Newsletter - August 28, 2003
Interview with Nate Skinner
(aka Nate Skinner)
a 17-year old rapper with street credibility. He
has won many battles in his hood of
Summerhill/Lakeshore. One particular heated
battle took place after school with a huge crowd forming that eventually
attracted the attention of the police. The cops asked who was rapping while
everyone was pointing to Nate.
got on his cell and called his parents to
let them know that they might have to go to the police station to pick him
up but that all he had been doing was rapping. The cops pulled Nate aside
and - wait for it - smiled and handed him their car radio to continue the
I first met Nate at Toronto's Nu Vintage studios. Lyriq Bent and Mark
Poyser (Little Engine Entertainment
and pictured right)
are the directors of a short film
entitled Aces Down. They had asked Kayte Burgess to do the
hook for a hip hop track to be used for the soundtrack for their movie. On
that day, Nate and Kayte wrote the rap and the music to a beat created by
J-Diggs, (Ice Down/Royal Family). All in all, the entire track took
just over a couple of hours to write, perform and produce. And it also
marks the first time that Nate has written in collaboration with another
artist. An impressive day! Not to mention that the track is red hot!
The report from Carl Allen is that the track is bumping hard in the clubs!
Request it at FLOW 93.5 - it's called
Aces Down by Nate Skeeze and Kayte Burgess.
Nate originally hooked up with producer J-Diggs (pictured right on recording day with Nate and
when he was 12. They played
some ball together and then challenged each other to a battle. Nate "kicked
his ass" and gained the respect of not only J-Diggs but also the crew in his
hood. Nate especially liked the beats and production of Ice Down as he
feels it represents an authentic side of street beats - not the "backpack"
brand that he feels is represented by many Toronto rappers. Nate speaks
like a veteran of the music industry and has already seen the highs and lows
Nate's relationship with Mark Poyser (Little Engine Entertainment and school
teacher) began when Mark was Nate's 7th and 8th grade
teacher and basketball coach at John English Junior Middle School. He saw
amazing potential in his young student. Once Nate heard that Mark also
acted and worked in music, their relationship became solidified on common
ground and they now consider each other family.
One thing kept recurring throughout the interview with Nate - his
relationship with his father, mother and stepdad. Their relationships are
impenetrable and Nate credits much of his discipline and values to them.
Nate speaks of them highly and with affection - rare for such a young man.
Besides, if you're not cool with Nate's dad, then you’re not going to be
cool with Nate!
Oh, and did I mention that Nate is also one
of the most heavily recruited high school basketball players in Canada?
This past weekend, the 6' 5", 201 lb. Nate moved to Brooklyn, New York
to finish his high school years there - for which he was recruited for as
well. He hopes to get better exposure for U.S. universities by making this
move, although he has already received many offers from basketball
universities all over America including Florida, Arizona and Michigan
with his boxful of offers).
So, what about the ladies? How does he handle all that attention? I mean,
he is young and
(resembling Ray Allen and for
whom he is mistaken
athletic, right? While he admittedly
the attention, he
doesn't crave it.
Nate says he
tries not to give it too much validity
wants to remain focussed on his basketball career and continue to work on
his rapping skills. Besides, his father would kill him! Sorry girls!
Nate is a finely tuned athlete with a very strong work ethic and focus, who
also happens to have strong rap skills. He is an impressive, dedicated and
articulate guy that you will definitely be hearing from - either on TSN or
the Grammys, or perhaps both! A role model not just for his generation but
for those that went before him and those that will follow.