Nono Ryan
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Nono Ryan

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Hip Hop Spoken Word

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

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"​Nono Ryan Streams 'Flow Tank' LP, Premieres "Waves" Video"

Former DGS Samurai Champs member Nono Ryan is set to make his solo debut with Flow Tank, and Exclaim! is giving you an early listen to the album in its entirety.

The Regina-based hip-hop artist's attention to detail comes through in the intricately worded narratives of his songs, letting listeners in on his personal encounters with spiritualism (he is an ordained Buddhist monk, after all) and struggles with isolation.

"During my monkhood in the jungles of Chiang Mai, I was completely isolated from modern society," Ryan explained in a statement. "This seclusion gave me clarity to embrace the peace that comes from within. Our modern society often teaches us to blame extrinsic factors for our suffering, when in reality, we are the creators of our own suffering. Equally, we all contain the capacity for our own healing."

In addition to streaming the new album, Ryan has also unleashed a brand new video for "Waves." The clip was directed by Marvin Chan and shot on location in Berlin, aiming to capture the temporary nature of emotion.

"No matter how intensely one experiences emotional suffering, it all comes to pass," he said, mapping out the meaning of the song. "Regrets of the past may come to haunt you, but hopes of the future will always return to greet you. This is the gift that comes with being able to love so passionately in life. We all have the capacity to experience emotions wholly in the present, if we allow ourselves to. Regardless the emotion, it all comes in waves."

Flow Tank is officially out on December 19, but you stream the whole thing and watch the video for "Waves" down below right now. - Exclaim


"Meet Nono Ryan, the Former Muay Thai Boxer Turned Rapper Who Found Buddhism"

Like all of us, the Saskatchewan-based rapper is just a dude trying to make sense of life.

Photo By Athirdtime

Some people find music early in their life, but for others, it takes a journey. For Nono Ryan, a Regina-based rapper and spoken word artist, he found his love for poetry and beats as a Buddhist monk living in the Thai jungle. Born and raised in the Queen City, Nono has helped to pioneer Saskatchewan’s swiftly-growing hip-hop scene over the last few years as a member of the band DGS and a resident performer of the Trifecta Festival. But eight years ago, the rapper’s life wasn’t yet focused on music. His dream was to become a professional Muay Thai fighter and was leaving the prairies for Thailand to do it. “I was always an athletic person but what really drew me into [Muay Thai] was the wacky idea that it’d be a way for me to gain respect,” says Nono Ryan. “I know that sounds shitty, but as a naïve kid who’d never really been outside of Regina, I felt like I needed to prove myself… and had to be some sort of great fighter to be somebody.”

Nono gave up brawling for something completely opposite. He took vows of Thai monkhood and lived in a forest temple outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand studying Buddhism and pacifism. He admits those moments wearing orange robes and meditating all day seem like they could have been from another reality a few years later, living in Regina again, touring Canada and taking the stage at local shows. According to the rapper, however, it’s a past that’s still very connected to the present, and the lyrics, hooks, and beats he’s putting up today through songs like “Word” and “Ocean.” “I do feel my journey is what sets my music apart and it's the reason that I'm able to tap into my emotions and create a better understanding through poetry and music,” says Ryan. “Everybody has his or her own crazy story. I guess you could say mine was intense for a bit. But being a monk doesn’t necessarily make you enlightened. I’m still just a dude that’s trying to make sense of life.”


NOISEY: So why exactly did you decide to stop fighting Muay Thai professionally?
Nono Ryan: I guess you could say I took things to my extreme. I was training up north in Mae Hong Song and I remember one time the [trainers] were throwing ice water on me because I was about to pass out from pushing myself so hard in the heat. I loved that I got a high from it. It wasn’t healthy.


From there, it got to me fighting for a trainer in Koh Samui who, looking back, was just trying to juice money and didn’t give a shit about me. I was put into the ring with a guy that just wasn’t fight-ready and (he) got injured to the point where I just never want to hurt anybody that bad. It was kind of a brutal nightmare, to be honest. I realized I was just a young kid trying to impress myself and that was a huge reality check.

