Jonathan Emile
Gig Seeker Pro

Jonathan Emile

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Hip Hop Reggae


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Listen to Jonathan Emile's "Heaven Help Dem" f/ Kendrick Lamar"

Montreal rapper, producer, and poet Jonathan Emile shares his latest single, "Heaven Help Dem," featuring Kendrick Lamar, a tribute to victims of police brutality. The conscious track keys in on the deaths of unarmed black males at the hands of the police, such as Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, and more, while Emile offers up a solid verse to start the song where he raps about the need for justice from police brutality and murders.

On Kendrick's powerful verse, he preaches the importance of young black life but also points out the struggles in the world. Kendrick raps, "They say the average black man only live til 25, Pac died at 25, how many kids you know dead at 20? 5? Now that's life I know, 10 that's crumbling in coffins, dead as a doorknob, fresh out of high school and couldn't find no job, went straight to the grave, the Grim Reaper in love with such a tender age." - Complex

"Kendrick Lamar & Jonathan Emile "Heaven Help Dem""

Kendrick Lamar links with Montreal rapper, producer, and poet Jonathan Emile for a track paying tribute to the victims of police brutality like Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin. After a year of national press filled with news about numerous deaths of unarmed black men by the police, “Heaven Help Dem” is a powerful song that stirs emotions of both anger and sadness as soon as the track begins. Kendrick’s standout verse is profound, expressing the grim reality of what it means to be a young black man in America.
He rattles off, “They say the average black man only live til 25, Pac died at 25, how many kids you know dead at 20? 5? Now that’s life I know, 10 that’s crumbling in coffins, dead as a doorknob, fresh out of high school and couldn’t find no job, went straight to the grave, the Grim Reaper in love with such a tender age.”

Read More: Kendrick Lamar And Jonathan Emile “Heaven Help Dem” - XXL | - XXL

"Lover, fighter, and artist on the rise"

Singer, poet, cancer survivor, and McGill undergraduate Jonathan Emile last appeared in The Daily’s pages in a self-penned exposé about his experience with Kendrick Lamar’s legal team after his song “Heaven Help Dem,” a song about institutionalized racism which features a verse from Lamar, was pulled from the internet. Now the Montreal artist is back, this time discussing his upcoming LP, The Lover/Fighter Document. A labour of love, the project has taken six years of work and preparation leading up to its October 9 release.

The McGill Daily (MD): You’ve recently been throwing a lot of shade at the Montreal rap community in your song “The City That Always Sleeps.”

Jonathan Emile (JE): What Montreal rap community?

MD: Right.

JE: It certainly instills resilience, being in a city where nobody cares that you’re making hip-hop. It’s cool. There’s so much diversity in Montreal that hip-hop isn’t the thing, the urban culture that’s the most prevalent, which is understandable.

MD: What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered working in that environment?

JE: Just on a marketing standpoint, Montreal isn’t one city; it’s two cities side by side, two different languages. When you’re making music in Montreal, you’re not really competing with Montreal artists. You’re competing with 500 plus artists that come visit the city every year. It’s a very arts-culture city, and there’s lots of competition.

There [are] some amazing people who do some great hip-hop in Montreal. [But] with the exception of Under Pressure Festival, there’s nothing really going on in terms of building a community, or a network, or having an open dialogue. It’s very much individualistic artistic projects, which is fine, but it’s maybe one of the most difficult cities to emerge in North America, even though it’s a city of four million plus people.

MD: You mentioned languages. Do you also do French work?

JE: Definitely. I intend to put out a French project before 2020, but one thing at a time. My mom’s anglophone and my dad’s francophone. […But] you can’t do everything at once. My first project is going to be in English and Jamaican Patois. That’s diverse enough. And the next one, we’ll see what happens.

MD: How do you feel about Kendrick Lamar having a song like “Alright,” that’s chanted by protesters critiquing institutional racism, but at the same time, working with him and collaborating with him is almost blocked because of the corporate mechanism. Do you think that detracts from what he’s trying to do at all?

JE: I think yes. It certainly opened my eyes to the way mechanisms really worked in the industry. It makes sense. This is what I signed up for in a capitalist industry. I sort of expected it, but at the same time, it makes it hard for me to see [Lamar] as wholly authentic. He definitely has to do what he has to do to be where he has to be, and I can’t knock that, but if his real priority is to make statements and make change, there’s no reason for him to back out of [our song, “Heaven Help Dem”].

