Ask any fan who the best battle rapper in Canada is and chances are they’ll say Pat Stay. The Nova Scotian heavyweight started battling in Halifax’s Elements League in 2006 and with his King of the Dot appearances has earned the respect of both fans and battlers worldwide. He’s also poised to become the most-viewed Canadian battle rapper on YouTube after his highly anticipated title match against Arcane at World Domination 4.
T.O. Battle Blog caught up with Pat over breakfast in his hometown of Dartmouth in late June. We talked about why he finally took the title shot, his beef with Marv One, his thoughts on the current state of battle rap and more.
TOBB: What’s it like being Pat Stay in Dartmouth?
PS: I was Pat Stay before I even was Pat Stay. Even in my Elements League battles, I’ve always had a lot of respect out here. When I would battle, like a hundred people would show up.
I can’t battle people in my own hometown. It’s not fair. If you see my battles in Toronto, it’s bad enough. I’ve got the whole crowd on my side. In my hometown, you’ll get fucking food thrown at you before you even enter the ring. I get a lot of love around here.
Why is that?
I don’t know. I grew up around here. I been a standup dude, and grew up around a certain crowd. I’ve just never been a sucker, right? The people you surround yourself with is your reputation. So people knew who I was before I even started rapping. They just respected me. Not that I’m a gangster or anything.
You’re just Pat Stay.
Did you come out of a freestyle tradition?
No, I used to freestyle at parties and shit. I was more of a writer. I like to spit written rhymes. I see freestyle as more of a fun thing — two guys playing around until one of them messes up.
I like to write concepts and shit like that. I’d probably be better if I could freestyle more, but then again the guys who freestyle in written leagues take up time that they could be using for relevant rhymes.
I find it’s so hit or miss with guys like Charron or Nils…
But when he’s on, he’s so good.
When is he on though? He’ll just be like: “Your mother has three vaginas.” It doesn’t make sense… You know I battled him, eh?
She was in a porno? Nice.
It’s not that nice. Is the video of you battling Nils coming out?
I thought about it this morning when I woke up. I’m gonna bet it doesn’t. Hopefully it does, but you’d think it would’ve been one of the first ones to come out.
Right, because they just dropped Ness Lee versus Jeff.
What an amazing rap name, eh? Jeff.
What are your thoughts on the current state of battle rap?
I think it’s good. I try to talk myself into liking it more and putting more effort in and getting my heart back into it. People don’t realize, I really don’t fucking try at all.
I’m negative about it. I’ll go to an event and I’ll stare around and see a bunch of adult battlers. They have no idea that they’re gonna be fucking bums their entire lives. And I know it’s so rude to say, but I just don’t wanna be like: “I’m 37 years old, my rap name is fucking Lyrical Myrical and I live at my mom’s house.” I don’t wanna be that guy.
That’s what kind of brought me down. It just wasn’t positive for me. Like, how long can you make mother jokes, you know? I’m still trying to not be such a negative asshole.
I’m doing it for the people, including King of the Dot. I don’t want the chain. Everybody knows that. But KOTD’s value has dropped as far as the chain goes, with people like Arcane having it. Since everybody’s wanted me to have it for a long time, I figured I’d go for it.
So are you doing KOTD a favour?
I wouldn’t say it’s a favour. I like to impress the people. Just from meeting me in the last half-hour, you obviously know that battle rapping isn’t my career, so I’m not doing it for my career. I’m strictly doing it for the people, whether it’s KOTD or my fans, or whatever. Just to have something that shows who’s representing Canada right now.
Your next battle, against Arcane, is an uphill battle for him obviously. How are you approaching him as an opponent?
I haven’t even thought about it yet. He’s a prime example of that guy I was talking about: doesn’t know that he’s 35 yet, still wears his hoodie up at his supper table with his uncles and aunts, rapping Eminem in his bathroom in front of the mirror…
He’s actually a real nice guy. I feel rude talking like this. I’m nothing special. I live in fucking Highfield, but I feel blessed that I at least know that I have to do these other things in my life.
You think it’s going to be an easy win?
No, absolutely not. He probably already has 20 verses written for me. That’s what he does. Sits at home all day and writes raps. He doesn’t work, he doesn’t go to school.
Oh, did he quit at IKEA?
Haha, I don’t know.
What were your thoughts on the “Bargate” scandal?
I don’t think anything about that. Whether people want to believe it or not, 90 per cent of battle rappers get other people to write some shit for them. I don’t. I don’t take rhymes from people because everyone is fucking bitter and it eventually gets out one way or another.