Is that why you turned to Buddhism?
I didn’t find Buddhism right after that, but that experience definitely helped lead me there. It was a few more years of me being back in Canada and feeling lost. I came back to Thailand when three of my trainers died—one in the ring, another in a motorcycle accident. But then I got dengue fever, was staying in a five dollar a night room in Chiang Mai sick as a dog and it was there at really my lowest of lows that it happened. Next to my hostel was a Mexican restaurant, and the owner—a Thai mother—saw me when I was sick, sat me down and gave me this really strong Thai medicine. It instantly made me feel awake and I asked her where she’d gotten it. It was from a temple. From there, we started talking about Buddhism and life every day. I owe her and her family much gratitude because they were a big part of my journey. Eventually, I decided to go to the temple and learn about meditation, which they helped me to do, and after assisting the monks for a few months I ordained and became a monk myself.



Photo courtesy of Nono Ryan. Ryan at Wat Umong in Chiang Mai prior to his ordination.

What’s being a monk really like?
I had to study 227 precepts, the chants, the blessings, which were in Pali and Sanskrit, and I stayed at the temple with no electricity. We would wake up every day in the middle of the jungle in darkness, meditate and walk six kilometers into town barefoot to a nearby village where we would receive alms (food offerings for monks) from farmers and villagers. That’s when I really realized how much I love music. When I was there, the precepts I was working to follow included no music, no singing, no dancing and I realized music is a huge part of my life. So I would sit down and write poetry for hours, which was for me straight from my soul. I wasn’t writing to perform, just to kind of make sense of my situation. After leaving the temple, that love of writing evolved into doing spoken word. I always loved hip-hop and had friends that were rapping, so rapping turned into a natural link.

Do you believe all these experiences led you to music?
I believe everything happens for a reason. I was looking for something real and found it. I found myself there in many ways. It’s difficult to explain. It was super scary but it was peaceful. I’m still figuring life out, and writing rhythms seems to help. I rap about the metaphysical and spiritual journeys, but while some of my experiences may not be totally relatable for everybody, what I think is relatable is this idea of finding your way. I wrote a song called “Ocean” that’s about being completely helpless and trying to understand what it is to be lost. I think the journey I’m on now is trying to dig deeper and find deeper meaning in everything—in music, in relationships, in life.

Barbara Woolsey is a writer living in Berlin, born and raised in Regina. Follow her on Twitter. - Noisey


"DGS Samurai Champs out to change the world of Canadian hip hop"

DGS Samurai Champs want to change the world of Canadian hip hop.

The Regina-based trio, comprised of Nolan Ryan (a.k.a. Nono Ryan), Marvin Chan (a.k.a. Merv XX Gotti) and Savan Muth (a.k.a. Jeah), formed in October 2013 and have become an integral part of the Saskatchewan hip hop scene. Many people have preconceived notions about Canadian hip hop — including many artists and fans in the genre — and DGS has taken it upon themselves to challenge those notions with their diversified brand of hip hop.

“A lot of people see Canadian hip hop right now as more of a battle rap type of community rather than a community that supports each other,” explained Muth. “We want to reflect on the unity. We’re from different races and different cultures but we’re able to reflect the same situations we’ve gone through and understand that on a completely different level. I would say most people in Canadian hip hop, that I’ve met or worked with, are very aggressive about their business and that gets a bad rap.

“This generation and the generation before it tried to make it happen but it collapsed because of the egotistical view of Canadian hip hop.”

So what makes DGS think it can succeed where others have failed?

“Just our mentally,” said Nolan. “We’re very community-based, we’re very grassroots but at the same time, we’re very welcoming of everybody else that wants to do something with us or wants to participate. In that sense, we’re globally accepting.”


“The main drive is the community-based thing where we like to involve ourselves with other communities that are doing the same thing,” added Muth. “We don’t want to associate ourselves with people that carry a bad rep or gangster rep. If you listen to rap at all, a lot of rappers are cocky when they showcase their music but that’s the way the culture is built. But I believe that if you’re humble as a person in real life, that’s an entirely different story. You can bond with anyone on that level. We take in a lot of groups, we help a lot of groups, we do shows with a lot of different people — I think that’s what’s going to get us there, that community, that circle.”

The band is diversified in a number of ways, from their cultures (Nolan is German, Gotti is Thai-Chinese and Muth is Cambodian) to their varied musical strengths that has resulted in their new-wave sound.

