This is not your average man, though, on paper, he might be. He’s 26 years old and graduated with honours in Family Mediation (Bachelor of Arts) from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Life seemed to be focus on one direction, that is, until this young man decided he wanted to take one more breadth elective; hip-hop.
Andre McIntosh grew up in Markham. He is Canadian through and through, as he puts it. You can sense the dedication from his words, from his writing, and from his music. A catalyst of his own craft. It didn’t take much to flip his world upside down and enlist high school buddy, Jonathan Teape (JT Beatz), to come on board as his producer.
There is a long road ahead. His only two songs “My Own” and “Let Us Win” are flashes of his potential. They are a pastiche of hip-hop’s finest melodies that he hopes one day, will be an auspice to the genre. PureGrainAudio sat down to get to know Dre Divine and find out where he wants to be in years to come.
Where does your hip-hop name come from? Andre McIntosh: My hip-hop is a hybrid of two things. Dre comes from my first name. It was a nickname I had growing up from family and friends. Divine comes from the fact that I have a real close connection with God. I pray a lot, and a lot of blessings I’ve received in life came through prayer. To be divine in my eyes means to be balanced and centered, or to be un-waned of negativity.
Check out the evil beats on the track “Sins.”
Who are some artists that have influenced your style? McIntosh: There are too many amazing artists that I grew up listening to or even embodied their style or work ethics. Artists like Vybz Kartel, Movado, Notorious B.I.G., Drake, Kanye West, 50 Cent were the ones I listened to a lot growing up. As of late, Post Malone, Young Thug, The Weeknd, Drake, Travis Scott, and Sampha catch my ear daily.
Why the career move to hip-hop? Did you have a previous job before? McIntosh: I’ve always loved hip-hop ever since I was a kid. My older brother introduced me to hip-hop by watching the 106 & Park freestyle battles. I’d tried to emulate it but was never good back then. But since then I’ve always written music and dreamt one day of making my own music. I was always subconscious of other people opinions till I decided I didn’t care anymore. Hip-hop is life and one day, I want others to think of me the same way they think of the G.O.A.T.S. I currently work for a Tech Company to help fund my music career. The goal is to get my music to go places so that I can be all in 100 percent.
Have you gone to post-secondary school? McIntosh: Yes, I did. I graduated from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology with an honours degree in Family Mediation. (Bachelor of Arts).
What are some hobbies that you have outside of hip-hop? McIntosh: My main hobbies are basketball. I’m an avid sports guy but basketball is my heart. My dream is to see a Toronto sports team win it all so we can all celebrate and party downtown. Other than ball, I’m a family-oriented guy so spending quality time with family and friends I really enjoy. I love hitting the gym and getting in great workouts. Both mental and physical aspects of our bodies should be in tune with another. I like watching movies to help me relax as well as to escape reality.
What are the names of both the songs you sent us? McIntosh: The first song I sent you is called “My Own” the second song I sent you is called “Let Us Win.”
Where do you see hip-hop in the next ten years and what impact would you like to make on it? McIntosh: I see hip-hop going through a revolution in terms of the brand itself and the impact it will have on listeners. We live in the day and age of the “wave.” Artists create music on such waves and will ride it out till it’s dead. I believe hip-hop will return back to the purity and essence of itself as amazing quality music always win. In no way am I saying current hip-hop is no good because I listen and enjoy everything made.
Instead, the music that causes you to stop and think, to digress and develop, and to go about creating positive changes will be more vibrant. Every classic song, album, movie, etc... were all able to stand the test of time because of the detailed work behind the scenes as well as into the product. That is where I think hip-hop will be in ten years.
My impact on the game would be the essence and continuation of it. I don’t want to be just another artist to come and to go, rather I want to be an artist that was able to create a lane not only for myself but for so many others. To go down as one of the greats to ever do it, and to inspire many Canadian artists to go after their dreams. The same way Drake and The Weeknd are doing for Toronto.
The best moments are when we live in the “Moment.”
Are you from here in Canada or born elsewhere? McIntosh: I’m Canadian through and through.
How do you feel about Canadian artists in hip-hop right now and do you feel they will continue to grow? McIntosh: I feel blessed to live in a time now where Canadian artists are being recognized for the amazing contributions they have towards music. Drake and The Weeknd paved the way for artists like myself to have a global presence musically on the world, and for the rest of the world to recognize that us artists north of the borders can hold it down.
We will continue to grow by creating amazing music, becoming more present not only in music but in fashion and sports. Amazing music will never be denied and that is what we’re creating here. Day after day, more and more Canadian artists are breaking down barriers. Just wait on it, one day everyone will recognize our purity to the game.