Nanaimo hip hop artist Jinx TK releases new album Mic Titan

Positive message in hip hop music attracted Nanaimo artist to the genre.

Nanaimo hip hop artist Tyler Barnes

The positive message in hip hop music to keep fighting to overcome obstacles attracted Tyler Barnes to the music at an early age.

“I have always been into hip hop as long as I can remember,” said Barnes, a Nanaimo hip hop artist known as Jinx TK. “It always told you could win the struggle for the light and end the trauma. If you work hard you can achieve.”

Although Barnes loved hip hop and created songs, he didn’t start focusing on it as a musician until 2011. Barnes released his latest album Mic Titan this February. The process took about two years. At first, Barnes said, he was just creating songs but eventually that led to the album.

“The way I feel about this album is kind of like a roller coaster,” said Barnes. “You can have fun, but sometimes everyone struggles.”

He previously released the EP Guaranteed Freshness.

He created about 20 songs and kept 13 for the album. He collaborated with a number of different hip hop artists on the album including Sirreal, Discreet, SupaDan, DJ All Good and others.

One song, Thin Line, features Trippz. There is a remix of the song on the album that features Discreet and Sirreal.

“They enjoyed me songs and decided to do a remix and it turned into a completely different song at the end,” said Barnes.

Barnes said the original Thin Line song is one of his older songs that he has been performing for the past four years.

Writing songs for the album was a varied process.

“It all kind of depends on the mood you are in and if you have a concept,” said Barnes. “Some songs will just come to you and others will take a week.”

He works with people who make beats as the backdrop to his lyrics.

“You sort of source out for people who make beats … a lot of rappers are beat makers,” said Barnes.

He worked with Prosper from Edmonton and Loophole from Calgary as well as Static a local beat creator.

“He’s probably one of the top local producers,” said Barnes about Static.

Barnes recently signed with hip hop label Independent Generation.

Over the years he’s seen the Nanaimo hip hop landscape change.

“It’s been non-existent until two years ago, but I’ve noticed a big boost in artists,” he said. “New artists are coming to town.”

He said Nanaimo hip hop artists are also getting their music played in Eastern Canada.

“We are making our mark,” he said.

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