Their first recording, The Banff Mixtape, was released on June 11, 2014, and it was followed by The Hard Tape, which was released on July 22, 2015. Fans responded to both albums, especially to The Hard Tape, which was voted the No. 1 album in SaskMusic’s Top 10 Saskatchewan Albums of 2015.

The contest received input from more than 2,000 people in 13 countries with established artists like The Sheepdogs, Library Voices, Jess Moskaluke and Rah Rah earning spots on the list. But when the voting concluded, it was DGS that had topped the list.

“For us it was a huge honour and a huge testament to the community for them being opened minded about another genre and for their support because on that list there were a lot of established artists,” said Nolan. “To even be mentioned among them is great but to be No. 1 was a pretty cool experience.”

For Muth, it was verification that DGS was on the right track.

“It actually showed that what we’re trying to implement here is working in the hip hop community,” said Muth. “It came as a surprise to me. To be honest, I didn’t even think we even landed in the Top 10.”

jdedekker@postmedia.com

twitter.com/ThePloughboy - Leader Post Regina


"A Noisey Guide to Saskatchewan's Hip-Hop Scene"

Saskatchewan isn't thought of as a hotspot for Canadian hip-hop but with its tight-knit community and willingness to address serious issues it might just become one.

DGS Samurai Champs and the Queen City Stoop Kids. Photo courtesy of AThirdTime Photography

Saskatchewan isn’t typically the place people think of as a hotspot for Canadian hip-hop. In fact, when one thinks of Saskatchewan music, the first thought that comes to the mind is the notorious Craven County Jamboree. With a population of just over a million people and an enduring, but misguided image of a place where nothing ever happens or changes, Saskatchewan is seen as something of a cultural backwater by the rest of Canada. If people do know anything about Saskatchewan rap, it’s probably because of the now infamous “My Hoverboard” video by Saskatoon’s J Staxx. Rest assured, there’s a lot more to the province’s rap scene then J Staxx’s viral “hit.” Saskatchewan has always embraced its role as the underdog and behind the stereotypes and YouTube sensations is a small, but dynamic hip hop scene rife with homegrown talent. Saskatchewan’s rap community is centered in the province’s two largest cities; Saskatoon and Regina. The urban landscapes of both cities have had a profound effect on the artists they produce. Saskatoon and Regina consistently maintain some of the highest crime rates in all of Canada, while Regina’s North-Central was previously named the ‘worst neighborhood in Canada.’ This is the reality that many Saskatchewan rappers grew up in.

“Knowing Saskatchewan like I do, we usually top the country in crime and murder rates, so it's definitely something that gives us a different outlook than being from some other nice, little, cute place,” said rapper Joey Stylez, “Hardships give one character and I know firsthand. I been through enough storms to give culture to some folks who lack identity.” But this is far from the only influence fueling Saskatchewan rappers. The province’s First Nations history, which dates back to well before Saskatoon and Regina were even thoughts and the arrival of Europeans in Western Canada, has been an instrumental force in shaping Saskatchewan rap. From the lasting legacy of residential schools to the rampant, yet largely ignored mental health issues on northern reserves and inequality in urban centers, Saskatchewan’s First Nations population has never had it easy. But in the face of this painful past and present, Saskatchewan indigenous population as whole, including its hip hop artists, remains proud and hopeful. Artists such as Stylez, Drezus and Eekwol have proudly displayed their aboriginal identities through their music.

Though Saskatchewan’s hip hop community is small, it is tight knit. Artists embrace each other’s individualism and feed off one another’s creativity. The result of this creative incubator is a sound that is both diverse and profoundly influenced by the province itself. While a number of Saskatchewan artists have left to seek out opportunities elsewhere, the community continues to grow inside the prairie province at an astounding rate. “Inclusivity is hard to find in rap, but Regina's new scene would surprise the most critical hip hop hipsters out east, I believe,” said Kav the Bruce of the Queen City Stoop Kids, “We created it together with others who were clearly waiting for something to just happen.”

