MAJE at Hope Blooms' Celebration of Hope Fundraiser
Thursday, June 25 at 5:30pm
Westin Nova Scotian Hotel
With a vision like MAJE's, rap music can change the world. The young Preston artist, also known as Michael Earle, founded rap group Gentlemen Mafia "to promote positivity through hip-hop," he says. "It's a way to portray how I often feel as a black man. Gentlemen Mafia brings together two perspectives of black men: what people see and what I want people to see. I built this brand to overcome the negative image and stereotypes that are often thrown our way by shedding light on the positive, to promote racial empathy, understanding and unity. It's a celebration of culture in the brand, music and the movement."
After working with Youth Art Connection, which helped build his confidence as an artist, Earle won Music Nova Scotia's Viola Desmond song writing contest in February with "Head Held High," a dedication and mediation on the local black civil rights warrior of the 1940s: "Sister, sister, strong sister of mine / Living through the hands of time / The reason I hold my hands high / And my head high," he raps.
MAJE is part of a generation that wants to use language with more purpose and meaning. "Times have changed," Earle says. "You don't have to have street cred to become a part of hip-hop culture. There are more educated artists with more educated messages, which I find important in our fight to eliminate the negative stigmas in hip-hop. So I write about things I can relate to and that affect me directly."
As an artist, his biggest influences are Jay Z (for his business swag), Drake ("For his sound") and Kanye West, "For his honesty and determination to invent and discover." But MAJE has a style and knowledge all his own. He performs next on June 25 at the Celebration of Hope for Hope Blooms.
And even with his success so far—which has showed MAJE that "I can be myself and still succeed, and the sky's the limit"—he says hip-hop still has a ways to go: "It's a challenge, not to be known but to be heard."
MAJE recently recorded a mixtape at Centreline Studio in Uniacke Square, and on Canada Day, he'll start putting out one track a week for 12 weeks, with six Soundcloud releases and six videos. He feels that local hip-hop is getting stronger as a community. "And I hope to be a part of the change I see coming."