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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Solo Hip Hop R&B




"Introducing Nixxon, the Weeknd’s one-time partner in rhyme"

As a teen, Jesse Bedard Dempster wasn’t that different from a lot of city kids harbouring hip-hop hope: he and one of his best friends would wander Scarborough, swapping rhymes and mapping out a future that seemed infinite.

The difference, however, is that Dempster’s aforementioned close friend and partner-in-rhyme was a fresh-faced Ethiopian-Canadian kid named Abel Tesfaye — the same singer who would soon ride sumptuous bad vibes straight to the top as the Weeknd.

Back then, Tesfaye (or Kin Kane) and Dempster (then JesseRay) comprised the rap duo Bulleez N Nerdz. Just starting out, they were fledgling and fumbling, yes, but they were also sort of onto something; and estranged though they are now, Dempster can only marvel at what his former partner has accomplished.

“Imagine if you were in my shoes and one of your old buddies is now seven-Grammy-nominated, and you literally know this guy didn’t have five bucks in his pocket a couple years ago,” Dempster said. “He bought his mom a house. It’s so inspiring.

“I remember talking to him about how Toronto’s almost a joke and how he wanted to change the whole Toronto scene. And it’s weird, because he actually did it.

“It’s just crazy to me,” he continued, “because I just feel like my time is there, too.”

Where Tesfaye’s obscurity-to-Oscars story is the stuff of Hollywood screen dreams, Dempster’s own circuitous path has the feel of, well, reality.

Dempster began rap-battling at 14, a couple of years before he met Tesfaye through friends and recognized a common interest in music. At the time, Tesfaye was “rolling with a rough crowd” and the two were each drifting away from school and home. “We were doing stupid things,” Dempster said.

Well, music and mischief were intertwined. Dempster recalls one aimless night downtown when the duo missed the last subway home. With less than $5 between them and no one at home to foot the taxi fare back to Scarborough, they wandered across the city to a Tim Hortons, where they spent the night writing rhymes.

Dempster fondly recalls Tesfaye’s goofy sense of humour, his ability to impersonate “any show, any character.” He remembers Tesfaye cruising up to a McDonald’s drive-through speaker and, with a perfect Hank Hill lilt, ordering propane accessories. - The Star


However much Nixxon may try to evade the hot-button topic, he’s going to be known as the Weeknd’s one-time closest affiliate, at least for the next little while. Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario, the Canadian began his earliest musical exploits alongside his buddy, Abel Tesfaye, better known by his moniker the Weeknd. High school friends who had bonded over their love of music, Nixxon and Tesfaye formed a hip-hop collective they called Bulleez and Nerdz, trading rhymes over minimalist, bare-boned grooves. After recording a number of demos and doing some onstage free-versing, the two youths would eventually part amicably, each going their separate ways.

Tesfaye’s rise to fame is now well-documented and has somewhat gone down in the annals of Canadian music history as a modern-day rags-to-riches story. In what could only be described as an all-too familiar tale of humble beginnings, Nixxon would watch quietly from the sidelines as his friend sky-rocketed to worldwide stardom.

“Growing up in Scarborough made me tough inside and out,” Nixxon reasons. “A lot of crazy things happened. I mean, it would have been nice to grow up around Venice. That’s more my style. I started battling in high school to get my name out. It was always my first move into getting people talking. Battle the best rapper. From there the energy I got from the people listening was addicting, so I had to expand into making music.”

In the years that have transpired, Nixxon (born Jesse Dempster) has had a sobering amount of time on his side to reconfigure the dramas of his past. A full-length album entitled 1990 (and recorded under the name JesseRay) dropped a few years back, giving audiences a taste of what the rapper/singer could achieve with the minimal aid of a sampler when it was powered by an arresting vision. Featuring a set of codeine-infused grooves swathed in the cloudy airs of purple synths, 1990 was a throb-heavy headfuck of forlorn tunes, a clear declaration of post-adolescent blues. At the time, the album was released as a result of a few partnerships Nixxon had built while holding down various jobs around Toronto city. It should have elevated him to a notable standing among his musical peers (it certainly received gushing plaudits from critics and listeners alike), but a dissolution with creative partners would eventually tie the album up in red tape. For some time the album resided in legal purgatory after being retracted from all online sources; its re-release is expected sometime in the near future.

As of late, Nixxon has been gearing up for his latest set of material, the self-written For No Good Reason (most of which he co-produced with Rekkzone). There have already been a few catered slips of what listeners can expect from the promising contender; a single, “Beast”, was unleashed a few months back and will make an appearance on the album (albeit in remixed form). Featuring a rippling blast of subharmonic bass, “Beast” illustrates a most frightening prospect of reclamation -- one in which Nixxon promises to “go strong ‘til you’re weak in your knees.” - PopMatters

"Toronto's Nixxon goes on the ultimate joy ride in "Where you From"" - The Fader


(2014) 1900
(2015) For no good reason
(2016) Penthouse
(2018) Black velvet
(2019) See saw



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