There’s an underlying power in the phrase “Dear America,” as it often foreshadows that a purposeful statement is forthcoming. Toronto’s own P. Reign, a bubbling rapper you may recognize from his affiliation with longtime friend Drake, appropriated said phrase on his recent Dear America mixtape and EP.
Though separate bodies of work, both projects are inspired by a single fact: Reign is a Canadian artist, who can travel to any country in the world but the United States. Pending charges from his days as a hustler are to blame for the rapper being denied entry into the country. “I had nothing to do but hustle, and I ended up getting caught up with that,” Reign told Complex. “I caught a few crack charges here and there. Most of them got tossed out but there is still some pending charges. So for that reason, that’s why they are denying me entrance into the States.”
A presence in the States, the premiere market for rap music, is essential for any artist to attain success. Knowing this, Reign joined the RCA roster. With proper label backing, he waves the flag for his Reps-Up clique and gives listeners his life on wax in one fell swoop, on both Dear America projects.
Stories of strife are a familiar aspect of Hip-Hop; one that allows the listener to empathize with MCs. Reign’s backstory has familiar roots, but at its current point, this scenario is one that’s rarely seen from an artist with such high affiliations.
Who: P. Reign, born Raynford Humphrey, has been waxing poetics for over 10 years and developing a name in Canada in the process. Now, signed to RCA records, the wordsmith is getting his affairs in order as he continues to combat his issues with crossing the U.S. border. Hailing from Scarborough, a rough section of Toronto, the experiences Reign gained in the streets translates into rhymes with authentic feel and melodic cadence, in part due to his Guyanese roots.
Credentials: Reign attained notoriety as a transparent figure in Toronto. Projects like Canadian Dream and When it Reigns it Pours allotted him enough popular material to join Drake on the Canadian leg of his first solo tour, “Away From Home.” Through the years Reign has collaborated with the likes of Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, and of course, Drizzy himself.
Fun Fact: Before visiting the States became implausible, P Reign spent two years living in Brownsville, Brooklyn, where he attended middle school.
Photo: Matt Barnes