When Fredericton rap artist Troy Neilson started putting together a rap parody for a chemistry project called "Ice Ice Water" in the mid 90's back in high school, he had no idea a several years later he would be receiving a nomination for an East Coast Music Award. However, it was his amusing multimedia project for a university course in the summer of 2000 where Neilson started to take things more seriously and even picked a name for his new act, calling himself PIMP-T and the rest well let's just say is history.
GB - Did you have any idea when did the CD it would get an ECMA nomination and how did you feel when you first heard you were nominated?
PT - When I started working toward putting a full album together, I would never have guessed that it would have ended up being nominated for an ECMA Award. I recorded the album myself, and I basically learned how to record as the album progressed. As a result, I'm not real happy with the quality of the recordings for this album. It was definitely a great learning experience, and I can only improve.I also mixed it down on my own, and that was also my first experience with mixing. After each mix, I would listen to it through my car speakers, my computer speakers, an old cheap ghetto blaster, and via a nice set of headphones to make sure it sounded good. It nearly drove me insane, but at least it's decently mixed. I knew the nominations were going to be announced on Dec. 11th, but I was so busy that day working on a seminar for one of my university courses, that I completely forgot about it. I got a call from my Mom telling me she'd heard my name on CTV News, so I checked my email and sure enough, I found out I'd been nominated. I was pleasantly surprised, but was so excited that my seminar suffered. I personally blame that nomination on having dropped me one letter grade (from an A+ to an A) in that course, but it was definitely worth it!
GB - Do you feel there is a certain amount of humour in what you do. Ex: The Pimp character?
PT - Definitely. I'm out there just trying to have fun. That's something that a lot of artists nowadays forget how to do – just have fun. In having fun, I like making people laugh, because laughter is very relaxing. So, I get dressed in funky clothes (if they were the trend, I'd wear them all the time) and dance around on stage. I have a performing partner, Rory Borealis, who gets on stage and just dances around having fun. He's not an amazing dancer, but he sure puts on a great show! As well, you have to realize that half of the PIMP-T persona is poking fun at the current state of hip-hop. I love hip-hop. I embrace hip-hop, but it has become way too misogynistic and full of rambles about drugs, guns, and money. I'm trying to flip it and make rapping about those things seem ridiculous and funny. Living life to the fullest is so much more exciting than drugs, guns, money or hoes.
GB - Tell me a bit about the video and were you surprised that Much played it?
PT - I shot the video for ‘Tha PIMP-T Theme' in the summer of 2000 for a multimedia project for a university course that I was taking. A couple of friends of mine, Iain MacDonald & Graham Fyffe, helped me out a great deal in making the video, and in fact they deserve a lot of the credit for getting PIMP-T started. The video was low-quality and amateur, but was so hilarious and appealing that it made me a top- five nominee for a 2000 Urban X-Posure award (Canada's top urban awards). Finally in 2002, after I released my album, I submitted the video to MuchMusic. They promptly rejected it due to its low-quality.
My big break came when MusiquePlus pulled the video out and showed it on their show ‘Dollaraclip'. Then I knew they had it in their library, so I asked all my friends and fans to request it. Well, after hundreds of requests poured in to Ed the Sock, he played it!! I got a call from my friend, Eunice Flores, who told me her brothers had just seen my video on Ed The Sock, so I stayed up until 3:30 am to catch the repeat… sure enough it was on! I still can believe it's been played on MuchMusic!
GB - Is there a hip-hop scene in NB at all?
PT - There is a small hip-hop scene in NB. In 2002, I did an honours thesis for my Bachelor of computer Science degree on an information system on Atlantic Canadian hip-hop. Unfortunately the system didn't fly, but I did manage to collate a large list of Atlantic Canadian rappers, some 120+ in all. Of those from New Brunswick the other two big movers and shakers would be First Words from Saint John and Red Suga from near Bathurst. There are lots of other groups like the Illlogic Crew (Fredericton), M.I.C. (Saint John), Curbside Prawjek (Saint John), Element Kontrol (Woodstock), 675 All-Stars (Fredericton), and others. Additionally there are some very talented breakers in Fredericton, especially Graeme Guthrie's crew, Shocks Almighty.However, there is no comparison between the hip-hop scene in New Brunswick compared to say Halifax. I play one hip-hop show in New Brunswick per year. Every other show is with a mix of different genres, so in that regard, the scene isn't as strong.
GB - Did you have good time at the ECMA's?
PT - I had an amazing time! I can't wait for next year's ECMAs! I met a lot of people with whom I'd been exchange emails. I got a chance to make some great contacts, and best of all, I saw some amazing talent.
GB- Would you say Pimp T is your alter ego and how did you come up with it?
PT - I guess you could say PIMP-T is sort of like an alter ego.
When I get on stage, I act differently than I do on a day-to-day basis, so in that regard it's like an alter ego. PIMP-T started out as an accident. I got the name by accident when I didn't have the right letters to spell ‘Disco Tek' on the back of my disco outfit for Halloween of 1999. I only had the letters N-Z, so the best I could spell after hours of deliberation was ‘PIMP-T' by flipping the ‘W' upside down, cutting a leg off of an ‘R' and cutting a leg off of a ‘V'. After that I did a couple of shows as ‘PIMP-T' and then in the summer of 2000, I did the multimedia project entitled ‘Tha PIMP- T Project.' When the video for that project blew up, I knew there was no turning back. I wasn't happy with the image PIMP-T portrayed, so I came up with the acronym for PIMP-T. (PIMP-T = ‘Power Is Mindful Peace' and my name is Troy). The acronym represents the conscious and real side of PIMP-T, because poking fun at the state of hip-hop is only going to take you so far. :)
GB - Tell me a bit about Troy. What are you taking at UNB, what year, future plans, etc?
PT - Troy is a busy busy boy. I'm currently in my first year of my Masters of Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. I'm studying with financial backing from an NSERC scholarship, so it allows me to breathe more easily. I'm also a senior writer for Canada's award winning hip-hop site, hiphopcanada.com
I handle reviews and interviews. I'm actively involved in different committees, groups, and sports. I haven't played basketball in nearly a year and I really miss it *sniff, sniff*. My future plans definitely include making sure I'm happy, getting my Masters degree, and maybe if I have time I'll take a 3-4 day vacation!!