industry is a dream come true. I haven’t had the chance to dive in as deeply as I hope to but I’ve had Greg (G Star Raw representative) be an inspiration just with his style alone. Working at SSENSE has also given me the chance to be surrounded by fashion enthusiasts. I like customizing my own gear and accessories so with that being said, I’ll keep diving deeper. If I had to pick a shoe in the world it would be the Yeezy 500 Desert Rat, or in any color, hopefully, he makes a red one.
You went to university at Bishop’s University in Quebec. I think that is great that you have an education, which is something that can’t be said for a lot of music artists. How does having a university education help you with your career? What did you learn?
Patrik: It’s given me a lot of relative things to talk about, considering that reading is an essential part of academic education. But It’s helped me observe and understand how various settings shape people and their behaviors. It’s helped me be more critical of my writing and how it’s presented. It’s like writing a thesis. I have to make sure my points are to be clearly stated and brought across efficiently. But life is always the best teacher.
If you grew up in or around Toronto in the 1990s, then you’ll know what this track “Speakers Corner” is referring to!
What are some of your hobbies other than making music and fashion?
Patrik: Working out, watching documentaries, watching movies alone, and praying.
Prior to making music, is there some sort of routine that you have before writing? Or do you write what ends up coming to mind?
Patrik: I take some time to pray, sometimes I watch a movie or an animated short but I tend to let the beat play and let whatever comes to my heart be the instrument to where the song is going to go. There isn’t a specific routine but there’s definitely habits I’ve entrusted to writing.
Your latest EP, Spadina has just dropped on November 9th. What is the main message and purpose of the EP?
Patrik: The purpose of this EP is to shed a light on the highlighted experiences of my life living in Downtown Toronto that will in order give someone else the opportunity in the city to shed a light on their upbringing in their area. I just want people to come together and share, I want Downtown Toronto to start that wave. I feel the city has a lot to offer and so why not share a piece of myself for them to be encouraged.