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LE Newsletter - August 28, 2003

  Interview with Nate Skinner
Skeeze (aka Nate Skinner) is a 17-year old rapper with street credibility.   He has won many battles in his hood of Summerhill/Lakeshore.  One particular heated battle took place after school with a huge crowd forming that eventually attracted the attention of the police.  The cops asked who was rapping while everyone was pointing to Nate.  He got on his cell and called his parents to let them know that they might have to go to the police station to pick him up but that all he had been doing was rapping.  The cops pulled Nate aside and - wait for it - smiled and handed him their car radio to continue the battle!
I first met Nate at Toronto's Nu Vintage studios.  Lyriq Bent and Mark Poyser (Little Engine Entertainment
and pictured right) are the directors of a short film entitled Aces Down.  They had asked Kayte Burgess to do the hook for a hip hop track to be used for the soundtrack for their movie.  On that day, Nate and Kayte wrote the rap and the music to a beat created by J-Diggs, (Ice Down/Royal Family).  All in all, the entire track took just over a couple of hours to write, perform and produce.  And it also marks the first time that Nate has written in collaboration with another artist.  An impressive day!  Not to mention that the track is red hot!  The report from Carl Allen is that the track is bumping hard in the clubs!  Request it at FLOW 93.5 - it's called Aces Down by Nate Skeeze and Kayte Burgess.   
Nate originally hooked up with producer J
-Diggs (pictured right on recording day with Nate and Kayte) when he was 12.  They played some ball together and then challenged each other to a battle.  Nate "kicked his ass" and gained the respect of not only J-Diggs but also the crew in his hood.  Nate especially liked the beats and production of Ice Down as he feels it represents an authentic side of street beats - not the "backpack" brand that he feels is represented by many Toronto rappers.  Nate speaks like a veteran of the music industry and has already seen the highs and lows of it. 
Nate's relationship with Mark Poyser (Little Engine Entertainment and school teacher) began when Mark was Nate's 7th and 8th grade teacher and basketball coach at John English Junior Middle School.  He saw amazing potential in his young student.  Once Nate heard that Mark also acted and worked in music, their relationship became solidified on common ground and they now consider each other family.  
One thing kept recurring throughout the interview with Nate - his relationship with his father, mother and stepdad.  Their relationships are impenetrable and Nate credits much of his discipline and values to them.  Nate speaks of them highly and with affection - rare for such a young man.  Besides, if you're not cool with Nate's dad, then you’re not going to be cool with Nate!
Oh, and did I mention that Nate is also one of the most heavily recruited high school basketball players in Canada?  This past weekend, the 6' 5", 201 lb. Nate moved to Brooklyn, New York to finish his high school years there - for which he was recruited for as well.  He hopes to get better exposure for U.S. universities by making this move, although he has already received many offers from basketball universities all over America including Florida, Arizona and Michigan (
pictured right with his boxful of offers).  
So, what about the ladies?  How does he handle all that attention?  I mean, he is young
and handsome (resembling Ray Allen and for whom he is mistaken for often), skilled and athletic, right?  While he admittedly likes the attention, he doesn't crave it.  Nate says he tries not to give it too much validity as he wants to remain focussed on his basketball career and continue to work on his rapping skills.  Besides, his father would kill him!  Sorry girls!
Nate is a finely tuned athlete with a very strong work ethic and focus, who also happens to have strong rap skills.  He is an impressive, dedicated and
articulate guy that you will definitely be hearing from - either on TSN or the Grammys, or perhaps both!  A role model not just for his generation but for those that went before him and those that will follow.