[Sound Lab] Ruff Ryders’ Drew James – “Paper Chase”
Toronto native Drew James is a rapper, songwriter, record producer, and DJ. Growing up in Toronto’s Rexdale neighbourhood known as Mt. Olive with his mother, Drew was exposed to the streets at an early age. The youngest of 4 children, Drew bounced around between the households of his father and older siblings when he wasn’t in the Caribbean with his mother during the winter months. It was while living with his father in the Weston Rd. and Lawrence neighbourhood that Drew was introduced to Hip Hop by a classmate in grade 4.
His obsession with the genre later grew once hearing Ruff Ryders’ artist DMX’s single “Get At Me Dog” in 1998. With artists like DMX, Jay-Z, Ja Rule, 50 Cent becoming the apart of his daily listening regiment, Drew quickly developed his skills as an up and coming rapper over the next several years. However, it wasn’t until 2005 when Drew started to actually record music and taking his talent seriously.
In 2007 Drew met Lavar “Stretch” Blake who took Drew’s music to Ruff Ryders CEO Joaquin “Waah” Dean in Philadelphia and played him a Boi1da produced record titled “Return Of The Ryder”. A record deal was not afforded to the Toronto rapper but Waah did keep an eye on Drew’s work ethic over the next 9 years. In 2016 after the 3rd of 3 trips over 6 years to NYC to see Waah, Drew was offered a recording contract by Waah to join the legendary Ruff Ryders record label.