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by Evan James Ceretti

(photo: Evan James Ceretti)Rapper Daniel Butterfield—aka Vince The Messenger—is one of Charlottetown’s newest and most influential musicians in the Island’s hip-hop scene. Coming hot off winning Urban Recording of the Year at the 2019 Music PEI Awards for his debut full-length album Self Sabotage, Vince plans to continue spitting out meaningful lyrics and turning heads.

Vince moved to PEI from Toronto as a toddler. During elementary school, his love for stringing sentences together became apparent. He would spend time remixing songs, changing the words and content, and adding his own personality. Through middle and high school, he would rap songs by Drake, 50 Cent and other influences, but felt he needed to up his game. “Why not try writing my own lyrics and using my own beats?” 

Now 21, Vince is regularly releasing new material and gaining listeners. It was always going to be rap for him, said Vince, as it’s always what has felt very natural. While Vince writes all of his own lyrics, his songs to date have mainly been produced by Niimo, who performs locally under the name Marquis & The Squid.

“He’ll make beats, send them my way, and then I’ll write to them,” says Vince. Vince thinks his best songs are created when he first hears the beat and immediately has some ideas to spit out. “I kind of go into it a little bit blindly. In an ideal setting, I’ll play the beat, and then whatever emotions or thoughts will strike me after listening to the beat will be the first things to come out.” Vince is currently working on a new album, which is being exclusively produced by Niimo, expected to be released within a couple of months. On top of that, Vince is also collaborating with Marquis & The Squid on an joint EP, collaborating with Kit Moro on another joint EP, as well as producing an EP on his own—all four albums are expected to be out this year.

“A lot of my lyrics tend to be introspective, based on life experiences or how I’m feeling about social issues,” said Vince. “Sometimes the plight of being a person of colour in a mainly white society—being a minority in a place, can be a common theme. I feel like that’s a bit of a struggle.” Vince uses his mic as a tool for change, and through his lyrics he addresses social issues and tries to encourage his audience to think critically. Moving forward as an artist, Vince said one of his goals is, “Just to create music that I can stand behind.”

On PEI, Vince recognizes that while diversity is growing in the music industry, there are still only few people of colour. “You’re clearly different. From a superficial standpoint, you’re automatically different. In terms of music, rap feels like the main genre where black people are properly able to express themselves.” Vince is happy to see that the black music community is growing and coming together more and more on PEI as people continue to immigrate here, contributing to the Island’s ever-growing multiculturalism and diverse music scene.

Still on the heels of winning a Music PEI Award, Vince said the experience has, “Started to slowly open up some more doors and set more eyes on me, which is good to help get myself out there. It felt good to get the recognition from a group of musicians.” Vince was also nominated for the Holland College/Lloyd Doyle New Artist of the Year.

Listen to Vince The Messenger sling rhymes over boom-bap beats on Self Sabotage on Spotify. Catch him live at Baba’s March 9.

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