When we hopped on a call to talk to Pressa about his latest EP, Gardner Express, he was in the studio, getting ready to work. Before we started to chat, we got a peak at his freshly delivered platinum plaque for the 2018 release “420 In London”, that featured Lil Uzi Vert.
Needless to say, we were excited to talk to Pressa about how his humble beginnings brought him to this point. Everybody in Toronto knows how hard Pressa has been working for the last couple of years, but now it seems like the rest of the world is catching up. Some of Pressa’s biggest songs to date, have come in 2020… and there’s been a whole lot of them.
The Gardner Express EP features hit after hit, and is stacked with impressive guest verses from the likes of Taliban Glizzy, Jackboy, D-Block Europe, Sleepy Hallow, Sheff G, and Flipp Dinero.
Check out the interview below for more on Gardner Express, and stay tuned for more from Pressa & Sidedoor.
Pressa began his career at a unique time in Toronto. After the city and the world became familiar with the likes of Drake and The Weeknd, a lot of us began hearing about the next generation. Artists like Jazz Cartier, Pressa and Tory Lanez are just a few of the people who knew what they had to offer, before any of us really knew what an artist from Toronto could accomplish. When Pressa started taking rap seriously, he didn’t know where it would get him, he just knew it made sense.
“I just thought I was nice, and I thought everybody was gonna listen to me because I had a better message than the other rappers that was out the time, you know? I could tell them it’s me that’s going through it, not these guys’, you know?
Pressa spent most of his childhood in the Driftwood neighbourhood, near Jane & Finch. Although he didn’t take it seriously right away, he would find himself writing songs, about where he was from, the life he lived, and people he was living it with.
“I was always nice at making music for some reason. I used to just make music for myself, and just have it in my notes. I used to record myself a little bit too, on my laptop, just running a little program. Or I’d go into some bullshit ass studio and drop a couple songs outside of the city. But when I really started rapping, is when I came back to Toronto – because Toronto was lit.”
But even before rapping, Pressa aspired to be great. Music just helped him realize his potential.
“I really didn’t know what I was gonna do when I was coming up. I just thought I was gonna be in the streets you feel me? I just thought I would ‘make it’ through the streets – I knew I was gonna ‘make it’ somehow, but once music came in, I was just like, ‘oh this is an avenue that I can make it through easier, and faster’, you feel me? So I just started taking it serious.”
It’s easy for the industry to get the best of people sometimes, but for Pressa, the industry is easier than anything else he had to deal with. Pressa’s music and story are motivating the people in his neighbourhood to do what they love, but even if you didn’t grow up in Driftwood, his perspective and his resilience should inspire you – after all, he made the new EP for us.
“Gardner Express came firstly, from the highway in Toronto. Gardner is my last name, and we got “Press” in the “Express”, so there’s the wordplay in “Gardner Express” – but also, I’m just representing for the city.
Pressa knows what he does for the city, but he also knows that the bigger he gets out of the city, the more he can help us. With his new EP, instead of taking Toronto to the world, he decided to bring the world to Toronto, via the Gardner Express.
“I’m trying to tap in with America right now, and really blow up blow up. Cause I’m gonna always go back to Toronto and fuck with my Toronto cats, you know?”
His plan is working. Pressa has been releasing some of his best music to date, and the world is catching on. With every hit he puts out, he’s representing for himself and his city, but still, he’s chasing more.
“It’s just the vibe, bro, because I’m still searching for hits. If you’re a real artist, you gotta always be searching for hits. It’s like somebody who loves money and hustling – he always gone be looking for money, always chasing.”
But does he have the hits now?
“Yeah, all day.”
Pressa has been locked in lately, continuing to build on his already impressive catalogue. Every track on the Gardner Express EP is fire, and the fact that he was able to bring such dope artists into the streets of Toronto, means so much more than we can imagine.