Dakk’One




Originally from Saskatoon, but now living in Vancouver, Dakk’One got his start in the Bridge City’s hip-hop scene. Before leaving Saskatoon in 2013, Dakk was a fixture on the 306 Battlegrounds circuit where even as a teenager, he could be seen going toe to toe with older opponents. On his verses, Dakk fires off with a high-paced, staccato cadence. While his earlier music focused on the harsh realities of growing up on Saskatoon’s mean west side, his most recent track, “Big Things”, hints at a more uplifting sound on his forthcoming EP produced by multi-time Juno award winner and Swollen Members’ member Rob the Viking.
Dayda Banks



Also from Saskatoon, Dayda Banks got his start in hip hop in a friend’s basement as a 16 year old, but didn’t start performing as Dayda until 2012. Since then, Dayda has dropped two albums; 2013’s Roy Meets World and 2014’s The Lucid Dreamer. Working closely with his DJ Akadelik and local producer Dilly Bat, Dayda brings a laid-back flow over floaty, dreamscape beats. Dayda is also a regular performer in Saskatoon’s live venues, putting on energetic shows for enthusiastic crowds of locals.
Kay the Aquanaut



No discussion of Saskatoon hip hop would be complete without mentioning Kay the Aquanaut. A veteran of nine albums and a frequent collaborator with much of Saskatoon’s hip hop community, Kay has been a true pathfinder for the city’s scene. Kay is best known for his intricate word play and his abstract, but technical style.
Joey Stylez



Another Saskatoon rapper who left the province to seek out opportunities outside of the province, Joey Stylez has become a true journeyman in the Canadian rap scene. Stylez started rapping in 1999 and before settling in Toronto, journeyed through places such as Beverly Hills, Atlanta and Detroit while refining his style. In that time, Stylez has worked with a wide variety of artists including Bun B, Dragonette Ty Dolla Sign and A Tribe Called Red. Like many Saskatchewan artists, Stylez is proud of his cultural identity and his music is heavily influenced by his indigenous heritage.
Drezus



Before leaving Saskatchewan to grow his Team RezOfficial group, Drezus was one of the pioneering rappers in Saskatoon alongside Joey Stylez. While he left Saskatoon over a decade ago, Drezus credits his upbringing on Saskatoon’s notoriously rough west side as one of the foundations of his music. Drezus proudly infuses his aboriginal identity into his verses, which are backed by booming, speaker-rattling beats. On “the Sequel” off 2014’s Indian Summer, Drezus raps “We lost our identity, we still trying to recuperate. We used to hunt for our food, now we ain’t shootin’ straight. Confused by the new world order, we don’t know who to hate.” For his upcoming album, Drezus is working with producers such as Freddie Gibbs Superville, A Tribe Called Red’s Toolman and Lordquest.
Eekwol



A true veteran in Canadian hip hop, Eekwol also holds claim to being the first solo, female, aboriginal, hip hop artist in the nation. Born on the Muskoday First Nation in north-central Saskatchewan, Eekwol has been carving out a niche in the Canadian music scene since 1998. Eekwol’s songs focus on the issues facing Canada’s indigenous populations today, including poverty, inequality, addiction and negative stereotypes. However, Eekwol’s music also carries a positive message, encouraging Canada’s indigenous peoples to embrace their unique identities and to build strong communities together in order to overcome the systematic hardships they face.
Pimpton



Pimpton is probably Saskatchewan’s best known rapper outside the province. While many Saskatchewan rappers have sought out bigger centers with larger rap scenes to advance their careers, Pimpton has made it clear that he wants to stay at home in Regina and build Saskatchewan rap from the inside with the backing of his CJE crew. Pimpton raps with a trademark bouncy style over booming, high energy beats that mesh perfectly with his unorthodox cadence. His most recent album, KCMKV 2, featured tracks with Andre Nickatina, Joey Stylez, 40 Cal and Future.
Queen City Stoop Kids



The Queen City Stoop Kids, consisting of Kav the Bruce, Stupid Clay, Kid Kris, James Worthy and Voodoo Doll Joey, are hard to pin to one particular style, but are perhaps the most out-there hip hop act in Saskatchewan. Chopped and screwed samples, vocal delays and tone drops are all regular features on the Stoopkids’ tracks (no two of which are exactly alike). While each member bring unique content to their verses, the Stoop Kids love to rap about mind altering, chemical-fueled parties over tripped out, face-melting beats from their producer Deadlighters. On “Rachet,” off the group’s newest release, Bag Fries, Kav typifies this theme: “Chilling on the ave with the drastic acid, pop a couple of pills and I’m fuckin’ fantastic. Two tabs and a couple samples of grasses.”
DGS Samurai Champs



