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Harvey Stripes is potent. He’s that undeniable, soon to be recognizable rapper out of Canada whose scent is drifting across the world. His raps, his attitude, his lifestyle; they culminate to make him an engaging entertainer and authentic personality. There’s no middle ground for Harvey Stripes, he either is it or he isn’t saying he is. What’s he got to lie about? The life he’s living has enough radical ingredients as is, but now it’s time to cook. Smell that?
Growing up in Ottawa, Canada his Grandmother raised him much of the time while his mother worked. Harvey Stripes always seemed to live outside the box. The only kid in his crew who lived across the street from the projects, he was too smart to not go to school but too street once he got there. His family couldn’t understand it. How could he be an honor roll student and be doing dirt in the streets? He was a black sheep, which is why to this day he has no problem standing out.
Known for his flashy visuals and polished singles, Harvey’s style grew out of daily recording sessions as a teenager. Cramped up in his home studio with half a dozen of his friends from the neighbourhood, they’d record several songs a day. They imagined getting signed and being on tour within months. While he cites Biggie and Tupac as the artists who taught him how to rap, Harvey also admits to an affinity for the ‘shiny suit era’ of Bad Boy artists. Interestingly, he describes himself as an introvert living an extravert’s life.
Early on, he formed a duo called Deuce Deuce with another rapper from the neighbourhood. They spent the next six years building their reputation in Ottawa, opening for major concerts, releasing mixtapes and eventually obtaining radio play in the region. Looking back, Harvey credits that stage of his life as an important developmental period. He even goes so far as saying Deuce Deuce was one of Canada’s best groups of all time. But all that ended in 2009. Harvey decided going solo was his best move, so he moved.
A few months after Deuce Deuce split, he relocated to Toronto. He quickly released a series of singles that took him from zero to sixty fast. His first single “Paid” was a wavy street single featuring Max B., who would unfortunately go to jail before appearing in the video. “Shawty Got That” featuring Jason Derulo was his commercial release and nationwide radio play followed, along with a video that once again showcased his lavish lifestyle. These two singles signified his appeal: culturally authentic and commercially viable.
His next big record, “Material Girl” came out in early 2010. Jay Vado anchored the hook as the video became his third consecutive single to achieve heavy rotation on MuchVibe. Heads started to turn. And later that year, he recruited the much coveted model Rosa Acosta to appear in the video for “Must Be The Money,” his biggest record to date. That video grew like wildfire across the internet and broke out of the gate with heavy rotation on MuchMusic’s main channel. With each release, his audience understood the life Harvey Stripes lives a little bit more.
“My story, I’m still telling it to the people so they’ll believe in Harvey Stripes,” he says. “I’m a secretive person. Music gives me an opportunity to vent, to celebrate and to work things out in my life.” The last two years culminate with the release of A Dollar And A Dream, a free album Harvey believes will up the ante even further. Completely independent, his team works under the title D&D Music Group which includes in house producer Beat Merchant. Similar in their flashy hunger, Beat Merchant and Harvey represent the old producer/MC model established by groups like Gangstarr. Alone they are talented, together they are a force.
Whether he remains independent or inks a deal, Harvey Stripes need to cover all his bases and count on no one but himself tends to serve him well. His fans continue to grow as his consistency mounts. A Dollar And A Dream will serve as his first solo effort and means audiences, labels and fellow peers will get a full plate of Harvey Stripes. Remember, it’s potent and you were warned.