Scott Ramirez
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Scott Ramirez

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Hip Hop




"Less Canadian, More Music as Hard Rock Café Hosts International Hip Hop Artists for Canadian Music Week 2012"

"Next up on the block was Scarborough’s own Scott Ramirez. Although this was his first time at Canadian Music Week, this up-and-coming rapper is no stranger to the music scene. Earlier this month he opened at the Opera House for the Wu-tang’s GZA and Masta Killah, performing alongside the Cypher Crew. And just last year, he released his seven-track album, Mad Work, Low Pay, Big Dreams, with a launch party that took place in Kensington Market. Aside from performing at several venues in the recent past, including the Subtext Multi-Arts Festival and at an NDP campaign launch party last year, Ramirez also recently released a documentary on the relationship between Filipino youth and hip hop, entitled Flip-Hop: Bridging the Gap.

His bio cites his influences as including Ghostface Killah, Nas, and Kool G Rap — and these old-school hip hop influences are evident in his lyrical style at the Hard Rock Café. But this CMW appearance almost didn’t happen. Following their application last November, they were beaten out of a playing slot by another act. But then a week before Canadian Music Week, they were contacted and placed back on the bill after American act Sapient withdrew. Having thus made the cut (although they didn’t make it into the CMW guide), it gave them just a week to prepare for what the other musicians had been working on for months. But you’d never guess it by the quality of the music and the passion poured into Ramirez’s performance.

The first third of the set was a flurry of activity on the stage as DeRushe struggled to find needles to use on his turntable. While the venue’s sound guys were working out a solution, Ramirez picked up the microphone and began to banter onstage with the crowd to keep them from losing enthusiasm. When a voice from the back of the room yelled out, “A cappella!” Ramirez was only too happy to oblige. And in that way, he created an almost seamless transition from a cappella-rapping to rapping hard-hitting rhymes set to catchy, funky beats (once his DJ’s turntable was up and running), his lyrics covering life, love, and every struggle and triumph in between — from a distinctly Torontonian perspective." - GESILAYEFA AZORBO - CADENCE MAGAZINE

"Scott Ramirez Puts Us in the “Headlocks”"

He’s wearing a forest green, Nautica wind-breaker, New Era fitted cap and black horn-rimmed frames. Taking one look at Scarborough based Toronto rapper Scott Ramirez, you can be sure that this cat is no JD Era, Drake or Weeknd for that matter. Ramirez is an unabashed 24-year-old whose latest hip hop release, ‘Headlocks’, is quickly making him the talk of the town and hears him strapping us into a DeLorean and turning the dial back to 1995, to the heyday of East Coast hip hop. Inspired by rappers ranging from all directional bearings, ‘Headlocks’ comes nearly a year after Ramirez’ debut EP Mad Work, Low Pay, Big Dreams.

With lots of well-timed chorus refrains chanting “Buck em down!” and mentions of strictly Torontonian contrivances like Metropasses and the TTC, Ramirez’ sound will soothe any hip hop-loving fan like a smoothie made from an M.O.P. album and a Canadian flag that got tossed into a blender. With many grand plans for the future of his musical output, Quip Magazine got the chance to sit down with Scott to discuss where his sound comes from, his new focus on “Headlocks” and what we can expect from this young, blast from the past MC.

Brandon Bastaldo: Let’s start back in 2011 with your first EP MAD WORK, LOW PAY, BIG DREAMS. Where were you at in your life at that point?

Scott Ramirez: Well, the album is an acronym—MLB, right? MLB was a culmination of my university years, my work life, misadventures and encounters at that time. I actually wanted to release MLB earlier, but I just wanted to get university done ASAP. I don’t really know how to explain it…it just is, you know? It was a very personal project. I didn’t really push it out as much as I wanted to because man, when I said mad work, it was legitimately mad work. I mean, several engineers helped me through it, ups and downs throughout the whole process, setbacks, good encounters and all that.

BB: Speaking of engineers, I noticed that you made sure to mention where each of the tracks off of MLB were recorded, and by who and that’s something you don’t see very often anymore. Why was this important to you?

SR: I grew up in the 90’s, you know? Nas, Big Pun, Big L, Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde and all that. I have a record collection, well not vinyl—I don’t have a vinyl player but I wish I did (laughs). I buy CDs still, I don’t even care who it’s from. I love looking over the artwork, reading over the information and seeing where and who recorded it. I feel like that’s kind of like a lost art, I mean people can go all willy-nilly and upload 10,000 songs, but it’s like okay where did you record it? Who recorded it?

BB: You have many mentions of Toronto in your music. Was Toronto a focus for you while you were writing, or are you just speaking on your life?

SR: It’s just part of my life man. It’s like when you listen to a Nas record, you’ll hear lines about Queensbridge, or when you listen to Tribe you’ll hear about Lindon Boulevard. So when you listen to Scott Ramirez, you’re going to hear about Scarborough Town Center, Kennedy or Adelaide–it’s just part of my up-bringing. Man I’m not ashamed of Toronto it’s one of the flyest cities out there.

BB: A year later after your dropped MLB you’re back with a new single, ‘Headlocks’. Why the wait?

SR: When I released MLB, right after I was just soul searching. I went to New York for Rock the Bells festival. Nas, Lauren Hill, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Black Moon, Slaughter house—yeah, that was wild. 2011-2012 was a soul searching experience for me: I just got out of university, job market is shit, and I’m out there with everybody else struggling to find a place in this world. I was wondering, “what do I want out of music?” Just seeing the RTB bill, I was like “this is what I want to do”. This ain’t no trend, fad, you know? Although I haven’t released anything in over a year, there’s definitely been a lot of writing and prepping involved. I’ve been doing a lot of shows during that time too: I did Canadian Music Week, opened for GZA and Stalley from Maybach Music.

BB: Your sound on ‘Headlocks’ seems much more focused than before.

SR: Yes! I’m glad you noticed that. With the MLB EP, it took two years to plan and release it. Since then, I’ve had a lot of time to prep, revise and definitely test the…vocal range I guess? I’ve been working with dope cats too, good people who they know their shit.

BB: You have a chorus chanting “Buck em’ down” on ‘Headlocks’. Is that an M.O.P. reference?

SR: Naw, it’s a Black Moon reference from their song ‘Buck em Down’ off of Enta Da Stage. When I made ‘Headlocks’ I was just feeling that no one makes records up to that magnitude anymore. Remember when cats used to yell into the microphone? Like M.O.P.? Busta Rhymes in the ‘Ante Up’ remix? So I thought, let me bring that essence back, let me reinvigorate that into music.

BB: Any upcoming projects?

SR: For 2013, I’ll be regularly releasing promo singles, A cappellas and what not. In February I’ll be releasing a new song called ‘She Got Me’. It’s my tribute to the very, lovely-dovey month of February. - Brandon Bastaldo


Mad Work, Low Pay, Big Dreams EP

Inspired Flight - Single

Headlocks - Singe



Scott Ramirez creates a mad alternative blend of contemporary Hip Hop from all coasts. Educated from hallowed rap traditions meshed with a forward-thinking guerrilla focus, Ramirez has cultivated the art of slanging linguistics over breakbeats & 808s whereby he catalogues the pursuit of the good life in a rapidly gentrified Toronto as a Filipino Canadian. To describe his sound, think Rembrandt in Polo Sport gear at an east-end Toronto house jam.

Band Members