DGS Samurai Champs are a Regina-based trio consisting of Jeah, Merv xx Gotti and Nono Ryan. With Jeah and Nono bringing their own individual styles of rapping to the table, Merv provides dark, brooding backing vocals and hooks. The result is a crawling, dread-filled sound that mixes elements of R&B and hip hop. The group are close friends with the Queen City Stoopkids who are featured are their new album and have opened for both Pimpton and Madchild.
Dilly Bat



Dilly Bat is a producer, videographer and occasional rapper out of Saskatoon. Dilly Bat is also the most prolific rap video director in Saskatchewan. Dilly Bat has produced videos for a who’s-who of Saskatchewan rappers and is the man behind J Staxx’s “My Hoverboard” video.
Factor Chandelier



Active since 1999, Factor is a Saskatoon-based producer who has slowly made a name for himself both in Canada and internationally in the underground hip hop scene. Factor has worked with artists such as Shad, Moka Only, AWOL One, Evil Ebenezer and Kay the Aquanuat.
Filth the Enabler



Filth the Enabler is a Saskatoon-based rapper known for his raw, grimy vocal style. This style has led him to colorable with the Demigodz’ Apathy.
Scott Davidson is a writer based in Saskatoon. Follow him on Twitter. - Noisey/Vice


"DGS Samurai Champs – Featured Regina Artist"

Emerging from Regina, Saskatchewan, DGS Samurai Champs is quickly making a name for themselves in the Canadian music industry. Its three members, Jeah, Nono Ryan, and Merv xx Gotti, grace the stage with an innovative new-wave sound and a strong hip-hop influence. DGS Samurai Champs takes the hip-hop genre and infuses it with unorthodox methods, pushing the boundaries of the genre itself. Their unique sound can only be described as being simultaneously dark, intense, yet emotional. With two rap artists who stay true to their hip-hop roots as well as incorporate modern hip-hop and trap-style sounds, complemented by a vocalist who utilizes smooth, intimate vocals reminiscent of modern R&B artists such as Majid Jordan and The Weeknd, DGS Samurai Champs creates a sound that is exclusive to them.



Since forming in 2013, the band has successfully won over the hearts of local hip-hop and R&B lovers alike. In 2014, they independently recorded, engineered, and released their first mixtape, The Banff Mixtape. Along with being voted as their hometown’s top hip-hop act, the band has captivated listeners nationally from coast to coast, sharing the stage with hip-hop heavyweights such as Flatbush Zombies, Swollen Members, Madchild, and Pimpton. Their second release, The Hard Tape, engineered by Saskatoon-based producer, Deadkeys, was voted the #1 album in SaskMusic’s Top 10 Saskatchewan Albums of 2015. The first single from The Hard Tape, “Run It”, exemplifies the band’s unique integration of dark, emotional R&B vocals with new-school rap. From the technical and musical prowess demonstrated in their track “North”, which features fellow Saskatchewan rap group Queen City Stoop Kids, to the melancholic, emotional struggle portrayed in the album’s final track “Finished”, The Hard Tape is a prime example of the increasing diversification and experimentation within the modern context of hip-hop today.



Currently, the band’s focus lies on the release of their next album, The Soft Tape, scheduled for release in the summer of 2016, as well as on their upcoming showcase in Canada’s largest and most influential industry conference and music festival, Canadian Music Week, taking place in Toronto, Ontario from May 2 – 8, 2016. By aiming to redefine the definition of Canadian hip-hop, DGS Samurai Champs is the Canadian hip-hop group to look out for this year. The group uses their diversity and versatility to create a unique, urban sound that pushes the boundaries of contemporary hip-hop, and they show no signs of slowing down. - Canadian Dope


"Trifecta Music Festival: After the Music"

As you can see by the title, we really wanted to make that sound like this article was a dark MTV Behind the Music special about an artist who died tragically young or something like that, but it just doesn't really work, does it? Especially when the Trifecta Music Festival in Regina this past weekend was the complete opposite of tragic - in our minds, it was a smash success!
DGS Samurai Champs
DGS Samurai Champs


