Max Wassen - hip-hop / rap music artist from Toronto, Canada
I was born in Hamilton, Ontario; a small steel town in Canada, and was 12 years old before i had time to regret it. Both my parents are from Sweden and moved to Canada when they were in their twenties, so i'm first generation Canadian.
After moving to Calgary when i was six, we moved to Vaughan (pronounced von) outside of Toronto. (And i know, the name's ridiculous, and no i don't know why they added 4 extra silent letters to it, but hey, "that's just the way it is" - Tupac). That's where i heard hip-hop the first time. It was on a hits for kids cd my mom got me for my birthday. The song was "Let's get it started" by The Black Eyed Peas, and my god that song was awesome. I proceeded then to press play and pause over and over again so i could write down the lyrics, effectively honing my writing skills while at the same time driving my mother insane. It really was a win win situation. I then proceeded to do something in a pitchy nine year old voice one could only describe as "rapping suckingly". But in the wise words of Jake the dog from Adventure Time: "Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."
I think i had just turned 12 when i got the news that my parents wanted us to move to Sweden. At the time i spoke little to no Swedish at all, however i was still excited, because i knew that people would dig my cute American/Canadian accent. But after moving to Sweden, getting bullied for a long time, making no friends within a year, being forced to change schools over 3 times, and getting beat up a bunch, i realized something. People did not think i had a cute American/Canadian accent. However, this is where i found the best routine i could ever ask for. Listening to Hip-Hop. Everyday. All the time.
After school i'd always come home with a new bruise to add to my collection, and a couple new words i had learned. For example: "fitta", (meaning "pussy") as in: "max, you are a fitta". Or the word "invandrare" which meant "immigrant". as in, "Max! You're an invandrare-fitta". It's safe to say that I really felt at home in this strange new country. So after every awesome day at school i'd come home and listen to music, and there was one artist i felt i could always relate to. His name was, and still is, Eminem.
"we sing for these kids who don't have a thing, except for a dream and a fucking rap magazine. Who post pinup pictures on their walls all day long, idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs. Or for anyone who's ever been through shit in their lives til' they sit and they cry at night, wishin' they'd die till they throw on a rap record and they sit and they vibe, We're nothing to you, but we're the fuckin' shit in their eyes!" - Sing for the moment by Eminem.
THAT WAS ME! Honestly, it felt like he was talking directly to me and everyone that felt like me. I'd come home after another shitty day, and just knowing that someone knew what i was going through felt empowering, and reassuring. After changing schools 3 times it became apparent that i didn't fit in. But at least i had my music, which no one could take away from me. So i started writing my own shit to get away from everything, and yes it helped me get away from all the racism, hate, and intolerance, but it also helped me find something, a place i belong. Whether it's on stage or in the studio i really felt at home, where i could just be myself. I started producing the music i wrote to as well. I produced and wrote PSA and Spongebob, and damn it felt good to put my name on something i worked on so hard to get done.