Since then, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth between my team and my lawyers asking what we should do about this, but this doesn’t discount his work at all. I think he’s a brilliant artist and he has his own lane and everything, but it definitely makes it harder for me to respect him on that level.

MD: Would you work with him again?

JE: Not unless we have a real conversation. At this point I’ve been in contact with his management, and […] it’s been like pulling teeth. When somebody sees you as a small fry and that’s how they treat you, it’s like okay, I understand, but there’s been no chill on the part of his management, no chill, […] but life goes on and that’s not the focal point of my album. It’s about the content, and unfortunately [Lamar] wasn’t ready to address that content, or he had stuff coming out that was too similar to what I had coming out, so his management said, no, he can’t do this.

MD: Within the dichotomy of the Lover/Fighter LP, are you going to undertake a critique of race relations similar to that of “Heaven Help Dem”?

JE: Definitely. I address it in multiple songs on the album. Race relations is just a part of what we live as Black people. All the artists I’m influenced by address it, among other things. Anyone from Marvin Gaye to Bob Marley. If you’re making an album and you want to talk about the world and you gloss over that, [then] that’s not the type of music I want to make. I want to address things in an uplifting way. A lot of my music is reggae-influenced. A lot of my music is hip-hop-influenced. I try to pull out the parts of it that are the most uplifting, the most inspiring, and dwell on that stuff. You’ll see the dichotomy. The lover/fighter dichotomy is infused in every single song and I try to get it into every single verse and every single lyric. When you listen to it, you’ll be able to live the experience of what it’s like to have these two sides of you constantly at war, pulling against each other, and figure out which one to use when, so you don’t self destruct. - McGill Daily

"#BTMTL: Singer/Songwriter/Music Producer Jonathan Emile"

Video - Breakfast Television (Montreal


Jonathan Emile

  • The Lover Fighter Document LP 2015
  • The Lover Fighter Document LP 2009



Jonathan Emile is a Jamaican-Canadian singer-songwriter, composer, and cancer survivor. In 2011, he garnered attention with the release of his debut EP “The Lover/Fighter Document”,which was placed on the first ballot of the 2011 Grammy Nominations for “Rap Album ofThe Year”. Emile has been featured in major online publications such as Pitchfork, Hip Hop Dx, Billboard, Fader, and Complex. He has collaborated with international hip-hop artistsKendrick Lamar, Buckshot and Murs for his debut LP. Additionally, he has shared the stage with rappers Coolio in San Francisco, Nelly in Las Vegas, and Naughty By Nature and Slick Rick in New York. He has also collaborated closely with world-renowned cellist Denis Brott,and shared venues with Oliver Jones and Miri Ben-Ari.

At the age of 18, Emile was diagnosed with cancer, and for the following two years he underwent intense chemotherapy and radiation treatments to fight the disease. During this period, he used music as his personal therapy as he fought the disease. Emile’s music is defined by truth as he shares his experiences of battling cancer, addresses current affairs and explores humanity. Through Reggae, hip-hop and R&B, Emile offers an honest and unique perspective of reality without sacrificing the contemporary sounds that younger listeners crave.

Emile trained at “The Black Theatre Workshop: Youth Initiative” in Montréal. During and afterhis treatments he independently developed his music knowledge including studio production,vocal performance, guitar and musical composition. Since developing his craft, Emile delivereda critically acclaimed performance in a Broadway production of the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ in Montréal, he also secured small roles in Hollywood productions such as Dreamland (2020), On The Basis of Sex (2019) and Jack Ryan (2019). His experiences include touring the US, Canada, England, and Germany performing in front of over ten thousand students.

The depth and relevance of his lyrics are only paralleled by his presence and understanding of today’s music trends. His devotion to creativity spawns from his quest for knowledge. He does not see himself as strictly a reggae or hip-hop artist, but as a thinker with a knack for rhythm and rhyme. “My art, my life is not a lifestyle, it’s a philosophy that reflects truth andpromotes humanism and social justice.

Emile has recently finished recording two feature-length albums, which will be released in 2019. He continues to produce R&B and Pop records for aspiring young artists through hisindependent label Mindpeacelove Records.

Band Members