Instead of always complaining that there’s nothing to do in Regina, we decided to take initiative and change that
— Casey Dela Cruz [Co-Founder of Trifecta]
Though child and dog responsibilities prevented us from taking in the second day of the festival (wow that makes us sound like real adults, doesn't it? But we laugh in the face of real responsibility - neither the dogs nor the children are ours...), we were there to see all Trifecta had to offer on Friday night and, boy, did it have a lot to offer. When killer local bands such as Fly Points, Empire Choir and DGS Samurai Champs weren't tearing it up on stage, amazing local DJ's were playing us through the wait with songs you couldn't help but dance to. And if dancing in public wasn't your jam, there was plenty to see and do - from the amazing displays by the vendors that had set up shop, to the beer gardens and fantastic food trucks (greek style poutine-so worth the swarm of mosquitos that would inevitably attack us). A remarkable and inspiring aspect of the event was that every musician, band, sponsor, and even beverage that Trifecta had to offer was entirely local, making it a uniquely Saskatchewan event. From sponsors such as Wheelhouse Cycle Club, Artful Dodger Cafe, and Ragged Ass Barbars, the event showcased just how much Regina has to offer! Officially sponsored by District Brewing Company, the Beer Gardens offered a variety of local alcohol vendors to choose from, even Thrive Juice got in on the fun-mixing their signature cold-pressed juices with local brews. It really displayed - in one concentrated effort - the talent, resources and entrepreneurship in our humble little province.


Fashion, clothing, and style allow the artists to express themselves further, feel confident, and ultimately aid in unleashing their true talents.”
— Angel Barqueros [Trifecta Marketing Coordinator]

The most impressive part of the whole festival, though, was that it's only in it's second year! The founders of Trifecta - Marvin Chan, Casey Dela Cruz and Reid Edwards impressively, "have no experience with this any type of event planning" - and with this year's festival being pulled off seamlessly, we can't wait to see how the event grows! In only their second year, they've got a great logo, a growing online presence, and an evidently avid, passionate audience that is clamouring to hear live music, which can only mean the festival will grow in the future. The organizers have demonstrated they're up for creating a killer festival, and we're excited to see how Trifecta continues to expand in the coming years.

The talent in this city is on par with that of larger cities, the only difference is exposure
— Casey Dela Cruz [Co-Founder of Trifecta} - GUSSET + GRAIN


"Summer Invasion's Underdogs"

It’s time again for Summer Invasion, where big name acts like Hedley, Swollen Members and Grandtheft will take the festival stage in Wascana. But this time you’re going to see some local talent warming up for these musicians — this year’s Battle of the Bands grand prize winners.

We got to know DGS and Queen City Stoop Kids before their big break:

DGS

Members: Nono Ryan, Merv Gotti, Jeah
Together since October 2013

TR: What’s your sound?
DGS: Merv Gotti comes from a hardcore and indie background, Jeah from hip hop and Nono Ryan from spoken word. We mix new contemporary hip hop subgenres such as new-wave, PBR&B, and trap.

TR: Why are you stoked to play Summer Invasion?
DGS: People had to vote for us to win, and we really appreciate how much they were willing to help us. Our band is a mix of cultures (Merv is Thai-Chinese, Jeah is Cambodian and Nono is German) and we think only in Canada could this kind of band be possible.

TR: What do you love about Regina?
DGS: It’s no secret that Regina is growing as a city at an exponential rate, however our cultural presence is arguably not growing quite as fast. So this is the perfect time for up-and-coming local artists to make moves. Unless people support their local arts, art scenes will remain stagnant. For this reason, local artists gotta support each other and take initiative to stimulate the arts community. - The Rooster


"DGS - Summer Invasion"

One of this years winners in the SaskTel Summer Invasion Battle-of-the-Bands contest and hailing from the Queen City, DGS is the new face of contemporary hip-hop in Regina’s rapidly growing hip-hop scene. Majorly influenced by recent Canadian heavyweights such as Drake, Shad, and the Weeknd, DGS offers their own variety of hip-hop by using their diversity as individual artists to drive their new-wave sound.

