WAYCOBAH: A young artist from We’koqma’q First Nation has been making a name for himself in the world of hip hop.
It has been a busy year for Todd Googoo, who raps under the name SHiFT FROM THA 902. Over the past several months, he has opened for acclaimed rapper Classified, spent time in the studio working on his debut album, and has been preparing for a busy touring schedule. On April 12, he will perform in Port Hawkesbury before starting off on a tour of Atlantic Canada.
“It started with just being a fan. As a kid, I always just liked hip hop music,” said Googoo. “When I was around 11 or 12 years old, me and my brother heard that there were people in our reserve making music, so we started making our own.”
The hip hop group Eastside District was one of the local groups that inspired Googoo to start his career in music. He was also inspired by well-known rappers like 2Pac, Notorious BIG, Eminem, and 50 Cent.
“I was always a big fan of Classified too, so that’s a big influence,” said Googoo.
Gradually, his love of hip hop turned into a desire to perform and record his own music professionally.
“When I was about 18, I started getting more serious with it and making music every day. Then I took making music every day to eventually doing shows,” he said.
Googoo says his home and community have been one of his biggest inspirations.
“Before, I used to just make music about anything. I got to that point where I knew I had to change it up. I started writing mostly about my life and my environment around me,” said Googoo.
One of his favourite songs, Hometown, centres on the community where he grew up. The music video was filmed in We’koqma’q and features Googoo’s family and friends.
“I know everybody in it, my mom, my little brothers, and my best friend Dylan. He’s actually on the song too,” said Googoo. “Plus it was my golden birthday when we shot it, so I’m always going to remember that.”
The song has been one of his most well-received, which Googoo feels has a lot to do with East Coast pride and the sense of community featured in the song.
“With that song, we got on 101.5 the Hawk, we had it playing on The Giant, and we had it playing from here to Ontario,” he said.
Googoo says making music videos has helped more people see and connect with his music, and helped open more opportunities for him musically.
In addition to opening for Classified last year, Googoo was nominated for a 2017 Music Nova Scotia Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year, and will be featured in an artist’s showcase at this year’s East Coast Music Awards. His music video for “Hometown” will be featured at this year’s Emerging Lense Film Festival in Halifax.
Currently, he is working on finishing up his self-titled debut album, which he hopes to release at the end of the month. On April 12, he will appear at Shindig’s Pub in Port Hawkesbury before setting out on a tour of Atlantic Canada in the coming months.
Information on Googoo’s music and upcoming shows can be found by searching SHiFT FROM THA 902 on Facebook and Twitter.