Battlers have been making accusations of ghostwriting for years, including Hollohan claiming that he wrote for you. Why do you think it stuck with Arcane?
Well, it’s different. Most people will just kinda help each other with ideas, but he took the exact line, in the exact way it was supposed to be said. I don’t care… Everyone thinks I’m gonna touch on that. I don’t give a fuck about that. I wasn’t surprised. Everyone does it. People just don’t know. I don’t even hate on him for it. He can write. He knows he can write, I know he can write.
Arcane’s biggest flaw is that he talks about battle-related shit. You either had to be there at the time or have been watching every fucking battle forever.
I told him that, and he was like: “Yeah man, I’ll take that into consideration” and Hollohan was like: “You idiot. Why did you tell him that? Now he’s gonna switch his style up and actually rap and do good.”
But he has a lot to address…
He doesn’t have to. And the more you address something, the more you seem insecure about it and the more you seem guilty. I would drop it in four bars: “This is what happened, you can suck my average-sized dick.”
Talking about changing styles… Against Marv One and The Saurus you were a lot meaner than you were against Math Hoffa and Head Ice, where you were more about comedy and punches with less shock value. Was that a conscious choice?
I had an actual problem with Marv. He was battling Loe Pesci, I was drunk in the crowd and he kept dissing me. I was cool, it’s competitive, but he kept going on and on about it, and wouldn’t stop. So I’m drunk, I’m from Scotia, I come in the ring like: “What? Fucking throw down right now.”
He was like “What are you doing?” and I was like “What are you doing?” There’s only so much you can say before I do something.
I don’t like these guys. I don’t even like this battle rap shit. I’ll come in there and drop you right now. So that’s what happened. Then I made a blog and apologized for it, like sincerely. And he publicly said the blog was soft and emo.
So I said to him, next time I see you it’s either beef or we’re battling. So I didn’t like him, otherwise I wouldn’t have talked about his brother like that. God bless him. But I’m not a shock humour rapper. I’m not like that at all.
If you win the chain, do you get to choose your next opponent?
If he’s lucky. Fuck him. I called him out and he made up all these excuses. I mean, I like Dizaster, we’re cool. So yes, if the situation is right I’ll battle Dizaster. It’s giving him what he wants but I think it would be a good battle.
My initial plan was to get the chain and just pass it on.
I don’t know, whoever, I don’t care. I just don’t want it. I don’t want the obligation to battle certain people. I like to travel the world and have fun. I want to fly across the world to battle who I want when I want where I want for a lot of money.
You haven’t really gone league-hopping the same way a lot of other battlers have. Why is that?
I’ve been invited by URL but it hasn’t worked out. I got invited to one last week in Cali but nothing has landed yet. I’ve said yes to a lot of shit. I offered Don’t Flop, and whatever whatever, they couldn’t do it. I’m willing to battle anywhere. I like to battle in places where I don’t have all fans. I come off best when I feel like I’m against everyone.
When I come to a battle, I wish it was me and everyone against me. That’s how it goes in my mind, like that’s how I’ll perform the best. I don’t like having everyone behind me. I need that danger. I have this animal instinct and this crazy presense because in my head I think shit could go down. I told Arcane last time I seen him: “I hope your boys boo me the same way they boo’ed Dizaster because I’ll hop over the fucking railing and drop every one of them.”
Look, I seem violent again. I’m actually not at all.
I’m gonna take a shit. [Gets up]
Do you take long ones?
Why? Are you in a rush? Let’s go.
Nah, it’s ok.
[Walks to bathroom, then doubles back]
Wait, did you mean long as in shape?
[Smiles and then goes into bathroom]
Once we walk out of the restaurant a few minutes later, the owner follows us and asks Pat: “Are you that rapper guy?” Pat introduces himself and the heavy-set, 50-something man explains that his son had shown him some of Pat’s battles recently. The son, who’s only about 14, comes outside and the three of them take a picture together. The diner owner tells Pat to come back anytime and that breakfast will always be on the house.
Pat Stay battles Arcane for the KOTD chain on Saturday, August 24 at The Opera House in Toronto. Get your tickets or order the pay-per-view through the KOTD website.
TOBB’s WD4 content:
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 1)
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 2)
-Everything you missed at WD4 (Day 3)
-Final thoughts on WD4
-Overheard at WD4
-Top quotes from the WD4 press conference
-TOBB’s (mildly hilarious) WD4 predictions
-Q&A: Pat Stay speaks on his Arcane battle
-Who should come to WD4?