Nono Ryan, a spoken-word poet who transitioned his art into rapping, is known for his allusive lyricism in songwriting, as well as his precision flow during rapid-fire verses. As a result of his previous training as a Muay Thai fighter, as well as his ordination as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Nono’s dedication to music and songwriting comes as the fruit of his experiences overseas. He often credits his prowess as a rapper to his physical training as a fighter in addition to his spiritual training as a monk.

For years, Merv Gotti has experimented and practiced in multiple different musical genres ranging from hardcore to indie to hip-hop. From his first experiences as a guitarist in a hardcore band to his solo pursuits as an indie singer-songwriter, Gotti utilizes his capacity to work in many different musical genres, offering a fresh, new perspective on hip-hop. In addition to his knowledge of diverse musical styles, Gotti’s training as a software systems engineer enables DGS to incorporate different sound technologies into their mixes and livesets, giving them a technical edge over other hip-hop acts. Regardless of musical genre, Merv Gotti excels in using his indie-inspired R&B vocals to carry his fundamental and systematic approach to songwriting.

With an instinctive ear for rhythm and undying childhood love for hip-hop, Jeah is a natural born rapper. Formerly known as “Ajeah”, Jeah has been practicing the arts of rapping and freestyling from a young age. Having immigrated to Canada from Cambodia as a child refugee, Jeah takes his family’s stories of struggle and war to inspire his determination as a rapper. Notorious for his versatility in numerous variations of flows as well as for his mastery of freestyling, Jeah aspires to become one of Canada’s next top rappers.

After only a year together, Nono, Merv, and Jeah have already made a name for themselves as DGS. Since forming the band in October of 2013, they have been working tirelessly to contribute to Regina’s developing hip-hop scene. On June 11th of this year, they independently released their first mixtape, The Banff Mixtape, and have since released music videos for the mixtape’s first two singles, Two Five Cent Candies and Duga Duga. This summer, they performed at Regina’s first Trifecta Music Festival and also earned a spot in Summer Invasion’s evening lineup by winning the grand prize from Summer Invasion’s Battle of the Bands. By drawing from their martial arts influences as well as Merv Gotti’s hardcore background, DGS has become known for their dynamic live performances and off-the-wall stage antics.

If DGS’ first summer together can be taken as an indicator for their future, they are set to make a lasting impression upon the Canadian hip-hop scene. DGS’ unique sound and underlying concept ultimately come as the result of their Southeast Asian backgrounds working in conjunction with their Canadian identity. With their musical, as well as cultural, diversities as their primary weapon, DGS aims to redefine what it means to be “Canadian hip-hop”.

Follow DGS on Instagram and Twitter: @DGSamuraiChamps

Download DGS’ first mixtape, The Banff Mixtape, FREE at: DGSamuraiChamps.bandcamp.com - Summer Invasion


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Hailing from the middle of the prairies, Nono Ryan is a Canadian rapper and spoken-word poet from the “Queen City” - Regina, Saskatchewan. Part of the Trifecta Artist Collective, Nono Ryan’s poetic and introspective approach to hip-hop originates from his personal journeys through the jungles of Thailand, once as a Muay Thai fighter and once again as an ordained Buddhist monk. Drawing influence from lyrically-driven hip-hop contemporaries such as J. Cole, Joey Badass, and Isaiah Rashad, Nono Ryan employs vivd imagery and intricate wordplay to narrate his personal encounters with spiritualism.

Formerly of SK-based hip-hop group, DGS Samurai Champs, Nono Ryan debuts his first full-length solo album, Flow Tank. Recorded and mixed by Amoz Newkirk of Queen City Stoop Kids and mastered by Peter Letros, mastering engineer behind Jazz Cartier’s Polaris-nominated albums, Maruading in Paradise and Hotel Paranoia, Flow Tank is a lyrically-driven, hip-hop narrative of Nono Ryan’s exploration through the trials of isolation.

Nono Ryan has toured across Canada as well as internationally, captivating audiences with both his hip-hop and spoken-word poetry performances. Nono Recently returned from his Asia 2017 Tour performing his music and poetry in Thailand, Malaysia and Japan. He toured through Ontario last May during Trifecta’s #Thre3InThe6ix Tour, and has also opened for notable hip-hop heavyweights such as Flatbush Zombies, Swollen Members, and k-os.

Find Nono Ryan’s debut album, Flow Tank, on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, and all other major music platforms.

Band Members